the Portland-Lewiston Interurban 


1914-1933 

The brief heyday of the interurban trolleys is aptly illustrated by the Portland-Lewiston Interurban.

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Interactive map of the route on Google MyMaps
(By M. Miller)

mark...@gmail.com


More Portland-Lewiston Interurban Links:

A few photos of the PLI (Portland Lewiston Interurban) [Dave's RailPix]

One car remains! At the Seashore Trolley Museum

About the age of the Interurbans (Wikipedia)

References:
"Maine's Fast Electric Railroad: Portland-Lewiston Interurban" by O.R. Cummings. (Features a separate copy of the actual timetable pamphlet.)
Available at the
Portland Public Library
and the
Maine Historical Society

"Interurbans: The technology of economical local transport in the United States." (Online) by J. B. Calvert

Credits:

Thanks to Ken Thompson for his personal knowledge and ancestral anecdotes of the PLI and for helping me correctly trace the route.

[click images to enlarge]
Photo: Portland Lewiston Interurban car #10 bound for Portland at the Grand Trunk Lewiston Branch crossing at Littlefields, (Auburn). Richard E. Trask (Conductor?), Arthur F. Buchanan, Motorman. Approximately 1932, near the end of the Interurban's operation. (Photo: George King Jr. /O.R. Cummings collection. Published in book "Grand Trunk 713 and the Lewiston Branch" by Robertson And Davis, 1994.)

Left:
100ft span over the
Little Androscoggin, at Littlefields,
Auburn (M. Miller Nov. 2007)

Below:
One of the interurban cars of the PLI-RR (click to enlarge) The fleet were individually named for flowers.
(c. M.Miller 2007)

Many today perhaps feel that an efficient, clean and relatively speedy, (up to 60 mph), mode of transportation such as this, built almost a century ago, was a mistake to abandon...

I started on this little project because of an interest in aerial and satellite photography, passenger transportation, and abandoned infrastructure.

I had heard of the Interurban, but knew very little about it. It might be predictable that I took an interest
since I was also born in Lewiston and now live in Portland, not far from the old Interurban terminus. (Both the Lewiston and Portland terminals have recently been renovated for reuse.)

What I find interesting about aerial and satellite photography is how things often reveal themselves from the air that one can't see from the ground.

When I started perusing Google satellite maps, (actually thru the more responsive Flash Earth ), the route started revealing itself...

Enjoy an old cartoon reel featuring an Interurban;
The Toonerville Trolley. It even features a passenger with a New England accent. (circa 1935)
( Video running time 7:44 )

(Link to video if embedded video doesn't appear.) here