Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The “Moving” Story of LSE 38 – Part 1

When the Lake Shore Electric Railway went out of business in 1938, its assets, including the various numbered LSE cars (like No. 38 above) were sold off. Many of the cars that previously carried passengers and freight were converted into houses, cottages, diners and storage sheds.

So what became of No. 38 when its glory days on the Lake Shore Electric ended, and how did it end up in Avon Lake today?

Historian and archivist Dennis Lamont and Lake Shore Rail Maps Webmaster Drew Penfield kindly enlightened me on No. 38’s history and provided me with photos from various periods in its “life.”

So when was the car built? Drew provided some quick specs. He noted, “It was built in 1920 at the LSE shops in Sandusky. It weighed 42 tons, and had a cargo capacity of 48,000 pounds. It’s 55 feet long and originally had four 140 horsepower electric motors, for a total of 560 horsepower.

“No. 38 and its sisters were built by the LSE in 1920 because they were ramping up their freight business after World War I. As passenger ridership began to fall off in the 1920’s and especially the 1930’s, moving freight helped keep the LSE in business.”

Drew pointed out that No. 38 spent much of its working life making nightly freight runs between Cleveland and Detroit. 

Here are some photos showing No. 38 in the 1920s and 30s.

No. 38 at the freight depot in Cleveland circa 1927
No. 38 at Rocky River circa mid to late 1930s
No. 38 (at the far left) at the Rocky River Freight House circa 1936
Another Rocky River Freight House photo circa 1936
When the Lake Shore Electric Railway closed down, No. 38 would soon have a new home – in Vermilion.

Next: No. 38 in Retirement

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