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casinos which catered to the trolley excursionist.
The open trolley was ideal for such pleasure travel
and nowhere in North America did it enjoy greater

Numerous publishing houses and the trolley
companies themselves produced a flood of maps,
folders, and trolley touring guides designed to stim-

ulate the electric car excursion. Typical was the 10-
cent Trolley Trips, published in 1908, which lured
prospective trolley tourists with an engaging offer
of "your choice out of old New England, at ease in
your own conveyance, seeing the best, going where
you choose. We dart by quiet meadows, below an-
cient elms, past the old white farmhouse, in and
out of teeming city squares, the salt reach of the
racing Sound, Titanism of the White Mountains,
sandy isolation of Cape Cod, mysteries of Maine
virgin forests.

"We feel the cool rush of air on the cheek, heark-
en to the rhythmic click-click of the rail."


Among the few New England interurbans to de-
velop an important freight traffic was the 33-mile
Aroostook Valley Railroad, which connected Presque
Isle, Washburn, Caribou, and New Sweden in north-
ern Maine. Carload traffic in lumber and Maine
potatoes was of principal importance from the time
of the line's opening in 1910, and even during its
peak years as a passenger carrier the Aroostook
Valley never operated more than four passenger
round trips daily. Soon after its opening the com-
pany briefly entertained notions of grandeur and
developed plans for the purchase of a 34-mile Ca-
nadian Pacific branch that extended from Presque
Isle to Aroostook Junction, N. B., and actually sur-
veyed a 111-mile route that would have extended
westward to a junction with the Quebec Central
Railway at Lac Frontiere, Que. Later on the
Aroostook Valley came under Canadian Pacific


In 1913 the Wason works at Spring-
field, Mass., furnished a pair of cars

that were more characteristic of Alid-

w est em interurban practice than of

New England. No. 70 is shown in front

of the Odd Fellows Hall in Washburn.
Stephen D. Maguire Collection.

Granville Allen, principal motor-
man on AV passenger runs for
a quarter of a century before
the end of passenger operation
in 1946, receives a train order.
Gerald Boothbv.

Aroostook Valley combination car
No. 51, one of two delivered by J. G.

Brill in 1910 for initial service over
the line, is seen here at Presc/ue Isle.

Stephen D. Maguire Collection.


The finest of all New England interurhans was the
Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad, which
opened a 31 -mile line constructed to high standards
between its two terminal cities in 1914. Heavy
wooden rolling stock for the high-speed service
was provided by the Laconia and Wason companies,
and the interurban followed the unique practice of
naming each of them after a flower. Shown here
is No. 18, the Azalea. The last important New
England electric line to begin operation, the Port-
land-Lewiston ivas abandoned only 19 years to
the day after its opening, with the last run made by
the same car, the same crew, and many of the same
passengers that bad made the first trip. The final
run was followed by an employees' "wake" at the
Lewiston carbarn, where steamed clams, pickles,
lobsters, and 3.2 beer were consumed, and speeches
were made. Industrial Photo Service.

One of Maine's largest electric railway systems
was the Lewiston, Augusta & Water ville Street
Railway, which operated rural trolley lines from
Lewiston to Augusta, Bath, and Yarmouth. To
encourage trolley excursion travel the com-
pany ran Lake Grove Park at Auburn, featuring
an open air theater, a skating rink, cottages,
boating, and fishing. The company's Merry meet-
ing Park between Brunswick and Bath offered a
theater, a casino, and a lake. For special "trolley
parties" the palatial parlor-observation car Merry-
meeting was available at tnodest charges. In
regular service the company operated Brill semi-
convertible cars fitted with huge observation plat-
forms and finished in gay chrome yellow and red
colors. At top, one of them is seen passing through
North Vassalboro, while in the other scene two
of them meet at Depot Square in Gardiner. Both
Photos: Stephen D. Maguire Collection.



An unusual New England experiment was
the Boston <St Maine's Concord & Man-
chester branch line. This was constructed
as an electric inter urban in 1902, and was
said to be the first typical electric line
built by a steam railroad as an inte-
gral part of its general system. Although
track was constructed to higher standards
than on most New England electric lines,
much of the 17 -mile route was laid in rural
highways. Right and below are two views
of the cars turned out by the B&M's Con-
cord shops for initial service. Both
Photos: Carl L. Smith Collection.





