Photo of the Week
October 13, 2019
Due to technical problems with my hosting company I was unable to post these photos last week.
The two photos for this week are very interesting photos sent in by CZ Images contributor E.N. Belland a few years ago. Belland sent me a large envelope with a bunch of really great old photos. While looking for something else .... of course .... I came across the envelope. When pulled these two photos out they struck an interest as to what this rail car was. There is no identification written on the photo title line but has numbers 288-G-16 and 288-G-17. I pulled out my index of Panama Canal Official Photographs that my old friend Kibby Bouche gave me. Kibby was the person that indexed all the old Ernest "Red" Hallen glass plate negatives back in 1967. Hallen was the official photographer for the Isthmian Canal Commission and Panama Canal for 30 years taking some 16,000 photos. I found the index numbers that are on the two photos and the explanation of the subject matter is Exterior and Interior view, Hospital Car #70, Panama Station. I did some searching to find out more information and there wasn't much out there. I did find that the Panama Railroad had two of these cars #70 and #71. I also read that car #70 stayed on-site at the Panama City Railroad station. Unfortunately the photo and index has no date.
I checked my book of Panama Canal Equipment Diagrams I.C.C. Mechanical Division from 1908 and this car is not shown within the rolling stock section. The car has a unique style and must have been constructed for just this type of work.
The photo above shows the car hooked up the a passenger train and must be getting to roll out. I can only surmise that the car was used to take patients to and from Colon and Panama City hospitals. As I don't have a date, I can't say if this car would have been the ambulance transport for injured construction workers, but looks suited for transport of many patients with all the cots shown in the interior view photo.
As always, wonderful captures in time from the glory days of the Canal Zone.
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