Railroad owned car ferries

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Railroad owned car ferries
Posted by passengerfan on Sunday, December 29, 2013 10:07 AM

I began doing some research on railroads that operated car ferries. I do not include those railroads like that operated tugs with barges. I have been able to discover that they were operated in Canada the US and Mexico on both coasts and of course the Great Lakes. The railroads I have found that operated car ferries were the CPR and CNR in Canada, In the US I found Ann Arbor, Grand Trunk, C&O, NP, and SP There must be more so lets see how many there actually were. 

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Posted by henry6 on Sunday, December 29, 2013 10:48 AM

You're right, Passengerfan, there were many....crossing rivers and streams in the South and West as well...even the Mississippi before and after the bridges.  Many were short line or branch line railroad but many of all classes were done...up into the mid 20th Century too!   And there are many words written  that a Google or Bing search or a trip through Trains' index will find.  

The PRR had a car ferry operation in NY harbor: the passenger train the Federal from Washington, DC to Boston, was transported whole from Jersey City to the New Haven in the Bronx before the short lived inland route across Hudson River on the Poughkeepsie Bridge followed by the Hudson River Tunnels became reality.  

The largest had to have been the Sealand Lines of the mid 20th Century along the Atlantic a Gulf Coasts as well as to and from Europe (I think).

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by erikem on Sunday, December 29, 2013 11:40 AM

The Oakland Antioch & Eastern / Sacramento Northern operated a car ferry between Mallard and Chipps from ~1913 to the early 50's.

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Posted by timz on Sunday, December 29, 2013 3:13 PM

Which reminds us of WP's freight carferry across San Francisco Bay.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, December 29, 2013 9:52 PM

Mackinaw Transit (jointly owned by NYC, PRR, and the Soo) operated carferries across the Straits of Mackinac between the two peninsulars of Michigan into the 1980s.  The Wabash had a carferry across the Detroit River.  B&O operated across Lake Ontario from the Rochester area.  B&LE, NYC/TH&B and PRR/CP all had carferry operations across Lake Erie.  The main purpose of the Ontario and Erie carferries was to transport coal to southern Canada.

The former C&O steam carferry Badger still operates seasonally out of Ludington, MI, but for only highway vehicles now.

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Posted by erikem on Monday, December 30, 2013 1:08 AM

timz

Which reminds us of WP's freight carferry across San Francisco Bay.

Was that a carferry or a car float (barge pushed by a tug)?

AT&SF and NWP  ran car floats on SF bay. The Milw ran car floats from Seattle to Port Townsend.

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, December 30, 2013 8:26 AM

Define "ferry".  In my mind I interpreted the concept to be one of a movement of singular consists being moved at once, i.e. the Federal as a passenger train, and Sealand trains as loads; and I consider tug and barge in this case to be a ferry operation.  Others may use the term "ferry" to mean a single vessel to make a movement without need of tugs.  In other words, I would  consider car floats as part of a movement of a train as a ferry in the broadest sense.

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, December 30, 2013 8:41 AM

henry6
Define "ferry".

I suggest a marine vessel with its own power - not pushed by a tug.

SP and Sacramento Northern had ferry operations across Carquinez Straight east of San Francisco, with SNs lasting until 1954.

Missouri-Illinois(MP) had a car ferry operation across the Mississippi between Ilmo IIl. and St. Genevieve Mo. until about 1960.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, December 30, 2013 10:11 AM

The West India Fruit & Steamship Co. operated carferries between Florida and Cuba until 1961.  There is also a carferry operation (CG Railway, I believe) across the Gulf between Mobile and Coatzacoalcos.

Incan Ships operated an open-deck carferry on Lake Superior between Duluth and Thunder Bay.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by passengerfan on Monday, December 30, 2013 10:15 AM

I define car ferry as self propelled. Lets take this a step further and where possible provide the name of these car ferries. The first one that comes to mind is the CPR Princess of Vancouver operated between Vancouver and Nanaimo  on Vancouver Island 

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, December 30, 2013 10:22 AM

There was one across Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk to the Delmarva Peninsula...PRR  O&O I believe.

RIDEWITHMEHENRY is the name for our almost monthly day of riding trains and transit in either the NYCity or Philadelphia areas including all commuter lines, Amtrak, subways, light rail and trolleys, bus and ferries when warranted. No fees, just let us know you want to join the ride and pay your fares. Ask to be on our email list or find us on FB as RIDEWITHMEHENRY (all caps) to get descriptions of each outing.