The Turkey Falls covered bridge across the Merrirnac River at Bow was shared by the interurban
and the B&M's Suncook Valley branch. A gantlet track was laid through the bridge and in-
terlocking protection was provided. Carl L. Smith Collection.




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Bound for Fair Haven, on the New York border,
the Rutland Railway, Light & Power Company's
Laconia-built combine No. 26 paused in a Rutland
(Vt.) street alongside a snappy runabout, while
the motorman posed stiffly in the doorway for the
photographer. Barney Neuberger Collection.

The Trolley That
Met All the Trains

Typical of the New England trolleys that
met all the trains, and the last of them to
survive, was the 8-mile Springfield Ter-
minal Railway, which operated down the
Black River Valley from Springfield, Vt.,
to Charleston, N. H., where a connection
was made with Boston & Maine's Connecti-
cut River line. The electric line developed
an important carload freight business from
industries at Springfield, which was not
served by a steam railroad, and the company
remains in operation as a diesel-pow-
ered freight feeder for the parent B&M.
Passenger operation ended in 1947. At up-
per right, the company's two steel com-
bines, both built by Wason in 1923, are
seen on the square at Springfield in 1940;
at right, one of them has just met a north-
bound B&M local at Charleston in 1941.
Charles A. Brown (Upper Right);
Stephen D. Maguire (Right).

Humming along through the orderly
and tranquil Green Mountain country-
side, the Mount Mansfield Electric
Railway's combine No. 3 rolled past
the park at W'aterbury Center, Vt.
Stephen D. Maguire Collection.


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In 7///y 2907, /Am group of straw-batted dignitaries traveled from Springfield to Palmer, Mass., on
the first run over the Springfield & Eastern Railway. The exquisitely detailed parlor cars Huguenot
and Rockrimmon were provided for the occasion. Barney Neuberger Collection.

The 46-mile "trolley air
line" of Boston & Worces-
ter Street Railway was
among the most important
of New England interur-
bans. With more private
right of way operation than
most of them, the company
was able to provide rela-
tively fast service. This
line-up of B&W open cars
was photographed about
1905 at the Muster Grounds
in Framingham. BARNEY
Neuberger Collection.


The lightly built New England electric lines were even more poorly adapted to
the operation of heavy freight trains than most interurbans, and all but a few of
them were confined to handling small shipments in box motors. The early de-
velopment of good highways in New England brought a quicker end to such opera-
tions there than elsewhere. This "Electric Express" train was photographed at
Brockton, Mass., on the Bay State Street Railway, one of the most extensive of New
England electric systems. Hard hit by truck competition, the company was
obliged to give up its freight operation in 1920. Industrial Photo Service.

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Although neither could be classified as an interurban, there were two notable
steam railroad electrification experiments in the Boston region. In the late '20's
the Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad electrified its narrow gauge steam
suburban line, and coaches ivere provided with the necessary electrical equip-
ment. Here at Crescent Beach station at Revere Beach, hordes of commuters un-
load from an outbound train. Abandoned before World War 11, much of the
former narrow gauge right of nay is now used by a new rapid transit line of
Boston's Metropolitan Transit Authority. General Electric Company.

In 1895 the New Haven Railroad electrified its Nantasket Beach line with trolley,
and in 1896 extended the electric operation some 3 miles with center-running
third rail. Boasting 200 horsepower, high-wheeled motor car 2510 seated 80
persons, ivas more heroic in proportions than street railway open cars.
Industrial Photo Service.

The Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway operated through historic Pilgrim
ground, and appropriately, the first cars of its earliest predecessor company bore
such names as Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Myles Standish, and John
Alden. The bass drum being carried on this overloaded car at Whitman was bound
along with the crowd to Memorial Day festivities at the company's Mayflower
Grove park in Pembroke. Carl L. Smith Collection.


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A few minutes out of Short Beach on the way to New Haven, a Connecticut Company car rolled through
lush rural scenery. Although the last Connecticut Company electric passenger services were
given up soon after World War 11, the trackage seen here is still operated as part of that owned by the
Branford Electric Railway museum group. KENT W. COCHRANE.

