Longest interurban survivors?

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

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Longest interurban survivors?

Postby DT662000 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:36 am

Were any lines abandoned after the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee in 1963?
I can't think of any others that outlived the "North Shore Line" and aren't still around in some form today (e.g. the "South Shore", the P&W, etc.)
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby walt » Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:39 pm

The South Shore Line and the P&W have long been considered the last two remaining interurbans, however each has some characteristics of other types of rail lines. The South Shore, especially with its current passenger equipment is very much like a commuter railroad, while the P&W ( as the Norristown High Speed Line) has elements similar to rapid transit lines. Note that between the somewhat forced retirement of the Bullet Cars and the acquisition of the present Adtranz N-5 cars, SEPTA ran two types of actual rapit transit equipment on that lhe--- ex Chicago Transit Authority PCC rapid transit cars and ex Market-Frankford M-3 ( Almond Joy) cars further emphasising the rapid transit connection. Both lines, though have definate interurban roots.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby FLRailFan1 » Sat May 17, 2014 10:33 am

How about Cedar River and Iowa City?
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby ebtmikado » Sat May 17, 2014 2:02 pm

In addition to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City,
the Mason City & Clear Lake (now Iowa Traction) still operates electric freight,
using steeplecab electric locomotives. There is also an ex-North Shore line car,
and a North Shore steel passenger car.

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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby JimBoylan » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:15 pm

If you mean both operated by electricity and abandoned after Jan. 21, 1963, add Texas Transportation Co. in San Antonio, which served the Pearl Brewery.
Yakima (Wash.) Valley Transportation's status is ambiguous, since it is still sometimes running as a tourist line.
Some lines that lost electricity before then were abandoned later, or are still running today.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby dinwitty » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:13 am

I think there are some elements of the South Shore that are lost, like the Downtown South Bend street running and the East Chicago street running, and some smaller freight services. In contrast, we're seeing some resurgence, like Norfolk Virginia reviving the former Norfolk Southern electric line around the coast, they were surprised at the ridership, Portland Oregon keeps putting in new service, we have the Kenosha line and now Milwaukee with a short line. Who knows whaty may happen if we get more crowded with cars.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby dan the ca railfan » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:13 pm

dinwitty wrote:I think there are some elements of the South Shore that are lost, like the Downtown South Bend street running and the East Chicago street running, and some smaller freight services. In contrast, we're seeing some resurgence, like Norfolk Virginia reviving the former Norfolk Southern electric line around the coast, they were surprised at the ridership, Portland Oregon keeps putting in new service, we have the Kenosha line and now Milwaukee with a short line. Who knows whaty may happen if we get more crowded with cars.


the longest interburban line i can think of is the San fransisco cable car system although only two of the lines will remain i think if proposition e goes through
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby CarterB » Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:31 am

dinwitty wrote:the longest interburban line i can think of is the San fransisco cable car system although only two of the lines will remain i think if proposition e goes through

Cable car line never was nor is an interurban.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm

dan the ca railfan wrote:the longest interburban line i can think of is the San fransisco cable car system although only two of the lines will remain i think if proposition e goes through

What is Proposition E? I can't find anything on it. And in any case, since I believe the cable car system is officially a National Monument, can a San Francisco city or county proposition have any effect?
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:27 am

In response to the original question, the Illinois Terminal was mostly abandoned in the 1980s, well after the CNSM. It became a freight-only diesel railroad in 1956 though.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby CarterB » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:11 am

mtuandrew wrote:In response to the original question, the Illinois Terminal was mostly abandoned in the 1980s, well after the CNSM. It became a freight-only diesel railroad in 1956 though.

True, as such, however technically only as a diesel power freight only railroad. Real Interurban was abandoned, under wire, in 1956, with a few suburban St. Louis street car operations for another year or two.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:19 pm

CarterB wrote:True, as such, however technically only as a diesel power freight only railroad. Real Interurban was abandoned, under wire, in 1956, with a few suburban St. Louis street car operations for another year or two.

And therein lies the question. Does an interurban cease to be an interurban when passenger service ends, when electrification ends, when upgraded to full heavy railroad standards (i.e. South Shore) or made part of a larger transit system (Skokie Swift or NHSL), when cut back to strictly local service, or only when abandoned? Any one of those could happen without affecting the others, except obviously abandonment.
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Re: Longest interurban survivors?

Postby CarterB » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:29 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
CarterB wrote:True, as such, however technically othenly as a diesel power freight only railroad. Real Interurban was abandoned, under wire, in 1956, with a few suburban St. Louis street car operations for another year or two.

And therein lies the question. Does an interurban cease to be an interurban when passenger service ends, when electrification ends, when upgraded to full heavy railroad standards (i.e. South Shore) or made part of a larger transit system (Skokie Swift or NHSL), when cut back to strictly local service, or only when abandoned? Any one of those could happen without affecting the others, except obviously abandonment.

IMHO, interurbans cease to be such when they de-electify. Thus South Shore is still technically an "interurban" as would be the Skokie Swift...both of which operate outside the Chicago city limits and indeed to other towns. Thus, electric operations extended outside city limits.
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