One of the things I miss about home is hearing the sound of a train sending out its lonesome whistle cry along the Ohio River. As a boy, I could lie still, listen, and know the world had not stopped. The mighty Ohio River flowed beyond our community garden like blood in a giant vein. Across the river, trains moved back and forth like impulses through nerves. It must be the sensation one feels falling asleep on a boat or a train. I was not moving, but the world outside was.
Every so often I can hear a train whistle at night in my current hometown of Greensburg, PA, while it reminds me of home, it doesn’t have the same rolling echo I remember. The Ohio River Valley has a unique effect on sounds, creating a reverberation that plays with train horns, thunder, and fireworks, like no other.
It was interesting, then, to read the article below and discover that the first trains traveling up and down the Ohio would have been silent. They were noiseless electric railway cars powered by overhead lines running 66 miles between Beaver and Steubenville and included the branch line to Rock Springs Park.
The Daily Tribune - June 8, 1906
TRACTION COMPANIES WILL HAVE 66 MILES OF RIVER FRONT RAILWAY
The big traction merger which has recently been effected whereby Steubenville, O., will be one terminus and Beaver the other will afford excellent facilities for traction travel in this vicinity.
The companies which are interested in the deal control and will operate 66 miles of river front electric railway with easy curves and low grades, the maximum being not over 1 1/2 per cent[sic]. The lines will serve a population of about 225,000 people.
When completed $7,500,000 will have been invested in the property, and it will consist of a continuous, high-speed, double track electric railway between Steubenville and Beaver, with crushed limestone ballast, heavy ties and 85 pound rails in 60 foot lengths. Twenty-five large interurban cars will be used in the through service, in addition to the ones used on the lines for local traffic, within the limits of the different municipalities through which the lines run. The entire power problem has not been definitely settled for the extensions, but in the cities where the lines are at present in operation the direct current is in use.
The companies own their own coal mine on the Little Beaver creek, thus insuring fuel at minimum cost.
The capital interested has purchased the East Liverpool Traction & Light Company, owning the street railway lines in East Liverpool and Wellsville and Chester, with the bridge over the Ohio River and the summer resort of Rock Springs Park, the entire system being about 12 miles in length. Those lines will connect at the state lines of the Ohio River Passenger Railway, now being built, a distance of 11.17 miles passing through the new town site of Midland to Beaver, where connection will be made with the lines of the Beaver Valley Traction Company.
It is expected that all these connections and improvements will be completed by next year, when continuous trolley service will be inaugurated between Wheeling and Beaver.