Plymouth Made Trains, Too?


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Thanks to you Barn Finds readers, my education continues! Reader Greg P. writes: On March 24th, Jamie said he didn’t know that Plymouth even made pickups until he saw the 1938. I was wondering if he knew that Plymouth made TRAINS. This one is about seven miles from me on display. Greg, thanks for sending in these great pictures! As it turns out, it’s not the same Plymouth, but it’s cool nonetheless!


As you can see, it is a Plymouth, just a different company. The Plymouth Locomotive Works made small train engines from 1910 through 1999. Most were diesels, but some were propane or butane powered, and some of the first ones used gasoline engines, mostly (ironically) Chryslers!


It doesn’t look like this find is in use anymore, but maybe it will inspire some of you to look a little further for those Mopar-related (ok, in name only) finds! Thanks, Greg!

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  1. The Walrus

    By this standard, Plymouth is still in business making English Gin… they even have a boat as their mascot.

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  2. careyMember

    Plymouth also made farm tractors at the train plant .Plymouth auto sued about using Plymouth on the tractors so they called them silverking I can’t think of the name of the factory maybe heath and root .they were a great tractor ive restored a couple.

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    • David Stigall

      silverking was the tractor name. Fate-Root was the the actual company name. they made stoves before mine trains. and they made a few trucks before Chrysler. they are non in existence. Chrysler bought the Plymouth name from Fate_Root. After the Company stopped making the trains. An former exec built a building in Shiloh ,Ohio to repair and even custom make some Plymouth engines. right behind my old house actually. google “history of Plymouth,Ohio ” for the complete Story. the original building is still standing and every year they have a festival in honor of the company.

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  3. Ken

    Plymouth Trailduster…. definately a truck

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  4. Howard A. Howard AMember

    Ran when parked.

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    • AMX Brian

      Like this:

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  5. Mike

    Plymouth Locomotive Works was a US builder of small railroad locomotives. All Plymouth locomotives were built in a plant in Plymouth, Ohio until 1997 when the company was purchased by Ohio Locomotive Crane and production moved to Bucyrus, Ohio in 1999. Production of locomotives has now ceased, and rights to the spare parts business have been sold to Williams Distribution.
    Plymouth locomotives were first built in 1910 by the J. D. Fate Company, which became Fate-Root-Heath in 1919. The J.D. Fate patent application filed in 1917 shows the engine driving a clutch and a continuously variable transmission that allowed varying the speed through zero to reverse the locomotive. The output of the transmission drove a transverse jackshaft through a chain drive, with additional drive chains to the two driving axles.
    All early Plymouth locomotives used this drive scheme. The Fate-Root-Heath patent application filed in 1925 shows a far-more conventional 4-speed transmission and reverse gears driving the jackshaft and final chain drive to the 2 driving axles. All early Plymouth locomotives were powered by gasoline-burning internal combustion engines, but in 1927 the first diesel was produced. The company changed its name to match its locomotive plant in the late 1950s, becoming Plymouth Locomotive Works, changing again to Plymouth Industries in the late 1970s.
    In 1937, Plymouth constructed prototype short-line railroad locomotives as ran on butane and propane, one of each. Plymouth was one of the world’s most prolific builders of small industrial locomotives, with over 7,500 constructed of which 1,700 are believed to still be in active use, some over 50 years old. Almost all Plymouth locomotives were under 25 tons. Some of the first gas burning locomotives used Chrysler engines. Plymouth produced locomotives in most rail gauges, mostly with mechanical torque converter transmissions.

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    • David Stigall

      you forgot to mention they made the first Plymouth trucks and Chrysler bought the rights to the name. Fate-Root also had a coal stove company in Eleria(sp) Ohio. my Mom worked with the great grandson of the Root. Williams has/had their building in Shiloh,Ohio right behind where I lived right past the city limits on Rt. 603. the stove and train factory buildings are still standing.

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  6. Scotty GStaff

    That would be a great project!
    And, someone had to say it, it may as well be me: “That thing got a Hemi?” (sorry)

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  7. Ben T. Spanner

    When I worked at a golf course in the 1960’s, they mowed with Plymouth Silver King tractors pulling gang mowers. Two long 18 hole courses with many hills. As I recall, the tractors were are least 20 years old and did the job well.

    The hills were so steep that the rental carts were all gas, electric wouldn’t cut it.

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  8. fordfan

    The first time I saw one was at the strasburg rr in pennsylvania. I think its still there great place to visit if you visit lancaster co

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  9. Dave Wright

    I bought one from the port of Stockton by the pound maby 15 years ago. Simple machine with a disassembled Detroit 6-71. I knew some guys in a speeder car club and this was small enough to trailer behind a heavy pickup. I put a good engine in it that came out of an old boat I had scraped and off it went. One of the members bought it to take on there speeder runs around the west. Fun stuff.

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  10. brakeservo

    Speakin’ of ’38 Plymouth pick up trucks . . .

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  11. Keith Matheny

    Ah, Graham Brothers made trucks using Dodge drivelines starting in 1921( all branded GB except the 1/2 t)
    Dodge dealers sold GB trucks until 1929, when they all became Dodges.
    Plymouth was started in 1928. It was a brand of twine according to WiKi.

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  12. 71 MKIV

    Yes, both Plymouths’ are still at the Strasburg.
    #1 has a 6 cylinder in it, the #2 a 4. They have a clutch and a 4 speed, you drive them like a car. Lots of torque, no horsepower. 1100 RPM is wound out.

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  13. Michael D. Storey

    I work with a Museum that needs an engine for their Plymouth loco. V-8
    Anyone got any leads?

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