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Mishap

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Accidents happen. Sometimes they’re intentional and made to look random. But let’s give everyone the benefit of doubt — one of the few occasions when doubt can work against the public good.

Photographs of train wrecks come up for auction frequently and are usually well beyond my budget. Images of trolley and interurban mishaps are less frequent and proportionally higher in value. That’s the way of the market. This one, of a car that ran along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie, had an opening bid of $35, too rich for a flunky faculty member. So I’m content to merely heist a jpeg.

Interurban cars like this one were made by a few companies. Their subtle differences are obvious to “rail fans” among whom I can’t yet count myself. But it does look like the sort of car the NITC would have run from Fort Dodge to Storm Lake: a hybrid, with a passenger area but also a portion set aside for freight. Despite these differences, their measurements were more or less standardized, from tack gauge to clearances, which might have useful for a company like the NITC whose “fleet” may have been mixed breed. The design of this car might have looked something like this:

Those clearances are important for designing station platforms or depots, especially like the NITC facility in downtown Agincourt, where the track passes through the building. Though, at 50’–6″, this would have protruded out each end of its shed and blocked the sidewalk a few times a day for brief periods.

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