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While most interurbans were small, local operations this was not always the case.
Those like the Illinois Terminal, South Shore Line, and Piedmont & Northern maintained more than 100 miles each and boasted an expansive freight business.
Most were gone by the immediate postwar years and only the strongest survived to see 1960.
Today, some of the streetcar systems have survived for commuter service such as in Philadelphia (today, operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority or "SEPTA"), Chicago (Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, NICTD), and the remnants of Pacific Electric's great system in Los Angeles.
Sprague failed to interest the New York Elevated but others were impressed. Brill Company Jewett Car Company Niles Car & Manufacturing Company St.
He eventually secured a contract in May of 1887 with the Richmond Union Passenger Railway in Virginia to provide cars for its operation. Louis Car Company Birneys Electroliners Presidents’ Conference Committee Streetcars, PCCs Another important developer was Sidney Howe Short who invented a double-reduction, gearless motor and also learned that overhead catenary was the best means for electrical pickup.
To make matters worse they contained extremely high operating ratios of 85-90% (some were even greater than 100%) while the average rate of return never exceeded 3%.It opened on February 2, 1888 and proved successful." Walla Walla Valley Railway: Handling Agriculture Near Walla Walla, Washington Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railway Service Across East-Central Iowa Yakima Valley Transportation: Serving Central-Washington's Agriculture Industry Barney & Smith Car Company Cincinnati Car Company G. Short conceived another important development, the contact "shoe." By the time main line electrified systems were introduced in 1895, when the Baltimore & Ohio energized 4 miles of its Baltimore trackage (including the 1.4-mile Howard Street Tunnel), the technology was quite advanced (according to the railroad's "Official List No.29" issued January 1, 1948 the entire Belt Line ran from Milepost 90.7 at Bay View, Maryland to Milepost 97.9 at Hamburg Street, Baltimore).As these technologies found their way to the United States the first examples appeared in the 1880's; in 1880 Thomas Edison tested an experimental electric locomotive, powered by a dynamo, which was operated on a stretch of track in Menlo Park, New Jersey. George Hilton and John Due's authoritative piece, "," points out the birth of the true American interurban began when Frank Sprague developed an electric motorcar in 1886 for the New York Elevated Railway whereby the motor(s) were situated between the axle, along with a trolley pole and multiple-unit control stand.