Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Richmond's street cars: what was
Ok so this blog wasn't supposed to be about looking into Richmond's past. However, when I wanted to write about how I support a return of rail transit to Richmond, I found all these fascinating photos and maps of street car service here in the first half of the 20th century.
Richmond had the world's first electric street car system. Frank Sprague invented the system of electric powered street traction fed by trolley wheel on overhead catenary (probably not the best technical summary but fairly close for a laymen). The original trolleys were open to the air and had a single truck to make extremely tight radius turns. The cars operated in mixed traffic, as you can see from these photos.
I'll try to explain these in captions (sorry they aren't numbered.)
-A partial system map dated 1930
-The original "Richmond Union Passenger Railway" map
- Passing under the Seaboard viaduct next to Main St. station
-Turning from Laurel St. onto Broad. The closest building in the photo is presently Alladin's
-In front of The Naitonal Theater, Broad & 7th streets
-Main & Laurel streets at Monroe Park
-Broad & 1st streets
-Laurel Street in front of Cathedral of Sacred Heart
-Broad & 8th streets, with the Central National Bank tower in the background
Stay tuned for another post on street cars, and why these old pics are still relevant