Carbon County Railway Cars and Cabooses

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Last updated on August 31, 2015.

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Carbon County Railway's steel caboose No. 1 was a bay window caboose built in 1960 by Thrall. After the road's shutdown in 1983, the car was stored and eventually placed on display in East Carbon City, one block north of the main street, near the center of town.

The CBC ordered one steel bay-window caboose from Thrall in May 1960, which was delivered in November as CBC No.1. Very little information is available for what was used before, but two cabooses are listed in the 1959 ORER. There is a photo of C-1000 among the photos in the accompanying photo album.

CBC No. 1 was named "M. S. Toon," for M. Spalding Toon, President of the CBC. He was also president of several of the other railroads owned by U. S. Steel, including the Bessemer & Lake Erie; Duluth Missabe and Iron Range; Elgin Joliet and Eastern; Johnstown and Stony Creek; Lake Terminal; McKeesport Connecting; Newburgh and South Shore; Union Railroad; and Youngstown & Northern. (Norm Metcalf, email to Utah Railroading Yahoo discussion group, January 19, 2003)

Hopper Cars

Carbon County Railway used a combination of D&RGW, UP, and WP cars until it received its own fleet of cars in about 1947-1950. The UP cars were UP's unique 50-ton HK ballast hoppers, and the D&RGW and WP cars were varying combinations of each road's GS-class general service gondolas. Carbon County's own cars were distinctive in their reddish-brown color, and heavy duty trucks that were equipped with double-clasp brake shoes on each axle. On these cars, Carbon County Railway used its AAR reporting mark of CBC.

The 1950 Official Railway Equipment Register (ORER) describes them as an HM class, a cubic feet capacity of 1635 cubic feet, 30 feet inside length, 9 feet, 2 inches inside height . The car height from top of rail to top of car side was 10 feet, 3 inches.

What makes these early CBC cars unusual is that there are seven panels along each side (counting the partial panels at each end). The panel in the center is about twice as wide as the others. The cars were apparently purchased secondhand, likely from another U. S. Steel-owned railroad.

During World War II, Carbon County's owner, United States Steel transferred a number of B&LE 2-bay hoppers to the CBC to handle the increased coal output from the expansion to the Geneva Mine. The cars kept their B&LE marks for some time, as is shown in several photos, but after the war they were restenciled for CBC. Some of these cars were similar to the USRA 50-ton 2-bay design, but others were quite different, with the wide middle panel as mentioned above.

The 1943 ORER shows almost 1,000 cars of very similar dimensions and capacity on the Bessemer & Lake Erie, but by 1953, these cars were no longer in service on B&LE, making them a prime candidate for having been transferred by U. S. Steel to the Carbon County Railway in Utah. The number series on either these B&LE or Carbon County cars is not known.

Carbon County Railway ordered 300 hoppers from Pullman-Standard in March of 1948 and these were delivered in November and December as CBC 7000-7299. The cars were based on the AAR-recommended 70-ton offset triple design, but at 41 feet, 8 inches inside length and a capacity of 2824 cubic feet, the CBC cars were a bit larger than the AAR standard of 40 feet , 8 inches and 2775 cubic feet. They also had heavy-duty trucks with double-clasp brakes.

The 1959 ORER lists 200 additional CBC triple hoppers, which became the 7300-7499 series. There is no order listed in the comparable annual car order summary in Railway Age, so it is possible that they were transferred from the B&LE or some other USS road. The cars matched the AAR 70-ton offset design more closely, with an inside length of 40 feet, 8 inches, and a capacity of 2775 cubic feet.

The 1959 ORER also lists a single 40-foot steel gondola on the CBC roster, numbered 5001. No other information is known about this car.

The 1974 ORER showed CBC as having approximately 126 cars remaining in the 1948-built group, numbered as 7000-7125. The red, white & blue CBC 7000 bicentennial commemorative car was from this group.


Compiled with assistance from Dave Nelson, Ian Cranstone, and Jim Eager