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No. 6: Trolleys, #1


BYGONE BENNINGTON

ON WBTN AM 1370

Number 6
 
Hello folks: This is Joe Hall and you are listing to “Bygone Bennington” on WBTN AM 1370.

Frank J. Sprague grow up in North Adams and in 1887 he built the first successful trolley line in the World. His son, Robert, founded Sprague Electric Company. Many of us remember when Sprague Electric had a very large foot print in North Adams, Massachusetts.

In Bennington’s history there were three trolley car systems. The oldest in Bennington was the Bennington & Woodford Electric Railway Company which started trolley service on July 14, 1895.  The trolley operated from the corner of North and County Streets to the Bolles Brook area in Woodford. Later, the tracks were extended from North Street to the railroad freight yard on Lincoln Street to accommodate freight. Trolley service abruptly ended with the flood of October 5, 1898. The trolley system utilized an old railroad bed and tracks of the Bennington & Glastenbury Railroad which had ceased operating in 1889. The trolley carried the fun-loving quests, patrons and picnickers to the Casino, theater, Camp Comfort and Camp Loafmore in Woodford and the Glastenbury Inn in Glastenbury. The fare was 10 cents from North Street to the casino and 15 cents to Camp Comfort.  

The Bennington Electric Railway Company started on February 10, 1898, with a  little over five mile trolley system from the corner of Main and Branch Streets, which is in front of, now known as Henry’s Market. The trolley traveled west on Main to Mill Street, now BenMont Ave., all the way down Mill to the, so called Flats, now officially called Northside Drive, along the south side of the North Bennington Road to North Bennington.

In 1894, The Hoosick Valley Railway operated 5.5 miles from Hoosick Falls to the community of Walloomsac in North Hoosick. A five mile link between North Bennington and Walloomsac was built, which merged the two systems into the Bennington & Hoosick Valley Railway Company. The new company started on July 3, 1898 carrying people all the way from Bennington to Hoosick Falls, a distance of 16 miles, for a fee of 30 cents. It took one and ½ hours from start to finish, as the tracks and rail bed from North Bennington to Walloomsac were not of top quality, making it necessary not to exceed 10 miles per hour. Plus, there were many stops along the way, letting people on and off. The trolley schedule was every ½ hour at first and then later every hour and on Sundays in the summer, every ½ hour. The company was in business for 29 years. Financially, the operation was marginal. In time, the popularity of the automobile increased, giving the trolley tough competition. The flood in November 1927 brought the abrupt demise of the trolley system between Bennington and Hoosick Falls.

You have been listening to BYGONE BENNINGTON on WBTN AM 1370.  



The Bennington & Woodford Electric Railway Company trolley at the end of the line at the Glastenbury Inn in Glastenbury.


A Bennington & Hoosick Valley Railway Co. # 12 trolley, location unknown.


Bennington to Hoosick Falls trolley at Lincoln Square in North Bennington.
Subpages (1): Program #6: More Photos
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