zhanna’s adventures

zhanna’s adventures

Urban Exploration: Trolley Tracks Through Time Terracache

Trolley Tracks Through Time Terracache, by Zhanna. Listed June 9, 2006

As a trolley enthusiast and aspiring motorman for a local heritage line, I’ve become very interested in our country’s electric traction history. Many of these old lines are quickly becoming only a distant memory, and I’d like to capture what I can of them before it’s too late.

Here is an example near the intersection of North Washington Ave. and East Gibson St., Scranton, PA. So far, this is the only remaining piece of track I can find from Scranton’s rich street railroading history. The exposed tracks are very near to a well-known Scranton landmark, Cooper’s Seafood House restaurant. In fact, the night I came up with this terracache idea, I was eating at Cooper’s and was asking myself, Gee, I wonder where I can find exposed trolley tracks in Scranton?! (I didn’t find them till a few weeks later, thanks to a man at the trolley museum.)

Scranton, soon to be known as the “Electric City,” was the first city to feature an electric street railway system. The first operating company, the Scranton Suburban Electric Railway Company, was organized in early 1886 and work began on the line soon afterward. The line was completed by November 1886. Two state-of-the-art Pullman cars soon arrived and were fitted with electric motors. Service began in late November, at a fare of five cents to the nearby Green Ridge section of town. The North Washington Avenue tracks were present and in use from the very beginning of trolley service in 1886, all the way through the years of the Scranton Railway Company and the Scranton Transit Company (in the 1920s and 1930s) until the demise of the system in mid-December, 1954. And as you can see, the North Washington Avenue tracks still exist today, just barely poking out from beneath a typically poor paving job.

Just barely visible now
Just barely visible now
GPS coordinates taken at the spot.
GPS coordinates taken at the spot.
Very near Cooper's Seafood House
Very near Cooper’s Seafood House
Signs at the intersection.
Signs at the intersection.