You have 7 views remaining. Click here to learn about the Unlimited Membership!

Home / Railroads & Locomotives / History / Would you ride one of these?

Would you ride one of these?

By | July 24, 2009

See the various shapes and sizes railbuses and motor cars have taken across U.S. and Canada

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories and more.

Alaska Railroad
Railbuses and motor cars, have run all over North America. Here are some other outrageous conveyances rail passengers have sampled over the years.
Alaska Railroad
Jack May, Headlights
This Kalamazoo, Mich., railbus was operated by the Alaska Railroad during summers to transport passengers between Portage and Whittier, south of Anchorage. Known as the “Ice Worm,” the railbus is shown here at Portage in the mid 1960s.
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
John B. McCall collection
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe motor car M115 was built by Pullman in 1929, and powered by an Electro-Motive Corp. engine.
Norfolk Southern
H. Reid
Norfolk Southern Brill-built No. 102, “Raleigh,” loads up at the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, Va., site of many pro golf matches, before making one of its last trips, in this undated photo.
St. Louis Southwestern
R.S. Plummer
Cotton Belt gas-electric motor car No. 16 pulls train No. 401 through Tyler, Texas, in 1950. It was built by Pullman in 1930, and powered by an Electro-Motive Corp. engine.
Virginia & Truckee
T.G. Wurm
Virginia & Truckee McKeen motor car No. 22 provided twice-a-day passenger service between Carson City and Minden, Nev. The train passes at Reno, Nev., in October 1940. The Nevada State Railroad Museum is restoring this car to operation.
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Repowered Rock Island McKeen car No. 9023 lost her knife nose when rebuilt. This McKeen was driven by a gas engine whose power was transmitted by chain and air-operated clutch to the forward axle. Like many McKeen cars, it was revamped as a gas-electric in the 1930s. No. 9023 is pictured on the Choctaw Route (Memphis-Amarillo) at the station in Little Rock, Ark., ca. 1960s.
Greater Winnipeg Water District
Dave Hamley, Mark A. Perry collection
Greater Winnipeg Water District 31 [Mack Model AS railcar] rests at Winnipeg, Man., in 1970.
Manitoba Hydro Electric Board P.M.3
Alan Dales, Mark A. Perry collection
Employees pose with Manitoba Hydro Electric Board P.M.3 [Mack Model AB railbus] at Kelsey, Man., in 1958.

5 thoughts on “Would you ride one of these?

  1. The caption for V&T #22 is a tad out of date. I rode this car on Nevada Day, 26 Oct. 2013, when the museum brought it out for a rare spin. They did an absolutely beautiful job of restoring the car and it was a treat to ride. I was told at the time that the museum was exploring plans to occasionally truck the car off site (the museum is land-locked with no rail connection to the outside world) so it could run on some actual railway lines but I don’t know if this plan has ever come to fruition. If it did/does, it would certainly be worth another trip to Nevada! (-:

  2. Road a British Rail railcar from London to Newcastle on Tyne in 2007. VERY impressed by the acceleration out of stations. Based on the passenger numbers it was an extremely practical unit. Very comfortable also.

  3. Back in the fifties,I recall my father purchased tickets for my mother, brother and I to take a ride on the Doodlebug that operated commuter service between Lancaster and York, Pa. I still recall crossing the steel bridge that crossed the Susquehanna River at Columbia and I recall the ice jams on the river at the time were huge. Funny thing about the trip was my dad couldn’t afford to buy round trip tickets so he bought a one way ticket from Lancaster to York and he drove his car to York and picked us up for the return trip to Lancaster. The Doodlebug stopped doing commuter trips shortly thereafter and for a very short time, there was freight service on the line. That didn’t last long and when it stopped, the bridge was torn down. The bases are still in place at the crossing.

  4. The Virginia &Truckee #22 McKeen motorcar is now a member of the regular operating fleet of equipment at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, NV. Rides are scheduled and available many times during our operating season, including the up-coming 4-day 4th of July weekend 2019. Please join us to experience this unique and beautifully restored doodlebug.

  5. It is great to see an article on this long neglected subject. These were a vital part of the transportation system in their day. They were the soul of individuality. I was fortunate to ride very similar cars on overseas railroads and found them fascinating. My tastes run toward the heavier Brills and EMCs but that McKeen car is sharp. This could be a start of a very enjoyable book should the author choose to write one.

You must login to submit a comment