McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society

McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society The McKeen Car Research and Discussion Page
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The V&T #22 was moved into the Museum's Main Center.  This is the first time it has to my knowledge.
03/14/2019

The V&T #22 was moved into the Museum's Main Center. This is the first time it has to my knowledge.

Here was a pricey postcard that was hard to pass up.  Ann Arbor #1 was built in May of 1911, builders number 109.  It we...
02/09/2019

Here was a pricey postcard that was hard to pass up. Ann Arbor #1 was built in May of 1911, builders number 109. It weighed roughly 35 tons, it was 70' long, and could haul 83 passengers. It was custom ordered and built with arched windows long after round windows became the standard. Few other roads requested arched windows, one being the Chicago Great Western having bought three with arched windows, and in 1928 turned all three into a streamed train, 6 years before UP's M-10000.

This car was converted to Kerosene in 1915, the engine would start on gas and once warm was switched over to kerosene. A.A.R.R. #1 and her sisters #2,#3, #4, and #5 were out of service by 1931. This photo was taken in Ossowo, Michigan.

M-23 was built in May of 1915 for the Union Pacific. It was builder's number 146 of 152, putting it near the end of the ...
02/02/2019

M-23 was built in May of 1915 for the Union Pacific. It was builder's number 146 of 152, putting it near the end of the company. It was a odd ball to say the least, The drop center door....was not a door at all. The car was not a doodlebug if one is defined as carrying passengers. This photo was taken in Callaway, Nebraska, on November 15th, 1945.

The car itself was built with an experimental McKeen 300HP engine, and by my best research, was possibly a 12" bore 15" stroke, which equates to 8143 Cubic Inches, or in other words a 133 Liter Engine. If you take assumed 300HP at 350 RPM, that defines the torque at 4500 Ft/Lbs. Torque is highly desired when it comes to moving railcars that way many many tons.

However, at the time this photo was taken, the car had be modified by EMC and rebuilt with a 300HP Diesel Winton Engine and Motor Truck built by St. Louis Car Company. Interestingly enough, this motor car usually hauled Coach #499, however in this photo it's hauling Trailer Car T-18 which was rebuilt from U.P.R.R. #7, the first round window McKeen Car, Builders Number 007.

Here is a neat photo of Southern Pacific #41 in Sacramento on April 11th, 1935.  I had a second thought that this wasn't...
01/19/2019

Here is a neat photo of Southern Pacific #41 in Sacramento on April 11th, 1935. I had a second thought that this wasn't a scrapline, but the doors have been left open and the car is stuck between other passenger cars. This tells me they didn't care any more and soon this car would be send to the scrapline.

Southern Pacific 41 was built in November of 1909, the car was originally built for the Oregon and California as builders number 062, and was a 55' model with a fairly large baggage section. The Car was "Laid Aside" in 8-10-1936, but this photo suggests they stopped using the car sooner than that. The car was considered scrapped on the SP roster on December 16th, 1936.

Here's a scrapline photo of Southern Pacific #39 in Sacramento.  It's motor truck was removed and replaced with a shop t...
01/12/2019

Here's a scrapline photo of Southern Pacific #39 in Sacramento. It's motor truck was removed and replaced with a shop truck that appears to be old, possibly built in the 1870's or 80's.

This car was built in April of 1910, Builder's Number 072. The Car weighed 35 Tons new and could haul 62 passengers. This photo was taken on December 28th, 1935, though documents say the car was "Laid Aside" in August of 1936 and scrapped on December 16th, of the same year. Maybe that's when the roster was updated?

Peter James asked if I had information on the operating instructions for the McKeen Cars, and if I had photos of the cab...
01/05/2019

Peter James asked if I had information on the operating instructions for the McKeen Cars, and if I had photos of the cab controls. I haven't yet scanned the McKeen Manual that I have, but I do have interesting blueprints and schematics that show how to construct the cars, and I'll post photos of the cabs of McKeen Cars. Open each photo individually and each will have a description.

Here is a nice photo I acquired of the Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company McKeen Car #711.  The railroad owned thre...
12/19/2018

Here is a nice photo I acquired of the Woodstock and Sycamore Traction Company McKeen Car #711. The railroad owned three cars, #707, #709, and #711, the first car having a short baggage section, while the next two were solely passenger motor cars.

This Car, builder's number 108 was built in July of 1911, and arrived shortly before this photo was taken. This exact postcard was sent from Genoa to Elgin, Ill, on Feb 8th, 1912, at 4pm, so this photo was taken within a year of the arrival of the car, however, the railroad only had the car for 3 years.

The car was later repossessed by William McKeen in 1914 for failure to make payments on the three cars they were paying off. The #707 was rebuilt with an oddly located baggage door and sold to the Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad to become their #5, which I posted an interior and exterior photo of recently.

