Cincinnati & Lake Erie Interurban Freight Motor No. 646
I "found" this sitting in the yard at the Texas State Railroad in Rusk, TX and could have easily walked past it with just a nod and utterance of the word: "hmph". Curiosity got the best of me (as always) and, low and behold, an amazing story began to unfold:
Interurban lines weren’t designed to carry freight, however... "as interurban passenger traffic fell during the 1920s, the interurban lines turned to freight – long the source of most income for the steam railroads – to make up the gap in revenue. It was not an easy proposition. First, due to tight curves and narrow loading gauges, interchange of steam railroad freight cars was limited except for short stretches of track. This meant that the interurbans had to use freight cars specially designed for electric railway service." - Hickscarworks.blogspot.com
Cincinnati & Lake Erie Interurban freight motor No. 646, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1929. This handsome (trust me) interurban was used to haul freight where normally you'd only see interurbans and street cars. Two interurban freight trailers, among many, interestingly, can be found at the Texas State Railroad yard as well. No 646 was sold in 1940 to American Aggregates (rebuilt to diesel-electric with 2 x Cummins engines); assigned to Green Oaks, MI; later sold to Indiana Railway Museum and moved to French Lick, IN; sold again to Fort Worth Transportation Authority 1999 and moved to Fort Worth, TX where it was stripped of its trucks and motors which went under North Texas Traction 25. The body sold to Texas State Railroad in the 1990's and moved to Palestine, TX where it sits today.
A similar type of operation survives today, in the modern world, and can be seen in Iowa in an operation known as the Iowa Traction Railroad.