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Interurban street car #201

Who Says Rapid Transit is Something New?

From 1902 through 1934, an overhead electric “Interurban” ran between Dallas and Fort Worth, going down the middle of Abram Street in Arlington. It was operated by the Northern Texas Traction Company, and was the second Interurban line in Texas. Passengers could flag down the train and board at any point on the route. Even with that, the thirty-five mile trip between Dallas and Fort Worth took just over an hour.

When the Interurban railway began operating through Arlington in June of 1902, the charges for travel from Arlington were: to Handley 9 cents, to Fort Worth 15 cents, to Grand Prairie 6 cents, and to Dallas 19 cents. A ticket book good for 500 miles cost $5. (From the Arlington Journal, 7 Nov 1902, courtesy Tom Cogdell)

The photograph below is of the Interurban Depot in Arlington at Abram and Center Streets in 1912 (photo from the J.W. Dunlop Collection).

The power generating plant and workshops for the Interurban line were located in Handley, just east of Fort Worth. The Northern Texas Traction Company bought land south of Handley where it developed a trolley park called Lake Erie. The very popular pavilion at Lake Erie included a roller skate rink, a dance hall, restaurant, and rides on a pier above the water. Records of the Fielder family show that a son attending SMU would bring his college friends out to his parent’s home on Abram Street on the Interurban (no doubt they also took the Interurban from Arlington to Lake Erie). Rail traffic began to decline in the 1930s when paved roads were constructed between the two cities, and the last train made the Interurban run through Arlington on Christmas Eve, 1934.