RailPictures.Net Photo: INT 101 Interstate Office Car at Big Stone Gap, Virginia by Ron Flanary
 
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» Interstate (more..)
» Office Car (more..)
» 101 Car Tourism Center (more..)
» Big Stone Gap, Virginia, USA (more..)
» August, 1989
Locomotive No./Train ID Photographer
» INT 101 (more..)
» Unknown
» Ron Flanary (more..)
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Remarks & Notes 
This wooden office car is most likely the oldest Southern Railway passenger car in existence. Its long and strange history began in 1870, when it was built for the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad. This line came into Southern Railway ownership in 1899, and the car was subsequently rebuilt as Southern office car 117. In 1906, the car was swapped with Virginia & Southwestern car 100 (the V&SW was owned by the Southern by then, but operated independently) and based at Bristol, Virginia. Ten years later, president H.L.Miller of the coal-hauling Interstate Railroad in Andover, Virginia inquired if the Southern or V&SW might have a medium sized office car for sale. The car had a book value of $2,580.03, and the Southern promptly offered it to the Interstate for $3500. Miller had also been offered a newer car by the N&W for $5000, but he knew a bargain when he saw it, so he took V&SW 100 instead. The Interstate would later acquire a newer car from the Southern—this one with a steel underframe. The “new” office car was assigned number 100, and the vintage car became 101. Under the heavy financial pressures of the Great Depression, the Interstate sold the newer car in 1939. The 101 then continued to serve until the late ‘50s, spending most of its time in a car shed at Andover. In 1959 it was sold to a local coal company president who trucked it to a remote lake near Norton, VA to be used as a hunting cabin. Unfortunately, its original six-wheel outside equalized trucks were scrapped. There it stayed until 1988, when a successor company contacted the photographer with an offer of a free office car—“as is, where is.” A group of local civic and business leaders was formed, funds were raised from both private and public sources, and the car was trucked to Big Stone Gap for restoration. NS donated a modern set of four-wheel passenger car trucks that weren’t correct, of course—but they were free (plus NS shipped them to Big Stone Gap at no cost). The back platform was built from scratch by the local high school vocational school (the railing was still in existence). The completed car was painted in its original wine red color, and lettered (by the photographer) just as it had been when retired in 1959. Although a shed was subsequently built over the car to protect it from the elements, it still serves as a local tourism office for the town. This year (2013), it will celebrate its 143rd birthday---which is truly remarkable. It's also one of the few pieces of Interstate Railroad equipment still in existence.
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