U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Kentucky > Louisville area
 [Register]
Louisville area Jefferson County
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 09-27-2009, 03:23 PM
 
3 posts, read 16,930 times
Reputation: 11

Advertisements

What many Louisvillians are totally missing here ....is ....Of course Louisville's El train operations were never as expansive, far-flung or humongous as systems of those huge mega cities. How could they possibly be?

BUT, that aside. Louisville did indeed have an actual elevated rail ....Which were "Els" in every sense of the term and especially Chicago-like along the wharf area. along The elevated commuter trains stoped at their own El stations with boarding platforms of 150'-200' long.( at 7th, 4th and 1st streets). With emphasis... These were NOT merely trolley cars running atop trestles. These were 3 car mu standard ga. trains that ran on 15 minute headways. A trip on these trains, could cover a run from 32nd st. to 4th street in 10 minutes vs. the alternative traffic snarled trip of 30 minutes aboard streetcars. (Photo of these 3 car trains are in the New Albany library.) One photo shows a 3 car electric train in opposite direction of a steam pulled freight train on twin track elevated trestle in west Louisville. This el section also shows up in Sanborn maps.The river front elevated line, was steam first, just like Chicago....but electrified two full years earlier than the Chicago's Loop trains.

AGAIN FOR CLARITY.....The original elevated trains were operated by the K & I Bridge Co. NOT by ....K&IT nor by Louvl & Northrn....those were different companies in latter time frames, which used trolly-ized versions, merely using the bridge to cross the Ohio River then running on surface streetcar routes.

Look up KDL, Kentucky Digital Library .....Maps, 1893 & 1905 Sanborn Maps the 7th St ...4th St....& 1st st Stations are clearly there. That original line had about a 1/2 dozen other stations in the west end as well. There was also about 1 mi. of elevated on the West end segment of the line as well.

Different topic, but similar vein. Pennsylvania RR, had a local lessee also operated commuter rail for many years, serving a loop from New Albany to Jeffersonville, to Louisville over the 14th st bridge, It ran from about 1870 to 1921 and remained steam only, never modernized to electric. Those trains ran from early am to late pm, continiously, making the entire loop about every 25 minutes. K&I's bridge trains, aka "Daisy" lines were in head on competetion for ridership, with the Pennsy "Dinky" commuter trains. Both of these operations were strictly commuter rail, and carried shoppers packages and parcels at best, they hauled no freight period. Louisville had another strictly commuter line - the early version of the Prospect line. It later became part of Louisvilles interurban network of trains. (which while referred to as interurbans- a fashionable moniker of the era, were again commuter trains, by another name.

Again yet another slight angle on the elevated rail story, All in all, stretching from the western edge of New Albany, to downtown Louisville to the current baseball park locale, to Mellwood Ave area, to the recently demolished Baxter elevated station. to Kentucky Ave., back to over the Ohio river north over 1 mi. to 11th st in Jeffersonville.......all amounted to about 10 miles of elevated rail lines, upon which all manner (freight & passenger) of trains operated elevated fashion (elevated does not necessisairly mean electric)as was the case on the Baxter line, it was steam then deisel (never electric never interurban)- (SEE- WIKIMAPIA) Baxter Ave.Elevated Station)

This 10 mile web of elevated lines were used by about a dozen different mainlines and four seperate electric train operators, ( the electrics were on the riverfront el, and on the Jeffersonville ramp up to the Big Four(current bridge to nowhere) then out to about 1 mile southward, where an incline descended to run another mile to downtown (surface) on standard ga. All electric trains from Indiana with one quirky exception were all standard ga.

Good researching to you.....been there done all that. Now if I can only get this book out.

Last edited by r david schooling; 09-27-2009 at 04:23 PM.. Reason: spelling / grammer
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-27-2009, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 3,877,631 times
Reputation: 525
Quote:
With emphasis... These were NOT merely trolley cars running atop trestles. These were 3 car mu standard ga. trains that ran on 15 minute headways.
This would make it like the Chicago and NYC els. Now I'm really curious how this operation worked on the New Albany side, how and were it terminated in New Albany and were the shops/car barn was.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-27-2009, 09:14 PM
 
6,295 posts, read 13,173,944 times
Reputation: 2789
Quote:
Originally Posted by JefferyT View Post
This would make it like the Chicago and NYC els. Now I'm really curious how this operation worked on the New Albany side, how and were it terminated in New Albany and were the shops/car barn was.
Which was exactly my point before. I have also researched this before and the above poster is absolutely correct. By the way, welcome to the forum r david and we hope you stick around! Louisville was a major city with a major city transit system, a MLB baseball team, and substantial industrial growth. I think a more interesting story would be what happened to this city that is now a mere shadow of itself, and why does the city have such an awful national reputation as a po-dunk nowheresville town in the current century?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-28-2009, 10:45 AM
 
3 posts, read 16,930 times
Reputation: 11
To clear up many partial impressions of "Louisvilles Elevated Rail & Electric Trains"
1. There was appx. 10 miles of elevated rail structure in the area, stretching from West New Albany, to the K&I Bridge, from that bridge to Floyd St (in Louisville's West end, along the canal, & from 14th St. to Floyd St. From the Ky side of the Big 4 in the shape of a large cursive "A"with the right hand tip (foot) extending to Mellwood Ave and the other leg extended over the current skate park, to our now baseball park, there was another cross piece of elevated making an actual "A" At the end of the Melwood foot, another elevated line stretched southeast for 1.6 miles to East Kentucky St.(the Baxter line) the Jeffersonville segment, was 1.1 mi. and stretched to 11th and Spring and had two elevated stations.

