Friday, June 19, 2009

The Dayton & Troy/Lima Route Interurban Railroad

Built in 1901 and closed in 1932 for a good 30 years of operation. The D & T drove the development of the Northridge area, and also suburban development for points north.
The builders were the Clegg family (local industrialists and real estate speculators) and Valentine Winters (a banker who was involved with other traction lines out of Dayton).

It's unclear where the stops were. The map below is a best guess based on available sources. There were three stops in Vandalia, at least two in Chambersburg, renamed Murlin Heights, after the traffic director of the D&T. There was also a stop at the cematary between Murlin Heights and Stop Eight.

And the seven stops in Northridge + one in Dayton at the old McCook Field.

The line also ran a local service as far as Murlin Heights/Chambersburg, were there was a turn-around loop. Presumably this local made more frequent stops to serve the plats that made up Northridge.

The line was a mix of single and long runs of double track. Suprsingly the section through Northridge wasn't double-tracked as there is an account of a grisly accident on single track: A fast moving northbound regular train missed signal or train order, rammed a stopped local car and partially telescoping it, resulting in injurys and deaths.

D & T Rolling Stock

The alpha and omega of the passenger equipment. Top image is an early Barney & Smith car (made in Dayton) from 1902. As one can see this resembled standard railroad passenger coaches, as did most early interurban equipment. Dayton-based B&S used to specialize in passenger cars, but moved into interurban busines, which kept it alive into the 20th century.

The bottom car was the last passenger equipment bought by the D&T. Built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1929, it was nearly the last word on interurban design. Built more like a streetcar, with the front and rear folding doors and lower floorboard. It looks fast, and had a eye-catching orange and maroon color scheme.

Electric Fast Freight

Most interurbans had some freight buiness, usually "less than carload", or LCL, freight. These were usually handled by baggage compartments or "box motors", like the car below. Sort of a powered freight car.

The D&T, however, did generate substantial freight business, operated on a "just-in-time" basis via trains scheduled on demand. So the line also had a fleet of freight cars, one shown in the lower pic. D&T line had two Dayton freight houses, one downtown (still standing about a block north of the 2nd Street Market), and the other off Keowee Street. At the peak the D&T handled about 500K tons of freight daily. Freight service declined after 1926, when PUCO started to grant long distance trucking franchises.

More Passenger Equipment.

The upper car is a longer passenger car than the early Barney & Smith equipment. D&T also had a short-lived sleeping car service since trains did eventually go north to Toledo, and a dining car.

Though we've seen single cars so far, the D & T was prepared to run multi-car trains. The line bought a number of passenger coaches from the New Haven railroad to supplement its powered equipment. Apparently steam road and interurban passenger equipment was least in the early days.

Dayton & Troy and Early Northridge Suburbia.

The following map shows the area of the very first suburban plats along New Troy Pike, the one most likely generated as by the arrival of the interurban, and how the platting worked around the interurban.

The line ran on the west side of New Troy Pike. Most plats on that side accomodated the line by running a frontage road paralleling the right of way, resulting in the line running down a sort of median between the frontage road and Troy Pike.

The two official stops were "Stop 3" at Ridge Avenue, and "Stop 4" at Ebenezer (intersection of Frederick Pike). The local service might have been more informal stops, as the ones shown here don't look all that convenient for some of the plats.

Coming soon, a closer look at Neff Park and the northern sections of Garden City.

(pix are from Daves' Railpix, which has good documentation for the other Dayton interurbans and streetcar companies)


Anonymous said...

I always wondered why Stop Eight Road was named such, and now I know.

Jefferey said...

It was Henneke Road before being renamed Stop Eight (this was back in the 'teens or early '20s).

Anonymous said...

Hello! I enjoyed reading your post. While reading you mentioned a terrible accident, those killed were relative of mine. It happened near Stop 16, 1/2 mile north of Vandalia. The names of those killed were George and Dora Smith, on July 17, 1916. Of course roads and landscape have changed in the past almost 100 years but always wondered where exactly it occurred. Any guesses as to what crossroad off of Dixie?