Help needed re: Overton and Overland cars

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by dcfxq, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    I am trying to pin down the approximate vintage of Overland and Overton cars in terms of what years they were in service and when they were phased out.

    Any one able to help?
  2. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    The "Overland" style of passenger car was a common sight on many railway lines in the late 1800's - early 1900's - depending on the type of railway. Here's a photo circa 1910 of three of these types of cars at Westport, Ontario, Canada.

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  3. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    Here's another "Overland" style combine on the Maritime Railway. The date is sometime between 1900 and 1920. The location is unknown.

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  4. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    Perfect - thanks very much that is just what I was looking for. :thumb:
  5. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    This one is of Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa #1 circa 1905. This one was built new around that time. Because they were an all-wood car, they were easy to manufacture. The mainline railways had started to get rid of these cars but nothing is ever junked. A number of these types of cars ended up on short-line railways and saw service on mixed freights even into the late 1940's. So, depending on what you're modelling, you'd still be prototypical.

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  6. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    As to the shorter "Overton" cars, I've hardly seen any photos of cars this short. I've always thought they'd make a nice kitbash to make a car that is somewhere between the Overton and the Overland length.
  7. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    My intent is to work in the early transition era for the SR Piedmont - late 40's to early 50's. The idea is that this would be a largely "private siding" display that might have been used in that time frame as an excursion run or as an indication that Wm. DuPont had come from Deleware to Montpelier for "get awy" time from business. A bit of a stretch perhaps but I think I'll do it with MDC undecorated cars just for fun. ;)

    Using longer cars (60-80') would mess up the look I have as they would be overly large if feel.
  8. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

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    During my research for the Credit Valley RR here in Southern Ontario, I came across the fact that the Overton cars (34') were only ever used by the Denver Railroads. In the east, it was the Overland (50') styles used almost exclusively. During the 1880s. The Pullman style coaches (60') came out around 1897.

    Hope this helps.
  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    dcfxq, pull one of those babies behind a small early diesel switcher for a unique look. It's been done on brachlines like you are modeling. IMHO, those are perfect for what you're doing, and you're right, the shorter ones will be more in line with the spirit of a small private branch. If they're "on the ball" they might have upgraded trucks :D :D :D
  10. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

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    Jon, I will be running the Overlands exclusively here.

    With Steamers: 2-6-0, 2-8-0, 2-10-0, 4-4-0, 4-6-0, also Switchers 0-4-0, 0-6-0, 0-8-0.

    Freight will be all truss rod variety, box, stock, reefer, flat and gondola
  11. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    thanks all. I should add that in addition to a Consol 2-8-0 I also have a SW-1200 switcher (both in Southern Green and Gold livery) and had in mind the MDC Overton or Overland paasenger cars. I know they were not widely used in the east but as jon-monon points out they are intended to be "private" cars not regular line cars so I think I'll go with that plan.

    Again thanks to all for your comments.
  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Actually the prototype for the Overton cars was made for the Angel's Camp branch of the Sierra Railroad in the Cal. gold rush country. The branch went from Sonora to Angels Camp. Both towns are at about the same elevation, but there is a deep canyon between them. They used switch backs to get down and back up again, and it was so steep that "passenger power" was shays! They were only 34 feet long because that was as long as they could use on that branch. Another interesting side light about the Sierra was that everytime they set a charge to blow out a cut, they got no work done on the road bed the next day because the workers made more money by picking up all of the gold that was left laying on the ground from the blast!
  13. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    While the "Overton" style of car may not have been used in the east, the "Overland" style was used very extensively. These were commonly referrred to as "open vestibule" cars with "truss rod" underframes. They were almost exclusively built of wood construction and thus could have been built by any manufacturer at a cost that was much cheaper than a Pullman. Once they had done their service on the larger railways, they would be sold to smaller branch-line railways.

    It was only when mainline passenger trains started going faster and people started getting killed in pile-ups that they were relegated almost exclusively to branch-lines or back-woods railways. In the end, (into the 1950's and early 1960's) they ended up on the tail-end of mixed freights, and then as part of maintenance-of-way trains.
  14. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

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    Which opens up the realistic possibility of making one about anyway you desire on a freelanced line :D :D :D Oh, such fun!
  15. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

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    The Overland cars from MDC are (or at least were) available with two different style roofs. The "more modern" clerestory roofs like those shown in the above photos are probably most typical for eras from the 1880's on. The duckbill style roofs (on which the raised clerestory does not extend over the platforms) are probably more correct for the 1860's and 70's. This is a generality of course, as there was no hard and fast change date. Some railroads were ahead of the style curve, some far behind.

    BillS
  16. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

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    A couple of additional thoughts:

    The MDC Overland coach has, due to the side treatment, the distinct look of 1860's and 1870's. But of course many cars lasted for decades, so that isn't to say when they would not have been seen again. The other cars in the series have a somewhat later look.

    I have seen a couple of instances where modelers have added narrow vestibules to Overland cars which gave them a look unique to the late 1890's - early 1900's Very nice.

    BillS
  17. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    Many of the open vestibule (Overland stye) coaches ended up on the backwoods railways long after they were taken off the main lines. Even major roads, both in Canada and the US, relegated the open vestibule car to smaller branch lines where the timetable wasn't as important and speeds were a lot slower than on those hot varnish main line trains.

    Whenever there was a large surge of passenger traffic, the open vestibule cars were brought back into service. For example, if there were a lot of passengers going to a large meeting of some fraternal or church society, the railways would run special excursion trains using these older cars, rather than taking their more modern cars off of their regular runs.

    There was always a fairly good "used car" market for these cars as equipment dealers would buy them from the large railways and sell them to the small lines, a couple of cars at a time. Of course the small line was pleased as punch to get this "new" car to replace the older worn out car. The local folks always commented on the improved comfort of the "new" car compared to the old one it had replaced.

    01 Oct 1902 New Combine Delivered Page 347 Canadian Railway & Marine World "The BW&SSM has added a combination passenger and baggage car to its equipment."

    01 April 1903 New Loco and Cars About to be Added to Roster Page 137 Canadian Railway & Marine World "The BW&SSM is about to add to its equipment one locomotive, one 1st class passenger car, one combination passenger and baggage car, one combination baggage and express car, 8 box cars, 50,000 lbs. capacity and 3 stock cars, 40,000 lbs. capacity."

    This were all second-hand cars purchased from "used car dealers" such as E.H. Wilson & Co; Hotchkiss, Blue & Co, Harvey, Ill; James T. Gardner, Chicago;
  18. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    What you have said RB ties into what I have in mind. My idea is that it could be either an excursion train or, since Wm. DuPont was a noted historical preservationist long before it became popular, he might well have used older Overlands for runs from Wilmington DE to his estate in Va. (At least thats the story I'm using behind my rationale ;) ).

    BTW Got a set of four cars from BLW today after MDC "mysteriously" no longer had the undecorated's I had ordered two weeks ago. Love how they look!
  19. dcfxq

    dcfxq Member

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    Ah well, woe is me!

    Finally got track relaid and in testing with my new Overland's found the '50 is a bit Too large in scale and run a bit ragged on my tiny layout. Guess I should have gone with '34 Overton's. :oops:

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  20. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

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    Add some hills, a bit of scenery and some trees and you won't notice the overhang. Weather the cars with a bit of flat black wash to get rid of the shiny yellow and to make them used. Also, put a 4-4-0 on the front and you'd never notice it. Remember that the prototypes had sharp curves. This is why these open vestibule cars were nice to run on these lines.