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A passenger car known as a coach or carriage in the UK , and also known as a bogie in India  is a piece of railway rolling stock that is designed to carry passengers. The term passenger car can also be associated with a sleeping car , baggage , dining , railway post office and prisoner transport cars. In some countries, such as the UK, some coaching stock whether designed, converted or adapted to not carry passengers are referred to as "NPCS" non-passenger coaching stock ; similarly some maintenance engineering stock can be known as "MOW" - maintenance of way - in the US.
Up until about the end of the 19th century, most passenger cars were constructed of wood. The first passenger trains did not travel very far, but they were able to haul many more passengers for a longer distance than any wagons pulled by horses. As railways were first constructed in England , so too were the first passenger cars. One of the early coach designs was the "Stanhope". It featured a roof and small holes in the floor for drainage when it rained, and had separate compartments for different classes of travel. The only problem with this design is that the passengers were expected to stand for their entire trip.
The first passenger cars in the United States resembled stagecoaches. British railways had a head start on American railroads, with the first "bed-carriage" an early sleeping car being built there as early as for use on the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway. Britain's early sleepers, when made up for sleeping, extended the foot of the bed into a boot section at the end of the carriage. The cars were still too short to allow more than two or three beds to be positioned end to end. Britain's Royal Mail commissioned and built the first Travelling Post Office cars in the late s as well.
These cars resembled coaches in their short wheelbase and exterior design, but were equipped with nets on the sides of the cars to catch mail bags while the train was in motion. American RPOs , first appearing in the s, also featured equipment to catch mail bags at speed, but the American design more closely resembled a large hook that would catch the mailbag in its crook. When not in use, the hook would swivel down against the side of the car to prevent it from catching obstacles.
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As locomotive technology progressed in the midth century, trains grew in length and weight.
Passenger cars, particularly in America, grew along with them, first getting longer with the addition of a second truck one at each end , and wider as their suspensions improved. Cars built for European use featured side door compartments, while American car design favored what was called a train coach, a single long cabin with rows of seats, with doors located at the ends of the car. Early American sleeping cars were not compartmented, but by the end of the 19th century they were. The compartments in the later sleepers were accessed from a side hall running the length of the cars, similar to the design of European cars well into the 20th century.
Many American passenger trains, particularly the long distance ones, included a car at the end of the train called an observation car. Until about the s, these had an open-air platform at the rear, the "observation platform". These evolved into the closed end car, usually with a rounded end which was still called an "observation car". The interiors of observation cars varied. Many had special chairs and tables. The end platforms of all passenger cars changed around the turn of the 20th century. Older cars had open platforms between cars.
Passengers would enter and leave a car through a door at the end of the car which led to a narrow platform. Steps on either side of the platform were used for getting on or off the train, and one might hop from one car platform to another. Later cars had enclosed platforms called vestibules which together with gangway connections allowed passengers not only to enter and exit the train protected from the elements, but also to move more easily between cars with the same protection. Dining cars first appeared in the late s and into the s. Until this time, the common practice was to stop for meals at restaurants along the way which led to the rise of Fred Harvey 's chain of Harvey House restaurants in America.
At first, the dining car was simply a place to serve meals that were picked up en route, but they soon evolved to include galleys in which the meals were prepared. The introduction of vestibuled cars , which for the first time allowed easy movement from car to car, aided the adoption of dining cars, lounge cars, and other specialized cars. The cars of this time were still quite ornate, many of them being built by experienced coach makers and skilled carpenters. With the s came the widespread use of stainless steel for carbodies.
The typical passenger car was now much lighter than its wood cousins of old. The new "lightweight" and streamlined cars carried passengers in speed and comfort to an extent that had not been experienced to date. Aluminum and Cor-Ten steel were also used in lightweight car construction, but stainless steel was the preferred material for carbodies. Stainless steel cars could be, and often were, left unpainted except for the car's reporting marks that were required by law. By the end of the s, railroads and carbuilders were debuting carbody and interior styles that could only be dreamed of before.
In , the Pullman Company delivered the first cars equipped with roomettes — that is, the car's interior was sectioned off into compartments, much like the coaches that were still in widespread use across Europe. Pullman's roomettes, however, were designed with the single traveler in mind. The roomette featured a large picture window, a privacy door, a single fold-away bed, a sink and small toilet. The roomette's floor space was barely larger than the space taken up by the bed, but it allowed the traveler to ride in luxury compared to the multilevel semiprivate berths of old.
Now that passenger cars were lighter, they were able to carry heavier loads, but the size of the average passenger that rode in them didn't increase to match the cars' new capacities. The average passenger car could not be made any wider or longer due to side clearances along the railroad lines, but they generally could get taller because they were still lower than many freight cars and locomotives. The railroads soon began building and buying dome and bilevel cars to carry more passengers. Starting in the s, the passenger travel market declined in North America, though there was growth in commuter rail.
