Sunday, March 9, 2014

Conneaut and Erie Traction Co. Schedule

Conneaut and Erie Traction Co. schedule circa 1906 courtesy of Mr. Eagley.
All aboard! Today we're going to travel back in time to 1906 and talk about Ken Springirth's favorite subject: Trolleys. Ken is a walking encyclopedia of trolley trivia (check out this interview in the Jamestown Post-Journal), so if you want to read more about trolleys and trains, view a list of Ken's books from the Erie County Public Library's catalog. And while I'm on the subject, Ken Springirth will appear at the Lincoln Community Center in Fairview, PA on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 1 p.m. to talk about his new book, Remembering the Pennsylvania Railroad. Call (814) 451-7085 for more information.

Back to the topic at hand. What I find most interesting about the Conneaut and Lake Erie Traction Company is that you could travel from Perry Square in downtown Erie, PA all the way to Conneaut, Ohio. Never mind that it took one hour and 55 minutes. 

The printed schedule was very straightforward and easy to decipher. Board the trolley at 7:05 a.m. on North Park Row, travel south on State Street, turn right on West 12th St., turn south at Peach St., then right on West 26th St. to Weigeltown (on which Skip Niebauer is the go-to man). The next stop, as we continue to travel west, was the Poor House (Alms House) near Pittsburgh Avenue, and then on to Swanville.

After stopping in Fairview, it would arrive in Girard at 8:04 a.m. and then turn right and travel to North Girard, which is now Lake City, PA. Traveling parallel to Route 5 for a short distance, the car would make a left, a right, a left and another right. The trolley cars were carried over Elk Creek by a wooden trestle. Elk Creek being a destination for steelhead fishing. 

Next stop, East Springfield at 8:30 a.m., then on to West Springfield, and East Conneaut, reaching the final destination- Conneaut, Ohio- at  8:55 a.m. Ten minutes later the trolley would turn around and head back to Erie following the same tracks. The last trolley to cover the entire distance left Conneaut at 9:05 p.m. and reached Perry Square at 10:55 p.m. It took two hours and 20 minutes to make the trip in 1904.

An average of 4,000 passengers per day rode on the Conneaut and Erie line in 1904, and it was quite scenic in the west county. "Probably the most beautiful sections are along the gorges near Elk Creek, Crooked Creek and especially in Walnut Canyon, between Swanville and Fairview." - Street Railway Journal, February 6, 1904.

There were occasional delays when Northwestern PA experienced extreme weather events like lake effect snow. Strong winds of sustained speed would cause huge snow drifts across the trolley tracks in wide open farm areas, and winter maintenance was accomplished with a rotary snow plow or a box car fitted with a ball-nose snow pusher. If there was a really high drift, the work was sometimes done by men with shovels!

Want more information about Erie, PA? Find it here.

1 comment:

  1. any idea where or what Weigeltown was? I live between Peach and Pittsburgh on 29th in an old farm house (circa 1909).