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Electric Railway Freight Equipment
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Electric Railway Freight Equipment

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.

Quick Links:

Lake Shore Electric Railway Freight Motor # 42

Lake Shore Electric 42 is a freight motor that was built by the line from retired Niles Coach 141 in 1929, 141 was originally built in 1907. The LSE removed the seats, sheathed the sides with wood and installed large loading doors in the center of the car. Re-purposing retired equipment in this way was a common practice on many lines. The car was retired from service in 1937. Stripped of its running gear, the body was sold to a private owner and moved to a residence east of Sandusky, Ohio.

The Owner took very good care of the car over the years and in early 1998 NORM acquired it and move to our Museum site.

LSE 42 Specifications:

Type:    Electric Freight Equipment

Description:    Single End, Double Truck, Railroad Roof, Wood Motor

Builder:    Lake Shore Electric Railway*

Year Built:    1929*

Retired:    1937

Aquired by NORM:    1999

Dimensions:    Length: 50ft. 11in., Width: 8ft. 7in., Height: 12ft. 11in.

Weight:    73,600 lbs.


Lines Served On:    Lake Shore Electric Railway

*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)

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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:

Type:     Electric Work Equipment

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Wood Motor

Builder:    G. C. Kuhlman Car Company, Cleveland, Ohio

Year Built:    1924

Retired:    1985

Aquired by NORM:    2009

Dimensions:    Length: 53ft., Width: 8ft. 10in., Height: 8ft. 10in.

Weight:    90,000 lbs.


Controls:    2 WH HL-337P

Trucks:    Brill 27MCB

Motors:    4 WH 562

Brakes:    WAB

Compressor:    2 WH D3F

Lines Served On:    Michigan Electric Ry - 20(?) / Northern Ohio Traction - 1078 / Cleveland Interurban Railroad - 78 / Shaker Heights Rapid Transit - X78 and OX / Cleveland Transit System - OX / RTA - OX / Columbia Park & Southwestern - OX (Trolleyville)

Click an image to enlarge it

This 1966 photo shows the car with its original roof configuration at the Shaker's Kingsbury Run shops in 1966. Looks like it and flat x12 are on defoliation duty. (B. Hays)

This late 1960's photo shows the car on the Shaker line pushing two hopper cars. The rebiult roof is visible in this photo. (Museum Collection)

This photo shows the car in storage at the RTA's Tower City Station complex in December of 2009. The passing LRV in the background operates on the former Shaker lines. (S. Heister)

This interior photo shows the various racks of equipment and supplies used for line maintenance. (S. Heister)

September of 2013 finds the car safely indoors in the McCarthy Carhouse at NORM. (B. C. Gage)

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Toledo Edison Company Steeple Cab Locomotive # 2

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:

Type:    Electric Locomotive

Description:    50 Ton Steeple Cab

Builder:    Differential Steel Car Company, Findlay, Ohio

Year Built:    1924


Aquired by NORM:    2005

Dimensions:    Length: 36ft., Width: 9ft. 5in., Height: 11ft. 4in.

Weight:    107,000 lbs.


Controls:    GE K64BR

Trucks:    Differential Arch Bar

Motors:    4 GE-57

Brakes:    WH SA2

Compressor:    WH D3

Lines Served On:    Acme Power Plant, Toledo, Ohio

Click an image to enlarge it

This photo shows Toledo Edison Company 2 in service at the Acme plant. (Museum Collection)

Here is another photo of the locomotive at the plant. Note the offset mounting of the two trolley poles. (Museum Collection)

This photo shows the body of the locomotive arriving at the Museum by truck in the fall of 2005. (S. Heister)

Spring of 2015 finds TEC 2 on display in front of the McCarthy Carhouse. (B. C. Gage)

Differential Car Company advertisement. (Museum Collection)

To see a video of Toledo Edison Locomotive #2 arriving at the Museum visit NORM Home Movies at 

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Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Railway Box Trailer # 512

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.

CS&C 512 Specifications:

Type:    Electric Freight Equipment

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Wood Box Trailer

Acquired by NORM:    1988

Dimensions:    Length: 53ft. 1in., Width: 8ft. 8in., Height: 12ft. 5in.

Trucks:    Shop

Lines Served On:    Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Railway

Click an image to enlarge it

Here the trailer is seen on track 1 outside the Bennett Carhouse mounted on shop trucks. (Museum Collection)

This photo from August of 2002 shows a side view of the car. (B. C. Gage)

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Lake Shore Electric Railway Box Trailer # 464

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.

LSE 464 Specifications:

Type:    Electric Freight Equipment

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Wood Trailer

Builder:    Lake Shore Electric Railway, Sandusky, Ohio

Year Built:    1919


Acquired by NORM:    1979

Dimensions:    Length: 54ft., Width: 8ft. 6in.

Weight:    38,500 lbs.


Lines Served On:    Lake Shore Electric Railway

Click an image to enlarge it

Trailer 469, another car of the same series, heads up a line of cars at one of the LSE's yards. The cars were run in trains. This photo shows the closed end. (Museum Collection)

This May 2009 photo shows car 464 at NORM with its end doors open. The car is in remarkable shape after spending most of the last 80 years outside. (B. C. Gage)

Here is the reverse view showing the closed end. (B. C. Gage)

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Last updated 06/15/2015