Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Tadman
 
I was doing a little thinking today after seeing a post by Canadian Railway Observations about the CB&Q stainless bilevels. Are these cars the oldest rolling stock in regular passenger service around the US or Canada now? Are there any plans to replace them? I get the impression they run quite well for 1950's material.
  by SlowFreight
 
How many are left in service? I know quite a few were purged on account of the expensive-to-maintain brake system. Some apparently ended up in Michigan for a commuter service that hasn't started, to be pulled by ex-GO F59s. Ozark Mountain Railcar had them advertised on their website for ages.

I thought that you should be able to completely replace the brake system and upgrade the remaining mechanicals for a fraction of the cost of a new car (say, 25%), and get significantly longer service life than the remaining Pullmans will give.
  by Tadman
 
As far as I'm aware, there are plenty left. Whenever I see a BNSF train, there's a few in the consist, usually 2-4. I imagine there's at least 20-30 cars left on the roster. None function as cabs anymore.
  by neroden
 
Definitely not the oldest cars regularly used in passenger service in the US or Canada -- though they're the oldest cars regularly used in *commuter* service. :-) They might also be the oldest with relatively intact original interiors, depending on how intact the interiors are. These cars were manufactured in 1954.

Most of the Amtrak Heritage diners are older, with the earliest dating to 1947 IIRC. (Interestingly, the Heritage diners are Budd, stainless, and many of the survivors were originally ordered for the CB&Q.) I'm fairly sure that a bunch of Amtrak's baggage cars are older, too, though railfans don't seem to keep careful track of those.

The consists of antiques which VIA Rail uses include lots of pre-1954 cars, and at least one coach which is the most likely candidate for "oldest car currently in regular passenger service". VIA Rail is using a 1951 National Steel baggage car on the Winnipeg-Churchill train. The Galley Club cars (used on "VIA 1") are from 1947-49. But VIA is also running coaches built as early as *1946*. And these are on the "Corridor". Even with the recent ax taken to what's left of VIA services, the 1940s cars are still going to be running in daily service for a while yet.
  by doepack
 
neroden wrote:Definitely not the oldest cars regularly used in passenger service in the US or Canada -- though they're the oldest cars regularly used in *commuter* service. :-) They might also be the oldest with relatively intact original interiors, depending on how intact the interiors are. These cars were manufactured in 1954.


Newer seats were installed in some of these cars during a rehab a few years back, along with other minor changes to the interior; so they're not precisely the same as delivered nearly 60(!) years ago. But from the exterior, the cars have indeed retained much of their original appearance...