A challenge for you. This photo was taken in the Buckeye Yard
car shop in Columbus. What is going on here? Send your
answers to email@example.com
The answer: In the
1970's toward the end of the Penn Central era the PC got the assignment to
deliver new subway cars from the St. Louis Car Co. in St. Louis to New
York City. When NYC ordered subways cars the order could be in the
hundreds. The possibilities to transport the cars to New York were
to either place the cars on flatcars or pull them is a train. This
gondola and a second one were modified in the shops at the Buckeye Yard to
add this radial subway type coupler on one end. A string of subway
cars could then have one of these adaptor cars placed at each end and
hauled to New York in a freight train.
The car shop crew under the
direction of Ted Roberts, Columbus Division Master Mechanic, modified the
two gondolas. These couplers have the air and electrical connections
built into the face of the coupler requiring a tight lock. The
couplers pivot from the end of the coupler shank. The coupler head
is supported by a rail shaped in a arc allowing the subway cars to make
Penn Central also had a second
set of adaptor cars, this time modified box cars, that they used to
cars to New York.
How did the readers do? -
Very well. One reader thought the gondula was in the shop being modified
as an adaptor car. He was right on that point. Several figured
out that the gondola would be used to pull transit cars. One reader
from Philadelphia had seen a similar arrangement on the B&O. Another
reader thought it was taking transit cars to either Chicago or New York.
One Columbusite remembers when these were being used, as the cars came
through Columbus on the Pan Handle line.
One reader wondered why they
bothered to install the anti-climber on the end of the gondola.
Anti-climbers are installed on transit cars in case of a derailment or
other accident. It helps keep one car from telescoping through the
other. It didn't seem necessary to have one on the gondola.
Thanks to all that sent in
their answers and thanks to Dave Bunge for the photo and information.
Photo from Dave Bunge