Any cell (prisoner) cars in H0?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by TEP 60, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. TEP 60

    TEP 60 Member

  2. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    That's interesting. It stands to reason that they must have been common in many countries, but this is the first time I've ever seen one mentioned.
  3. GN.2-6-8-0

    GN.2-6-8-0 Member

    Have heard of prison bus's but not specific railcars leastwise here in the states.
    Back years ago they'd just handcuff'em to a seat if they did have to travel by rail,and if they acted up a rifle butt in the head would calm'em down sign1
  4. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Among U.S. manufacturers the only one I'm aware of ever producing a car intended for carrying prisioners was Walthers. In that case, it was a tongue-in-cheek model from back in the 1980's they called the Jail Box (a play on the name of the Rail Box cars). The car came equiped with barred car doors, a potbellied stove, a vent pipe and two "prisioners".

  5. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    In the old days, Colorado simply shipped prisoners to the State Penitentiary in a full set of irons chained to whatever transport was available, or chained up in the baggage car with a couple of large deputies as company. When buses came along, Colorado switched to specially equipped buses and vans to haul inmates to prison, which they still use today.

    I suspect that if there were a strong enough local need, a particular line would simply "bash" one up out of a spare box car, or perhaps a passenger car that had seen better days and was retired from service, which would at least give them some sort of heating and plumbing to begin with.

    I can't see too many smaller outfits contracting one out unless the particular state or the government were willing to invest in it, due to the cost of such a special purpose car and the question of recouping the cost through sufficient "passenger" revenue". Just my opinion, though.

    It would make a terrific project, especially for one of the older lines from the early part of the 20th century! :thumb:
  6. ytter_man

    ytter_man Member

    I cant think of a prison in the US that has a rail connection for any reason, in fact being near a railroad is considered a security risk for most prisons, iirc.
  7. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Territorial Prison in Colorado, located in Canon City, is right across the street from the line through the Royal Gorge and the old Sante Fe Station.
  8. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    My wife says that Colorado used to have a prison car. I will check it out with some folks I used to work with and report back.

    Meanwhile, I found these, but I can't vouch for them:


  9. ytter_man

    ytter_man Member

    Oh man, not the Gunderson articulated autoracks again :cry:

    Nutjobs think that the govt hauls people off to FEMA death camps in "white boxcars". wall1

    Your first pic, though, is probably of pre-formed modular concrete prison cells, with self-contained plumbing/electrical/security systems being transported by truck. They're assembled like lego blocks when a prison needs to expand quickly.
  10. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    As I said, I couldn't vouch for them and they weren't what I thought they should be, especially the second set, which is obviously upside down.

    The Prison Museum in Canon City tells me that there was such a thing in Colorado, and they are checking for me, but I won't get down there to confirm for a while.

    Why put windows in auto cars?
  11. ytter_man

    ytter_man Member

    They're just perforated sets of holes, google "gunderson articulated autorack" for better pics.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I've never seen them operated on the local mainline by either BNSF - trackage rights - or UP - who owns the track.

    Must be an Eastern thing.
  13. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

    Very Interesting

    Google " Prison Train Cars "
  14. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    MM, Here's a link to the attribution of the Gunderson "Automax" 2 unit articulated auto racks (with photo) to be used as your source intimated. I seriously doubt the attribution, and those cars were in trains I ran, and they were filled with new cars (note the end doors for access). They have only 3 trucks, total of 6 axles, and haul around 20 vehicles - more than one, less than two standard racks - less light weight and rolling friction would be a sales point. Think most I saw were UP ? Bob C.
  15. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    Actually it was pretty common. Here in Minnesota Stillwater State Prison had it's own spur going into the prison, and was the top shipper on that railroad's (the NP I think) branch line. The prisoners worked under contract making farm machinery.

    Also many prisons rec'd coal by rail to fuel their heating/power plants. In the South many prisons leased out prisoners to do railroad construction work (see "Henry, John") so being near a RR made that easier.

    And of course the New York Central "water level route" mainline ran essentially through SingSing prison, it had it's own enclosed platform. Guys who were convicted of crimes in court in New York City would be put on New York Central trains and sent up the Hudson river to Sing Sing. This is where the US slang term "being sent up the river" for being sent to prison came from.

    But I'm aware of no cases of railroads having "prisoner cars" per se, it was normal passenger cars usually with the prisoner handcuffed to a deputy or other lawman.

Share This Page