Urban Campus

Good-Bye To The Electric Trolley

Goodbye to Trolley - End of Electric Trolley Service

Goodbye to Trolley - End of Electric Trolley Service

Frank Gould had envisoned his electric trolley line to not only travel between Richmond and Ashland, Virginia, but to also travel to Tappahannock, Virginia with hopes of running even further. Unfortunately, due to a stock market panic which created the collapse of the Knickerbocker Trust Co. in New York on October 21, 1907, Gould's investors backed away.  During this same year, the Richmond-Ashland electric line was up and running, but the line to the Tappahannock area never emerged. The railway traffic did peak during World War I, but the Richmond terminal could not generate enough money to cover expenses. On August 28, 1918, the Richmond terminal was put up for auction. The Richmond-Ashland electric trolley line was sold to Oliver Sands and Jonanthan Bryan. Cheaper low voltage cars were used and the line continued to provide trolley service for several more years.  The last years of the electric trolley service saw an increase in use of automobiles along with an increase in trolley accidents.  Improvements, plublic appeals, advertising, and lowering of fares could not stop the fall in revenue and with the start of buses traveling to Ashland, the days of the trolley line came to an end.  (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond) (National Register of Historic Places, Richmond, Va., p. 16)

On Tuesday, March 22, 1938 at 11:10 p.m., the last car left Ashland and returned to Richmond, loaded with the biggest group of travelers since 1911.  (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond)

In 1948 the Richmond Glass Company purchased the Richmond depot station.  Starting in 1958 the 2,800 foot trestle and viaduct were demolished in stages.  First, for the Carver School to be built, and later by the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority for the start of their slum clearance project.  The Richmond Petersburg Turnpike Authority later tore down a portion in order to build Interstate 95.  Another section of the viaduct came down in 1965, followed by the last section in 2003. (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond) (National Register of Historic Places, Richmond, Va. p. 16)

 

Good-Bye To The Electric Trolley