Friday, December 21, 2012

21 December 1906: Heavy Sleet Takes Out Trolley

On this day in 1906, news of long delays in service for the Athens Electric Railway's trolley service was published in the Weekly Banner:

"Quite a while" in this case was until early January, 1907, when the company began installing new poles and stringing "heavier" and "much better" wire throughout the system. It was promised that "there would be no further delays caused by broken wire." (This promise was kept until a severe sleet storm in February, 1908.)

The first successful electric railway system was developed by Frank J. Sprague, who created the suspension and pulley system that became the standard for cities all over the world. It was installed over 12 miles of tracks in Richmond, Virginia, in 1887, and by 1895, 900 U.S. cities had electric railways, with 11,000 miles of rails. 

Most cities had privately run systems, such as Athens Railway & Electric company, which ran the trolley system until March, 1930, when they changed over to a short-lived city bus system.

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