“Tubular” Coaches on the PRR


Pennsy fans may remember the tubular train running on the corridor as “The Keystone.” These cars, built by Budd, were designed with a low center of gravity. As you can see in the picture, the cars conformed to traditional height above the rail at both ends but the center section was a bit above the tops of the rails, making for a noisy ride according to a blog post. There is also a claim that the design was to try to increase track speed. I vaguely knew that the train set had been sold and was somewhere in the Midwest for a time. Well, two coaches have appeared on CN train 382 at Burlington, Ontario, bound for a new home at Canac, St. Laurent, Quebec. I never rode these cars but remember seeing them on the corridor. The image here was captured by Rob Eull who graciously gave our blog permission to post this. You can see more of Rob’s excellent rail photography here.

Pennsy Keystone Coaches

Look at how Budd’s stainless steel and construction methods have kept these coaches in great shape despite their years.


One Response to ““Tubular” Coaches on the PRR”

  1. Riley Says:

    The reason that the Budd-built equipment lasts longer is because of the Shotwelding process, which joined the stainless extrusions of the car sides and roofs together with the stainless frames of the cars. This process was very thorough, effectively keeping water out of the interior panels of the cars.

    Other streamlined cars made by other manufacturers had stainless panels welded to iron frames. Water from rain and car washing equipment would seep inside and accumulate in the batted insulation, setting up a reaction between the iron and stainless. Eventually, these sides would corrode apart and either the railroad would attach new panels to the sides of these cars or retire the car entirely. This corrosion process was partly responsible for the early retirement of the Texas Special, for example.

    Meanwhile, five decades later (and longer), the Budd built equipment continues in service.

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