C&O Roadrailers

Discussion relating to the B&O up to it's 1972 merger into Chessie System. Visit the B&O Railroad Historical Society for more information. Also discussion of the C&O up to 1972. Visit the C&O Historical Society for more information. Also includes the WM up to 1972. Visit the WM Historical Society for more information.
ex Budd man
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C&O Roadrailers

Post by ex Budd man » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:11 pm

Does anyone have information or photos on the roadrailer system used by C&O in the 1950s? Did they run mixed with other traffic or as a solid block? Did they have a caboose or just markers?
"I may not have a brain, but I have an idea!" BOB, benzoate ostylezene bicarbonate.

polybalt
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by polybalt » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:58 pm

I've seen pictures of them running on the end of passenger trains. Don't know how often that happened.
Peter Schmidt

BaltOhio
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by BaltOhio » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:07 am

C&O never used them in freight service, but for a time they carried mail on the rear of the Detroit-Grand Rapids "Pere Marquettes", and also possibly Chicago-GR. C&O's merchandise freight traffic department wanted nothing to do with them.

Herb Harwood

shlustig
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by shlustig » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:05 pm

[quote][/quote]
They were also used on the Sportsman Ashland or Columbus to Detroit c. early 1960"s(?).

Don't recall if they were also used on the Cincinnatian.

roadenemy
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by roadenemy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:50 am

C&O's original concept for the Roadrailer (which was called Railvan until 1961 when the name was changed) was to operate in solid trains with an engine and a caboose with special couplers. C&O decided against the idea of running them in full trains and developed an adapter truck to allow connection to a standard coupler. In 1955 two prototype roadrailers were built featuring end ladders and roofwalks due to the fact they were intended to be used in freight service. The two prototypes were sent to England in 1958 where Pressed Steel Company Limited built 50 slightly smaller roadrailers to be tested there . The Interstate Commerce Commission Bureau of Safety wouldn't allow them to be used in freight service so they ended up on the rear of the Pere Marquettes. In 1959 the first three production roadrailers were built in Cleveland by Visioneering and went into service hauling mail six days a week between Traverse City and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Several more railvans were built and service to Detroit was then added. Railvans were taken by truck from Detroit to Muskegon. In 1964 C&O built an order of 60 roadrailers in it's own Grand Rapids shop and extended service again into Chicago. The fact that the roadrailers only carried mail meant that when the railroads lost the mail contracts they weren't good for much by 1968 the roadrailer experiment had ended. The C&O historical society offers a DVD of a public relations film all about roadrailer service. It's about 15 minutes long and has a lot of good footage of trains being assembled and taken apart as well as the trailers being converted from rail to highway. When on the rear of the train the last unit carried marker lights. The July/August issue of the C&O Historical Magazine features and really thorough article on the roadrailers and there are scale drawings in the July 1990 Model Railroader. There are preserved roadrailers at the B&O museum in Baltimore and the Western Michigan Railroad Historical Society has one on display in Sparta.

ex Budd man
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by ex Budd man » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:39 am

Thanks so much for the information. Its amazing how an idea can be recycled time and again. Unfortunatly trying to make one thing do two jobs usually is a disaster, sofa beds aren't very comfortable as beds or couches. Articulation seems to keep popping up and its short commings always are its undoing. :(
Thanks again.
"I may not have a brain, but I have an idea!" BOB, benzoate ostylezene bicarbonate.

ex Budd man
Posts: 906
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:17 am

Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by ex Budd man » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:38 pm

One thing I haven't seen is the coupling between the last car in the train and the trailer itself. Was it something similar to todays Roadrailer?
"I may not have a brain, but I have an idea!" BOB, benzoate ostylezene bicarbonate.

wintower
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Re: C&O Roadrailers

Post by wintower » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:28 pm

I used to live a few doors away from the R.I. commuter tracks between the Station at Brainerd and Gresham Junction on the south side of Chicago until September,1968. Parallel to the R.I. tracks were two C&O tracks mostly used by freights but once a day I recall an eastbound C&O passenger train , which I never knew where it was going , would pass and have a roadrailer on the rear end. After the train passed the tower at Gresham Junction it would cross over Vincennes Ave. and then immediately cross the R.I. north/south mainline. I never remember seeing the westbound counter part to that train, if it had one and always wondered where those freight were going to and from. I believe those C&O tracks were lifted and I read recently here on Railroad.net that the area around Gresham Junction is not a place to go either during the day or night.

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