California Zephyr Baggage Cars
Head-end equipment on passenger trains usually were coupled
onto the train directly behind the locomotives and were not used
or occupied by paying passengers. This type of equipment could
include baggage/combine and express cars, such as a RPO (Railway
Post Office) and Railway Express Agency equipment, and as used
by WP in the later years of the Zephyrs existence, heater cars.
The CZ did not use a RPO or Railway Express Agency equipment,
they did have baggage cars. Although these cars were utilitarian
in nature and use that did not mean they could not be stylish.
Baggage cars for the CZ were built to match the rest of
the train complete with full length skirting. They were also the
shortest car of the train measuring just 72 feet 8 inches.
Unlike the rest of the train the baggage car was not open for
the passengers so did not have the passenger pleasing
appointments as found in the rest of the train.
cars were named after wild animals that were native to the areas
the train passed through. CB&Q cars numbered 903-905 carried the
names Silver Bear, Buffalo and Coyote were the D&RGW 1100 was
the Silver Antelope. WP laid claim to the names Silver Beaver
and Stag for cars 801 and 802.
With two doors on each
side, located 17 feet from the end of the car the doors on the
“B” end were double doors 9 feet wide while those at the “A” end
were single 5-foot doors. Thirty-five feet of the car was
reserved for the transport of express freight, until 1966 when
Railway Express Agency canceled the contract, with the rest of
the car for passenger luggage and special movement items. They
were equipped with two folding baggage shelves as well as wet
racks, a letter case and a folding desk. In an alcove on the
right side at the “A” end was a toilet, folding wash basin and a
Each car received two 1000-gallon water
tanks as a supplemental supply for the steam generators carried
in the motive power. A glad hand coupling was installed inside
the diaphragm area of the car and would be connected to the
existing water transfer system piping on the locomotives. A
switch was installed on the collision post of the baggage car
and when closed would transfer the water from the two belly
tanks to the tanks in the locomotives thus assuring that a
shortage of boiler water would not occur. Occasionally the water
supply pipe from the baggage car would freeze. In 1949 a copper
pipe from the steam line to the water supply line was installed
which alleviated this problem. These tanks were generally not in
use by early 1952 and totally out of service by the end of 1954.
These were also the only cars on the train without a porter
|Baggage Car Small Door Right
|Baggage Car Small Door Left