Auxiliary tender and steam generator cars
Ask Trains from the May 2011 issue
Q In the yard at Steamtown National Historical Site in Scranton, Pa., are two cars that I couldn’t identify. Do you know what purpose these cars had?
— Hank Ickes, Arlington, Va.
A One is an auxiliary tender or “canteen”, which some railroads used to extend their steam locomotives’ range between water stops. They were coupled right behind the regular tender and connected with large-diameter hoses.
The other is a steam generator car converted from the tender of a steam locomotive and used in diesel-hauled trains that required steam heat for the passenger cars.
The High Iron Co. 759A auxiliary tender ran with Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 759 during excursions that Ross Rowland and his High Iron Co. operated in the 1960s and 1970s. The car came from the Norfolk & Western, but its heritage, the date of its conversion, and when it became part of 759’s consist are uncertain.
The other car started life behind New York Central 4-6-4 No. 5313, which was sold to the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo subsidiary in 1948 as No. 501. After the TH&B dieselized, the company converted the car into a steam generator car for use on passenger trains. Modifications included blanking off the coal bunker, rounding the upper corners, and adding windows and doors. The car went to the Green Mountain Railroad in the early 1990s. There it got its old number and lettering back. It saw little use in Vermont and moved to Steamtown in the mid-2000s.
— Christopher Ahrens, facility management specialist, Steamtown National Historic Site; John Hankey; Kenneth L. Miller, N&W historian; and Dave Crosby, steam historian in Scranton, Pa.