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Posted by erikem on Monday, December 30, 2013 12:40 PM

The OA&E/SN carferry was the Ramon.

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Posted by BigJim on Monday, December 30, 2013 6:19 PM

henry6

There was one across Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk to the Delmarva Peninsula...PRR  O&O I believe


 A Little (Creek) info is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Coast_Railroad

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Posted by passengerfan on Monday, December 30, 2013 6:48 PM

CN operated car ferries from North Sydney NS to Port A Basque NFLD. These were certain standard gauge cars that when delivered to the island retrucked with narrow gauge trucks to continue the trip across Newfoundland to there final destination. The standard gauge trucks that came off the cars were stored and reunited with the same car they came from when they left the Island. The CN also operated Rail car ferry service to Prince Edward Island until the new causeway was constructed from the mainland to PEI. On the west coast there used to be a ferry that operated either from Vancouver or New Westminster to Alaska and that ferry was named Alaska. Not sure whether it was operated by the State of Alaska or the Alaska Railroad. There is a large number that operated upon the Great Lakes by the Ann Arbor, Green Bay & Western, C&O, Grand Trunk and several others. I believe there is still service operating between Louisiana and Mexico.  

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 2:01 AM

Any one wishing to receive photos of the "Newfy Bullet" can contact me at daveklepper@yahoo.com.

CN service to Prince Edward Island ceased and tracks torn up more than ten years before the construction of the causeway, a causeway with a road but no railroad track.   I do not know if there is even a provision for a railroad track.

I rode the Charlottetowjn - Munction mixed train, including the car ferry move, around 1964 or 1965 in connection with my work on the Fathers of the Confederation Theatre in Charl;ottetown.

At Port au Basque, Merchants Dispatch (MDT) reefers also swapped trucks.

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Posted by KCSfan on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 5:36 AM

Two cross Mississippi car ferry operations come to mind. The IC had one between Lula, MS and Helena, AR and on the Natchez Route there was on between Natchez, MS and Vidalia, LA which was owned by either the L&A or the Mississippi Central.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:53 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

The West India Fruit & Steamship Co. operated carferries between Florida and Cuba until 1961.  There is also a carferry operation (CG Railway, I believe) across the Gulf between Mobile and Coatzacoalcos.

Incan Ships operated an open-deck carferry on Lake Superior between Duluth and Thunder Bay.

I vaguely remember in a Key West museum seeing a model of a carferry that connected the FEC to Cuba.  Is that the predecessor of the West India Fruit & Steamship Co. ?

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Posted by NDG on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 6:36 PM

Altho' NOT a Train Ferry per se, S.S. Cariboo WAS owned by the Newfoundland Railway and sunk by U-69 in October 1942 with great loss of life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Caribou

Until the Canso Causeway was completed to Cape Breton Island in 1955, there were train ferrys operating between Cape Breton and the mainland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canso_Causeway

First train across handled by CN 2639 a 2-8-0 on a work train.

Aeons ago we rode the PEI Passenger behind GE 70 Tonners ex Charlottetown, the coach going thru to the mainland on the train ferry. We examined the marine steam engine below decks on the way over.

Lovely.

NDG

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Posted by timz on Thursday, January 2, 2014 2:46 PM

erikem

timz
WP's freight carferry across San Francisco Bay.

Was that a carferry or a car float (barge pushed by a tug)?

The latter, then the former. I'll see when they switched. (Turns out the Las Plumas arrived in 1957.)

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Posted by timz on Thursday, January 2, 2014 6:41 PM

KCSfan
Two cross Mississippi car ferry operations come to mind.

Yeah, forgot about that ferry that carried T&P (?) passenger trains across the Mississippi until... 1947?

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Posted by narig01 on Saturday, January 4, 2014 2:58 AM
I was poking around from where others had provided links and found this in Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_ferry#United_States

My apologies for not being able to provide a link (If someone could fix thx)

The above directs to the US car floats and ferries but the article covers the entire world.

Rgds IGN
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Posted by NorthWest on Saturday, January 4, 2014 4:51 PM
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Posted by Bobster on Saturday, January 4, 2014 7:42 PM

Greetings,

  I have at least two names for you,   I rode on the Ann Arbor SS Viking across Lake Michigan one August evening back in 1976.  Frankfort/Elberta, Michigan to Kewaunee, Wisconsin.  Another ship was tied up near shore further in the harbor.  I believe it was the Arthur K. Atkinson, named for the Wabash RR president.   Some time after the ship departed we watched the sunset over the bow and went in and got a burger.  I tried to sleep on the chrome framed black vinyl seats.  Got to Kewaunee maybe around 11:30PM to midnight.  There was another car ferry tied up on the town side of the inlet with either AA or C&O on the funnel.  I can't remember now but it was all lit up.   

