In addition to providing a dependable means of transportation for country and city dwellers alike, the interurban lines also served as a vital link to the outside world for shippers that had not been reached by the steam railroads. Freight became an important source of additional revenue for most lines. Freight motors hauling strings of trailers were common on night runs when passenger usage was low. Some of the larger freight motors were equipped with 'knuckle' couplers compatible with those used on the steam lines and the exchange of freight cars with them allowed many small businesses along the lines to grow and prosper. Electric locomotives were even used in special applications where moving heavy railroad freight cars was all in a day's work.
The Museum is fortunate to have examples of electric freight equipment in its collection.
Use the quick links below to learn more about each piece.
*Built by Niles Car & Manufacturing Company in 1907 as Coach 141, rebuilt as Motor 42 by LSE in 1929
Click an image to enlarge it
Freight Motor 42 and a trailer operate on an unusual daylight run, White flags flags flying to indicate it's an extra. The photo was taken two stops west of Clague Road on the double track portion of the line to Lorain. (Museum Collection)
Here is another Photo of 42 in service. (Museum Collection)
This photo shows 42 at a residence east of Sandusky after the demise of the Lake Shore. (Museum Collection)
Lake Shore Electric Freight Motor 42 and Steel Coach 181 are together again at NORM in this May of 2012 photo. Shaker Heights PCC 78 is on track 5 to the left. (B. C. Gage)
When Community Traction took over streetcar operations in Toledo in 1921, Toledo Traction Light & Power retained the Acme Power Plant on the banks of the Maumee River which it built in 1918. Selling electricity to the growing city and having shed itself of money-losing transit operations, it would become the Toledo Edison Company. The Acme plant had been using a steeple cab locomotive built by the General Electric Company to shift hopper cars of ash and coal and in 1924 found itself in need of addional motive power. Turning to the Differential Steel Car Company, a manufacturer of electric railway work equipment in nearby Findlay, a locomotive of similar design was requested.
The locomotive was constructed using the frame and other parts from a work car Differential had originally constructed for the Toledo Railway & Light Company. The body style was copied from the steeple cab locomotive already in service at the plant and incorporated brake components from Westinghouse and electrical components from General Electric. In later years part of the locomotive's motor control circuit burned out, causing it to leap forward when accelerating and earning it the nick-name “Leapin’ Lena.”
Differential tried to enter the locomotive market with the new model, but the electric railway industry was in decline and no additional orders were recieved, making Toledo Edison Company Steeple Cab Locomotive #2 both the prototype and the only production unit built. The Museum acquired the locomotive in 2005.
TEC 2 Specifications:
50 Ton Steeple Cab
Differential Steel Car Company, Findlay, Ohio
Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Railway Box Trailer 512 is typical of the many freight trailers that carried milk and other farm products to big cities like Cleveland from outlying areas. The cars also supplied farmers with everything from seed and farming implements to small machinery. It is likely that 512 passed over the roadbed where our main line will be constructed many times. It is the only surviving Southwestern car in our collection.
Box Trailer 464 was part of a set of five cars of this type built by the Lake Shore Electric at their Sandusky, Ohio shop facility. In addition to the usual side doors these cars were equipped with large doors at one end for the loading of automobiles. Frequent visitors to both Akron and Detroit the cars carried tires from the former to the latter and automobiles to various points along the route on the return trip, contributing to the line's eventual demise. Ironically the nascent automobile industry had found the interurban freight service faster and more reliable than the parallel steam railroads.