Written by Bill Bell Friday, 10 July 2009 00:00Wednesday morning, June 17, there was a lot of excitement in Oyster Bay! A ‘vintage’ LIRR passenger coach made its way from Marienville, PA, to Oyster Bay, arriving at approximately 8 a.m. It did not, however, travel by rail. The 64-foot car had been temporarily fitted with “boagies” for the trip. This is a rubber tire and axle assembly that allows the coach to be trailed behind a truck, across the roads of the Keystone State (see photo) to its final destination at the OBRM rail yard, where it will serve as a permanent exhibit.
Once it arrived at the yard, it was raised by hydraulic jacks and lots of OBRM volunteer muscle, allowing the steel wheels to be re-fitted, and the car was lowered onto the track. The OBRM volunteers began their work at around 7 a.m. and they did not finish the job until midnight.
To the average commuter on the LIRR during the middle of the 20th century, there is probably nothing that symbolized their hours spent riding the rails more than the inside of a Ping Pong coach. The P-54 class coach operated on the LIRR from 1923 to 1974. The nickname “Ping Pong” was given to them due the rougher ride they provided, when compared to the heavier wooden coaches they replaced.
This car, #7433, was rescued from the scrap yard thanks to the hard work of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum leadership and the generosity of Island Rail, LLC, a corporate sponsor of the project. To the best of our knowledge, #7433 is the last of its kind to be preserved with original seating and equipment. This car is a very important piece of LIRR heritage, and the board hopes you are as excited about its preservation as they are.
The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of Long Island’s railroad history. The Museum’s Preview Center at 102 Audrey Avenue is open Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. [during Cruise Nights]. It features interactive, hands-on audio visual exhibits, an operating O-gauge train layout, descriptions of the plans for the Museum, and a gift shop. For more information visit the website at www.OBRM.org.