The Lake Shore Electric "The Greatest Electric Railway in the United States" Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., and Robert S. Korach A classic look at one of America's favorite electric railways. From 1901 to 1938 the Lake Shore Electric claimed to be—and was considered by many—"The Greatest Electric Railway in the United States." It paralleled the shore of Lake Erie, connecting Cleveland and Toledo with a high-speed, limited-stop service and even pioneered a form of intermodal transportation three decades before the rest of the industry. To millions of people the bright orange electric cars were an economical and comfortable means of escaping the urban mills and shops, or the humdrum of rural life. In summers during the glory years there were never enough cars to handle the crowds seeking weekend retreats to Lake Erie's beaches and amusement parks. To thousands of midwestern newlyweds the Lake Shore was one of the more enjoyable passages taken on the long but pleasant trip to Niagara Falls, which included the night boat from Cleveland to Buffalo. Reaching its peak in the early 1920s, the Lake Shore Electric suffered the fate of most of its sister lines: unfortunate timing. Created as an alternative to dirty, expensive, and uncomfortable horsedrawn carriages and primitive roads, it was soon competing with automobiles, trucks, and buses on subsidized highways. It could not rival their convenience. The railway's fixed costs and construction debt made the struggle economically unwinnable. The Lake Shore Electric tells the entire story of this fascinating chapter in interurban transportation, even including the missed opportunities that might have saved this railway. Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., has had concurrent careers as a railroad historian, writer, photographer, and working railroader. He spent 30 years in various management positions at C&O and B&O and their successor, CSX. He is author of eleven books on railroad and electric railway history and numerous articles. Robert S. Korach has had a lifelong fascination with urban rail, and has worked with the Cleveland transit system, PATCO's Lindenwold (NJ) high-speed line, MBTA, and the Los Angeles transit system. He is past president of the Association of Railway Museums and was elected in 1995 to the American Public Transit Association's Hall of Fame.
From 1901 to 1938 the Lake Shore Electric claimed to be—and was considered by many—"The Greatest Electric Railway in the United States." It followed the shore of Lake Erie, connecting Cleveland and Toledo with a high-speed, limited-stop service and pioneered a form of intermodal transportation three decades before the rest of the industry. To millions of people the bright orange electric cars were an economical and comfortable means of escaping the urban mills and shops or the humdrum of rural life. In summers during the glory years there were never enough cars to handle the crowds. After reaching its peak in the early 1920s, however, the Lake Shore Electric suffered the fate of most of its sister lines: it was now competing with automobiles, trucks, and buses and could not rival them in convenience. The Lake Shore Electric Railway Story tells the story of this fascinating chapter in interurban transportation, including the missed opportunities that might have saved this railway.
The Lake Shore Electric Railway commenced operation in 1893 on the north coast of Ohio, providing transportation to Cleveland, Lorain, Sandusky, Toledo, and on to Detroit, Michigan. The Lake Shore Electric Railway connected with many other electric railroads to offer a comprehensive quilt of transportation. This allowed increased commerce, ease of transportation, and access for the industrial-era family to visit such recreation spots as Linwood, Crystal Beach, Avon Beach Park, Mitiwanga, Rye Beach, Ruggles Grove and Beach, and Cedar Point, among others. An unimaginable feat in the late 1800s, the Lake Shore Electric could travel from Lorain to Cleveland (approximately 30 miles) in under one hour, making the railway a huge success. Unfortunately this success only lasted about 40 years.
Lavishly illustrated and a joy to read, this authoritative reference work on the North American continent’s railroads covers the U.S., Canadian, Mexican, Central American, and Cuban systems. The encyclopedia’s over-arching theme is the evolution of the railroad industry and the historical impact of its progress on the North American continent. This thoroughly researched work examines the various aspects of the industry’s development: technology, operations, cultural impact, the evolution of public policy regarding the industry, and the structural functioning of modern railroads. More than 500 alphabetical entries cover a myriad of subjects, including numerous entries profiling the principal companies, suppliers, manufacturers, and individuals influencing the history of the rails. Extensive appendices provide data regarding weight, fuel, statistical trends, and more, as well as a list of 130 vital railroad books. Railfans will treasure this indispensable work.
Entering an already crowded and established industry, the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company in Ohio began business with surprising success, producing well over 1,000 electric and steam railway cars--cars so durable they rarely needed to be replaced. That durability essentially put the company out of business, and it vanished from the scene as quickly as it had appeared, leaving little behind except its sturdy railway cars. The story of this highly regarded company spans just 16 years, from Niles's incorporation in 1901 to the abandonment of railway car production and sale of the property to a firm that would briefly build engine parts during World War I. Including unpublished photographs and rosters of railway cars produced by the company and still in existence in railroad museums, The Electric Pullman will appeal to railroad enthusiasts everywhere.