Chesapeake & Ohio Business Car Data

  • Model: DS-21-380


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Chesapeake & Ohio Business Car Data

This is a compendium of information about Chesapeake & Ohio’s business car fleet, compiled in the 1970s by a C&OHS member and donated to our archives. It contains information on each C&O business car including, builder, previous owners, and other historical data.
The interior accommodations in each car is described, as well as mechanical details. Dispositions as of the time of the writing are given.
This is strictly a data publication, without illustration.
Business Cars, often called Office Cars were built as “private cars” for the exclusive use of railway officials while traveling on official business. They were, in effect, a mobile office for the official, usually having accommodations for 3-5 other persons, as well as a steward and small kitchen. The cars were usually assigned specific high ranking executives and parked in the city in which they worked. These were passenger train cars and were moved in passenger trains, usually on the rear, so that the official could observe the track as the train passed over the road. Most had high-intensity lights that shown to the rear to illuminate the right-of-way at night. Their use declined when travel of officials by air became more available.
C&O typically kept a fleet of about a dozen business cars in commission during the 1920-1970 era. Today, CSX operates sizeable business car fleet, but the cars are generally used for special inspection trains, etc., in the present era.
Diagrams, photos, and other information about C&O business cars are available from the C&OHS in various books and publications as follows:
C&O Business Car Diagrams, (Cat. No. DS-7-017)
C&O Passenger Car Diagrams, 1949 (Cat. No. DS-8-081)
C&O Passenger Car Diagrams, 1965 (Cat. No. DS-7-050)
Photos are available for search by going to When there, click on the large rectangle in the center of the home page that says SEARCH ARCHIVES. When the next page presents, enter BUSINESS CAR in the upper left corner KEYWORDS box, then click on ALL WORDS below, and then on SEARCH above, and you should see available images of these cars. – These are low-resolution watermarked thumbnail images. You may purchase high-resolution digital downloads at $8.95 each or glossy photo prints at the same price plus shipping to get them to you. These can be ordered by telephone only at 540-862-2210 (weekdays 9am-4pm).

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