• Most Hopeless Interurban?

  • 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 salminkarkku
 
This is on an online list of North Carolina transit systems:

APPALACHIAN INTERURBAN RAILROAD, pre-World War I, at maximum had two horse cars and 3m of track.

It was at Hendersonville, a city near Asheville in the west end of NC. As far as I can find out, it ran to a suburb called Laurel Park but was meant to be part of a scheme to provide heavy rail interurban passenger and freight service from Hendersonville to Ashville in conjunction with a line that the "Clinchfield" was going to build to the latter in competition with the "Southern".

I think this has to be the record for the saddest result of any interurban scheme, even worse than the Chicago to New York one. At least that ran electric cars. Wonder if any photos exist of a "Missouri" class 0-4-0 hayburner loco in operation on it?
  by CarterB
 
One might say that the North Jersey Rapid Transit was doomed almost from the start. Just a month into it's full line service, a head-on collision killed 3 and injured 12. Law suits soon put them into financial difficulty. It was a heavy rail interurban line with expensive Jewett cars, but basically paralleled the Erie from Suffern to Paterson, and never really had adequate ridership potential.
  by Tadman
 
There was an article a few years back in First & Fastest about the Rockford & Interurban, a line that never reached Rockford. It was supposed to be an interurban, and the track was built to light standards, but instead operated with a gas-mechanical home-built and a used Metropolitan Elevated tank engine. A railroad that went nowhere slow...
  by Passenger
 
salminkarkku wrote: ... I think this has to be the record for the saddest result of any interurban scheme, even worse than the Chicago to New York one. ...
More info or link please. :wink:
  by choess
 
Google "Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad".
  by Passenger
 
choess wrote:Google "Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad".
Thank you.
  by Tadman
 
CERA has a book out about the CHI-NY Airline interurban if you're really looking for more material, but it's probably $50+.
  by madcrow
 
Sorry for the bump, but wow... The Chicago-New York Electric line really sounds like it would have been a good 60 years ahead of its time had it been built. Actually, it really does sound a lot like what the Japanese built the bullet trains: all electric traction on dedicated tracks kept as straight as possible and which tunnel through and bridge over all obstacles rather than going around them.
  by jtbell
 
Then there's the Philadelphia & Western (today's SEPTA route 100), which was originally projected as a transcontinental railroad. :P
  by walt
 
jtbell wrote:Then there's the Philadelphia & Western (today's SEPTA route 100), which was originally projected as a transcontinental railroad. :P
True, but the P&W was a long way from being a hopeless interurban. It was one of the best constructed interurbans in the country, and is one of only two interurbans still in existence. The Transcontinental Railroad plan may have died stillborn, but, particularly between 1912 and 1949, when the LVT's Liberty Bell Route to Allentown used the P&W between Norristown & 69th Street, the P&W/LVT out performed many other interurbans. The fact that it still exists as an electrically operated railway, albeit as more of a rapid tranist line today, is testiment to the fact that it was far from hopeless.

In actuallity, most of the projected interurbans could be considered to have been hopeless. For every reasonably successful interurban there were probably five or six that never got built, never should have been built, or were built in the wrong place.
  by delvyrails
 
Perhaps the most hopeless interurban built in southeast Pennsylvania was not the P&W but the extravagantly named Montogomery County Rapid Transit. It branched off the better known Schuylkill Valley Traction Norristown-Pottstown line at Trooper and wandered north, building in stages between 1907 and 1912 through the villages of Fairview, Center Point, Skippack, and Lederach to Harleysville. Its intention was to connect with the Lehigh Valley Transit at Souderton. After two disastrous wrecks, it closed in 1925.
  by NE2
 
jtbell wrote:Then there's the Philadelphia & Western (today's SEPTA route 100), which was originally projected as a transcontinental railroad. :P
Well, not quite; it was to have been a small part of a transcontinental controlled by George Gould. He actually got most of it put together, including the construction of the Western Pacific; the only gap was between Pittsburgh and the Western Maryland. (Once he acquired the Western Maryland the P&W was presumably unnecessary.) But that's a little far from the topic of interurbans.