Uptown--Downtown; Horsecars--Trolley Cars - Purple Mountain Press



by Glendon L. Moffet

From "Kingston's Great Trolley Fight:
Kingston City Electric Railway vs. Colonial City Railroad":

"The ordinariness of today's urban public transportation makes it difficult to understand the passion with which the media and the traveling public embraced electric trolleys in their first years. Minute details of trolley line construction and operation were eagerly reported by Kingston and Rondout newspapers, and a fifteen-minute delay in service brought reporters scurrying to discover the cause. The big story, however, was the rivalry between two competing lines: the Kingston City Electric Railway Company and the Colonial City Railroad Company.

On March 17, 1892, the Kingston City Electric Railway Company was incorporated in New York State to operate an `electric street-surface railroad' for 2.97 miles."

The early transportation needs of Rondout and Kingston were met by ominbuses, stagecoaches that plied regular routes within and between the communities. The next step, in the 1860s, was the introduction of horsecars, which ran on rails, but when the electric trolleys were introduced toward the end of the nineteenth century, the battle was on between to competitors: Kingston City Electric and Colonial City Railroad. For a decade the battled in court, at common council meetings, and once in the street. Because Kingston City Electric assumed the franchise of the Kingston and Rondout Horse Railroad Company, it had a right-of-way across the West Shore Railroad's tracks, which had been constructed after the horsecar tracks were in place. By the time Colonial City laid out its line, there was no way it could get permission to cross the steam railroad's tracks. Eventually, a tunnel had to be constructed under the tracks, providing Kingston with a block-long subway. Shortly after the turn of the century, the lines merged into the Kingston Consolidated Railroad Company, and it operated trolleys, running as frequently as every ten minutes, until they were replaced by buses in 1930.

Glendon Moffett specializes in transportation histories for the Mid-Hudson Valley. Other works published by Purple Mountain Press include Down to the River by Trolley: The History of the New Paltz Trolley Line, To Poughkeepsie and Back: The Story of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Ferry, and The Old Skillypot and Other Ferryboats of Rondout, Kingston and Rhinecliff

152 pages, illustrated, 6 x 9, index, appendices, 1997
$12.50 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

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