  I remember seeing empty flat cars at Elberta.  Everything near the docks seemed old and worn.  I think there were fuel tanks and a low hill on the south edge of the harbor.  I think the flatcars were probably buffers so the engine didn't get on the ship or loading ramp.  Train cars went on first, then motor vehicles and 2 bicycles (us).  Crossing took about 4 hours total.   We rolled the bicycles off and stood aside and let most of the vehicles past before we started riding into the darkness.  Found a picnic table on our left before we got to the main road into town and crashed out there for the night. 

Happy researching,

Bob

Modeling in N scale: Rock Island freight and passenger, with a touch of  the following;  Wabash Cannon Ball,  CB&Q passenger, and ATSF freight and passenger.   I played in Peoria (Heights).

 

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Posted by tbdbitl on Sunday, January 5, 2014 9:22 AM

The FEC ran a ferry from Key West to Havana from around 1915 until 1935, when the rail link to the keys was destroyed by a hurricane.  The service was the moved to Port Everglades and continued until 1961.  

The  West India Fruit company was a steamship line but it owned rail cars, so not sure if it falls within the scope of your question or not.  

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Posted by johnw29 on Sunday, January 19, 2014 5:13 PM

The Missouri Pacific RR operate a ferry between Natchez, Miss. and Vidalia, La. between 1965 and 1982. The Natchez & Southern RR operated the ferry until 1965 when it was purchased by the MoPac RR. I worked for the MPRR in Natchez between 1967 and until 1982 . The station in Natchez was finally closed in 1985.

John

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Posted by icrr2613 on Saturday, October 25, 2014 12:10 PM
The Illinois Central had several ferry operations. One ferry crossed the Ohio River between Paducah, KY, and Brookport, IL. This ferry operated until early 1918 when the newly-formed USRA dictated that the IC move its trains to the new Paducah & Illinois Railroad bridge at Metropolis, IL. Also, the IC operated a car ferry across the Ohio River between Cairo, IL, and East Cairo, KY. This ferry was abandoned in 1889 when the Cairo bridge was completed. And, until the late 1960s (or early 1970s) the IC still operated a ferry across the Mississippi River to connect with Helena/West Helena, AR.
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Posted by KCSfan on Monday, October 27, 2014 6:58 AM

 

icrr2613
The Illinois Central had several ferry operations. One ferry crossed the Ohio River between Paducah, KY, and Brookport, IL. This ferry operated until early 1918 when the newly-formed USRA dictated that the IC move its trains to the new Paducah & Illinois Railroad bridge at Metropolis, IL. Also, the IC operated a car ferry across the Ohio River between Cairo, IL, and East Cairo, KY. This ferry was abandoned in 1889 when the Cairo bridge was completed. And, until the late 1960s (or early 1970s) the IC still operated a ferry across the Mississippi River to connect with Helena/West Helena, AR.

The IC's Y&MV also had a car ferry at Vicksburg until 1930 when the Mississippi River Bridge was completed there.

Mark

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, October 27, 2014 11:44 AM
There were two ferries across the Mississippi between Natchez and New Orleans. The LR&N had a ferry between Angola and Filston, and the NOT&M had one at Baton Rouge. After the bridge was built at Baton Rouge (I am not sure when), the L&A abandoned the ferry upstream, and used the T&P from Torras Jct. to Lobdell Jct., just across from Baton Rouge.

Johnny

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Posted by SSW9389 on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:43 AM

The Cotton Belt (as T&StL, StLA&T or, SSW) operated a car ferry between Birds Point, Missouri and Cairo, Illinois. When their incline washed out in a 1909 flood operations were transferred to the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern (Missouri Pacific) operating between the same two points.  

Another Cotton Belt ferry operation (all SSW) was between Gray's Point, Missouri and Gale, Illinois from 1898 to 1905 when the Thebes bridge was completed.

COTTON BELT: Runs like a Blue Streak!
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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:27 PM
Two PRR ferries
Captain Edward Richardson Nofolk to the Delmarva peninsula across Chesapeake bay. Can't recall the Delmarva town for the ferry slip. Still operated but stripped of its propulsion and elevated wheelhouse. Built at a Philadelphia shipyard in the mid 1950s.
Chief Wawatam across straights of Macinaw from Macinaw city to St. IGnace. Coal fired and looked like a ferry.

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