The #709 and #711 were rebuilt, refurbished and sent to the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway in Alberta, Canada. The cars serviced a bit more life in Canada, the cars ran up in the 1920s with minimal success. A story I forget the source of told of the two cars sitting around the shops about 1930 or so, derelict, and a party of some kind wanted to ride the train as a get-a-way. Well one car was fixed up with the parts from the other sitting there, a ran for about 10 miles and the engine failed, had to be towed back, and that was the last time for sure they would ever run under their own power.

Here's a postcard I acquired, it shows the Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway McKeen Car #1001, unofficially named...
12/15/2018

Here's a postcard I acquired, it shows the Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway McKeen Car #1001, unofficially named the "Rocket." It was built in May of 1910, and was builder's number 090. It weighed 37.5 Tons, and could haul 84 passengers. It was sold to the Deer River Railroad in 1917 and then sold to the Narragansett Pier in 1921 and became #8. It was scrapped about 1930.

If anyone has any more information on the Deer River Railroad, I would greatly appreciate it. I found out they were only around for one year, incorporated in August of 1917, and took over the Carthage and Copenhagen Railroad.

Recently acquired for the collection, these two photos of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 McKeen Motor Car are quite nice...
12/13/2018

Recently acquired for the collection, these two photos of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 McKeen Motor Car are quite nice photos. The prints themselves are only about 4 inches wide but they are sharp images. The interior view is the beautifully rare view, and shows details like the builder's artwork above the doorway, as well as the electric lamps, trim work, and the mirrors. The "Cuyamaca" motor car was not constructed with walls as shown, but the Virginia and Truckee McKeen Car #22 looked very much like this.

As a partial news update, the McKeen Car Cuyamaca will hopefully be moved this January or February to a new location where the car can be worked on by volunteers and where we won't annoy residents. We will be laying asphalt and making both a metal and wood workshop to be able to work on the Railcar. Stay Tuned for more information.

Here's a photo of Southern Pacific #45, built in September of 1910, as builder's number 093.  The car weighted 30 tons, ...
12/01/2018

Here's a photo of Southern Pacific #45, built in September of 1910, as builder's number 093. The car weighted 30 tons, and could haul 62 people, plus conductor and motorman. The car was the last in service McKeen on the Southern Pacific, lasting 5 years more than all others, being pulled off the rails in January of 1939. It was used as a paint shop in Roseville for a few years.

#45 ran the Placerville branch line for quite a while, and would haul a Trailer car from Sacramento to Folsom, and then finish the trip to Placerville on it's own.

Southern Pacific Motor Car #43 was built in December of 1910, and was builder's number 092.  The southern Pacific Compan...
11/23/2018

Southern Pacific Motor Car #43 was built in December of 1910, and was builder's number 092. The southern Pacific Company had her shipped to Sacramento and severed for the S.P. till January of 1934 when she was placed into this scrap line of McKeens. In the photo, left to right are #43, then #31, then #47, and then others I can't read. #43 was finally scrapped on June 30th, 1936.

Here is a postcard I acquired, and to my surprise, the postcard was written in dutch (I think) and it's in cursive.  Can...
09/30/2018

Here is a postcard I acquired, and to my surprise, the postcard was written in dutch (I think) and it's in cursive. Can anyone here read it? It does say "motor car" and "Union Pacific" so I'm interested in what it reads.

The postcard shows an early round window McKeen, possibly #7 or #8 at Valley, Nebraska, hauling a McKeen Trailer Car.

Thank You All in advance for your Help.

Here's a new addition to the collection, a postcard of Houston and Texas Central McKeen Motor Car #1003, Builder's Numbe...
09/16/2018

Here's a new addition to the collection, a postcard of Houston and Texas Central McKeen Motor Car #1003, Builder's Number 140, built around 1913. The car was a parabolic nose 70' motor car that weighed 68,000 pounds. It was sold to the Texas and New Orleans Railroad at some point, and was later scrapped in October of 1929.

The Postcard is in Amazing Condition for being as old as it is, the saturation and other factors in the scan are untouched, the postcard is like brand new.

I recently acquired this photo of Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company #1 at Winona, Washington.  It took some researc...
09/09/2018

I recently acquired this photo of Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company #1 at Winona, Washington. It took some research and quests through facebook groups, but once someone was able to read "Winona" on the building, I was able to find out it was the Winona Hotel and that the tracks there still exist.

If anyone has more information on the location, I would love to hear it, I am going to write up the page for the O.R.&N.Co. here soon on the website.

