Remnants of the track that once ran a catwalk police car. Photo from Library of Congress
In the Old Images of New York Facebook group today, a member posted this fabulous image of a Holland Tunnel Port Authority police cop in a narrow Packard “catwalk” car that ran along tracks in the tunnel. Doing some research, we discovered this was not the only model for the miniature cars in the tunnel.
The electric catwalk car was launched in 1955. The car was 2 feet wide with a swivel seat, so you could drive in either direction. Push buttons controlled the speed–either 6 or 12 miles per hour, with a 240-volt, 3 horsepower motor. As The New York Times writes “the catwalk car was the fastest, surest way through the tunnel, gliding blithely past the most epic traffic jams — equipped with no horn, because none was needed.”