Railroads

Discover the powerful engines that opened up the American West to settlement and changed the commerce of a young growing nation.

Highlights

Allegheny Steam Locomotive, 1941

  Details

Allegheny Steam Locomotive, 1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Steam locomotive

Date Made

1941

Summary

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway's massive Allegheny, introduced in 1941, represents the peak of steam technology. Among the largest and most powerful steam locomotives ever built, it weighed 389 tons and could generate 7,500 horsepower. Just 11 years later, though, the C&O began pulling these giants from service. Diesel locomotives proved more flexible and less expensive.

Place of Creation

United States, Ohio, Lima 

Object ID

56.50.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Allegheny Steam Locomotive, 1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

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  Details

1924 Railroad Refrigerator Car, Used by Fruit Growers Express

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1924 Railroad Refrigerator Car, Used by Fruit Growers Express

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Refrigerator car

Date Made

March 1924

Summary

Modern refrigerated rail cars have mechanical cooling units, but well into the 20th century, ice cooled refrigerator cars like this one. Since 45-55 pounds of ice melted each hour, icing stations had to be located at regular intervals along the route, and adherence to strict schedules was necessary to prevent spoilage. The ability to ship meats and produce in refrigerator cars, far from their points of origin, greatly expanded both farmers' markets, and consumers' food choices.

Object ID

87.207.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

1924 Railroad Refrigerator Car, Used by Fruit Growers Express

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Passenger Coach Replica

  Details

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Passenger Coach Replica

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Passenger car (Railroad car)

Date Made

1925-1928

Summary

This recreation of a Civil War era Bangor and Aroostook day car offers insight into both railroad engineering and social interaction in nineteenth-century America. The car is almost completely constructed from wood the cheap, lightweight, and easily worked building material of choice in that period. Essentially one long room mounted on two swiveling four wheel trucks, it enables maximum passenger accommodation in a stable structure capable of negotiating the tight curves found on railroads in the United States. Open cars (in contrast to the small stagecoach-like compartments of European railroad vehicles) are frequently interpreted as embodying American democratic values. From a practical standpoint however, such cars not only allowed passengers to move about on long journeys but also greatly simplified railcar construction.

Object ID

25.80.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad Passenger Coach Replica

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Canadian Pacific Snowplow, 1923

  Details

Canadian Pacific Snowplow, 1923

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Railroad snowplow

Date Made

September 1923

Summary

This plow is one of thirty-six built by Canadian Pacific's Angus Shops in Montreal between 1920 and 1929. It is a 20-ton, wedge-type plow made for use on a single track. Built without a self-contained power source, one or two locomotives pushed this snowplow. Although they are seldom seen in action, snowplows are necessary to prevent the derailing of trains.

Place of Creation

Canada, Quebec, Montreal 

Object ID

91.400.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of CP Rail.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Canadian Pacific Snowplow, 1923

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Steam Locomotive "Sam Hill," 1858

  Details

Steam Locomotive "Sam Hill," 1858

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Steam locomotive

Date Made

1858

Summary

The design of this 1858 Rogers locomotive accommodates factors and limitations directly connected to the character of American railroads. Its flexible wheel arrangement, high power output, and light weight allow it to perform on the tight curves, steep grades, and hastily-constructed track that characterized cheaply-built American railroads. Cost cutting approaches a preference for cast iron components and the use of thin boiler plates contrast with lavish embellishments. These early locomotives balance practicality, safety, economy, and exuberance; they were rooted in advanced steam technology but were the result of practical problem solving by hands-on engineers. With further refinements, increased size, and a lot less ornament, this basic design remained workable almost until the end of the nineteenth century.

Object ID

28.680.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Steam Locomotive "Sam Hill," 1858

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Ingersoll-Rand Number 90 Diesel Locomotive, 1926

  Details

Ingersoll-Rand Number 90 Diesel Locomotive, 1926

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Diesel-electric locomotive

Date Made

1926

Summary

By the 1920s steam locomotive designers were applying scientific research in areas such as thermodynamics and metallurgy to the hard-won practical know-how that had driven locomotive development throughout the nineteenth century. At the same time, breakthroughs in other areas such as electrical engineering and internal combustion power were being recognized as having likely railroad motive power applications. This locomotive represents a convergence of those technologies. Its body houses an Ingersoll-Rand Diesel engine that drives a General Electric generator, which in turn powers electric motors mounted on the axles. The flexibility and economy of Diesel locomotives ultimately drove the demise of steam locomotives in the United States, but when this locomotive was built those advantages were not yet entirely apparent.

Object ID

70.96.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ingersoll-Rand Company.

Henry Ford Museum
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Transportation - Trains

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Ingersoll-Rand Number 90 Diesel Locomotive, 1926

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Railroads

Dewitt Clinton Steam Locomotive

This replica of an 1831 steam locomotive was built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  

Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Caboose

This 1925 caboose was the conductor's office, crew quarters, and observation deck to spot problems.  

Moving America

For a more than a hundred years, railroads moved people and goods across America.  

Getting Close

See the "iron horses" that helped America settle the West.