Heavyweight Coaches - CB&Q 6144 & 6148

Builder:Pullman Company
Original Owner:Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Capacity:84 seats

As railroad travel gained popularity in the second half of the 19th century, railroads and passenger car builders sought to improve rider safety. Wooden railcars posed a fire threat in the event of a derailment due to the coal stoves used to heat them. Further, wooden cars were more likely to “telescope,” with one car piercing the end of its neighboring car due to the forces of a collision. Toward the end of the century, steel railroad cars began to appear, offering reduced risk of fire and significantly increased strength in derailments. Most steel cars were built on a robust metal frame and concrete floor, increasing the total car weight over the wooden equipment they were replacing. To help spread the load, most rode on six wheel trucks. As a result, many early 20th century steel cars were nicknamed “heavyweights.”

By the time coaches 6144 and 6148 were built for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, steel passenger cars were commonplace. Ordered for the CB&Q’s premier trains with 54 other coaches, these cars provided comfortable seating for 84 passengers. Car 6144 offering a separate smoking section for 32 of its riders. Air conditioning was added to the cars in the early 1930’s. As “the Q” modernized its marquee trains with newer cars similar to Age of Steam’s lightweight train set, the venerable heavyweights were bumped to Chicago commuter train service and renumbered into the 7300-series. The CB&Q’s heavyweights were gradually retired in the 1960’s as passenger service declined, with the last commuter cars being surviving until 1973.

Coaches 6144 and 6148 were retired in 1967 and sold to the Illinois Railway Museum. After passing through subsequent owners, the cars were sold to Jerry Jacobson and moved to the Ohio Central Railroad. Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum crews performed repairs and repainted the two coaches into their classy “Pullman Green” livery in 2019.