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Chester Traction Company
(See also Southern Pennsylvania Bus Co., "Southern Penn")

Chester Traction Company; Photo from Souvenir History of Chester, courtesy of Terry Redden Peters

Photo above from Souvenir History of Chester under the auspices of the Board of Trade
Published by George M. Burns, Philadelphia, PA 1903
courtesy of Terry Redden Peters

History | Recollections


History: The following sketch of the company is taken from the Souvenir History of Chester, PA under the auspices of the Board of Trade, Published by George M. Burns, Philadelphia, PA 1903; courtesy of Terry Redden Peters:

The Chester Traction Company comprises the largest trolley system in Delaware County, extending its many branches to nearly all the important towns, cities and boroughs. It has direct connections from Market Square to the city of Philadelphia, making connections with the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company cars on Moyamensing Avenue, between 16th Street and 3d Street. It runs its cars direct to the city of Wilmington, Delaware, without change, connecting there with cars to Stanton, Newport, New Castle and Brandywine Springs, Delaware, and Kennett Square and West Chester, in Chester County. Its cars run to Darby, connecting with the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company cars on Woodland Avenue for any part of Philadelphia. Other branches run from Chester to Marcus Hook, along the banks of the Delaware River to Upland, Media, connecting at Media with the Philadelphia and Delaware County Railway Company cars, which pass through Lima, Elwyn, Glen Riddle, Clifton, Lansdowne and Angora, connecting there with the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company cars.

Chester Traction Company operates the following companies: Chester Street Railway Company, Union Street Railway Company, Chester & Delaware Railway, Philadelphia & Chester Railway Company, Prospect Park Street Railway Company, Media & Chester Electric Railway Company and Southwestern Street Railway Company.

The Chester Traction Company sells six tickets for a quarter, with transfer privileges all over the city.

The Chester Traction Company is a part of the Interstate Railway Company, which owns the following properties:

WILKESBARRE & WYOMING VALLEY TRACTION COMPANY
CHESTER & PHILADELPHIA RAILWAY COMPANY
WILKESBARRE, DALLAS &-HARVEY LAKE RAILWAY COMPANY
CHESTER TRACTION COMPANY.
LEBANON VALLEY STREET RAILWAY COMPANY
WILMINGTON CITY RAILWAY COMPANY
UNITED TRACTION COMPANY
TRENTON STREET RAILWAY COMPANY
SCHUYLKILL VALLEY TRACTION COMPANY
EDISON ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING COMPANY
ROXBOROUGH, CHESTNUT HILL & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY
METROPOLITAN ELECTRIC COMPANY.
HOLMESBURG, TACONY & FRANKFORD ELECTRIC RAILWAY COMPANY.
CITIZENS ELECTRIC LIGHT AND POWER COMPANY
DELAWARE COUNTY & PHILADELPHIA ELECTRIC RAILWAY COMPANY
WILMINGTON CITY ELECTRIC COMPANY
SOUTHWESTERN STREET RAILWAY COMPANY.

Their offices are 515 Mariners' and Merchants' Building, 3d and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia.

Power Plant
The power plant consists of two short machines, 500 ampere capacity; two Westinghouse, of 600 capacity; two direct General Electric, of 2500; with Wetherill Corliss engines, total horse Power of 3500; also three Berry boilers, 1000 horse power, and return tubular boilers, 1000 horse power. Fuel is all landed by boats.

Car Barn
The Chester Traction Company has a large car barn, with a capacity of storing 100 cars, at Thirteenth and Edgmont Avenue, where their main office is located.

The officers of the Company are:

John A. Rigg, President
Henry C. Moore, Vice-President
T. W. Grookett, Jr., Secretary and Treasurer
John MacFayden, General Superintendent


There was a lengthy strike of Chester Traction Co. employees in April 1908.


Trolley Recollections: The following was provided by Dr. George W. Lilley, Haverford, PA, Chester Cardiologist and son of the founder of Cooley Lilley:

"I clearly remember the trolley that ran on Edgmont Ave.   I used to ride it from our store at 703 up to 24th St. where we lived.  I rode it both ways.  I recall a switch at 20th St. where cars going in different directions could pass."


If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about transportation in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com


2000, 2002 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/18/05