TrainWeb.org Facebook Page
Interurban Railway Passenger Equipment
Museum Information Museum Events Our Collection Museum Store Become A Member Get Directions

Interurban Railway Passenger Equipment

Perhaps the most common type of interurban railway car was the coach, a single unit powered car made to carry passengers. Some coaches also contained a separate smoking compartment for gentleman passengers. Others coaches, known as combines, had a small freight compartment at one end for mail, newspapers and small packages. Operating as single cars or in short trains, the interurban cars were capable of negotiating the tight corners of the street railways as well as the over the hill and through the dale routes common on the rural lines. These advantages allowed them to offer their services in areas that the steam lines could not economically or practically reach. For many small communities the interurban cars provided the only dependable connection to the outside world, offering access to shopping, theaters and other attractions of he big cities.

The Museum is fortunate to have several examples of interurban passenger equipment in its collection. Use the quick links below to learn more about each piece.


Quick Links:


J. Spangler Collection




Lake Shore Electric Wood Coaches # 149 & 151

Lake Shore Electric Coaches 149 and 151 were part of a group of 20 cars of similar design built by the the Niles Car Company in 1905 and 1906. The cars incorporated then-new multiple-unit controls which allowed a single motorman to operate several cars as a train, an important plus for the busy Lake Shore. At delivery the cars were nearly identical with a seating capacity of 52 at nearly 51 feet in length. By 1923 the line found itself in need of cars with a higher seating capacity to handle the increasing traffic on its profitable Lorain-Cleveland service. Cars 143 and 149 went into the company shops and were lengthened to 60 feet, allowing the addition of 12 more seats. The higher capacity cars were frequently used in "School Bus" service in Elyria. In the case of 149 this shop surgery weakened the car’s structure, allowing it to twist and bend as it ran down the track at speed. In honor of the car's new operating characteristics it was given the nickname "Flexible Flyer," the name of a popular kid’s sled in the trolley era which was steered by twisting its runners to the left or right.

Both cars served faithfully until Lake Shore’s demise in 1938. On May 14th of that year car 151 became the last wooden interurban to depart from Cleveland on a scheduled run. After abandonment it was used as a work shop in Norwalk, Ohio.

LSE 149 & 151 Specifications:

Type:    Interurban Car

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

Builder:    Niles Car & Manufacturing Company, Niles, Ohio

Year Built:    149 - 1907*, 151 - 1906

Retired:    1938

Acquired by NORM:    149 - 2004, 151 - 1999

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

Weight:    75,000 lbs.

Seats:    52

Trucks:    149 - Baldwin 7830, 151 - Shop

Motors:    149 - 2 WH567 165 HP, 151 - N/A

Lines Served On:    Lake Shore Electric Railway

Status:    Restorable Car Bodies, 149 rebuilt 1923, length: 60', weight: 82,700, seats: 64

*149 rebuilt 1923, length: 60', weight: 82,700, seats: 64



Lake Shore Electric # 149


Click an image to enlarge it


Car 149 on display at Lyons, Ohio before it was acquired by NORM. (Museum Collection)



Fall of 2004 finds 149 waiting for a tow to the carhouse shortly after arriving at the Museum. (S. Heister)


This photo shows the car awaiting restoration in the Bennett Carhouse in the summer of 2005. (B. C. Gage)


Lake Shore Electric # 151


Click an image to enlarge it


Car 151 in its later life as a workshop in Norwalk, Ohio. (Museum Collection)

This photo shows 151 outside of the Bennett Carhouse at NORM in the summer of 2005. (S. Heister)

To the right is a view of the interior woodwork of 151 showing the clerestory roof details. Note the handles hanging down for opening the upper windows, important for ventilation in days before air conditioning was common on transit cars. The seat in the photo is from another type of car. (B. C. Gage)

Back to Our Collection    Back to Top



Lake Shore Electric Steel Coach # 181

Lake Shore Electric Steel Coach 181 was part of a set of twelve cars ordered from the Jewett Car Company in 1918. Constructed over a decade after wood body cars like 149 and 151, the car has a frame and sides made of steel and a rounded arch style wood roof. The newer style steel cars were equipped with four 140 horsepower electric motors each and seated 64 passengers. Carrying only 9,900 additional pounds at their 60 foot length, their extra power and higher seating capacity made them a welcome addition to the Lake Shore's busy passenger fleet.

