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Deadhead passenger trains
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   Author  Topic: Deadhead passenger trains  (Read 227 times)
kjohn
Historian
Posts: 790
Deadhead passenger trains
 
« on: Jan 28th, 2008, 1:52pm »
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There are fewer things spookier than a deadhead passenger train, or, at least passenger cars being towed out of service.  When I lived in Grenfell, SK, on the CP mainline just west of Broadview, I witnessed a couple of trains with empty passenger cars being towed.  Somehow, the cars seem bigger and, well, spookier than when they are "alive", with passengers and crew.  Especially in the evening, when a living train is lit and seems so warm, do the cars seem to look so cold.
 
When I was a kid, I remember feeling the same way about the old steamers being towed for the last time, to their unstately deaths as scrap iron.  I recall the windows being empty of the smiling faces of crew, no waves, nothing.  Some of the cab windows were cutained over, if I recall.
 
I get a bit of the same feeling when I realize an engine is being towed "dead" in a modern freight.  It strikes me as some big, deadly monster that has been found dead somewhere and the body is being whisked away, out of sight.
 
Does anybody else have some thoughts on this?  


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ClydeDET
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Posts: 4801
Re: Deadhead passenger trains
 
« Reply #1 on: Jan 28th, 2008, 9:15pm »
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I spent a month at Fort Gordon, GA in early 1974. Being a dedicated railfan, I spent some free time watching for trains on such tracks as were conveniently within reach. On the GRR line out of Augusta, I discovered that the railroad was using old heavyweight passenger cars as cabooses on at least some of the freights. The cars were painted flat black and I'll be flipped if I can recall what the lettering was - gold leaf? Dulux gold? Bronze-gold? Seems like something that instead of white. Most windows had shades pulled, seem to recall some that had presumably been broken with plywood in the openings.  With the train moving through the pines, they looked real spooky, especially if it was late on a gloomy day. I think I have some pictures somewhere - if so, maybe I can scan and post them.

« Last Edit: Mar 5th, 2008, 2:23pm by ClydeDET » Logged
Norm_Anderson
Historian
Posts: 1727
Re: Deadhead passenger trains
 
« Reply #2 on: Jan 29th, 2008, 11:10am »
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I can sure identify with your thoughts, kjohn.  Maybe for me not "spooky" so much as a deep sense of sadness, especially if I know they are likely to be making their last move, ever.  Even watching a video of an old steamer, shorn of side rods, being towed dead-in-train to who knows where, elicits something close to grief.
 
But even when the cars have not been retired (for example, when I was younger I would see coaches or sleepers being towed in a mail train, but isolated among the mail and express cars), it definitely creates the sense of "something out of place".  You are right-- the darkened windows, the sense of being "sealed off", is vaguely disconcerting.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


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grobrailman
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Posts: 67
Re: Deadhead passenger trains
 
« Reply #3 on: Sep 30th, 2010, 4:54pm »
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I get that sense of sadness when I see old passenger cars sitting by themselves on an old siding, just rusting away.  I some times wonder how many places the car has been to and how many railroads it has seen work.

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