Nashville's Streetcars and Interurban Railways (Images of Rail)

October 31, 2020
Nashville's Streetcars and Interurban Railways (Images of Rail)

Nashville's 150-year public transportation heritage is a richand colorful one that began in 1866 when two private companies, theMcGavock and Mount Vernon Horse Railroad Company and the SouthNashville Street Railroad Company, commenced operation. The firstcars were mule powered. During the 1880s, as streetcar routesbecame longer and too strenuous for animal power, steam dummy lineswere introduced. On April 30, 1889, Nashville became one of theearliest cities served by electric street railways, developing a70-mile system by 1915. In addition to its advanced streetcarsystem, Nashville was also served by two interurban railwaysystems. Over time, improved roads and affordable cars causedridership on public transportation to drop rapidly. By February1941, buses had replaced the last of the city's aging streetcars.The traction era had come to an end.Ralcon Wagner has been an enthusiast and advocate of regionaland public transportation all his life. During the past 25 years,he has written numerous articles about trains and mass transit fornational publications and has ridden more than 20 light-rail andstreetcar systems across the nation. As an avid historian, Wagneris also involved with preservation efforts in the Nashvillearea.