Sperry Rail Service car 131 at CSX's DeWitt Yard


SRS 131 sits on the team track off of the North Runner at DeWitt Yard
SRS 131 sits on the team track off of the North Runner at DeWitt Yard.

  Sperry Rail Services (SRS) 131 is a track inspection vehicle with ties to St. Louis, Missouri. SRS 131 was built in 1925, by Electro-Motive Company (EMC), in partnership with St. Louis Car Company. Built for the Leigh Valley Railroad, SRS acquired 131 in 1941. SRS then converted it into a maintenance-of-way track inspection vehicle. Originally, SRS 131 was gas-powered but today is diesel-powered.

A straight-on view of SRS 131 at DeWitt Yard
A straight-on view of SRS 131 at DeWitt Yard.

  The styling of these vehicles earned them the nickname, Doodlebugs. Doodlebugs are self-propelled rail cars that hauled passengers and freight on lightly used rail lines in the early to mid-1900s. Today, some are on display in museums across the country, while others, like SRS 131, have gone on to still be used on today's railroads.

Photographs taken on June 25, 2022, at East Syracuse, New York.


  1. There's a lot more to railway ops than just operating the trains, us neophytes don't know the half of it.

    1. Very true. There is a lot of work that goes on to keep those steel wheels rolling.

  2. I always thought Doodlebugs were kind of cool. Don't see them around very much anymore. Very neat find.

    1. They are definitely cool. It's interesting that something this old has found a new use, using lots of updated technology.


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