Why are undersides and ends of passenger cars so ugly?

General discussion about locomotives, rolling stock, and equipment

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Why are undersides and ends of passenger cars so ugly?

Post by SouthernRailway » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:24 am

Why are undersides and ends of passenger cars often so ugly?

The undersides of many cars have all sorts of boxes and other items sticking out under them, and the trucks are often functional, but these areas are certainly not beautiful or elegant.

The ends of many commuter cars in the Northeast have chains and the like around them, which are also functional but certainly not lovely.

Do passenger equipment manufacturers and buyers not care about aesthetics? I understand that coverings were removed from the bottoms of passenger cars after WWII to save costs, but couldn't some type of low-cost sheathing or at least efforts at better design be used?

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Re: Why are undersides and ends of passenger cars so ugly?

Post by edbear » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:34 pm

The chains at the ends of cars are safety chains which are there so persons can pass safely from one car to the next. Air hoses and electrical cables are hooked up from one car to the next one. Undersides are open and look cluttered but are that way for easy access to electrical and mechanical equipment. No one has to crawl under a passenger car to do routine maintenance and inspection. Compare it to an automobile. It might be attractive, but if you want to do underside maintenance you need a lift or a pit or a very small person to get underneath. If you want to do engine work, you have to lift the hood and practically crawl inside. If you have to get under the dashboard, you have to go head first onto car floor with feet vertical or out the door.

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