DHHS Clinic Car


Clinic car
Alaska DHHS Clinic Car digital image ASL-P-143-0731

The ARR Clinic Train had a "boat tail" car, ex=Pullman. Bob Barret in Anchorage said it was powered by a Whitcomb 65T loco and the crew consisted of the engineer, doctor, nurse, lab/x-ray tech and cook.  Often train was parked near a village for 2 weeks at a time to render service.  In the summer the medics would go on board ship and deliver services up and down the coast,  It just is not common knowledge and not included in the 2 Alaska Native Health Service related publications I Have nor the DHEW and Commissioned Corps Centennial publications.

- Dan Napoliello 5/1/16

John - Remember the article I mentioned sometime about the ARR railcar used for a clinic in the summers at villages on the ARR, roughly 1947-1954. Focus of care would have been TB prevention, STDs and other communicable diseases for the BIA as the "Indian Health Service" was not created until 1955. My search started about 10 years ago with an article in a 1967 Alaska Centennial pamphlet published by the Alaska Nurses Association . Prince's "The Alaska RR in Pictures" is mute on the equipment and the operation.

Found it today in the Alaska State digital archives under "Public Health"!!!!, using Ask Jeeves! Google was a bust. Previous searches last summer were without success.

Have you ever seen this before? Not sure of its origins other than a Pullman heavyweight, but obviously streamlined, painted for the Streamliner AuRoRa consist and has a roof antenna.

Not a WWII hospital car from this side view? There appears to be an italicized name ending in "dio" behind the ladder? Background is reminiscent of the structures on the north of the Alaska yards near the engine servicing facilities in Fairbanks. Since the AK NA article described a 5 man crew including an engineer, and the possibility of a trailer car (Power car/stores car?), a GE-44 Ton equivalent and a converted Troop Car might be the balance of the consist? The Army Railway Operating Battalion would still have been in the state when operations started. Pictures of the waterborne clinics are much easier to find.

A recent publication by a Dr. Fortuine and published by the University of Alaska press sponsored by the Commission Officers of the USPHS Foundation proved to be a bust - just mentioned a railcar while the AK NA pamphlet included almost half a chapter. However, the USPHS article did mention 2 medical journals as footnotes and reported from the Governor of Alaska to the Department of the Interior in the early 1950's.

Any thoughts?

- Dan Napoliello 2/8/07

I have some information on the Clinic car.

I believe it is car # A-7, the "Arctic" I think the "dio" is really a very scrolled tic, and it looks like a c preceding the t. Under the ladder appears to be a cursive A, and the spacing looks correct. It also appears to have a number under the first full side window from the end. The last digit looks to be a 2 or 7 to me.

The car was acquired by the ARR in 1946 to be converted to a baggage car, but was rebuilt as shown. The car was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Before that it probably started life as a Heavyweight Pullman car. It would have been used in the lower 48, in a similar capacity as BofM car #5 (at the museum in Wasilla). The BofM acquired a number of Pullmans to rebuild, but It could be a very different Pullman from #5.

It went in ARR service in late 1947. I don't know when it was retired or it's disposition.

That rounded end sure is interesting !!!

I had read/heard of the car, but had never seen a picture of it. Great find !!!

This type of health car was also used fairly late in Canada: they had medical, dental and school cars.

- Don Marenzi 2/13/07

I'm sure the car is the "Arctic".  IF it was actually used on the early AuRoRa train it might be the rear car in some of the early public relations / advertising photos. Not knowing the window arrangement of the other side of the car doesn't help because most of the PR photos I've seen are of the other side !

I THINK there is a photo of the Arctic showing the other side. Prince's book, volume 2, page 750 top; last car in train. The reason I think that this car is the Arctic is:

-appears to have enclosed platform.

-name on car side is unreadable, but looks right sized name.

-window arrangement is unique, no other match on the ARR that I'm aware of/have found.

-shrouded height roof matches the coaches ahead of it. The 2 coaches ahead of it are from the 25 to 28 series. These cars were rebuilt Bureau of Mines cars, originally Pullman cars.  The BofM car rebuilds roofs were taller than the xHospital Car rebuilds roofs.

-It isn't the business car B-1(2nd) (later Caribou Creek) it's window arrangement is different and it didn't carry a name until 1959. The 2nd B-1 did have an enclosed rounded end during the early 1950's. It's end windows were different from the end windows on the Arctic.  (a photo of B-1's enclosed end is in Prince page 835).

Check it out and see what you think.

I wish I knew more about the car.

- Don Marenzi 9/5/14

Page created 2/8/07 and last updated 9/5/14