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 several 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)
Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company Freight Motor # 1078
Known by most as "The 0X", Freight Motor 1078 was built in 1924 by the G. C. Kuhlman Car Company as a 200 series freight motor for the Michigan Electric Railway. It was a regular visitor to Cleveland for the line and later for the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company of Akron, which purchased it in 1929 after the former ceased operations. The Northern Ohio renumbered it 1078 and added it to their busy fleet of freight motors. It would serve in this capacity until abandonment in 1932. The car was then acquired by the Cleveland Interurban Railroad and placed in service as Locomotive X78 on the company's Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line. There it was used to haul hopper cars of ballast and other construction materials on the still expanding lines.
In 1948 the Shaker took delivery of a set of new PCC cars numbered 71 through 95*, requiring the re-numbering of X78 to 0X. It soon became known as "The OX". In the late 1960s the Shaker retired their Line Car 101* from service and 0X was pressed into service as a replacement. The roof of the car was rebuilt with a flat section with trap door and ladder and a moveable platform section to provide better access to the overhead lines and supporting structures. For many years The 0X brought Santa Claus to the annual Shaker Square Holiday lighting ceremony and the car faithfully serviced the Line's overhead system into the RTA era.
Although the RTA retired the car in 1984, it continued active service as a work car at Trolleyville USA until the Museum closed its doors in 2005. The car was acquired by NORM in 2009. Future plans call for it to be restored to its Freight Motor status as NOT&L 1078 and placed in service on our demonstration railroad.
*Shaker Heights PCC 78 and Line Car 101 are also part of the Museum's collection.
NOT&L 1078 Specifications:
Electric Work Equipment
Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Wood Motor
G. C. Kuhlman Car Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Steeple Cab Locomotive 2 was built in 1924 for the Toledo Edison Company by the Differential Car Company of Findlay, Ohio. Toledo Edison put the locomotive into service at its Acme Power Plant moving hopper cars of ash and coal. Prior to purchasing the locomotive the company had been using another steeple cab built by the General Electric Company. In need of additional motive power, they turned to the Differential Car Company in nearby Findlay, Ohio. A locomotive of similar design was requested.
Differential built the locomotive using the frame and other parts from an earlier Differential work car belonging to Toledo Railways and Light Company. The body style was copied from the GE steeple cab already in service at the plant. It has electrical components from both Westinghouse and General Electric. In later years some of the points in motor the controller burned out, causing the locomotive to leap forward when speeding up. It was thus named “Leapin’ Lena” by Toledo Edison crews.
Differential tried to enter the locomotive market with the new model, but no further orders were forthcoming, making TE 2 both the prototype and the only unit produced. 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.