Tribute to the H&M K-Car
In a recent announcement the former Hudson & Manhattan Tube type K-cars are to be removed from work train service that they have been serving in for a number of years. These cars originally ran for the Hudson & Manhattan, Pennsylvania Railroad and eventually for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey under the rail line PATH. Many of these cars were scrapped as newer equipment came on-line. Several of the cars that were in better condition eventually were placed into work train service. None of these remaining cars are planned to be preserved and are most-likely being cut-up for scrap on Port Authority property. Below you will find some images of these K-cars during better days, and a brief history of these cars provided at the bottom of the page.
Here is a summary history of the K-car by Frank Miklos the treasurer of NJERHS:
There were fifty cars in the order of K class cars. The first thirty were lettered for the Pennsylvania Railroad and the remaining twenty were lettered for the Hudson & Manhattan. The Pennsylvania Railroad ones were equipped with cab signals and always ran at the ends of the train, so the photo of the car with the H & M lettering on the front of the train was very rare. Around 1963 there was an accident in Harrison where a train sideswiped a freight car. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but it sliced through about three cars ripping off major portions of the sides. The most badly damaged cars were scrapped. This left them short of cars with cab signals which were required for operation over joint trackage with the Pennsylvania Railroad. The cab signal equipment was removed from the scrapped Pennsylvania Railroad K cars and installed in at least one of the Hudson & Manhattan cars. By this time the service had been taken over by the Port Authority and the former H & M cars were now lettered PATH. The other cars were still lettered for the Pennsylvania Railroad, but for the first time it was possible to see a car without the PRR keystone and lettering at the front of a train. I believe that the first ten Pennsylvania Railroad cars were double ended and the remaining twenty PRR cars were single ended, but not married pairs. The twenty Hudson and Manhattan cars were also a mix of single and double enders, but I don't remember how many of each there was. Incidentally, the Pennsylvania Railroad cars were not carried on their roster as K cars. They were classified in accordance with the Pennsylvania Railroad's equipment designation as MP-38's (or something similar).