It’s Always Springtime on the C&O

The Chesapeake and Ohio wanted people attending the Century of Progress Exposition know that it, too, had air-conditioned trains. While B&O might have been the first railroad to air condition an entire train, “Chesapeake and Ohio is the first railroad in the world to genuinely air-condition all its through main line passenger trains.”

Click image to download a 696-KB PDF of this brochure.

The term “genuinely” apparently referred to the fact that some railroads used stop-gap measures to cool their trains that hadn’t yet been fully air conditioned. In particular, the B&O in 1933 was still “pre-cooling” some of its sleeping cars by blowing air-conditioned air into them before they left their originating terminal.


It’s Always Springtime on the C&O — 1 Comment

  1. I suspect they were referring to ice activated compared to mechanical freon cooled A/C units similar to what we have today. C&O was the first to go to all mechanical units while the B&O was still using some ice activated units. Just like refrigerator cars of the era, you filled a bunker with block ice and then used a fan run the air over the ice and circulated the cool air while a separate fain exhausted the hot air. The problem was the fans were axle belt operated. If the car wasn’t moving, the fan wasn’t moving. The freon or steam ejector A/C until could either be powered by electric power from the diesel or trackside, steam from the steam generator or the steam engine itself if the train wasn’t dieselized. As long as the cars were hooked ot a a steam or electric line, the A/C would work. Some large stations had steam lines and electric lines just for this purpose. That’s why B&O had to “pre-cool” their cars with a mechanical A/C unit.

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