401 Edwards Motor Car

Changing Gallery|

The Tucson, Cornelia, & Gila Bend Railroad served the mining community of Ajo, Arizona. The TC&GB purchased No. 401 in 1926 at a cost of $10,465. The car, a Model 10, was constructed by the Edwards Railway Motor Car Company of Sanford, North Carolina.

No. 401 was typical of the doodlebugs that operated on many short line railroads and on branch lines of larger companies. These motor cars were a part of everyday life, but with the increase in personal automobiles and paved highways, they have been retired.

Car No. 401 operated between the Phelps Dodge copper mine at Ajo and the Southern Pacific connection at Gila Bend in southern Arizona. In 1943, the railroad replaced the original Continental gas engine with a larger White engine, moving the radiator forward in the process. Taken out of regular service on December 31, 1947, and retired in 1955, the TC&GB donated the car to Travel Town in Los Angeles for preservation in 1956. Short Line Enterprises eventually acquired it in the early 1970s.

In 1976, the car was relettered Virginia & Truckee No. 50 Washoe Zephyr for a brief operating season on the V&T tourist railroad in Virginia City. The car was acquired by the Nevada State Railroad Museum in 1985.No. 401 operated with its White engine through 1996 and a more efficient diesel engine was installed in 1997. The restoration shop installed a new hydraulic drive in September 2016, as well.

The name Washoe Zephyr would stay on the car until 1999. Prior to participating in Railfair ’99 at the California State Railroad Museum, volunteers repainted and relettered the car as TC&GB No. 401. Car No. 401 operates from May through September on weekends when the steam train is not running, and for scheduled school tours.

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