Disposition of Observation Cars

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First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to let me know that they liked the Observation Cars article in Lines South. As this was my first published effort, I appreciate your positive feedback! Mr. Richard Lasater asked me if a follow up article on the dispositions is possible. The answer is yes, but I need help, especially from the folks who follow CSX.

The three ex SAL coach observation cars were not sold to AMTRAK but remained to be converted to instruction cars. One of the round end cars was at Raleigh, while another round end car was at Tilford yard near Atlanta. Did anyone out there photograph these cars while they were at the yards? Does anyone whether these cars still exist? The ex SAL 6400-flat end was also converted to an instruction car. Anyone know of the disposition of this car? Do photos exist?

The same goes for the cars which went to AMTRAK. Any help here would be appreciated. We could use photos, consists, etc. Cliff Kendall tells me that the last steam heated train to Florida had a proper Observation car in its consist. Did anyone record the consist-take photos???

A lot of the success of the article was due to the input of a lot of people. Get me the information and the photos. I will do the writing and Kevin Eudaly will do the superb layouts.

Again-thanks to one and all!

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), October 10, 2000


As of last Wednesday Jan.17,2001 there were two Ex-SCL obs cars at Waycross.One with windows and one without.There was also an Ex-NYC diner.There is also an obs at Boca Raton on the FEC side.

-- Joseph Oates (jlosal@mindspring.com), January 21, 2001.

Mike, Many thanks for the kind words re:the photos for the article! In regard to disposition of cars, I investigated the ex-SAL round end car sitting by the Naples(FL) SCL station(pictured by Joe Oates in the recently published "railroads of Southwest Florida). The interior is still painted in Amtrak's garish flourescent pink and purple colors with little or no original furniture remaining.Unfortunately,I was'nt able to ID the car due to lack of time,but others reading this by now may have. Your interior shot of South Bay is on the way,finally! Regards, Paul Coe

-- (paul_coe@yahoo.com), January 20, 2001.

Following up to Neal Horner's comment about the number being erased, it was SCL standard practice to stamp passenger car numbers at the upper right of each truck side frame. Very likely it's still there.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), October 16, 2000.

Thanks to all who have answered my request! This will make a great follow up article.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), October 16, 2000.

Mike, I have the consist of the last steam heated 82/92 and a few photos of the consist in the NEC. I'll get them to you. I also promised Larry that I'd write up the story of putting the last conventional train together. It was a fun project. The consist included six former ACL/SAL/SCL cars including the ACL 252 running as a mid-train lounge and the SAL 6603 rearmost properly pointed.

-- Clifford P. Kendall (cpkendall@aol.com), October 14, 2000.

The rounded-end obs car at the Boca Raton FEC station looks alot like the "Not a pretty face..." shot on page 9 of the 3Q2000 'Lines South'. At one time you could still make out the 'Seaboard Coast Line' lettering on the letterboard, and it has 'Amtrak' roller bearings. The Boca Raton historical society owns it and just had guys from the Gold Coast RR musuem spend alot of time polishing them up (the SCL lettering and car number disappeared when they did the polishing)

-- Neal Horner (nhorner@ibm.net), October 14, 2000.

Mike, I went to "school" in the 4-spot (one of the round-end cars) at Rocky Mount in 1980. I shot several slide and print rolls inside and out and told Larry that I would gladly make them available for a follow-up piece. I used two of the shots in one of my PTJ columns some years ago (senior moment, I can't immediately recall which issue.) Just let me know when you need them and I'll also provide as much technical info about the car and the school as memory will allow. Email me with whatever questions you might have.

-- Doug Riddell (railroaddoug@erols.com), October 13, 2000.

A few years ago I passed by the C.P. Huntington RRHS restoration yard in Huntington WV while on Amtrak's Cardinal. It looked to me like they had one of the former SAL round end observation cars with the diaphram on the rear end. This was just a quick glimpse as we rode by. If anyone has connections with them, it might be worth a call to see if this is a former SAL car and what happened to it.

-- Jim Coviello (jcovi60516@aol.com), October 12, 2000.

Hi Michael...the restored FEC depot in Boca Raton has a stainless diner and round-end observation car adjoining, both look suspiciously ex-SAL. Need photos? Let me know.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), October 11, 2000.

Great! Can you make a copy of the photo and send it to me?

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), October 11, 2000.

I have a shot of a stainless steel, flat end observation car, converted to SBD Instruction Car #995002, taken at Rocky Mount, NC, 19APR86.

-- Russell Underwood (Jay611@home.com), October 11, 2000.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul Coe for his assistance in making the current issue of Lines South the success it is. His photographs are just superb! I was amazed by his personal kindness in answering a voice on the telephone and supplying the wonderful photos. Paul-THANK YOU!

Thanks also must go the Kevin Eudaly who did the layout and supplied additional photos from his secret network. With Kevin's work, our Society has a magazine second to none!

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), October 11, 2000.

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