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Photos of Old Fort Worth Transit Service

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#1 grow_smart



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Posted 15 August 2005 - 03:57 PM

I'm looking to try and track down photos or maps that show old Fort Worth transit/interurban service, specifically along the Paddock Viaduct Bridge. I know the Bridge was constructed in 1913, and interurban service ran until the mid 1930's. I also know there was an interurban line over the bridge based on a couple maps I've seen (1920, 1925).

I'm thinking I've seen some photos in the past, but apparently did not bookmark them. Any period photos of the interurban would be great - a photo of the Paddock Viaduct with the transit service would be even better.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

#2 djold1


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Posted 15 August 2005 - 05:35 PM

The Fort Worth tracks of the Northern Texas Traction City lines were primarily for streetcars or trolleys not Interurbans although large Interurban equipment could run (carefully) on them. The Interurban cars that left from a car storage area and freighthouse just to the east of the Courthouse and stopped in several places on its way south to Front (now Lancaster) Street used a small part of the the City lines trackage.

Several years ago I asked a recognized authority on the NTT system whether any Interurban type cars had ever run north of the courthouse over Paddock Viaduct to the Stockyards area. He said that he had never heard of this happening, said it was unlikely and gave some good reasons for it.

Interurban cars are meant for fast inter-city service and like the one now on display at the Intermodal are much larger and heavier than the small street cars that NTT ran throughout the Fort Worth City lines. The Paddock Viaduct was never built with this kind of load in mind although it was double tracked and could handle at least one City weight car in each direction at a time.

Correction: After a later careful look at FW maps from 1907 to 1930 it is clear that Paddock Viaduct supported only a single set of streetcar rails, most ly likely on the eastern side of the pavement. There was a switch at the north end of the viaduct that widened to two tracks for the rest of the trip out to the Stockyards/Exchange street area. This brings up the question as to whether Paddock Viaduct could handle any future "light rail" tracks without major strengthening to the structure.

In addition, the Interurban cars had trouble with tight radius turns in the street that would be found in the regular city system. I have an idea that the few specific lines that were used by the interurbans in dowtown Fort Worth were reinforced and the turn radius was probably eased on that trackage around the Courthouse.

There are a number of post cards and pictures in various archives that show streetcar operation through the city and on Paddock Viaduct. I don't happen to have one handy but they show up on eBay all the time and are inexpensive.

Here is a page from my still very incomplete FoatWurth website that may be interesting:


Somewhere I have a copy of an article in which the officials of Fort Worth Transit (NTT) were introducing the new inter-city motor buses or "coaches" at the time that the electric Interurban service to Dallas was stopped in the middle 1930's.

In spite of what was said at the time, history shows that the reason for the shutdown of both the City & Interurban lines was not entirely financial or due to the superiority of motor buses, but had a lot to do with the politics of the impending expiration of the street use franchise that was to come due in 1936.

Incidentally, the bridge weight issue is apparently primary reason that the Lancaster bridge over the Trinity into the Cultural District has not been suggested for use with the projected streetcar or or (erroneously) "light rail" system. That bridge was built in the late 1930's long after all street car transit operations had ceased in Fort worth and was never stressed for that kind of operation apparently.

Finally FWIW, all streetcars and Interurban cars and sometimes "light rail" cars may be called "trolleys" since that is what they use to pick up the electricity from the overhead wire. However all "trolleys" are not Interurban cars.

The C.H. Rogers Greater Fort Worth City maps of 1919/20 and 1925 give a very good picture of this transit operation including the Interurban. There are also some excellent 1929 & 1930 and 1934 maps that show good detail.

Pete Charlton
The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps

#3 RSAN820



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Posted 26 October 2007 - 09:28 AM

I am not sure if you were able to get an answer to your question on the street car service? Here is what I have for the questioned that you asked. North Fort Worth developer Sam Rosen connected a line from Rosen Heights to Fort Worth. He promised all of the residents to the properties that he was selling railcar service. He told the North Texas Traction Company (NTTC) that he would run a line to the Stockyards if they would allow him to conntect them both together at that point. They told him that he could except that the commuters would have to pay an extra 5 cents to transfer. He offered to pay the difference and they still refused. In 1904 he began his own his company the Rosen Heights Streetcar Railway Company. Ground was broken at the beginning of the 2600 block of Azle Avenue close to where Riscky Barbeque is now located. There was a point where he had to cross the line for the NTTC so they did under the cover of darkness, because there was no way that they could get permission. The next morning the Rosen Heights residents had rail service all the way to Fort Worth. The line was operational in 1905, however about a year or two later the lines that he added was purchsed by the NTTC. I hope this helps.

#4 FoUTASportscaster


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Posted 12 January 2008 - 10:55 PM

Anybody know how many miles of local streetcar track Fort Worth had at its peak, and what was the last year of service before "bustitution".

#5 FoUTASportscaster


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Posted 20 January 2008 - 01:18 AM


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