Coach 181 remained in active service until the Lake Shore Electric’s abandonment in 1938. It was used as a cottage west of Vermilion, Ohio for many years. It was acquired by the Museum in 1985.

LSE 181 Specifications:

Type:    Interurban Car

Description:    Single End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Coach

Builder:    Jewett Car Company, Newark, Ohio

Year Built:    1918

Retired:    1938

Acquired by NORM:    1985

Dimensions:    Length: 60ft. 2in., Width: 8ft. 8in., Height: 12ft. 7in.

Weight:    84,900 lbs.

Seats:    64

Lines Served On:    Lake Shore Electric Railway

Status:    Restorable Car Body


Click an image to enlarge it



181 waits for passengers at the Sandusky Ohio Depot in July of 1937. (J. Spangler Collection)

Spring of 2013 finds 181 outside the Bennett Carhouse at NORM awaiting restoration. Also in the photo are LSE Freight Motor 42 and CTS PCC 4230. (B. C. Gage)

The car is in remarkable shape after spending the last 75 years outdoors. We are fortunate that the previous owners took good care of it. (B. C. Gage)

Back to Our Collection    Back to Top



Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company Steel Coaches 1515 & 1519

Built in 1921 by the Kuhlman Car Company in Cleveland, these cars were part of the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company’s last order for new passenger equipment. They were appointed with the best accommodations available at the time. Placed into service on the Northern Ohio's busy Cleveland-Akron-Canton line, they quickly proved themselves a valuable addition to the line's passenger fleet.

In 1928 Car 1515 was among several cars of this series to receive a major rebuilding at the line's Kenmore Shops. In an effort to bolster dwindling ridership the cars were upgraded to Parlor type cars featuring faster and quieter motors, wide picture windows, plush seating and electrically cooled drinking water. The cars were frequently operated in multiple unit trains, announcing their premier service status with lighted “Northern Ohio Limited” drumhead signs at the rear like those used on the Steam Railroads.

Stationed out of the line's Silver Lake Junction shops, the cars were well maintained until the end of rail operations in 1932. An early addition to our collection, the car's Northern Ohio emblem has been incorporated into our Museum logo.

NOT&L 1515 & 1519 Specifications:

Type:    Interurban Car

Description:    Single End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Coach

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

Year Built:    1921*

Retired:    1932

Acquired by NORM:    1978

Dimensions:    Length: 55ft. 11in., Width: 8ft. 6in., Height: ft. in.

Weight:    71,980 lbs.

Seats:    58

Trucks:    1515 - Shop, 1519 - Brill 27MCB2

   

Lines Served On:    Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company

Status:    Restorable Car Bodies

*1515 rebuilt in 1929 by NOT&L shops


Click an image to enlarge it



This photo shows car 1519 in service on the Northern Ohio. (Museum Collection)

Car 1515 is back on the rails for a move to the museum grounds in this June 2013 photo. (Museum Collection)

Car 1515 spotted on track 5 next to the Bennett Barn. Note the wide windows, a result of the modernization the car received late in life. (B.C. Gage)

This fall 2010 photo finds 1519 in the McCarthy Carhouse at the Museum awaiting restoration. (B. C. Gage)

Back to Our Collection    Back to Top



Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Lightweight Coach # 303

Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Coach 303 was part of a set of cars built in 1924 by the St Louis Car Company for the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric Company, owners of a small northwestern Illinois interurban line that ran between its namesakes and offered connections to Chicago. When the line ceased operations in 1934 the Cleveland Interurban Railroad purchased seven of the cars and placed them in service on its Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line in anticipation of increased ridership following the completion of the Shaker Boulevard line extension from Warrensville Center Road to Green Road. Equipped with reversible seats and a separate smoking section, the cars became known as "Smokers" and later on the Shaker "Banker's Specials". Single unit, single man cars, their lightweight construction resulted in lower operating costs, contributing greatly to the Shaker Rapid’s surviving the Great Depression.

