Harlan & Hollingsworth of Wilmington, Delaware, built this car in 1914, one of the 800-series coaches the Central of New Jersey acquired from H&H. In 1930, the railroad's own Elizabethport, New Jersey, shops rebuilt the car into its current configuration, as business car #98. The Jeff-Z Web site picks up the story from there:
"The car was acquired by the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern around October 1966. This car was not purchased by the railroad directly. Instead, four men from within the organization each chipped in $200 to cover the car's $800 purchase price. Motivation for the purchase was to provide the public with 'something new' in 1967. Number 98 was moved to the south end of the back track behind the station. The back track or "museum track" was home to an collection of static displays and other attractions. This collection included 0-4-0 Cooke locomotive #3 at the north end of the track followed by LNE caboose #512, Atlantic City car #72, B&O coach #4111 and then CNJ #98. The collection was called the Museum Train and was run by a separate nonprofit organization called the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern Rail Road and Historical Foundation. They planned to call #98 the 'Mountain Queen' and had some grand restoration plans including a Royal Purple paint job. But the Foundation appears to have fizzled out with the railroad's closure at the end of 1968.
"When the railroad came back in 1970, the Historical Foundation was gone and everything on the back track was repurposed. By 1973 car #98 was back in active service as an extra-fare or party/charter car. It was re-lettered for the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern and named 'The Golden Hawk'. The Golden Hawk appears in quite a few steam train photos from the 1970s. As early as 1976 the car was regularly chartered by the Horlacher Brewing Company of Allentown. The Golden Hawk lettering was covered over by a red rectangular paint patch with 'The Horlacher Club' in yellow lettering. The design also included a yellow suit of clubs symbol and a yellow border around the red rectangle. The livery was topped off with gold platform railings and a purple and orange drumhead. It all looked quite obnoxious. The brewery hosted outings two Sundays a month with a keg on tap. Horlacher had been struggling financially and went out of business in 1978 still owing money to the railroad. The red and yellow Horlacher Club logo was covered with a black or olive paint patch and the car was never re-lettered.
"The car was deteriorating by the 1980s, but apparently there was one particular group that continued to hold their annual company picnic at the WK&S and would always charter The Golden Hawk. That would have been the car's last stand at the WK&S. Throughout most of the '80s and '90s and into the new millennium, #98 was out of service and left as a victim of weather and vandals. Starting in 2003 and continuing in 2004, #98 underwent a partial cosmetic restoration. The car was not re-lettered, but it did receive some body patching, a new roof coating, and a new coat of olive paint. In 2004 a deal was struck to send #98 to Minersville, PA. The car has become part of the Railway Restoration Project 113. Project 113 is the CNJ 0-6-0 steam locomotive under restoration at Minersville. In exchange for #98, the WK&S received a 1956 General Electric 65-ton center-cab #734. Number 98 finally left the property on January 3, 2007. Since arriving at Minersville the car has been re-lettered for the CNJ."
Photo © Stephen Bradley