Three PCC streetcars on the San Francisco Municipal Railway's F-line.

Pictured are an example of one double-ended streetcar and two single-ended cars.

(Chris Wood, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The St. Louis Car Company was a major United States manufacturer of railroad passenger cars, streetcars, interurbans, trolleybuses and locomotives that existed from 1887 to 1974, based in St. Louis, Missouri.


Electroliner 805 on S. 6th St. between W. Washington Ave. and Scott Ave., Milwaukee, 1962. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois Terminal Railroad No. 300, one of three sets of Streamliners purchased new in 1949. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Herbert Georg Studio, Audio Visual Designs, Earlton, NY, via W. Lenheim Collection)


The St. Louis Car Company was formed in April 1887 to manufacture and sell streetcars and other kinds of rolling stock of street and steam railways supporting the traction industry. In succeeding years the company built automobiles, including the American Mors, the Skelton, and the Standard Six. The St. Louis Aircraft Corporation division of the company partnered with the Huttig Sash and Door company in 1917 to produce aircraft. During the two world wars, the company manufactured gliders, trainers, alligators, flying boats, and dirigible gondolas. Among their most successful products were the Birney Safety Car and the PCC streetcar, a design that was very popular at the time.

The firm went on to build some of the vehicles used in the transit systems of New York City and Chicago, as well as the FM OP800 railcars manufactured exclusively for the Southern Railway in 1939.

The St. Louis Car Company was headed by Edwin B. Meissner Sr., who died at age 71 on Sept. 12, 1956. Meissner was president of the company, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of railroad and light rail cars, and the St. Louis Aircraft Corporation. He was active for many years on the Jewish Federation Board of Directors, and served for over 20 years as President of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

The St. Louis Car Co., later known as General Steel Industries, manufactured St. Louis streetcars and trolleys and cars for far-flung transit systems such as the Paris Metro in France. Meissner’s son, Edwin B. Meissner Jr., succeeded his father as head of the company, and continues to be an active member of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

Streetcars held sway in St. Louis and its suburbs from the 1880s until the mid- and late 1940s. Andrew Young records that new state-of-the-art buses began to encroach on the streetcars domain. New streamlined streetcars were brought into service in 1946 to replace older cars, some dating back to 1903.

In 1960, St. Louis Car Company was acquired by General Steel Industries. In 1964, St. Louis Car completed an order of 430 World's Fair picture-window cars (R36 WF) for the New York City Subway and was building 162 PA-1s (110 single units, 52 trailers) for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for their use on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson line to New Jersey. Also in the mid-1960s, the company completed building the passenger capsules, designed by Planet Corporation, to ferry visitors to the top of the Gateway Arch at the Gateway Arch National Park (then known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) in St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Louis Car continued business until 1968 and ceased operations in 1974. The final St. Louis Car products were R44 subway cars for the New York City Subway and Staten Island Rapid Transit, and the USDOT State of the Art Car rapid transit demonstrator set whose design was based on the R44.

The St. Louis Car assembly plant and general office at 8000 Hall Street, St. Louis is now the St. Louis Business Center, a mixed use industrial and commercial complex redeveloped starting in 2005.


SCL 4900, formerly SAL 2800, a diesel-electric railcar built by St. Louis Car Company. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Roger Puta, courtesy Marty Bernard, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Retired Georgia Northern Railway No. 2, an F-M Model OP-800 railcar. Click to enlarge. (By The original uploader was Can't Undo at English Wikipedia. - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Assorted Selected Products

PCC streetcars (1935-1952)
Peter Witt streetcars
Trolley buses
Interurban cars
Gas-electric railcars
CRT/CTA 5003-5004 PCC elevated-subway cars (1947) - retired 1985
CTA 6000-series PCC elevated-subway cars (1950–59) - retired 1992
CTA 1-50 PCC elevated-subway cars (1959–60) - retired 1999
Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad Electroliner (1941)
Electro-Motive Company (EMD) gas-electric railcars - car body shells (1920s)
Fairbanks-Morse experimental center cab diesel switchers and FM OP800 railcars (1939)
GCRTA Red Line "Bluebirds" (1954–55, 1958)
MBTA No. 3 East Boston Tunnel cars (1951)
State of the Art Car heavy rail transit demonstrator set for USDOT (1972–74) - now at Seashore Trolley Museum
Illinois Terminal Railroad Streamliners (1948–50)
IRT World's Fair Steinway Motors (1938) - built for 1939 World's Fair
Metra Illinois Central Electric District Highliner electric MU cars (1971–72)
NJ Transit/NJDOT/Penn Central Arrow I (PRR MP85E6) electric MU cars - push-pull coach conversion (1968)
New York Central ACMU 4500 series (1950–51)
NYCT R8A (1939)
NYCT R17 (1954–55)
NYCT R21 (1956–57)
NYCT R22 (1957–58)
NYCT R27 (1960–61)
NYCT R29 (1962)
NYCT R30 (1961–62)
NYCT R33 (1962–63)
NYCT R33S (1963)
NYCT R36 (1963–64)
NYCT R38 (1966–67)
NYCT R40 (1967–68)
NYCT R40A (1968–69)
NYCT R42 (1969–70)
NYCT R44 (1971–73)
Chicago and North Western Transportation Company Gallery 7600 series coaches Nos. 1-16 (1955)
Pacific Electric "Hollywood" cars (1920s)
Philadelphia and Western Railroad original wood cars and freight motors (1907)
Hudson & Manhattan Railroad/PATH "K-car"/MP51 (1958)
PATH PA1 (1965) & PA2 (1967)
San Diego Class 1 Streetcars (1910-1912)
Seaboard Air Line 2027-2028 Railcars (1936)
SEPTA Silverliner III (PRR MP85) cars (1967)
Staten Island Railway R44 (1973) (last St. Louis cars)
U.S. Army (USAX) cars - various types including coaches, ambulance, cafeteria, sleepers
Union Pacific lightweight passenger cars, express and baggage cars (1960–65)
Victorian Railways Petrol Electric railmotor (1928)


Pacific Electric 717, a "Hollywood" car built in 1925 by St. Louis Car Company, shown here at the Orange Empire Railway Museum,

(now known as the Southern California Railway Museum). Photo by Frank Hicks. Click to enlarge.

(Hicksco2 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Business Overview

Industry: Railcar Manufacturer
Founded: April 1887
Founder: William Lefmann, Peter Kling, Julius Lefmann, Henry Schroeder, Daniel McAllister, Henry Maune, Charles Ernst
Defunct: 1974
Disposition: Ceased operations
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Area served: United States; Canada
Key personnel: George J. Kobusch, Peter Kling, John H. Kobusch, Henry F. Vogel, John I. Beggs, Robert McCulloch, Richard McCulloch, Robert P. McCulloch, Edwin B. Meissner
Products: Railroad passenger cars, locomotives, streetcars, and trolleybuses; automobiles
Parent: General Steel Industries (1960–)
Subsidiaries: St. Louis Aircraft Corporation


A St. Louis Car Company printed advertisement. Click to enlarge.

(St. Louis Car Company, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)