However, instead of serving a single municipality this new operation would link two or more.
In an era before automobiles, when steel rails handled nearly all interstate and intercity travel, the interurban concept seemed viable, in theory.
29" issued January 1, 1948 the entire Belt Line ran from Milepost 90.7 at Bay View, Maryland to Milepost 97.9 at Hamburg Street, Baltimore).
There were three great periods of interurban development; the first occurred during the 1890's and then reached a great flurry of construction between 19 when more than 5,000 miles were laid down.
As these technologies found their way to the United States the first examples appeared in the 1880's; in 1880 Thomas Edison tested an experimental electric locomotive, powered by a dynamo, which was operated on a stretch of track in Menlo Park, New Jersey. George Hilton and John Due's authoritative piece, "," points out the birth of the true American interurban began when Frank Sprague developed an electric motorcar in 1886 for the New York Elevated Railway whereby the motor(s) were situated between the axle, along with a trolley pole and multiple-unit control stand.
This gave way to the typical streetcar which became such a common sight throughout America.
In 1889 there were just 7 miles of interurbans in service, a number which jumped to 3,122 by 1901, and finally peaked at 15,580 in 1916.
These numbers slowly receded into the 1920's as abandonment hastened through the 1930's.
The latter alternative was cheaper but the resulting grades and curves were less than ideal, a problem only compounded when freight movements were involved.Much of the trackage was situated east of the Mississippi River as the interurban offered flexibility and affordability for the everyday commuter.It is rather amazing so much capital was expended on these operations, which struggled to make a profit right from the start.By 1950 just 1,519 miles remained and the number dropped to 209 miles by 1959.As William Middleton notes in his book, " The interurban was conceived as a transit system, developed from the basic streetcars of the era.