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Railroad service and supply companies
To me, railroad supply companies are like any other wholesaler and distributor, merely with specialties in railroading. However, many collectors like certificates from railroad supply and equipment houses so I include them in the railroad database.
Service companies occupy as similar niche, although they did not usually supply equipment outside of their ordinary line of business.
I will catalog any railroad supply companies that had either rail-related keywords in their names or can be proven to have been a supplier of major railroad equipment. Major supplies includes things like switches, signal systems and rolling stock. I will NOT, however, catalog every company that ever supplied railroads with minor supplies. Just because a company wholesaled flares, bolts and tools does not make them worthy of inclusion.
I ignore all suppliers of raw commodities like water, coal and diesel fuel.
Service companies are like suppliers in that servicers worthy of inclusion are those that supplied major services like bridge building, line repair and wreck removal. Minor services like food service, consulting, communications and so forth may have been crucial to railroads, but are still considered ancillary services.
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