Northbound from New Haven to Waterbury over one of the fastest Connecticut Company lines, an
Osgood Bradley suburban car passed through High Rock Grove at Naugatuck in May of 1937.
Roger Borrup.

In 1903, under newly elected President Charles S.
Mellen, the New York, New Haven & Hartford
Railroad began the acquisition of a vast mileage of
urban and rural trolley lines in Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, and New York's Westchester
County, along with Long Island Sound steamship
companies, in order to assure a continued New
Haven monopoly of transportation in southern New
England. By 1909 the New Haven controlled an
estimated 1500 miles of electric railways, and ul-
timately the steam line's electric subsidiaries in-
cluded eight major properties. Largest of them was
the Connecticut Company, which operated some
700 miles of New Haven-owned track in the state.
The New Haven's holdings in Rhode Island were
similarly grouped under the management of the
Rhode Island Company, and the railroad's several
Massachusetts trolley systems were held by the New
England Investment & Securities Company.

To acquire control the New Haven paid prices
that were often far higher than warranted by the
electric lines' true value, or any but the most opti-
mistic estimates of their future earnings. The

Rhode Island trolley system, for example, was pur-
chased for an amount said to be greater than three
times its actual valuation.

The excessive prices paid for the New Haven's
electric subsidiaries, combined with their poor fi-
nancial showing, contributed to the subsequent
bankruptcy of the railroad, and by 1914 the Justice
Department had brought action under the Sherman
Antitrust Act to force the New Haven to divest
itself of its electric line interests. Having closely
tied the corporate structure of the trolleys to that
of the steam line, Mellen stated rather smugly of the
Government action, "The result is that now the De-
partment of Justice is in despair. It is a hopeless
tangle, as I intended it should be."

Within the year, however, the New Haven was
ordered to give up all of its electric line holdings
except the New York, Westchester & Boston, and
21 of the company's directors were indicted for
violation of the Sherman Act. In Massachusetts state
courts found New Haven control of electric lines
through its subsidiary holding company to be in
violation of state law. X


Connecticut Company officers and other distinguished
personages rode about the system in high style
aboard business car No. 500, built in 1904 by the
J. G. Brill Company. The car's interior was finished
in hand-carved oak, provided with a lavatory and
steward's galley, and furnished with broadloom car-
peting and wicker lounge chairs. After the end of
Connecticut Company electric passenger service,
No. 500 became the premiere car of the Branford
Electric Railway museum, where these photographs
were taken in 1959. Both Photos: William D.


Among the least successful of New England interurbans was the Shore
Line Electric Railway, which opened a line between New Haven and Say-
brook, Conn., in 1910. By 1913, through leases of connecting lines, the
company was operating some 250 miles of track extending east to
Westerly, R. I., and northward up the Quinebaug River valley almost to
the Massachusetts border. Plagued by meager earnings, the company suf-
fered a series of serious reverses beginning with a violent head-on collision
in 1917 which took 19 lives and injured 35, and culminating with a strike
in 1919 that resulted in bankruptcy and the suspension of operations. Por-
tions of the system later resumed independent operation, and the original
Shore Line route betiveen Saybrook and New Haven was restored to opera-
tion after four years of idleness — but lasted only six more years. In con-
trast to its poor financial shoiving, the original Shore Line route was
constructed to some of the highest standards in New England, with ex-
tensive private right of way and a 1200-volt catenary trolley system. Shown
here operating over the original line is one of the company's wooden,
center-entrance cars built by Jewett in 1910. A few of them were sold
in 1920 after the suspension of service and one survived into the early '50's
on loua's Charles City Western Railway. General Electric Company.

"Take the Trolley," advised this early promotional folder, which contained
a lithographed map of Connecticut Valley electric lines and described points
of interest along the way. Stephen D. Maguire Collection.







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Through Eastern Hills and Valleys

The Middle Atlantic States

Not long after the turn of the century a deck-roofed International
Railway car waited at the Lockport depot for a trip to Buffalo.
Stephen D. Maguire Collection.