Here's a photo I acquired a while back, a postcard of Union Pacific M-13 at Boulder, Colorado.  Quick research revealed ...
09/09/2018

Here's a photo I acquired a while back, a postcard of Union Pacific M-13 at Boulder, Colorado. Quick research revealed that this station still exists, and is currently not in use.

https://bouldercolorado.gov/historic-preservation/boulder-jaycees-depot

This was builder's number -013 built in September of 1907, the car weighted 35 tons, and could haul 75 passengers. It was originally sold to the Union Pacific for $17115.44, and was wrecked in June of 1936. Not much is known about this wreck, nor have photos surfaced.

Here's a rare Postcard of Arizona Eastern Railroad McKeen Car #3, a 70' motor car with room for 80 passengers.  It was b...
08/25/2018

Here's a rare Postcard of Arizona Eastern Railroad McKeen Car #3, a 70' motor car with room for 80 passengers. It was builder's number 088 and was built in January of 1911. It was laid aside in August of 1929, and scrapped August 30th of 1930.

Here the car is in Miami, Arizona, a small mining town that still exists. I've contacted the mayor looking for more information on the railroad, motor cars, and location of the station in the town, just waiting now to hear back from him.

Here's a neat photo I picked up of Sumas, Washington, a Town right on the border with Canada.  Seen at the train station...
08/18/2018

Here's a neat photo I picked up of Sumas, Washington, a Town right on the border with Canada. Seen at the train station is the "Kulshan" Motor Car owned by the Bellingham Bay and British Columbia Railroad. It is grainy zoomed in, but this is a real photo so you can zoom in pretty far to catch a few small details.

The "Kulshan" was builder's number 053, built in February of 1909, weighed 40 Tons, was 70' long, and could haul 64 passengers. The B.B.&B.C. was sold to the Bellingham and Northern Railway in 1912, and then the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad (The Milwaukee Road) in 1918.

Here are a few photos acquired recently from a family photo album.  The car is Southern Pacific #47, built in January of...
07/28/2018

Here are a few photos acquired recently from a family photo album. The car is Southern Pacific #47, built in January of 1911 as builder's number 094. It was 70' Long, could haul 62 passengers and was laid aside on July 9th, 1935, and then used as an Engineer's locker room in Colton, California.

Here's something interesting...
07/24/2018

Here's something interesting...

McKeen letter to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway, which later became the Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. The "Salt Air" mentioned at the bottom of the letter was a resort on the south shore of Great Salt Lake. Letter is dated April 30, 1915.

Discovery!  The Army's Air Force did purchase a McKeen Car, a McKeen Switcher Engine to be exact!  This photo was discov...
07/21/2018

Discovery! The Army's Air Force did purchase a McKeen Car, a McKeen Switcher Engine to be exact! This photo was discovered and sent to me this morning. Keilty did report that a photo of an Army Air Service McKeen existed, it seemed to assume it was a Motor Car, not a switcher engine. With no previous mentions or photos, I'm not able to say if the Army bought only this switcher or if they also bought a Motor Car.

"McKeene Gasoline Engine, Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia."

Received 2/21/18, Taken 12/31/17"

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/55171334

Happy Fourth of July!
07/04/2018

Happy Fourth of July!

Northern Pacific's A-1 was built in 1909, and is 039 on the builder's list.  The car weighted 30 tons, could haul 40 pas...
07/01/2018

Northern Pacific's A-1 was built in 1909, and is 039 on the builder's list. The car weighted 30 tons, could haul 40 passengers reportedly (My calculation with 3 people per 47 bench estimates 54.) The Northern Pacific Car has a GREAT History write up in Fall 2012 Magazine "The Mainstreeter" which talks about the general history of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The write up is 9 pages long, far more complete of a history than I could easily write up.

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
07/01/2018

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

06/23/2018

McKeen Manual Unboxing!!!

Well, goes to show how long 70' really is.
05/12/2018

Well, goes to show how long 70' really is.

Traffic jam at the office today

Another addition to the collection, a rare photo of a Santa Fe McKeen Car M-101.  The photo is postmarked August 12th,19...
04/07/2018

Another addition to the collection, a rare photo of a Santa Fe McKeen Car M-101. The photo is postmarked August 12th,1910, sent from Wakarusa, Kansas. Builder's Number 041 was built in February of 1909, used on the Girard Branch starting June 1910, and ran from Pittsburg, Kansas to Chanute, Kansas. It reportedly ran that route until being scrapped in 1921. The car weighed 32 tons and could haul 75 passengers.

Most people ask what my next step in the restoration of the McKeen Motor Car will be, here will be the last step I take....
04/01/2018

Most people ask what my next step in the restoration of the McKeen Motor Car will be, here will be the last step I take...from an official McKeen booklet on "How to Assemble a McKeen Motor Car."

