• D.C. to Boston by trolley in the 1930's

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by 3rdrail
 
It's interesting that the big company names of the railroad industry seem to come from both coasts while traction's seems to come from the Midwest.
  by Leo Sullivan
 
Though crossing through the Pennsylvania broad gauge region was impossible, east of the Hudson, just about everything was connected and all standard gauge. Bay state cars made the trip from Boston to the Bronx several times. Of course we know that they then encountered the conduit which for them was impassable. Excursions in the northerly and westerly directions, from Boston were common and freight ran regularly from Boston to distant points via Springfield. The only gap in the apparently
continuous system was the ferry from Portsmouth NH to Kittery, Maine. From there all was connected all the way to
Fairfield. In Maine and central Massachusetts, there was a fair amount of steam road interchange so, one had to
consider wheel treads. A great part of the Southern New England network belonged to the New Haven RR, including the Connecticut Co., R.I. Co. and lines extending from around Milford MA to Hoosick falls NY (rather briefly).
Many New England lines were of the same or higher standard than the average Midwestern line but, there were also
many light feeder lines as, the network was much denser than elsewhere (well over 2000 miles in Mass. alone,
the only state to have a greater mileage of trolley than steam (I always wondered if this was also true of RI though)
The AERA considered most of these lines to be interurbans but, Hilton didn't. I suspect he thought his book was big enough
and he didn't know as much about the east anyway.
LS
  by JimBoylan
 
99 years ago this month, in May of 1910 was the longest interurban charter. It used a Utica, N.Y. car and took 2 weeks,staying in hotels overnight, to make the tour from Little Falls to Louisville, Detroit, and cities inbetween. The trip could not have been made any earlier, as it was the 1st trolley to leave Rochester for the West. The tracks were not complete when the trip started, the last rails were laid while the party spent the night in a hotel. A line near Erie was abandoned before 1923, so the trip could only have been made for about 12 years.
  by Tadman
 
I think it was possible to travel from Chicago to Milwaukee, Louisville, Cinci, and St. Louis via the Insull properties and a few other interurbans. I'd have to pull out some maps and do some research to prove this theory.
  by Leo Sullivan
 
Just actually read the title of this thread and realised that the 30s was too late.
I believe that 1927 was the last year it was possible to get from New York to
Boston. South of N.Y., I don't know. By 1927, the Shore Line was gone and,
1927 was the year that the line from Springfield to Worcester was abandoned,
Also, I think, the Hartford and Springfield.
finally severing the route.
Of all the lines involved, the only remainder
is Huntington Ave. in Boston and some Philadelphia trackage.
  by JimBoylan
 
Part of one of the possible routes in Connecticut still exists under wire, the Branford Electric Railway - Shore Line Trolley Museum still operates part of the Connecticut Company's line East of New Haven. Their trolley parlor car 500 was part of a Boston to New York trip about 1914. While the passengers were breaking their trip overnight in New Haven, it was realized that the Boston area trolley was too tall to go under a low bridge in the Norwalks. Car 500 was used to complete the trip to 138th St. and Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Beyond there was conduit track.
Parts of the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis RR were never abandoned, and have wire again for the Light Rail Line.
Chicago - St. Louis by trolley had gaps. Chicago to the East had to use the High Voltage Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend RR West of Michigan City, so any through trolley would have had to have been towed.
  by Leo Sullivan
 
Forgot about Branford. Some of the trips might have gone that way as it is more scenic than the inland route.
Note, that Branford is, I believe, the only museum with cars that have travelled only on their
own wheels.
LS
  by polybalt
 
Note, that Branford is, I believe, the only museum with cars that have travelled only on their
own wheels.
The first cars moved to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, located on a section of the old wide-gauge interurban line in Washington, PA ran themselves down the line from Pittsburgh before the power and tracks were cut, very similar to Branford.

If towed on their own wheels count, a many interurbans and rapid transit cars were towed on their own wheels over conventional railroad connections to IRM, Fox River, and East Troy. I assume the same is true for Orange Empire and Rio Vista as well.

Pete Schmidt
  by Leo Sullivan
 
That is certainly on their own wheels but, the cars to which I was referring were delivered under their own power
from Wason or Bradley which were connected to the New England network and to New Haven or, were transferred to
New Haven from other divisions over existing lines then, years later, run out to East Haven to their present home.
There may be other cases like that but, they are outside my knowledge. (an interesting thing for someone to
research)
LS
  by JimBoylan
 
Do East Troy and Fox River have any cars that never left the line, or at least, were operating on the property when it became a museum? Yakima, Wash. does.
The museums at Rio Vista and Perris, Calif., and Industry, N.Y. are connected to live rail.
One of the Branford cars that arrived under its own power was built for the original owner of that very line.
Arden is now connected to live railroad rail, but not much of their collection is railroad gauge. Those 1st 3 cars arrived under their own power over trolley tracks.
  by Patrick Boylan
 
JimBoylan wrote: Chicago to the East had to use the High Voltage Chicago, Lake Shore & South Bend RR West of Michigan City, so any through trolley would have had to have been towed.
My brother Jim's the only one who mentioned towing, but I notice he and others have also said cars couldn't go over conduit. If getting towed over high voltage still counts, then getting towed over conduit counts as well.
  by russp
 
As suggested earlier, the trip would have had to have been made before 1930. The NY & Stamford was discontinued between Port Chester and New Rochelle, NY on July 13, 1927. This broke the street railway link, regardless of the Boston - Connecticut routings. Using the NH or NYW&B commuter trains between these towns would be cheating. The key Massachusetts links (Worcester - Springfield, Worcester - Uxbridge, and Taunton - Providence) were also abandoned in '27. The northeasternmost US electric railway was the Aroostock Valley RR in Maine.

The longest possible US street railway / interurban trip was between Little Falls, NY and Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (west of Sheboygan). The changes of cars were numerous, and the trip a slow one. As late as March 1, 1946, you could go from Payson, UT to Preston. ID by interurban....a trip of a couple of hundred miles with car changes in Salt Lake and Ogden.

Several years ago some friends thought about doing a street railway / interurban atlas of the US but dropped the idea because of a couple of problems: collecting useful archival data; would it be an all-time map or just one for 1914 ? and were there enough potential buyers to break even ?
  by Leo Sullivan
 
A little more looking up that I should have done weeks ago, indicates that the abandonment of the
Hartford and Springfield in July 1926 ended the possibility of going from New York City to
beyond Connecticut. The Shore Line had been gone years before too. Many of the lines
that had been part of the route(s) also would be gone in months.
LS
  by polybalt
 
Do East Troy and Fox River have any cars that never left the line, or at least, were operating on the property when it became a museum? Yakima, Wash. does.
That is certainly on their own wheels but, the cars to which I was referring were delivered under their own power
from Wason or Bradley which were connected to the New England network and to New Haven or, were transferred to
New Haven from other divisions over existing lines then, years later, run out to East Haven to their present home.
There may be other cases like that but, they are outside my knowledge. (an interesting thing for someone to
research)
LS
Village of East Troy M15 fits the bill, at least when the first Museum line was established. The car is a box motor built, as were many cars, in the shops of The Milwaukee, Electric Railway and Light (TMER&L). in 1920. When the interurban to East Troy was abandoned, the Village of East Troy bought the last five miles to maintain freight service to the Village. They bought the M15 for motive power. The car was still operating when the first Museum group took over the East Troy operation. So it lasted into Museum service without ever being moved except under its own power.

However when the second Museum group took over at East Troy, the M15 ended up being transferred to IRM and moved to Union. so the string was broken.