What is the difference between a coach and a chair car?

Discussion in 'General' started by renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013), Sep 10, 2011.

  1. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    The Frisco owned about the same number of chair cars and coaches, what is the difference between the two types?
  2. mktjames

    mktjames Member

    A coach car is for commuting and a chair is for longer travel distance. The coach car did not have restroom facilities, hence they could carry more passengers. The chair had restroom facilities on one end and sometimes both ends. They were oftened leap frogged together so facilities would be available and not have patrons using the first class restrooms. mktjames, correction through modern editing and quick thinking , this was the way another railroad classed their cars that had short and long distance commuting, plus railroad cars were constantly beening remodeled including sleepers that were made into coachs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2011
  3. Rancho Bob

    Rancho Bob Member

    Wasn't it the other way around? Actually, I find in the guide the terms "coach" and "chair car" are used sometimes interchageably in passenger timetables depending on the railroad.

    I can't think of one 20th century coach or passenger chair car that didn't have some sort of "facilities". Now some were only the "hopper" and a sink.....and some, built for overnight service with reclining seats, usually also had a lounge area...larger for the female patrons.

    Is this right?

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2011
  4. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    The Frisco (On whichever document you were looking at) used both "coach" and "chair car." In 1923 the cars they ordered were 1100 series "coaches" and 770 series "chair cars." By the 60's, they were using "chair car" and abbreviating as "C. C." My opinion is a car with fixed type bench seats would be a "coach" and a car with individual reclining "bucket" seats (Another term the Frisco used) would be a "chair car." I don't know of any Frisco passenger carrying (Coach OR chair) cars that didn't have restrooms. In the 1950's, the timetables advertised passenger trains as having "reclining chair cars."

  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Frisco.org Supporter

    A comparison between the ETT rosters and the Psgr Diagram book would indicate that this is a distinction without a difference...at least on the Frisco.
  6. jmlaboda

    jmlaboda Member

    The distinctions associated with "Chair cars" and "Coaches" were used during the early years of the 1900s to indicate the accommodations of the car with a "Coach" having bench type seating (later "walk-over" seats while a "Chair" car would have had better seating, often two seats and wider spacing between the seats. Both would have had bathrooms but sometimes the "Chair cars" also had a larger washroom where men and women to sit for various reasons. Terms such as "Deluxe" chair cars and "Deluxe" coach were also used during the steam period, with these cars sometimes having individual seats and, sometimes, 2 - 1 seating vs. a 2 - 2 arrangement. L&N and C&O most quickly come to m9ind in this regard but I am sure that there were others.

    Suburban cars were often the ones without bathrooms but this varied from road to road. Some roads made no distinction between a coach and a suburban car, with the seating capacity being quite large, roughly 80 seats, and sometimes only one bathroom to a car, used by both sexes.
  7. mktjames

    mktjames Member

    The Frisco forum by far has the most varied information on the internet. This chair and coach discussion made me go back to the Jackson built narrow gauge cars that are still in existence on the Durango & Silverton. These cars were built in the 1870's and 1880's. I bring this up because, some of the coach cars still have their original fold over seats. Some of the chair cars still have the original chairs that are really chairs and the lounge cars have some of the couches. The coaches had stoves at each end and the chair cars had a facility and stove at each end. The lounge even had a water tank for the facility sink. Later facilities were added to some of the coaches, but some coach cars are still today without facilities. This discussion has identified four different seated cars, coach , chair, lounge, and commuter. Many cars were changed during their life span, but my favorite change was the sleepers to coach. mktjames
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  8. TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020)

    TAG1014 (Tom Galbraith RIP 7/15/2020) Passed Away July 15, 2020 Frisco.org Supporter

    In the 1956 Passenger Car Assignment List (Scanned in FMIG Newsletter #30, June 1981), the Frisco uses both "Chair Car" and "Coach" in the terminology. "Chair Cars" seem to be the newer, "coaches" older at that point in time.

  9. renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013)

    renapper (Richard Napper RIP 3/8/2013) Passed away March 8, 2013

    Thank you, that is what I wanted to know.
    mountaincreekar likes this.
  10. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Interesting discussion, fellas. Thanks to all for the insight and inforamtion. I have a 700-series bugger in progress on the workbench awaiting underbody detail and decals; maybe this is one of those era-specific differences in nomenclature whereby my 1943 era could call them "coaches?"

    At any rate...good stuff to find on a Monday!

    Best Regards,
    mountaincreekar likes this.

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