Box Motors at Union Station

William D. Middleton Photo, Donald Duke Collection

William D. Middleton Photo, Donald Duke Collection

Pacific Electric box motors crowd the loading area at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (Union Station). Depicted here are nos. 1447, 1460, and 1449.

William D. Middleton Photo
Donald Duke Collection

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Showing 3 comments
  • Everett Neal
    Reply

    Can anyone explain how a box motor with footboards managed to negotiate turns, particularly tight ones while coupled to another railcar or a consist? From looking at the photo of the box motors, above, the couplers between the footboards appear to have no room to swing to the side in either direction.

    It looks impossible for a railcar with footboards to handle any kind of turn while coupled to anther railcar. I’m certain box motors w/ footboards weren’t limited to operating just on straight tracks – it just wouldn’t make any sense.

    • George Todd
      Reply

      Two reasons, one is that the coupler protrudes at least a foot beyond the footboards. The other is that the truck centers are at least ten feet back of the end of the car, which means that the cars don’t exactly pivot around the couplers, one coupler swings left, while the other swings right.

  • Bob Davis
    Reply

    It’s interesting to note that two of the cars were originally built as box motors for the SP Portland-Eugene electrification, while the third was a PE conversion from a coach to a box motor, with the characteristic Portland stained glass upper sash still visible. PE didn’t have any steel-body box motors until it “inherited” the Portland cars in 1929 when the Willamette Valley electrification was abandoned.

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