12495RPO & BAGGAGE CAR ENDS
- Dec 1, 2000<<original message>>
<<<<In a message dated 27/11/00 16:30:21 GMT Standard Time,
<< Also the ends were painted black with sand mixed into the paint, used
as a fire safety measure.
Thanks for the advice - my model is one of those without the 35 pound rail.
But the black painted ends is new - was it done throughout the life of the
cars or was there a specific period?
there were basically 2 different RPO cars after the mid 30's when the 2 name
trains were outfitted ( the Shivano and the San Juan) by the D&RGW. The
long RPO cars did not have end platforms and were re-built to U.S. Post
office regulations. I remember an article Charlie Getz wrote on these cars
a while back and the rail in the ends of the cars were for the safety of the
Postal Employees working in the car. In the event of an accident, they were
supposed to prevent the adjacent car from telescoping into the RPO and
killing the postal clerks. I understand the black paint was actually
roofing tar and was to reduce the risk of the car catching fire in the event
a spark from the loco lodged on the forward end of the car. It is my
understanding that all the long RPO cars in these 2 trains were so equipped.
After they were transferred to work train service in the early 50's, they
still kept the rails on the ends but were painted gray. I remember watching
the 'Friends' repaint one of them in the summer of '99' after being restored
to its work train configuration.
The 'short' RPO is what LaBelle makes and it was used on the other runs like
the Santa Fe mixed train. The short cars did not have rails on the ends but
I'm not sure about the black ends. None of the RPO cars had end doors for
security reasons. The short cars on the SantaFe mixed run had roof walks
and hand railings added which make those particular cars very unique. These
allowed the brakemen to climb over the tops of the cars to set the brakes
the baggage cars had walks also). Another thing to note, the long cars
were set up for electric lights whereas the short cars used kerosene. I
think the RPO used on the Santa Fe line was set up for both electricity and
kerosene since the car was attached to the San Juan on the first leg of the
trip from Alamosa to Antonito. In that train, they tapped into the trains
generated electricity from the Delco power plant in one of the Baggage cars.
After being switched out at Antonito and starting the rest of the trip as
the Santa Fe mixed train, they had no electrical generating capacity and
hence had to use the kerosene lights.
E&B made both long and short RPO cars in the 'bash-kits'. The plans with
the long cars only show putting square plastic in the place of the rail, I'd
recommend using the rail on the ends. Another note as these kits are
'stylized' RPO cars as noted on the box label. They are not exact models.
The 'long' model is still too short to be correct, but it captures the feel.
There was an article in the Gazette about someone who made the Salida Wreck
Train and a portion of that article explained how he lengthened an E&B long
RPO to the correct length.
Hope this info helps.......................NORM.............
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