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A 1907 postcard depicting the ACF plant at St. Charles, Missouri
A refrigerator car built by ACF in 1911.

American Car and Foundry (often abbreviated as ACF) is an American manufacturer of railroad rolling stock. One of its subsidiaries was once (1925–54) a manufacturer of motor coaches and trolley coaches under the brand names of (first) ACF and (later) ACF-Brill. Today ACF is known as ACF Industries LLC and is based in St. Charles, Missouri.[1] It is owned by investor Carl Icahn.


American Car and Foundry was formed and incorporated in New Jersey in 1899 as the result of the merger of 13 smaller railroad car manufacturers. The company was made up of:

Company Founded Location
Buffalo Car Manufacturing Company 1872 Buffalo, New York
Ensign Manufacturing Company[2] 1872 Huntington, West Virginia
Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company 1861 Berwick, Pennsylvania
Michigan-Peninsular Car Company 1892 Detroit, Michigan
Minerva Car Works 1882 Minerva, Ohio
Missouri Car and Foundry Company 1865 St. Louis, Missouri
Murray, Dougal and Company 1864 Milton, Pennsylvania
Niagara Car Wheel Company Buffalo, New York
Ohio Falls Car Company 1876 Jeffersonville, Indiana
St. Charles Car Company 1873 St. Charles, Missouri
Terre Haute Car and Manufacturing Company Terre Haute, Indiana
Union Car Company Depew, New York
Wells and French Company 1869 Chicago, Illinois

Later in 1899 ACF acquired Bloomsburg Car Manufacturing Company (of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania). Two years later, ACF acquired Jackson and Sharp Company (founded 1863 in Wilmington, Delaware), and the Common Sense Bolster Company (of Chicago, Illinois). The unified company made a great investment in the former Jackson & Woodin plant in Pennsylvania, spending about $3 million. It was at this plant that ACF built the first all-steel passenger car in the world in 1904. The car was built for the Interborough Rapid Transit system of New York City, the first of 300 such cars ordered by the railroad.

1904 and 1905 saw ACF build several motor cars and trailers for the London Underground.[3] In those two years ACF also acquired Southern Car and Foundry (founded 1899 in Memphis, Tennessee), Indianapolis Car and Foundry and Indianapolis Car Company.

During World War I ACF produced artillery gun mounts and ammunition, submarine chasers and other boats, railway cars, and other equipment to support the Allies.[3] ACF ranked 36th among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.[4]



External-braced wooden boxcar built for sugar service in Cuba by ACF. ca. 1922

In the past ACF built passenger and freight cars, including covered hopper cars for hauling such cargo as corn and other grains. One of the largest customers was the Union Pacific Railroad, whose armour-yellow carbon-steel lightweight passenger rolling stock was mostly built by ACF. The famous dome-observation car Native Son was an ACF product. Today the US passenger-car market is erratic in production and is mostly handled by specialty manufacturers. Competitors Budd, Pullman-Standard, Rohr Industries, and the St. Louis Car Company have all either left the market or gone out of business.

The manufacturing facility in Milton, Pennsylvania, is serviced by the Norfolk Southern Railway and is capable of manufacturing railcars and all related railcar components. The plant is capable of producing pressure vessels in sizes 18,000–61,000 gwc, including propane tanks, compressed gas storage, LPG storage, and all related components, including heads. The plant, covering 48 acres, provides 500,000 square feet of covered work area and seven miles of storage tracks. The Huntington, West Virginia, production site was closed in late 2009.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b ACF Industries, St. Charles, MO. "About ACF." Accessed 2011-12-18.
  2. ^ White, John H. Jr. (1993). The American Railroad Freight Car: From the Wood-Car Era to the Coming of Steel. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-8018-4404-5. OCLC 26130632. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h ACF Industries. "History." Accessed 2011-11-18.
  4. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  5. ^ S Oliver Goodwin (26 August 1956). "Saving Pilots and Planes Is Erco's Main Business: ACF Division Has 75 Pct. of Output In Simulators". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ "R26/R28/R29". NYCSubway.org. 2005. Archived from the original on 2 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  7. ^ Chronological History - Union Pacific Railroad Company
  8. ^ Kaminski, Edward S. (1999). - American Car & Foundry Company: A Centennial History, 1899-1999. - Wilton, California: Signature Press. - ISBN 0963379100
  9. ^ "A new fleet shapes up. (High-Tech Railroading)". - Railway Age. - (c/o HighBeam Research). - September 1, 1990
  10. ^ Sources:

External links[edit]

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