Through Eastern Hills and Valleys

The Middle Atlantic States

IN TERMS of total interurban mileage the Mid-
dle Atlantic states were eclipsed only by the East
North Central states with their phenomenal net-
work in the Midwestern heartland of the interurban.
Pennsylvania, if it lacked the integrated traction
system of such states as Ohio and Indiana, exceeded
all other states in sheer numbers of electric railway
properties. The populous cities of New Jersey were
linked by the trolley rails of numerous independent
companies and the great Public Service Railway
system, which operated nearly 900 miles of street
and interurban railway. From the Hudson to the
Pennsylvania border, broken only by a 31-mile gap
between Little Falls and Fonda, upstate New York
boasted a continuous web of interurban railways,
which followed such earlier arteries of Empire State
commerce as the Mohawk Trail, the Erie Canal, and
the New York Central through the prosperous cities
of the Mohawk Valley and the southern littoral of
Lake Ontario.

Along the Mohawk Trail

A considerable traction development was centered
about the Upper Hudson cities of Albany, Troy, and
Schenectady. South of the capital city third-rail in-
terurbans of the Albany Southern Railroad raced
down the east side of the Hudson to Nassau, Kinder-
hook, and Hudson. In its earlier years the Albany-
Hudson line offered summer excursionists a com-
bination trolley-steamer outing for only 75 cents,
which included one-way transportation on the in-
terurban and a return trip aboard steamers of the
Hudson River Day Line. For those who so wished,
an evening stopover for theatrical performances at
the company's Electric Park on Kinderhook Lake
could be arranged. The Schenectady Railways op-
erated interurbans to Albany, Troy, and Saratoga;
and summer travelers to the posh watering places of
Ballston Spa, Saratoga, Lake George, and the lower
Adirondacks rode the big open cars of the Hud-
son Valley Railway, which extended from Troy to

A steam short line, the Fonda, Johnstown & Glover sville Railroad, opened a

Schenectady-Gloversville electric division soon after the turn of the century.

One of the big wooden St. Louis-built interurbans that provided the initial service.

Schenectady Limited car No. 104, paused for this photograph near Johnstown.

Its luxuriously appointed interior included a paneled and mirrored smoking room.

The banner draped across the pilot advertised a Fourth of July celebration at

Sacandaga Park in the Adirondacks, reached by the company's steam division.

From William R. Gordon.


Albany-Hudson Fast Line No. 60 was well
equipped for current collection, with trol-
ley poles, pantograph, and third-rail shoes.
The Fast Line was abandoned in 1929, but
this car rolled up the miles until after
World War II, on the FJ&G and on the
Portland-Oregon City interurban. John
D. Murphy, from William R. Gordon.

Past a rambling frame summer hotel, a Hudson

Valley open car rolled through a tree-shaded

street of Ball st on Spa on the way to Saratoga. Like

several other New York interurbans, the Hudson

Valley was owned by a steam railroad, having been

bought out early in the century by the Delaware &

Hudson. Stephen D. Maguire Collection.


Despite the hard times of depres-
sion and declining traffic, FJ&G
made an earnest effort to stay
in the interurban passenger
business with five lightweight
"Bullet" cars delivered by J. G.
Brill in 1932, accelerated sched-
ules, and reduced fares. Business
boomed for a time, but abandon-
ment of electric operation came
only six years later and the
Bullets found a new home on
Utah's Bamberger Railroad. Two
of the high-speed cars met at
the Johnstown depot on the oc-
casion of a 1936 fan excursion.
James P. Shuman, from Wil-
liam Moedinger Jr.

ii* " ■ i "•■ i

Owe o/ //^e fastest Empire State interurbans was the
New York State Railways' 44-mile route, formerly
the Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway, which con-
nected Rochester with the Finger Lakes region and
Geneva. Beyond Geneva, interurban travelers were
able to continue as far south as Watkins by means
of a Seneca hake steamship connection. Impromptu
races between the electric cars and steam trains on
the parallel New York Central Auburn branch, be-
tween Rochester and Canandaigua, were common,
and in a celebrated contest staged in 1904 an R&E
car outdistanced a four-car passenger train. This
splendid scene was photographed shortly after a new
block signal installation in 1914 enabled the line
to reduce running times for the Orange Limiteds to
1 hour 45 minutes from previous schedules of 2
hours or more. During R&E's last years timings
were further accelerated when the line, along with
other Rochester interurbans, entered the city
through a new 9-mile subway, laid in the aban-
doned bed of the old Erie Canal. But oul\
three years after the interurbans began using the
subway in 1928, the last of them was abandoned.
General Railway Signal Company.

