Conrail Business & Research Trains


For all 23 years of Conrail's tenure (1976-1999), the railroad maintained a fleet of specialized railcars and locomotives equipped to "test the condition of [its] track, allow Conrail’s management to inspect the right of way and facilities at the ground level, and show customers and potential customers exactly how their freight [would] move.” The specialized railcars in this fleet were split between Conrail's business train (often called the Office Car Special, or OCS) and the railroad’s research and track department.

Researchers Brock Kerchner and Wes Reminder have teamed up to author Conrail Business & Research Trains: The Special Equipment Fleet. This hardcover, 416-page, full-color book includes the authors’ three decades of combined research, making it the definitive work on Conrail's special equipment fleet.

With every specialized operation came specialized employees, and Conrail's business and research trains were no exceptions. From the mechanical staff that rebuilt and maintained the cars to the on-board management that ensured their smooth operation, this book features interviews and stories from the major players in Conrail's special equipment staff. Specific trips are recounted in detail by those who were there, accompanied by rare and never-before-published black & white and color photographs showing these unique and memorable trains under construction, in operation, and even in a foreign country! The book also gives an in-depth look at the Conrail Technical Services Laboratory and the special railcars equipped for the Conrail Police Department.

Each railcar and locomotive in Conrail's special equipment fleet is examined in detail, with original diagrams and drawings reproduced alongside color photographs depicting the interiors and exteriors of the railroad's opulent business cars and its specialized research equipment. This book is a must-have for local historians, Conrail railfans and model railroaders, passenger car and business train aficionados, or even those with a casual interest in railroad engineering, track, or research.

416 pages, hardcover