Vestibuled train

Vestibuled train

Vestibuled train refers to a passenger train whose cars have enclosed vestibules at their ends, in contrast to the open platforms on early cars. Typically, a vestibule has doorways on either side to allow passenger egress at stations, a door into the body of the car, and, at the end of the car, a doorway to allow access to the next car through a flexible passageway.

Before the development of vestibules, passing between cars when a train was underway was both dangerous — stepping over a shifting plate between swaying cars with nothing on either side but chain guard rails — and unpleasant — due to the soot and cinders raining down from the steam engine's smoke plume. Because passengers were mostly confined to a single car, trains had regular meal stops built into their schedules, and sleeping cars were uncommon. The introduction of the vestibuled train in the late nineteenth century, led to dining cars, lounge cars, and other specialized cars.

Vestibuled cars allowed the development of luxury trains during of the golden age of rail travel, trains like the Union Pacific's Overland Limited (1890), the Pennsylvania Railroad's Pennsylvania Special (1890; renamed the Broad Way Limited in 1912), and the New York Central's 20th Century Limited, (1902). Tellingly, the Southern's famous Crescent was introduced in 1891 as the Washington and Southwestern Vestibuled Limited and widely known as The Vestibule.


  • Douglas, George H. (1992). All Aboard: The Railroad in American Life. Marlow & Company, New York.

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