This Personal Train Car is Called a ‘Kalamazoo’ And I Want to Ride One Now
When is comes to riding the rails of America you have just a few choices: Amtrack, illegally grabbing a ride on a freight train - hobo style, or taking a short trip on an antique tourist railroad like the Coopersville and Marne Railway near Grand Haven.
But imagine hopping the rails solo like you would cruise the open roads in an automobile. It was actually once possible in a personal, motorized railcar named a Kalamazoo.
The image was shared to a Canadian-based Facebook history group, Old BC: The Way it Was with the uploader sharing this information:
Well, this is a motorized railcar called the "Kalamazoo" that was evidently used on the tracks around the Enderby/Vernon area way back in the late 1880s-early 1890s, before regular trains went into service. This photograph is circa 1891, and the folks onboard include George Riley, who later became a BC Senator, and his family.
Kalamazoo Railway Supply
These individual railcars, or railpods, were built by Kalamazoo Railway Supply, or Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company, based of course in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A rich gallery of their products can be seen here. Perhaps most famous is their 'hand car' a manual railcar propelled by pumping a handle. Perhaps you remember these from cartoons and movies?
Some of those tourist railroads are indeed turning to Kalamazoo Handcars for guests to drive:
What Happened to Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company?
You won't find any remnants of the old rail car company in the town that bears its name anymore. After 100 years in business, Kalamazoo Manufacturing ceased operations in the 1990s. The manufacturing facility was on Reed Avenue west of Fulford near where Reed deadends after Factory Street, however, no traces of that remain either. The facility was demolished in the early 2000s.
Kalamazoo train cars are long gone except for memories and a few collectors. Here are some other well-known brands that are just history.
50 Famous Brands That No Longer Exist
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