Northern Ohio Railway Museum Railroad Freight Equipment Collection
Throughout the interurban era many of the lines of northern Ohio also served as a vital link to the outside world for shippers that had not been reached by the steam railroads and the exchange of freight cars became an important source of additional revenue. Box motors or electric locomotives with compatible “knuckle” couplers hauled these cars to customers’ sidings. The Museum has several examples of this type of equipment including box cars, flat cars, a tanker and of course a caboose. Use the quick links below to learn more about each of these interesting pieces of railway equipment.
Caboose 90960 was built in 1929 by the Hocking Valley Railroad for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. It is typical of the hundreds of wood cabooses used by the C&O and other railroads in the northern Ohio area.
In 1976 the C&O donated this caboose to the Shaker Square Assoc. to be auctioned off at their annual art show. It was purchased by the president of the company that at that time owned Cleveland’s Terminal Tower. He had it moved to the parking lot under the terminal where it was seen by hundreds of commuters each day. In 1979, Sohio (now BP) was looking for a site for its new headquarters building. One of the prospective sites was on Huron, behind the Terminal Tower complex. To prepare for this possibility, the caboose had to go. It was offered to any non-profit group that would take it and NORM did just that. The caboose was acquired and moved to the museum in late 1979.
Here is C&O caboose 90960 on the south side of Buffham Road soon after it arrived at the museum. The photo was taken at NORM's first annual picnic in August of 1979. (Museum Collection)
This photo shows the caboose inside the Bennett Carhouse. (Museum Collection)
The C&O covered the caboose with plywood In the early 1960's, as it is seen in the previuos photos. Its 1950's paint scheme can be seen in this photo, taken in May of 2005 after the removal of the plywood by museum members. (S. Heister)
Although this tank car probably never ran on an electric railroad it represents many that did and it does have a “back door” electric railway connection. Cities Service Pipe Line Company was part of the larger Cities Service Company; a holding company. This larger company had an electric utilities division among its holdings. This division owned the Lake Shore Electric interurban from 1927 until abandonment in 1938.
Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Railroad Box Car # 419217
Car 419217 is a typical steam railroad boxcar from the first half of the 20th century. It is called an outside-braced boxcar because the zig-zag braces that make up the side structure are on the outside of the car, and the flat boards inside the braces are the side wall. By the late 1960s the last cars of this design were being withdrawn from interchange with other railroads. Some cars stayed on home rails in work train or company service. This car was used to store sand at an engine terminal. All locomotives, be they steam, diesel or trolley, use sand to prevent powered wheels from slipping by spraying it on the rails just ahead of the wheels.
Flat Car # 70573 was built by the Bettendorf Car Company of Bettendorf, Iowa. It is a typical flatcar that would have been built from about 1910 to 1930, with a steel frame and a wood deck. The pockets on the sides can be used to tie things down, or hold stakes to contain cargo. This car operated on an electrified division of the Illinois Central railroad serving South Chicago. This division, which operated on 1,500 volts DC (trolleys use only 600 volts DC) ran electrified freight and passenger service on the south side of Chicago. An Indiana interurban, the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend, used the same tracks. Electric passenger service continues on the line today with modern cars as the South Shore Line, which is operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
Ohio Edison steel flat car # 100 was built in 1923 by the Ralston Steel Car Company of Columbus, Ohio. It was used by the Ohio Edison Company to transport heavy transformers and other large equipment that is commonly used at power generation facilities. Since arriving at the Museum it has been given a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint by the NORM crew.
OEX 100 Specifications:
Steel Flat Car
Ralston Steel Car Company, Columbus, Ohio
Boxcar 499369 was built in 1912 as a standard Pennsylvania X23 outside braced boxcar. After World War II, this was one of hundreds that were converted to work cars. These cars were all painted battle ship gray (the railroad took advantage of the glut of war surplus paint) and were used for anything from bunk cars to tool cars to kitchens. The car was a part of the collection at the Grand Rapids Electric Railway museum and was acquired by NORM in 1999.
PRR 499369 Specifications:
X23 Class, Outside Braced, Box Car
Western Steel Car & Foundry Company, Chicago, Illinois
This photo shows the car outside of the Bennett Carhouse at NORM in 2005 after restoration. The interior has been outfitted to serve as the Museum Store. (S. Heister)
The Museum Store is open for business in this August 2008 photo taken in the McCarthy Carhouse. (B. C. Gage)
499369 on the west loop in the Spring of 2014 during a car shuffle. To the left are Toledo Edison 2 and Detroit & Toledo Shore Line 419217, to the right and behind is Shaker Heights Rapid Transit 0X. (S. Heister)