Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by Bigt
I recently was shown a photo of a PRR N5 cabin car with just the usual "Pennsylvania" lettering. However,
above that lettering, the car was lettered "assigned to passenger service" with "Railway Express Agency"
below that. Can anyone tell me about these cars? What were they used for, and, by whom? I also see
that Bowser Manufacturing offers their HO scale N5 in this scheme. Thanks.
  by ExNYC63
The PRR had cabins in a four digit number series assigned to "passenger service".
What they were really assigned to were mail & express trains. These trains
consisted of all kind of head end cars like X29s, B60s, RPOs, express reefers,etc.
The "passenger" cabins were equipped with steam and signal lines and were
not used in freight service. The car often ran through to the New Haven and
the NH had their own "passenger" cabooses,.
  by Bigt
Thank you very much for your answer. Then, these cars were used by the Railway Express "messengers"
who worked these trains, or, by the railroad crew assigned to the train? Were these cars used at the
rear of the train in place of a "rider" car, or, were they used in conjunction with a rear-end "rider" car?
Thanks again!
  by ExNYC63
They were used by the train crew. I'm not sure about the
express messenger, though.
  by Bigt
That is the info I was looking for. Thanks again!
  by PRRGuy
Those cars were usually in consist for the crew as mentioned for "Work to be performed in route" such as a Chicago to Pittsburgh train that might pick up Mail & Express cars in Fort Wayne, IN for example.

  by Statkowski
Through PRR/NH moves saw PRR cabin cars running as far east Boston, Mass. and possibly as far north as Springfield, Mass., and NH hacks making their way as far south as Washington, D.C. and as far west as Pittsburgh, Pa. Since they carried both steam lines (not necessarily heating the car itself) and signal lines (to communicate with the engineer), these cars were technically passenger cars according to the A.A.R. definitions (even if not officially classified as such).

The reason they had steam lines, even if the steam wasn't used to heat the last car on the train, was because the steam line had to be vented at the end of the train so that steam could flow through it.

Railway Express messengers rode in the REA messenger cars (something as simple as a baggage car with toilet facilities).
  by Bigt
Thanks to all who answered! This will help my modeling.