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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trolley Line to Rock Springs Park

The trolley line which connected East Liverpool to Rock Springs Park was only a small section of a much larger interurban system that eventually connected Pittsburgh, PA. and Wheeling, W.V.
By 1909, The Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal reported, "There has been construction during the past two years, along the northerly and westerly banks of the Ohio River, between Vanport, Pa., and Steubenville, Ohio, about 40 miles of double-track, standard-gauge, electric railroad, which affords this busy, thriving, industrial section a high-grade interurban road."

By the end of the following year, completion of a short piece of track near Sewickly meant that the line, made up of several independent systems would "make possible through travel by trolley between Pittsburg [sic] and Wheeling." The report emphasizes that the line "precludes the construction of a future competing line." Anyone who has lived in the area or traveled it, even in modern times, will understand this notion. There is very little flatland between the river and the hills of the Ohio Valley along this stretch.

The railways described were made up of three constituent companies: The Steubenville and East Liverpool Railway and Light Company, The Ohio River Passenger Railway Company, and The Beaver Valley Traction Company.

As the map illustrates C.A. Smith's East Liverpool Traction & Light Company was only a small part of the overall railway lines. It is this trolley system which took excursionists to Rock Springs Park and therefore the one I will focus on in this blog post.

The East Liverpool Traction & Light Company - This company serves the East Liverpool district, which extends eastward as far as the State line between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and southward to the southerly limits of Wellsville, and includes the street railway system in East Liverpool, a branch line across the river to Chester, W. Va., and a 3-mile spur track to the company’s coal mine up Island Run. It also furnishes light and power for commercial purposes in East Liverpool, Chester, and Wellsville. The initial move in improving and increasing the transportation facilities demanded by this territory was made by this company. The road was originally a single-track line, lying wholly in the highways and streets, and had several dangerous steam railroad crossings at grade. In the reconstruction of that portion of the system which forms a part of the through main line, provision was made for a double track, which has been laid partly in new location, and as far as practicable on private right of way, improving the grade and alignment, and eliminating the grade crossings.

The major portion of this property was reconstructed during 1905 and 1906, thus preceding the construction of the stretches of road southward to Toronto and Steubenville, and northward from East Liverpool to Vanport, which has resulted in the continuous line of about 40 1/2 miles of double-track road described herein.

Additional information and images go to http://www.eastliverpoolhistoricalsociety.org/trolley5.htm

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