By far and away the elevated line called the "Short Route" elevated was the most NYC, Chicago-like, on this 1.5 mile stretch, were three purpose built commuter line elevated stations, appx 15 ft. above street level, with 150'-200' boarding platforms.

The Kentucky & Indiana Bridge Co. operated the elevated commuter line trains (NOT K&IT nor Lousvl & Nrthrn)

From 1886 to 1893 these were short steam powered trains, and from 1893 to late 1907 they ran electric powered. the electric trains were "just that" they ran in 3-car multi unit, standard ga. Photos of the trains are at the New Albany library.

These were mass transit, rapid trains (emphatically these were NOT elevated streetcars) Louisvilles elevated trains switched to electric motive power TWO Years ahead of Chicago's "L" trains.

This elevated line was a little over 2/3 totally elevated about 1 mile in Louisvilles west end was elevated, it was on earth along the canal and re-elevated at 14th St, remaining so till an incline touching down at Floyd & Merriweather. a stretch of appx 1.5 mi.

Google- Kentucky Digital Library, then within, 1893 & 1905 Sanborn Maps. all trackage and el stations are there. At 7th St the electric commuter station was on the rivers edge, with descending stairs to the wharf, 4th St el station is pictured several times in U&L archived photos, one during a flood shows passengers being taken to dry land via rowboats. There are no extant photos of 1st St station. but it is clearly on the Sanborn map, and historical accounts, recalled the steep steps there.

This "along the wharf" stretch of the el, was very Chicago-like. River Road actually ran below the el within the iron uprights. As a child I recall, many times when heading along there while trains were running atop the el. In my timeframe the wonderful electric trains were long gone, but a mixture of both freight and at times passenger trains, were still running overhead while two lanes of auto traffic trundled along below. With added speed, big-city car chase scenes, could have been duplicated here.

In 1972 after Actors Theatre abandoned their adaptive use home of the Old Central Station, the station was demolished to make way for the riverside freeways construction. I have one photo of the interior of the station during reconstruction to become a theatre. It is the only photo in existance of that , to my knowledge.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-28-2009, 07:46 PM
 
3 posts, read 16,930 times
Reputation: 11
To stx12499

Thanks for the welcome. Indeed Louisville was a main contender as far as cities go. It was variously ranked as high as 12th largest in the nation at one time. In my research as I was concerned in particular about the sights one might see, out of the train windows on the wharfside elevated route, over the decades' many wondorous and unheard of things surfaced.

Things like the ships frozen in the canal, an Australian traveling prison (3-masted) sailing ship docked on the wharf, a post WWII operating seaport in the upstream shadow of the 2nd St. bridge. In New Albany, an entire (albiet short) train, engine and cars plunged off their riverfront elevated to semi-floodwaters below. during an inland gale, bardges lashed to the steel below failed from tremendous wave action had pulled the el structures uprights loose. Also not to be forgotten, a fisticuff incident occoured on the Prospect commuter train in which a dainty, delicate and partially crippled city hall worker, knocked and threw his opponent out the train window, as it was departing the station.....
his crime, this construction worker had be-spittled (with tobbacco juice)his favorite commuting seat, even after being warned. The book will be chock full of these side slices, of the entire metropolitan areas systems of electric trains (sans streetcar).

Your comments regarding how Louisville lost it's way....is just too saddining for words, I really mean it. I was recently reading a lengthy piece on the sad story of Detroit in this vein. Considering that at one time that city was #4, after only New York, Los Angeles and Philidelphia......compaired to what it is now is horrifying.

St. Louis.....ditto, and too many others to count. Oddly Louisville's zenith was a good bit before 1900, and the slide came early.

Now if we could only get some decent commuter rail of any kind back, as it appeared was about to happen in the days of T2....we could actually re-surge as St.Louis' light rail has been doing for that city. Charlotte, Portland, multiple Ca. cities, Pheonix...........everyone else seems to have a clue, except Louisville.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2009, 09:35 AM
 
15 posts, read 126,664 times
Reputation: 45
I don't have any actual pictures of the station building, but in the 50's when I was growing up in Louisville I spent a lot of time at Union and Central Stations. I had an old Kodak Pony slide camera and have digitized some of those old slides if you are interested.















Questions - comments - let me know
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2009, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 3,877,631 times
Reputation: 525
Thank You very much for those images. I've never seen images of the platforms or train operations at that station before. I think that coach in the last shot, the more streamlined lookingone, is either B&O or Pennsylvania?

