Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hawthorne Trolley Line

The Hawthorne Line was started by the Mt. Tabor Railway Co. in 1889, with what was known as "steam-dummy" service, wherein a small steam engine basically gets a box built around it to give it the more sophisticated appearance of a true cable- or electric-streetcar.

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A steam-dummy trolley

The dummy line simply ran from on Hawthorne from Grand Ave. out to 54th Avenue.

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In 1891 the East Side Railway Co. purchased the Mt. Tabor Railroad. The ESR Co. had right of way on the old Madison St. Bridge (replaced by the current Hawthorne Bridge in 1910), which had just been completed. The line was thus connected to downtown Portland and the ESR electrified the line between 1892 and 1893. The line continued to expand southeastward during the next few years to its eventually eastern terminus around S.E. Woodward and 74th Avenue.

Photo from

In 1907 PRL&P made the Alder Street Loop its western terminus. In 1936 the Portland Traction Company (the intermediary company between PRL&P and PGE) the line was converted to electric autobuses, and then gasoline buses around 1949.

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