The business downturn starting in 1873 delayed construction of a steam dummy suburban railroad connecting West End with the terminus of the Canal St. line at the cemeteries. The NOC rescued the struggling project, scarcely under construction, by purchasing it on December 21, 1875. This was the N. O. Metairie & Lake RR. The NOC quickly completed it and commenced service from Halfway House to West End April 20, 1876, and by 6/18/1876 their Porter and Baldwin steam dummies were pulling new coaches from the Henry Clay statue (Canal & St. Charles) to West End. The terminus was soon moved out one block to Canal & Carondelet.
Not all NOC RR equipment was new. At no doubt low prices, one or more of the following were obtained: “ex-freight car of ‘the Bienville Street Road’” (popular name for the Canal St. City Park & Lake RR) which “must be entered by going through the car ahead or behind it” (!) — accident (DP 7/31/1877, p. 4).
Sketch of a freight car rebuilt as a coach (the middle coach) with no platforms, requiring entry and exit by the dangerous practice of stepping between coaches.
The “City RR” annual report of 1876 noted the new coaches, built by the company at Canal Station. These were DT AR open platform types, each having a center aisle with eleven seats on each side, closed wooden cars with 16 narrow sash on each side. Three ornate vents on the roof provided air circulation, and the coaches' letterboards bore the words “Canal St. Cemeteries and West End”, with the coach number in a raised oval border centered on the straight sides. The fleet were numbered 1 to 30. There is an excellent P of car 24 in S p. 162. These attractive cars were the product of the N. O. City RR Co's own carbuilders, not by an out-of-town builder. (Trucks poss. designed and BLT in N. O. by NOC.) Carbuilding in the city had been active since the year of New Orleans' first rail transit in 1835, both streetcars and suburban railroad coaches and trailers.
By 1883, the NOC reorganized as the N. O. City & Lake RR Co. At great expense, all street railways in the city had renewed their charters, and the “City RR” wanted a name suggesting its expanding citywide operations. The roster then listed 40 coaches and 9 engines (one having disappeared, reason unk.). See the Streetcar Lines section for more details.
|BLW||3875||8 x 12||2-4-0T||5'2½"||Apr. 1876|
|Porter||243||8 x 16 x 36||"||"||Mar. 1876||Class B-2-5-M||10T|
|"||254||7 x 12 x 30||0-4-0T||"||Aug. 1876||Class B-5-M|
|BLW||4098||8 x 12||2-4-0T||"||June 1877|
|Porter||312||8 x 16||"||"||July 1878||ex CSCP&L|
|BLW||Baldwin Loco. Works||CSCP&L||Canal Street City Park & Lake RR Co.|
|Porter||Porter, Bell & Co.|
In 1886 the NOC&L suffered a terrific loss. The shed that covered the West End equipment at Canal Station burned down, resulting in the loss of all but one dummy and every single coach! (Which dummy survived is not known.) Six dummies were immediately ordered from Porter:
|825||8 x 16||0-4-2T||5'2½"||Aug. 1887|
|One of the New Orleans City RR steam dummy locos. This is probably a builder's photo. Unfortunately, we do not know which dummy this is, as no number or name is visible. We can see a horizontal boiler, a funnel smoke stack, wood panel siding, and a very tiny front platform with a huge pilot in front — all typical of a steam dummy loco. The wheel arrangement, 2-4-0, suggests that this is one of the BLW locos. That would date the picture to about 1876 or 1877. Note the wooden track being used to display the loco. — Louis Hennick Collection of The Historic New Orleans Collection|
To replace the DT AR coaches, the NOC&L contracted local foundry and machinery dealer H. Dudley Coleman, whose shop was on Erato St. from Magazine to Clara (office and salesroom at No. 7 Perdido). In 1888, the N. O. City Directory listed Mr. Coleman at the same address as “Foundry, Machinery and Car Builder, corner Magnolia and Erato.” Famous carbuilder J. R. Brownell from St. Louis inspected the foundry in 1887 and praised it (DP 2/5/1887). The cars were probably assembled at Canal Station after components and parts were fabricated at Coleman's facility, as these coaches could not have negotiated the sharp curves of the mule car street railway's trackage. The new DT AR coaches, 40 in number, almost surely were near duplicates of “first design” models, approx. the same length as the burned NOC-built cars. Splicing would later rebuild them into the 40'6" body trailers pictured in S p. 164, scale drawing in S p. 165. In 1918 there were 12 of these, which conflicts with the number (40) reported upon completion of the cars in 1887. An explanation of the conflicting numbers is another fire at Canal Station (DP 2/8/1893) that burned 24 passenger coaches and five streetcars. The burned coaches were Colemans, but it is uncertain which streetcars were destroyed. This compelled the NOC RR to phone the Brill Co. for fast replacements. Brill responded in 1893 with 30 ST DR open trailers with aisles (later spliced into eleven 45'4" trailers — see S pp. 162-163 and Appendix III p. cc), and American Car Co. in 1894 sent seven 43'4" trailers, a total of 18 replacements (see S pp. 183 & 186, and Appendix III p. cc). Sixteen Colemans survived, of similar size as the NOC-built trailers of 1876. The surviving coaches, and perhaps sufficient remnants of partially ruined cars, should have enabled NOC&L to produce 12 40'6" coaches, the Rojo and Morris trailers (see p. cc) adding enough coaches to make a total of 42 units.
The Colemans thus had their second RB in 1902, after splicing (see S, p. 164), with a final RB in 1923. When scrapped in 1934, the Colemans had given 48 years of service, 1887 to 1934.
Note: The dummy on p. 167 of S is probably a BLW, exhibiting differences from the Porters' roof, body sides, and stack.
Upper end of Tchoupitoulas Line, to Audubon Park, for only approx. 2 yrs. Unproven use of Todd locos, but accident DP, DT 1/1/78 documents “Lamm motors” (thermospecific loco, same as NO&C RR).
Copyright © 2008 Louis C. Hennick. All rights reserved.
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