Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ohio Interurban Line

This is the text of a historical plaque in Canal Winchester, near Columbus Ohio:

Erected in 1905 by the Scioto Valley Traction Company, this station served as a terminal for passenger and freight service as part of an electric railway that connected Canal Winchester with neighboring towns in central Ohio. Known as the interurban, its arrival signaled the end of the gaslight era in the village. Regular service was maintained from 1904-1930 when improved roads and affordable automobiles rendered the system obsolete.

This historical marker stands in the original path of the interurban track that once ran parallel to the station along the north side of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Direct current from the "third rail" provided power to the interurban trolley cars to achieve speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Passengers could purchase a ticket to ride from here south to Lancaster or north to Columbus via Obetz Junction where a transfer could take travelers southwest as far as Chillicothe. (Accessed here).

It’s interesting how the idea of light rail for public transportation was successfully implemented over 100 years ago. Another prominent relic of the Interurban system is the Interurban Bridge at Roche de Boeuf  near Waterville, Ohio.

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