Sharing the Road

Because their size was nearly twice that of conventional streetcars, they often faced unique problems while navigating crowded downtown areassuch as intersections requiring wide turns. The interurban system, however, became the preferred means for passengers traveling between city centers.

Car 271.jpg

Car 271, seen here making the tight turn from Main St. onto North Neil St. in Champaign, was the longest in the IT fleet at 68' 6'' in length. The car could hold 64 total passengers. 

137 Car_ITS.jpg

Illinois Traction car 137, built by the American Car Co. in 1903, measured 51.5' long and had 48 seats.

707 Car.jpg

By comparison, Car 707 was built by the Danville Car Co. in 1908 for the Illinois Traction City Lines and used in CU. Here the car is stopped at the end of the line at Green St. and Prospect Ave. 

As automobile popularity rose, city after city insisted that the Illinois Traction Company reroute interurbans off city streets. Seen below is car 281 heading west at the corner of Lynn Street and East Main Street in Urbana.

281 Main St Urbana.jpg

As pressure mounted on city leaders to eliminate street conflicts and find revenue during the depression, many began scrapping and selling their street rail in the 1930s. This action forced interurbans onto bypasses aroudn busy downtowns. This crew was removing tracks at Main and Neil Streets in Downtown Champaign on August 18, 1937.

WPA Project Removal of Street Car Tracks Aug 18, 1937 Jpeg.jpg