Nashville's 150-year public transportation heritage is a rich and colorful one that began in 1866 when two private companies, the McGavock and Mount Vernon Horse Railroad Company and the South Nashville Street Railroad Company, commenced operation. The first cars were mule powered. During the 1880s, as streetcar routes became longer and too strenuous for animal power, steam dummy lines were introduced. On April 30, 1889, Nashville became one of the earliest cities served by electric street railways, developing a 70-mile system by 1915. In addition to its advanced streetcar system, Nashville was also served by two interurban railway systems. Over time, improved roads and affordable cars caused ridership on public transportation to drop rapidly. By February 1941, buses had replaced the last of the city's aging streetcars. The traction era had come to an end.
About the Author
Ralcon Wagner has been an enthusiast and advocate of regional and public transportation all his life. During the past 25 years, he has written numerous articles about trains and mass transit for national publications and has ridden more than 20 light-rail and streetcar systems across the nation. As an avid historian, Wagner is also involved with preservation efforts in the Nashville area.
Table of Contents
1 Horsecars and Dummy Lines 9
2 Electrification and Expansion 13
3 Nashville's Golden Streetcar Era 27
4 Tennessee Transportation Company 55
5 TEPCO Takes Over 63
6 Safety First! 75
7 The Pageant of Street Railway Progress 81
8 Nashville's Interurban Railways 91
9 The End of an Era 111