ELECTRIC STREET RAILWAYS
ELECTRIC STREET RAILWAYS. Electric street railways played a central role in the development of thirty-three cities in Texas during a span of eighty-five years. The railway systems in Texas totaled more than 600 miles. The streetcar was a visible part of the urban scene, and during the age of electric traction no city seemed complete without it. Until the family automobile became commonplace, the streetcar was an important mode of transportation. During the first half of the twentieth century electric cars dominated the downtowns of the larger cities during rush hours. In some cities the extent of urban development was governed by the radius of operation of the street railway. Population growth followed the car lines. Commercial development and residential areas were built away from the downtown area. By providing fast and frequent transportation at a low fare the railway made growth in the size of cities possible. Distant points became a few minutes from downtown. The electric streetcar represented the most significant development in city transportation. This would continue as the most important vehicle in urban transit until the time of World War II. Texas had the largest number of cities with electric streetcar systems of any state west of the Mississippi River. In some of the larger cities of Texas the first day of operation of the street railway was front-page news in the local newspaper.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Robert A. Rieder, "Electric Street Railways," accessed May 31, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eue01.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles