Welcome to the Interurban Car Photo Index!

Like this site's parent site, the Passenger Car Photo Index, this site features an extensive collection of links to images that can be found on the Internet of Interurban (sometimes referred to as Traction or Radial railway) railcars in both the United States and Canada.  This is not an all-encompancing work since not all Interurban roads are covered but what is covered is some of the best images that can be found, hands down. 

An Interurban railway, by definition, is a railway that operates between two cities or towns that, Typically, were operated by electricity.  While most were operated by overhead wires there were two other roads that operated a bit differently, the Capital Transit Co. (which later became DC Transit), which operated around Washington, D.C., by way of underground electric wires though most of the Capital,  and Missouri & Kansas Interurban which was operated by Strang Transportion Electric Car Co., which had its beginnings not with Traction equipment but rather a collection of some truly fine gas electric cars featuring parlor seating which,  after a few years converting to a true Traction line, selling off some of their cars to Minneapolis Saint Paul Rochester & Dubuque Electric Traction Co.,  The Dan Patch Line, which was yet another non-electrified "Interurban" operator. 

A part of what Interurbans did was to provide a more convienient way of getting around compared to what the alternatives offered and some lines were acquired by steam railines during the course of their history so as to tap the resources they possessed.  Stations were often close together and stops along their right-of-way were more frequent, making the lines desirable for customers to use.  Some were rather large systems, such as Chicago Aurora & Elgin, Pacific Electric and Philadelphia Suburban Transportation, while others were rather small while covering their respective areas, providing a valuable transporation link, some also providing freight service while others did not.  Proving to be an important conveyance to passengers was what made Interurbans so popular but the development of automobiles and buses were quick to prove themselves as great adversaries to the Traction lines, with nearly all ending up as piles of scrap as the newer modes of transportation took over.  History isn't kind to the Interurbans yet some remnants of their operations still continue, such as the Chicago South Shore & South Bend, which still operates a fine collection of beautiful stainless-steel e.m.u. (electric multi-unit) cars for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transporation District.  A nearly complete list of Interurban railways can be found on Wikipedia. 

My interest in Interurbans started in my teens as I learned about and began to read a variety of train and model railroad magazines that featured interesting articles about such lines.  I was born too late to have the pleasure of riding lines like the Pacific Electric but did get to have a taste of what once was possible with such lines during my time in the Chicago, Ill., area riding both the Illinois Central (which operated with modern e.m.u. gallery cars) and South Shore elderly but nicely modernized cars.  Both were but some of the experiences that I have had a great pleasure in enjoying (which also included extensive use of Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority PCC cars, but that is yet another story)... I only wish I had done more!!! 

Years of experience with the Passenger Car Photo Index has taught me that broken links are likely to occur.  Sometimes it is simply an error on my part that can be quickly fixed, but, unfortunately, at times this is something that can never be avoided since so much changes for the many folks who do have websites on which the images are hosted.  A number of folks have helped to keep me straight on my errors as well as letting me know about broken links, far to many to name, but I do appreciate any help on this!!!  I cannot promise you that all links will remain working since I have no control over this.  I will say, though, that if a link isn't working I will see about it (and if possible, report it to the owner of the site) and if necessary, remove it from future updates.nbsp; To contact me my email address is jmlaboda[at]passcarphotos.info. 

Some important changes that have been made at Flickr.com that affects how a person views images and I felt it is important enough of a change to mention it here.  In the past clicking on an image or right clicking on an image provided for larger sizes to be chosen, and, as it is with the vast majority of shots linked to from this website, a considerably larger image could be seen.  Now left clicking on the download icon (shown at left) in the lower right corner of the screen will bring up the available sizes for all images, all one has to do now is to choose the size and it will load.  I hope that this info will help in viewing images at Flickr.

When viewing images that are hosted by various Universities and Libraries keep in mind that with most you can click on the icon that looks like the image to the left to view larger sizes of the image.  While size still is limited in some larger sizes the image will be considerably larger than if it were viewed in the original pane, which helps greatly in seeing detail on various cars. 

Recommended Sites:

  • Photographer's Rights.  In these changing times there has been lot that has affected railfans' ability to document on film and in written records the continuing chronicles of today's railroads.  Since the tragedy of the 9/11 the rights of individuals to take photographs in public places have come under attack, and this has become especially true of those who take pictures of trains.  Attorney Bert P. Krages II has compiled information on what should and shouldn't be done when taking photographs in public... to visit his site just click the icon to the left.  Additionally the American Civil Liberties Union has some great information on their website that helps define the law even more. 

  • Don Ross' website features a large collection of cars, locomotives and maintenance of way equipment images that is one of the most extensive on the web, which includes a large number of street car and Interurban operators. 

  • Central Electric Railfans Association is the premiere organization dedicated to preserving the rich history of Chicago, Ill., street car and Interurban operations.  Founded in 1938, the organization has been actively involved in all aspects of rail preservation and is actively working to expand what is being saved from a by-gone era.

  • The Trolley Dodger blog sends out messages several times a month that include a wealth of photos, often shots not previously published to the web.  Definitely a valuable resoure for any interested in Interurban railroading.

  • The Julie Johnson Historical Collection of the Chicago Aurora & Eljin and Aurora Eljin & Chicago RR.  Quite often I go in search of repositories where photos of the past can be found and in all of my searching I have never encountered a site quite like what Julie developed.  A long time ago rider of the CA&E and decades long lover of the road, she managed to gather together the best collection of images that can be found anywhere of any railroad.  It is necessary to register but registration is free and once signed in photgraphs from the Collection can be viewed.  The collection itself is literally massive, making it worthwhile to register and, believe me when I say that, once you do you will agree that it was well worth the effort. 

  • The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society is committed to preserving the rich history of the P.E.  Among the features of the site is a huge archive of photos from all over the P.E. system, as well as coverage for the Los Angeles Rwy.  This is a great site well worth taking time to visit!!! 

    If you would like to help meet the financial obligations of this site please consider using the PayPal Donate button below.  Costs have risen while my income has been in decline since my heart attack back in 2011 so any and all help would be greatly appreciated!!!  PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online! 

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