• Railway buildings?

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Rasmus
Which part of this forum is the best place if I want to ask general questions on railway buildings in Northern America?
  by Jeff Smith
For now, I'd start here. We also have our regional forums; that may be more targeted for your questions.
  by Rasmus
What type of railway buildings have been built in northern America through the history? Station buildings, round houses, workshops, signal towers, goods sheds and of course a lot of smaller outbildings? Did these railways offer dwelling houses or apartments for their staff like i.e. swedish railways did?
  by NorthWest
Railroads offered two main types of dwellings. The first is the railroad YMCA hotel for crews at terminals other than their home terminal. Most were pretty basic bunkhouses. Some stations on some railroads had quarters for the stationmaster and their family, often located on a upper floor. These were particularly common in Canada. Both practices long ago ended.
  by ExCon90
Yes, railways provided all of the above; in fact, in remote areas of the West where there were not yet any settlers, the railway would provide housing, amounting to small villages, for various categories of employees, particularly trackworkers. In the Philadelphia area a number of stations still exist which provided living quarters upstairs for the station agent and his family. Some are (or until recently have been) rented to tenants who pay fairly low rent in return for keeping the building in use and occupied, which helps greatly to deter vandalism. Many more are used by law firms and real-estate agents for the same reason. I believe a few railroads had their own hospitals for employees, but I can't recall which ones. The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western had a department responsible for supplying plants and shrubbery for their passenger stations; I believe they had their own greenhouse.
  by Backshophoss
ATSF built a Hospital in ABQ,along with a massive backshop complex for locomotive rebuilding.
The Hospital still stands as the "Parc",a boutique hotel,the city of ABQ owns the shop complex,
that is used by ABQ studios as outside set location(Breaking Bad,Better call Saul,the Transformer movies,
the Marvel Avenger Movies),and the home of the Wheels Museum.
  by edbear
Railroads had heating plants, even in modest sized cities. In Framingham, MA four or five sets of commuter cars spent the night in the B & A yard (until 1959-1960) and there was a heating plant that heated the passenger station, freight house (the previous psgr station) enginehouse and there were buried lines up to the ends of the coach storage tracks. Probably from late October until early April, when the coaches were put up for the night, they were hooked up to the steam from the heating plant to keep from freezing up. The Boston and Albany enginehouse in Framingham had an ancient coach body set up for a crew room; the Boston & Maine had the same thing at North Conway, NH. Stations that had slaughterhouses usually had cattle pens where the livestock was herded as they were being unloaded from stock cars. The Boston & Maine had an icing plant at Mechanicville, NY were eastbound refrigerator cars had their bunkers filled with ice blocks. It was built about 1957 as mechanical reefers were beginning to take over the refrigerator car business.
  by ExCon90
Good point about the icing stations--I forgot about them. Every railroad that hauled perishables from the West Coast or from the South to East Coast markets had one. The Pennsylvania had an icing station at Huntingdon, PA, and the Erie had one at Meadville, PA. The New York Central must have had one somewhere east of Buffalo, but I don't know where. Railroads west of Chicago must have had more than one. I doubt that any have survived, however, since it's difficult to think what else one could be used for.
  by edbear
On the Great Lakes and at some coastal ports there were large piers so that ore or coal could be loaded into lake or ocean freighters. There were also unloading facilities at some Great Lakes ports so that iron ore shipped across the Great Lakes could be unloaded into rail cars to complete the journey to the steel mills. Pier for unloading were equipped with machinery which could rapidly unload a lake freighter. Railroads also used gantry cranes at rail yards where open top loads could be taken out of railroad cars for final delivery to consignees. There were also track scales to weigh shipments. Railroads in most of the New England states and to some degree in the Pacific Northwest used covered bridges to cross rivers and streams.
  by John_Perkowski
Let's not forget coal docks in the age of steam as well as water tanks and pumping stations to fill them.