Tens of years ago, I studied history. I learned that not only glamorous objects have to tell what was and what happened, but those in the backyards, hidden and forgotten, were of great importance. Interurban freight cars were of this. Electric interurbans railways were primarily passenger carriers. The freight business came lately. And only in the Midwestern area freight grew to a major business for interurban lines, and this only for 20 years.
Remnants of a Cincinnati and Lake Erie boxcar - © Photo Steven Greenup
Freight was carried mainly in box motor cars, hauling box trailers. If the big box motors were relatively well documented and photographed, the trailers were not. So I start what I tell "boxcar archeology". Searching remnants and documents, and bringing them together for a bigger picture. With a help and encouragement from attentive blog readers, Steven Greenup from Ohio, and Charlie Pitts from Boston.
This freight trailers were probably not welcomed by the contemporary citizen during their active lifetime, when they rumbled through the streets. But once stored for demolition, some early enthusiasts took photos or made drawings, as the famous Fritz Hardendorf.
Some car bodies were sold and reused as farm barns. Made mainly from wood, only very few survived more than 30 years. Just enough time for some enthusiasts to shot photos and to take some notes.
Cincinnati and Lake Erie boxcar #3353 - 0-scale model - © Photo and model Charlie Pitts
I will start the "boxcar archeology" with this specific cars of the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad and their sister cars with clerestory roofs. Not to forget their original version, when owned by the legendary Ohio Electric Railways. But all this details are for the next blog message ...