Among the lines of the Central's trolley empire was
a notable interurban experiment, the 44-mile Oneida
Railway, which began operating between LJtica
and Syracuse in 1907 over the tracks of the NYC-
owned West Shore Railroad, electrified for the pur-
pose with a 600-volt undervunning third-rail power
system identical to that used in New York Central's
New York terminal electrification. Ultimately, it
ivas envisioned, the Oneida line could become part
of a New York-to-Buffalo electrification of the New
York Central. The electric cars, which supple-
mented West Shore steam trains, reached downtown
Syracuse and Vtica over street railway tracks. Four-
teen of these wood and steel cars, delivered in 1907
by J. G. Brill, were standard equipment for the
line. Industrial Photo Service.

Soon after the turn of the century the New York
Central, in order to forestall the threatened com-
petition of new electric railways in its territory, be-
gan acquiring widespread interests in a number of
upstate electric lines, consolidating them into the
600-mile New York State Railways in 1909.


For a relatively brief period, from 1911 to 1919, the important Buffalo, Lock-
port & Rochester Railway was a part of the Beebe syndicate. The line, which
operated from Rochester to Lockport, where a Buffalo connection was made, was
built to unusually high standards, with 70-pound rail and crushed rock ballast.
Shown are two of the heavy wooden cars built by Niles which were operated in
high-speed service. George Krambles Collection.

Second only to the New York State Railways
in New York interurban mileage were the five
lines, largely centered around Syracuse, operated by
the syndicate headed by Clifford D. Beebe. At their
peak the Beebe lines included some 318 miles
of electric railway, extending from Oswego to Lock-
port, as well as steamship lines on Skaneateles and
Oneida lakes. Pride of the syndicate was the 88-
mile Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad, com-

pleted in 1909 at a total cost of 7 million dollars and
hailed at the time as one of the nation's finest inter-
urbans. Double tracked throughout, the route was
free of grade crossings, and observed a maximum
curvature of 6 degrees outside of towns. Much of
the line employed heavy steel catenary bridges to
support the trolley wire. Driven by four 125-horse-
power motors each, the company's limited cars made
the trip between terminals in 2 hours 50 minutes.

A Syracuse, Lake Shore & Northern car battled a typical upstate New York winter on the way south from
Oswego to Syracuse. The double track, steel overhead bridges, and catenary trolley wire were repre-
sentative of the high construction standards observed by Beebe lines. From William R. Gordon.

An elderly Jewett interurban of the Beebe syndicate's Auburn & Syracuse Railroad squealed around
a tight curve in Auburn streets on its way to Syracuse in 1922. Stephen D. Maguire Collection.


Bound for a Lake Ontario outing at Olcott Beach, three heavily loaded
International Railway interurbans paused for the photographer.
Stephen D. Maguire Collection.

Extended interurban travel in almost every di-
rection from Buffalo was possible. Interurbans of
the International Railway transported Niagara
Frontier residents to Lockport and Olcott Beach, on
Lake Ontario, and to Niagara Falls. At Lockport
passengers bound for Rochester could transfer to
cars of the Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester Railway,
and for a few years a through car service between

Buffalo and Rochester was available. At the Falls
connections could be made for Canadian points. So
dense was traffic over the International Railway's
original "Honeymoon Line" to the Falls, opened in
1895, that trackage was replaced in 1918 with the
company's splendidly engineered "Buffalo-Niagara
Falls High Speed Line," which cut running time
between the two cities from 80 minutes to an hour.





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The Great Gorge Route

No visit to the Falls was really com-
plete without a trip through the

gorge by open trolley on the Niag-
ara Gorge Railway. Postcard views

of "The Great Gorge Route" were

mailed home by the thousands.

Stephen D. Maguire Collection.


West of Buffalo the Buffalo & Lake Erie Traction Company tied the Empire State trolley network to

the great systems of Ohio and Indiana. Mainstays of the 90-mile Buffalo (N.Y.)-Erie (Pa.) main line

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Online LibraryWilliam D. MiddletonThe interurban era → online text (page 6 of 23)