ACF-built New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway streamlined locomotive, Susquehanna Transfer, circa 1940. Click to enlarge.

(Works Progress Administration (WPA), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


ACF logo.


ACF Industries, originally the American Car and Foundry Company (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, the company is known as ACF Industries LLC and is based in St. Charles, Missouri. It is owned by investor Carl Icahn


An overhead view of the American Car and Foundry plant in Huntington, West Virginia. Click to enlarge.

(Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)


An ACF builders photo of a pre-1911 Shorty Reefer built for Anheuser-Busch Malt Nutrine. Click to enlarge.

(American Car and Foundry, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



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

Company / Year Founded / Location
Buffalo Car Manufacturing Company / 1872 / Buffalo, New York
Ensign Manufacturing Company / 1872 / Huntington, West Virginia
Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company / 1840 / 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 the Bloomsburg Car Manufacturing Company of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Orders for new freight cars were made very quickly, with several hundred cars ordered in the first year alone. Two years later, ACF acquired the Jackson and Sharp Company (founded 1863 in Wilmington, Delaware) and the Common Sense Bolster Company (of Chicago, Illinois). The unified company made a large 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 that system.

In 1903, the company was operating overseas in Trafford Park, Manchester, U.K., and it was featured on a Triumphal Arch built for the Royal Visit of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1903. The factory buildings were later used by Ford cars, which began manufacturing at Trafford Park in 1911.

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

In 1916, William H. Woodin, formerly president of Jackson and Woodin Manufacturing Company, was promoted to become president of ACF. Woodin would later become Secretary of the Treasury under U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.

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. ACF ranked 36th among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.


An Astra-Dome lounge car built by ACF on the Union Pacific's City of Los Angeles, October 16, 1955. Click to enlarge. (Audio-Visual Designs, Earlton, NY; photographer: Bob Collins, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Talgo locomotive which was produced in the United States by American Car Foundry. The locomotive was on display as part of Chicago's Railroad Fair which ran from 1948 to 1949. Click to enlarge. (Joe+Jeanette Archie, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



1899: American Car and Foundry (ACF) is formed from the merger of 13 smaller companies
1899: ACF acquires Bloomsburg Car Manufacturing Company
1901: ACF acquires Jackson and Sharp Company and Common Sense Bolster Company
1904: ACF builds the first all-steel passenger car in the world for the Interborough Rapid Transit
1904: ACF acquires Southern Car and Foundry of Memphis, Tennessee
1905: ACF acquires Indianapolis Car and Foundry and Indianapolis Car Company
1922: ACF diversifies into the automotive industry with the acquisition of Carter Carburetor Corporation
March 31, 1924: ACF acquires Pacific Car and Foundry from William Pigott
October 31, 1925: ACF forms "American Car and Foundry Securities Corporation" (A wholly owned subsidiary holding company) for the purpose of acquiring Fageol Motors Company of Ohio and Hall-Scott Motor Car Company Fageol Motors Company of California was included but was not approved by the shareholders.
1926: ACF acquires J. G. Brill Company
1926: ACF acquires American Motor Body Corporation
1927: ACF acquires Shippers Car Line
1934: Paul Pigott reinstates a controlling interest of Pacific Car and Foundry
1935: ACF builds lightweight Rebel streamline trains for the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad
1939: ACF's Berwick plant switches to construction of military tanks.
1940: Brill is fully merged into ACF.
August 2, 1941: ACF's 1,000th military tank is completed for the United States military effort of World War II
1954: The company officially changes its name to ACF Industries, Incorporated.
1954: ACF purchases Engineering and Research Corporation.
1954–1955: ACF delivers 35 "Astra Dome" dome cars to the Union Pacific Railroad.
January 1961: ACF delivers its last passenger car, (NYCT IRT R28. IRT car), Berwick plant closed, sold, to later re-open as Berwick Forge & Fabricating Corporation.
1977: Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) came up with the idea of the first double-stack intermodal car in 1977. SP then designed the first car with ACF Industries that same year.
1984: ACF is purchased by Carl Icahn.
1997: ACF reaches a leasing agreement with GE Capital Railcar for 35,000 of its 46,000 railcars, mostly on 16-year leases with optional purchase agreements.
2003: ACF Industries LLC became a successor to ACF Industries, Incorporated on May 1, 2003.


On the left, an M-300, a railcar built by American Car and Foundry in 1935, shown here on the California Western Railroad "Skunk Train" in 1970. Click to enlarge. (Drew Jacksich from San Jose, CA, The Republic of California, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad's streamliner, the Egyptian Zipper. This was built by American Car and Foundry Company's Berwick, PA plant in 1937. There were 2 trainsets, with both traveling between Danville and Cypress, IL. Click to enlarge. (Railway Age, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



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.

Another important ACF railroad production were the passenger cars of the Missouri River "Eagle", a Missouri Pacific streamliner put in service in March 1940. This train, in its original shape, consisted of six cars including one baggage, one baggage-mail, two coaches one food and beverage car and finally the observation lounge-parlor car. All the passenger equipment was styled by industrial designer Raymond Loewy.

Today, the U.S. passenger car market is erratic in production and is mostly handled by specialty manufacturers and foreign corporations. Competitors Budd, Pullman-Standard, Rohr Industries, and the St. Louis Car Company have all either left the market or gone out of business.

ACF railcar M-300, built in 1935, on the California Western Railroad in 1970
The manufacturing facility in Milton, Pennsylvania, is served 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 ceased production in late 2009. The site continues only as a repair facility.


A GE 2-C+C-2 Electric locomotive built for the Paulista Railway (FEPASA) in Brazil leads a 10-car train of ACF-Built steel cars, November 1941. Click to enlarge.

(The Economic and Financial Observer (RJ), Year VI, edition 70, page 53/ republished by the National Library-Hemeroteca Digital Brasileira, via Wikimedia Commons)


ACF Industries LLC Overview

Formerly: ACF Industries, Inc.
Type: Subsidiary
Industry: Manufacturing
Founded: 1815 (partial), 1899 (as American Car And Foundry Company)
Headquarters: St. Charles, Missouri, U.S.
Area served: Worldwide
Products: Locomotives, High-speed trains, Intercity and commuter trains, Trams, People movers, Signaling systems
Owner: Carl Icahn