INTERURBAN RAILWAYS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES

The Midwest was one of the few regions in the country, where the interurban railway networks were well developed. Good networks radiated out of Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and existed in various parts of Ohio. Many interurban lines were basically extensions of local streetcar systems, usually using streetcar trackage within the cities. And in some areas, extending to another cities and connecting with their streetcar systems. In some cities the same company, and in other cities a different company.

But beyond the Midwest, the interurban networks were generally quite fragmented, except in the densely populated Northeast. Although many of the railways there did not completely meet the "interurban" definition, because of little rural land between many of the cities served. In many states, there were only a few interurban lines scattered throughout the state, and many of them did not connect with any other interurban lines, remaining completely isolated. But even in the Midwest, there were significant gaps in the interurban networks. For example, Chicago did not connect with downstate Illinois, downstate Indiana, or most of Michigan. And the interurbans reaching Green Bay were isolated from the interurbans from Milwaukee. And interurbans never reached Madison, Wisconsin.

"The Electric Interurban Railways In America", by George W. Hilton and John F. Due, is probably the best reference book for interurban railways. This book is highly recommended for anyone seeking further information. For electric railways, which were not city streetcar or rapid transit systems, or electrified "steam" railroads, the book authors basically identified three different types of interurban railways.

INTERURBAN RAILWAYS
"LINES WITH SOME INTERURBAN CHARACTERISTICS" (on this web site "Interurban Type Railways")
RURAL TROLLEY LINES (on this web site "Interurban Trolley Lines")

The book includes further information, in making the distinction between these three categories. Although the authors admit that the distinction between these categories was not always clear. This web site does not include the rural trolley lines, except in the more densely populated northeastern United States where their bus replacements generally continue to be operated by the local transit systems. Also not included here are non electric interurban railways.

Because this web site covers all forms of public transportation, including buses and local streetcars, much information on interurban lines is grouped with historic information on the city streetcar systems, many of which were the same companies. Dedicated pages are available for the larger interurban railway systems, along with for certain areas with several interurban lines.

The bold type links are for this web site's main public transit pages, for each state. And additional links are for the dedicated pages covering most of the larger interurban railway systems, including some of the replacement bus services. Information for the smaller interurban railway companies, many of which were also the local streetcar companies, are on the various pages covering public transportation history in each state. States not listed historically never had interurban railways.


CALIFORNIA
Pacific Electric Railway - the world's largest interurban railway system in the Los Angeles area, bus service continues
Sacramento Area - a concentration of longer distance interurban lines
COLORADO
Denver Area - suburban bus service continues
CONNECTICUT
A small densely populated state with continued bus service on most interurban routes
DELAWARE
Had one short interurban type railway
GEORGIA
Atlanta Area - suburban bus service continues
IDAHO
Boise-Caldwell - corridor with continued bus service
ILLINOIS
Chicago - home to the longest surviving interurban railways
Chicago Suburbs - lines of a more local nature, evolving to Pace system
Illinois Traction Co. - operated interurban trains throughout much of state
Illinois Valley Area - included interurban line affiliated with Illinois Traction Co.
East St. Louis Area - suburban bus service continues
Rockford - hub for a few interurban lines
INDIANA
Northern Indiana - local interurban lines in corridor still served by South Shore Line
Indiana Railroad - operated interurban trains throughout much of state
Smaller Interurban Railways - provided additional interurban service in Indiana
IOWA
Mostly extensions of local streetcar systems scattered throughout state
KANSAS
Kansas Interurban Railways - several companies provided interurban service of a more intercity nature
KENTUCKY
Louisville/Lexington - hubs for a few interurban lines
LOUISIANA
Limited development of interurban railways, including a suburban line in New Orleans area.
MAINE
Interurban Railways - a few companies provided interurban service of a more intercity nature
MARYLAND
Hagerstown & Frederick Railway Co. - most significant interurban railway system in Maryland
MASSACHUSETTS
A small densely populated state with continued bus service on most interurban routes
MICHIGAN
Detroit United Railway - evolved to suburban bus system serving Detroit area
Michigan Electric Railway - operated interurban trains throughout much of state
MINNESOTA
Limited development of interurban railways, including some suburban lines in Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
MISSISSIPPI
Had one short line in Gulfport/Biloxi area
MISSOURI
Missouri Interurban Railways - several companies provided interurban service of a more intercity nature
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Several interurban type railways were basically extensions of local streetcar systems
NEW JERSEY
A small densely populated state with continued bus service on most interurban routes
NEW YORK
Albany/Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse - areas now with large regional transit systems, some with continued interurban bus service
NORTH CAROLINA
Had a few minor interurban lines
OHIO
Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad - operated interurban trains between Cincinnati and Toledo
Lake Shore Electric Railway - operated interurban trains between Cleveland and Toledo
Penn-Ohio System - operated interurban trains in Akron-Canton-Youngstown area
Cincinnati/Cleveland/Toledo/Lima- hubs for a few interurban lines
OKLAHOMA
Mostly extensions of local streetcar systems scattered throughout state
OREGON
Oregon Interurban Railways - several companies provided interurban service mainly around Portland
PENNSYLVANIA
Outside Philadelphia - several companies provided local interurban type service
SOUTH CAROLINA
Had a few minor interurban lines
TENNESSEE
Had a few lines operating from Nashville
TEXAS
Dallas/Fort Worth/Houston - hubs for a few interurban lines
UTAH
Salt Lake City/Ogden - suburban/interurban bus service continues
VERMONT
Several interurban type railways were basically extensions of local streetcar systems
VIRGINIA
Had a few minor interurban lines
WASHINGTON
Seattle/Spokane- hubs for a few interurban lines
WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia Interurban Railways - several companies provided interurban service of a more intercity nature
WISCONSIN
Milwaukee Area - hub for a few interurban lines
Additional interurban railways were mostly extensions of local streetcar systems, mainly in corridor between Milwaukee and Green Bay


Many of the interurban railways were eventually replaced with buses. These web pages also include, where available and practical, information on the replacement bus services. Many of the interurban bus lines eventually became part of Greyhound and other intercity bus systems, unfortunately to be mostly discontinued after the deregulation of the 1980's. While a few interurban lines of a more suburban nature eventually became parts of local transit systems, which continue to operate the bus lines. The Greyhound and other intercity bus systems are covered in the "Interurban And Intercity Buses" section of this web site.


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