Operating in day tripper service on the Shaker until March of 1955, the cars were retired from service shortly before the new Cleveland Rapid Transit line's grand opening. Gerald Brookins bought four of the 300 series cars the following summer for use on his Columbia Park & Southwestern demonstration line under construction in Olmstead Township, Ohio (Trolleyville USA). The car received a cosmetic clean up and ran in service there for many years. 303 was acquired by NORM in 2009.


SHRT 303 Specifications:

Type:    Interurban Car

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Lightweight Coach

Builder:    St. Louis Car Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Year Built:    1924

Retired:    1955

Acquired by NORM:    2009

Dimensions:    Length: 36ft., Width: 9ft. 2in., Height: 10ft. 7in.

Weight:    36,000 lbs.

Seats:    52

Controls:    K35G

Trucks:    St. Louis 64E1B

Motors:    4 GE 265

Brakes:    SME M28

Compressor:    DH 16

Lines Served On:    Aurora Elgin & Fox River Railroad / Cleveland Interurban Railroad (Shaker Heights Rapid Transit) / Columbia Park & Southwestern

Status:    Under Restoration


Click an image to enlarge it



303 is seen here awaiting assignment along with several 1200 series cars at the line's Van Aken yard. (Museum Collection)

This photo shows Car 303 sporting white flags on the loop at Shaker Square while on a fantrip. (Bill Hermann Photo, S. Heister Collection)

This photo shows the car posing for a photograph in front of the Bennett Carhouse in January of 2010. (S. Heister)

In this July 2011 photo restoration work is underway on the coach end of the car. (B. C. Gage)

October of 2013 finds the reconstructed end of the car in new paint as restoration work continues. (B. C. Gage)

Back to Our Collection    Back to Top



Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Combine # 105

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway Combine 105 was part of a set of cars ordered in 1927 from the Kuhlman Car Company in an effort to revitalized the failing line. The cars were of steel construction with comfortable leather seating and were equipped with Tomlinson type couplers featuring pneumatic and electrical buss connections for multiple unit use. Of the set, seven were built as single end combines like 105, the rest were double ended coaches. The combines were built with the operator's compartment at the freight end with three standard windows, and a vestibule at the rear with two standard windows and a center train door to allow passage between cars. They were used in head end service in two and three car trains with the coaches and had no front couplers. In later years 105 was rebuilt for single man operation and the car's configuration was reversed, placing the freight section at the rear and vestibule at the front. These modifications included removing the train door on the new cab end and replacing it with a third center window and a curved dasher panel below similar to those on the line's popular Red Devil speedsters.

Combine 105 joined the Cincinnati & Lake Erie fleet when the line was formed by the consolidation of other failing lines in 1929. When the C&LE shut down, the car body of 105 was sold and used as a pottery shop and storage building across the street from the line's Morain, Ohio shops. The museum acquired the car body in 1977, it is the only interurban combine in our collection.

CH&D 105 Specifications:

Type:    Interurban Car

Description:    Single End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Combine

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

Year Built:    1927

Retired:    1939

Acquired by NORM:    1977

Dimensions:    Length: 54ft. 7in., Width: 8ft. 11in., Height: 12ft. 2in.

Weight:    57,380 lbs.

Seats:    48

Trucks:    Shop

Lines Served On:    Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway / Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad

Status:    Restorable Car Body


Click an image to enlarge it



This builder's photo shows Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Combine 100, another of the same series, at the Kuhlman Car Company in Cleveland when new. (Museum Collection)

This second builder's photo is an interior shot of 100 showing the plush leather seating in the smoker. (Museum Collection)

Combine 105 after its conversion to single-man operation at the line's Morain shops. (Museum Collection)

This photo shows 105 in front of the Hamilton, Ohio Post Office in the late '30s or early '40s. (Museum Collection)

105 in the McCarthy Carhouse in September of 2010. (B. C. Gage)

Back to Our Collection    Back to Top


*   *   *

Museum Information Museum Events Our Collection Museum Store Become A Member Get Directions



For questions or comments about N.O.R.M. please contact:
Walt Stoner
For questions or comments about this website please contact:
Brian Gage


Web space provided as a courtesy by Trainweb

Last updated 04/02/2015