And it's really interesting to see that C&O varnish in Louisville since they didnt have track coming into the city, persumably having trackage rights (I think that was noted upthread?).

So, about those platforms, was there some sort of undertrack passage to get to them, or did you cross right over the tracks?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-02-2009, 04:50 PM
 
15 posts, read 126,664 times
Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JefferyT View Post
Thank You very much for those images. I've never seen images of the platforms or train operations at that station before. I think that coach in the last shot, the more streamlined looking one, is either B&O or Pennsylvania?
That last maroon colored car is a PRR sleeper. The George Washington C&O train had through car service from New York City to Louisville in conjuction with PRR. The fellow with the white coated porter had just gotten off and was apparently tipping the porter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JefferyT View Post
And it's really interesting to see that C&O varnish in Louisville since they didn't have track coming into the city, presumably having trackage rights (I think that was noted upthread?).
In the 1950's C&O entered Louisville on L&N tracks from out in the Anchorage area where the C&O split off and went to Lexington and then east.

The main L&N tracks, of course, continued on to Cincinnati.

I forget where they split back off the L&N in town to go to Central Station.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JefferyT View Post
So, about those platforms, was there some sort of undertrack passage to get to them, or did you cross right over the tracks?
And, I can't really answer that one, either.. This was over 50 years ago and my memory of all that isn't what I would like it to be.

If you are interested in seeing all my 1950's rail photos they are here.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-05-2009, 01:12 PM
 
Location: City - Prefer the country. People shouldn't have to live where they can't see the stars.
98 posts, read 239,444 times
Reputation: 147
Thanks so much to everyone for sharing so generously. I'm an old river rat, and sort of obsessed with the Ohio. My Dad did underwater salvage in the 60's (when the only thing scary about swimming in the river, aside from the watercraft, was the current). And I've been fascinated with McAlpine since the first time we locked-thru. I started collecting old postcards of the wharf, locks and bridges years ago. You can watch the locks expand in the postcards. But when I came across this one, I got hooked on the K&I Bridge as well:
http://www.thebourbontriangle.com/K_Iopen.jpg (broken link)

So I started digging around, and found that the span was only opened three times. And once was for the passage of
Quote:
an Australian traveling prison (3-masted) sailing ship docked on the wharf
Mr. Schooling mentions (I surely love to know where it came from, and why it was here...;-):
http://www.thebourbontriangle.com/convict_ship.jpg (broken link)

Apparently, the turn span was permanently secured in the mid seventies. But all of this has me questioning the reasoning behind the expense to build such a high-dollar segment, and then for it to go mostly unused. Was that part of the river deeper then? Because now, it's only 6'-8' deep under that part of the bridge. I may be wrong, but that convict ship appears to have a deeper draw than that.
And, since the thread is really about trains, does anyone know anything about this sad little building, sitting at the very end of 10th Street? There are remnants of train tracks all around it, so I'm guessing it was a station? Rowan Street is infront of the building, and it is still cobblestone. In the back (toward the river), yellow cobblestones from the old wharf were visible under my feet as I was shooting this photo. It just looks like the poor little thing is begging to be saved, cobblestones and all.
http://www.thebourbontriangle.com/10th_Rowan.jpg (broken link)

I can't tell y'all how much I've enjoyed this thread. MrFSS, your photos are wonderful! IMHO, several of them deserve to be printed large, and maybe displayed as a collection in one of the galleries along Main or Market. And, Mr. Schooling, I hope to be among the first to purchase your book!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-05-2009, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 3,877,631 times
Reputation: 525
That swing span on the K&I Bridge is a hoot! That had to be one of the taller swing spans in the US.

Quote:
If you are interested in seeing all my 1950's rail photos they are here.
Let me add to Derby City Divas' kudos. Those pix were a real trip down memory lane for me especially, since Im old enough to remember pre-Amtrak railroding. And I recognize a lot of your pix are from Chicago, where I grew up

I actually road on some of the trains in those pix: The old Illinois Central electric cars. The Milwaulkee Road Hiawatha with that glassed-in rear observation car, the South Shore Line pullmans, those early high-level commuter cars (the pix had Burlington Route equipment, but the Milwaukee had the same or similar design).

You have some rare shots, like that North Shore Electroliner on the L. Wow. And that Wabash streamliner coming into the Dearborn station (never knew the Wabash had equipment like that) and some good shots of Santa Fe trains. And that Monon train, maybe the James Whitcomb Riley?

As late as the 1960s the Santa Fe did TV advertising in Chicago for their passenger trains, sponsoring the local newscasts. Their slogan/jingle was "All the Way with Santa Fe", with a cartoon character Indian boy as their mascot. The Santa Fe was how you got to Los Angeles from Chicago, if you didnt want to drive Route 66.


Anyway, thanks for that link. Great stuff and it sure brought back memories of old Chicago.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Kentucky > Louisville area
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top