INTERURBANS IN SURROUNDING STATES
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Midwestern United States had the highest concentration of electric interurban railways, when interurbans were a popular form of transportation in the country in the early part of the century. Outside the Chicago metropolitan area, interurbans provided the basic local transportation, passing through smaller towns on their way between the larger towns and cities.
Most interurban lines underwent at least one change of name throughout their histories. Smaller lines were consolidated into larger systems by the 1920's. And after the Great Depression, many of those interurban lines which did survive reorganized, with new names. Many electric railways were owned by the electric utility companies, which of course supplied the electricity used by the trains.
In many areas, the interurban lines and local streetcar lines were under the same ownership. Some cities had streetcar systems not affiliated with any interurban lines. Most interurban lines were replaced with buses or abandoned during the 1920's and 1930's.
Local interurban lines beyond the 6 county Chicago metropolitan area, outside areas served by public transit agencies.
The Illinois Traction Co., later the Illinois Terminal Railroad Co., was the most notable interurban system serving downstate Illinois.
Various suburban and interurban electric railways connected the East St. Louis area with St. Louis.
The high speed commuter railroad nature of the South Shore Line, enabled it to survive as "America's Last Interurban". But the Northern Indiana Railway and additional companies also existed, providing service of a more local nature.
Indianapolis was the hub of one of the most comprehensive interurban railway systems in the country.
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company once operated all electric railways in southeast Wisconsin, with interurban routes radiating out of Milwaukee. Much of The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company evolved to today's transit systems serving Milwaukee and suburbs.
A few smaller interurban railways existed in the corridor between Milwaukee and Green Bay, although a continuous route was never developed.
The Detroit United Railway once operated all electric railways in southeast Michigan, with interurban routes radiating out of Detroit. Much of the Detroit United Railway evolved to today's transit systems serving Detroit and suburbs.
Besides the Detroit United Railway, various other companies operated various interurban railways in Michigan.
Ohio had more interurban mileage than any state, with service provided by companies of varying sizes.
Some information for these pages is from "The Electric Interurban Railways In America", by George W. Hilton and John F. Due. Additional information is from the Poor's and Moody investment manuals from past years.