Often times photos I purchase are bent, faded, have watermarks, or other such damage.  Here is a before and after of a p...
03/28/2018

Often times photos I purchase are bent, faded, have watermarks, or other such damage. Here is a before and after of a photo of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company car #604, ex. #3. The car was a 70', 37 ton, 44 Passenger motor car with baggage section. It was later renumbered M-80, and was scrapped in June of 1936. This was one of a few cars that were ordered with a parabolic nose, in place of a Knife-Edge nose.

Here is a photo album of photos taken of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 before she was taken off of the rails and used a...
03/24/2018

Here is a photo album of photos taken of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5 before she was taken off of the rails and used as a diner for a while in Ohio. I believe the car was removed from the rails around 1959 and the diner was completed in 1960 or so.

A big thanks to Walt Dunlap for donating this photograph, I believe this shows the interior of the Lakeside and Marblehe...
03/22/2018

A big thanks to Walt Dunlap for donating this photograph, I believe this shows the interior of the Lakeside and Marblehead #5. In the next few days I'll post an entire album of photos I have of this car.

The car was a 55' and could haul about 65 passengers. Within the first few years the car was rebuilt with a wood pilot. This car also had a distinctly large headlamp and a UP Air Horn on top.

A recent acquisition, a rare photo of the Rock Island McKeen Car #9023, at Reinbeck, Iowa. The car was the 82nd car buil...
03/17/2018

A recent acquisition, a rare photo of the Rock Island McKeen Car #9023, at Reinbeck, Iowa. The car was the 82nd car build by McKeen in 1910. The Doodlebug was a 40 ton, 70' Baggage/Passenger motor car, with room for 62 Passengers, one being the conductor. In May of 1925, E.M.C. rebuilt the car with a Winton 275H.P. engine and Brill motor truck, and was later scraped in 1937.

12/16/2017
McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society
12/04/2017

McKeen Motor Car Company Historical Society

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
11/25/2017

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

The Nevada State Railroad Museum is offering rides on the historic Virginia & Truckee McKeen Motor Car! Come to the museum for a ride today and tomorrow between 10:00am and 4:00pm. Rides last approximately 20 minutes. Fares are $8 for adults; $4 for children ages 4-11 and museum members; and FREE for children 3 and under. .

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
10/28/2017

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City
10/28/2017

Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City

Happy Nevada Day! Celebrate with a ride on the Virginia & Truckee McKeen Motor Car, a treasured artifact of Nevada history. Rides are $8 for ages 12 and over; $4 for ages 4-11, and FREE for ages 3 and under.

We are set up at the North Country Model Railroad Society railroad meet with a table to exhibit and talk about the McKee...
10/14/2017

We are set up at the North Country Model Railroad Society railroad meet with a table to exhibit and talk about the McKeen Car "Cuyamaca" and the history of the company. We made this small scale banner as a replica of the banners used on the cars when they were shipped to the railroad.

Ever wondered what the cab of a McKeen Car looked like?  How about the cab of the "Cuyamaca?"  What I have is a rare cab...
10/04/2017

Ever wondered what the cab of a McKeen Car looked like? How about the cab of the "Cuyamaca?" What I have is a rare cab photo that was titled on one copy as being the Cuyamaca, and is none the less, at least one of the three McKeen's in San Diego. Clearly in this view it shows the 200 HP, 5650 Cubic Inch engine, which is equivalent to a 92 liters. Only slightly more than your average mid-sized sedan!

One the wall, the water tanks for engine cooling can be seen, that's the big tank on the right, with what I believe is a thermal expansion tank. Far left, the ship's wheel is the hand break for the car, and could be used in place of air, if need be. The controls on the stand are Pneumatic, and an air brake valve was used to control the Clutch/gear box, which was all pneumatically powered to engage, disengage, and change gears. The other valve system, a New York Straight air system was used for brakes, though not as good as Westinghouse in later tests, and not as popular as Westinghouse in today's culture, the Straight Air system was adequate for a single car, and it was reported that if the Cuyamaca was running along at 30MPH, it could stop in three car lengths, or 165 feet. That's pretty impressive for something that weighted 68,000 Lbs.

The man's hands are on the Carburetor, a special design built up by McKeen himself.

Though I'd like to restore the engine room to look like this someday, there's parts of the project that need to be done first, like the Side Sill. I would ask again if people could donate what they are comfortable with, we are looking to raise another $5000 or so to get the first step of the restoration going. That includes purchasing the side sill, purchasing tools to complete work needed to prep the car, and special bracing to support the roof and body while the Side Sill is being replaced.

Please donate here, I will personally thank you for each and every donation. Thank you - Madison Kirkman

www.GoFundMe.com/McKeenCarCuyamaca

Photo courtesy of Pacific Southwest Railroad Museum Archive.

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2291 Main Street, Suite A
Ramona, CA
92065

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