• trolley freight service?

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by NRGeep
 
How common was this "back in the day?"
  by ExCon90
 
Fairly widespread.
Illinois Terminal; Chicago, South Shore & South Bend; and Pacific Electric all had freight operations similar to line-haul "steam" railroads. Others, more like trolley lines, were Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (and arguably that could belong in the first category); various lines in Indiana which were later merged to form the Indiana Railroad; I think both the Cedar Rapids & Iowa City and the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, both in Iowa, had freight service. There were plenty more in many parts of the country which probably had some sort of freight service but I can't say for certain. I'm sure you'll be hearing from others who can add some names to the list. As a parenthetical note, the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee had TOFC (piggyback) service back in the day.
  by mtuandrew
 
ExCon has a great list. As a general rule: town and city streetcar systems didn't offer freight except for occasional mail and baggage service, while interurban systems offered at least limited freight (mail and less-than-carload, either in combine cars or in single-unit freight cars.) Some of the largest, like Illinois Terminal, transitioned to hauling standard freight cars whether under the wire or by steam/diesel. Are you interested in a particular system, NRGeep?
  by TomNelligan
 
Off the top of my head, in northern New England the (original) Springfield Terminal Railway, Claremont Electric Railway, Atlantic Shore Line/York Utilities, and Aroostook Valley all operated carload freight service with steeple cab motors, interchanging with connecting steam railroads.

Many other New England trolley operators provided express and LCL freight service with box motors, including the Connecticut Company, which had an extensive network of package freight service supplementing its passenger operations with freight stations in all major cities along its routes. ConnCo also had a some limited interchange carload freight service in New Haven, Waterbury, and East Hartford and maybe one or two other places I'm not remembering at the moment.
  by frank754
 
The Laurel Line between Wilkes-Barre & Scranton also provided freight service, and here is a link to a nice old brochure advertising to potential businesses:

http://www.schoolbusgifts.com/LWYV.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by YamaOfParadise
 
The small company that picked up the small line in East Hartford after the NH dumped ConnCo provided (non-electric) service to Pratt & Whitney until '67. It ran right out of the East Hartford yard; the 1915 valuation map. for this section gives a pretty good idea of how they interconnected.
  by TomNelligan
 
The East Hartford spur to Pratt & Whitney was worked by the Connecticut Company up until the end, just as many other interurbans provided diesel freight service after they de-electrified. It was ConnCo's last rail operation and continued for about 20 years after the last ConnCo trolleys. Initially they used two wooden box motors that had been equipped with a diesel engine and a generator to power the traction motors. Both of them went to the Warehouse Point museum following retirement but I believe one was scrapped due to unrepairable body rot and the other remains there in rough shape. The box motors were replaced by a former New Haven RR GE 44-Tonner in Connecticut Company blue and gray (same colors as its buses in the 1960s), and when that died it was replaced by a leased NH 44-Tonner that ran in NH colors to the end of operations.
  by CarterB
 
Illinois Traction (Terminal) has a HUGE electric freight operation in Illinois. Steeple cabs, and many many box motors of the B, C, and D class locos.
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... _train.JPG" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr1200.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by ExCon90
 
I had a chance to check William D. Middleton's The Interurban Era in hopes that it might have a tabulation of how many lines offered freight service, but no such luck. However, he mentions that in 1925 interurban lines in the U. S. derived about $65 million in revenue from freight operations--in 1925 dollars, in an industry where typical passenger fares were counted in nickels and dimes--amounting to 15% of total revenues. He devotes an entire chapter to interurban freight operations, well worth reading if you can find a copy of the book.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone:

Chicago's CTA (and its predecessor CRT) ran a interesting electrified freight service on Chicago's North Side until
it was discontinued on April 30, 1973...

There was once interurban freight service run by the CNS&M and the CA&E which were also operated on parts of
CRT and later CTA's Chicago L routes...

There is a good overview and history of these interurban freight operations at:
http://www.chicago-l.org/operations/freight/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

MACTRAXX
  by mtuandrew
 
ExCon90 wrote:I had a chance to check William D. Middleton's The Interurban Era in hopes that it might have a tabulation of how many lines offered freight service, but no such luck. However, he mentions that in 1925 interurban lines in the U. S. derived about $65 million in revenue from freight operations--in 1925 dollars, in an industry where typical passenger fares were counted in nickels and dimes--amounting to 15% of total revenues. He devotes an entire chapter to interurban freight operations, well worth reading if you can find a copy of the book.
I'm reading that book now - excellent stuff. (I just wish there were more maps and graphs.)

Moderator's Note: Now that I'm thinking about it, this thread probably belongs in Fallen Flags: Trolley and Interurban Lines. Anyone have an objection to that?
  by ExCon90
 
No objection here--Fallen Flags is the right place.
  by mtuandrew
 
OK then - consider it done.

Side note: I want to see a four-truck freight motor in action, after seeing them in Middleton's book. That's something that no mainline diesel-powered freight can ever replicate nowadays.