Private intercity passenger service in the U. Amtrak took over equipment and stations from most of the railroads in the U. The higher clearances in North America enabled a major advancement in passenger car design, bi-level double-decker commuter coaches that could hold more passengers. These cars started to become common in the United States in the s, and were adopted by Amtrak for the Superliner design as well as by many other railroads and manufacturers. By the year double-deckers rivaled single level cars in use around the world. While intercity passenger rail travel declined in America, ridership continued to increase in other parts of the world.
With the increase came an increased use of newer technology on existing and new equipment. The Spanish company Talgo began experimenting in the s with technology that would enable the axles to steer into a curve, allowing the train to move around the curve at a higher speed. The steering axles evolved into mechanisms that would also tilt the passenger car as it entered a curve to counter the centrifugal force experienced by the train, further increasing speeds on existing track. Another type of tilting train that is seeing widespread use across Europe is the Pendolino.
Using tilting trains, railroads are able to run passenger trains over the same tracks at higher speeds than would otherwise be possible. Amtrak continued to push the development of U. However, by the year Amtrak went to European manufacturers for the Amtrak Cascades Talgo and Acela Express trains, their premier services. These trains use new designs and are made to operate as coherent "trainsets". High-speed trains are made up of cars from a single manufacturer and usually of a uniform design although the dining car on the ICE has a dome. One of the first was France 's TGV which entered service in Often tilting and high-speed cars are left in "trainsets" throughout their service.
For example, articulated cars cannot be uncoupled without special equipment because the individual cars share trucks. This gives modern trains a smooth, coherent appearance because all the cars and often the engines share a similar design and paint scheme. A heavyweight car is one that is physically heavier than a lightweight car due to its construction. While early cars used wood construction, Pullman switched to heavyweight riveted steel construction in , more or less at the same time as other rail car manufacturers. Heavyweights are said [ by whom?
The stepped roof line of early heavyweights usually consisted of a center sill section the clerestory that ran the length of the car and extended above the roof sides by as much as a foot. This section of the roof usually had windows or shutters that could be opened for ventilation while the train was in motion. However, railroad crews and passengers quickly discovered that when these windows were opened on a passenger train pulled by one or more steam locomotives , smoke and soot from the locomotives tended to drift in through the windows, especially when the train went through a tunnel.
In the early 20th century, air conditioning was added to heavyweight cars for the first time. An air conditioned heavyweight car could be spotted easily since the area where the roof vent windows existed was now covered, either partially or in full, by the air conditioning duct. As lightweight cars were introduced, many heavyweight cars were repurposed into maintenance of way service by the railroads that owned them. Lightweight passenger cars required developments in steel processing that were not available until the s and s.
By building passenger cars out of steel instead of wood, the manufacturers were able to build lighter weight cars with smooth or fluted sides and smooth roof lines. Steel cars were ushered in at the beginning of the streamline era of the s although not all lightweight cars were streamlined and steel has continued in use ever since then. With the use of steel for the car sides, railroads were able to offer more innovative passenger car types. Railroads did not build or use dome cars until the first lightweight cars were introduced because the sides of heavyweight cars were not strong enough to support the weight of the dome and its passengers.
Lightweight cars also enabled the railroads to operate longer passenger trains; the reduced car weight meant that more passengers could be carried in a greater number of cars with the same locomotives. The cost savings in hauling capacity coupled with the increased car type options led to the quick replacement of heavyweight cars with lightweight cars. The most basic division is between cars which do carry passengers and "head end" equipment. The latter are run as part of passenger trains, but do not themselves carry passengers. Traditionally they were put between the locomotive and the passenger-carrying cars in the consist , hence the name.
Also, the basic design of passenger cars is evolving, with articulated units that have shared trucks, with double-decker designs, and with the "low floor" design where the loading area is very close to the ground and slung between the trucks. In one variant, "open" coaches have a centre corridor; the car's interior is often filled with row upon row of seats like that in a passenger airliner. Other arrangements of the "open" type are also found, including seats around tables, seats facing windows [ citation needed ] often found on mass transit trains since they increase standing room for rush hour , and variations of all three.
The seating arrangements and density, as well as the absence or presence of other facilities depends on the intended use - from mass transit systems to long distance luxury trains. In another variant, "closed" coaches or "compartment" cars have a side corridor to connect individual compartments along the body of the train, each with two rows of seats facing each other. In both arrangements carry-on baggage is stowed on a shelf above the passenger seating area. The opening into the cars is usually located at both ends of the carriage, often into a small hallway - which in railway parlance is termed a vestibule.
Earlier designs of UK coaching stock had additional door or doors along their length, some supporting compartmentalised carriages. These are mixed-class cars featuring both open seating and compartments. One such coach is the Composite Corridor , introduced for British Rail in the s; though such coaches existed from early pre-grouping days, at the end of the 19th century.
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