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Featured prominently in PFIB, public transportation included streetcars in addition to buses. Downtown Cleveland evolved from the mid-1800s when stream trains crossed a major intersection (E. 9th & Euclid Avenue) . . .

To the same intersection by the early 1900s when streetcars replaced trains careening through major intersections.

Streetcars cars ran mainly aboveground and the municipally-owned Cleveland cars were fully operational by 1908 for the low cost of three cents. The inaugural car was operated by Cleveland’s Mayor Tom L. Johnson.

Typically, streetcars ran aboveground and were smaller in size although trailers could be added (i.e., supplementary cars attached to a single car.) Subways ran underground, however, the terms trolley, streetcar, and subway have been used interchangeably. Streetcars had an overhead projectile that connected to a line for power. The pictures below, both from 1918, are subway cars emerging side-by-side from the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

Heading westbound, the streetcar ended at West 98th Street. At this point, the conductor would manually switch the overhead railway line to another track and physically turn the car around before heading back downtown.



Cleveland's Public Square during rush hoour in 1920 (photo courtesy of

Streetcars were not heated and a stove was placed in the center of each car as a permanent fixture (courtesy of

Subways would later be replaced by mass transit (pictured below in the 1940s) which didn't need an overhead line. Instead, they were powered by a "third rail" on the ground to provide electricity along the entire route.

And if streetcars couldn’t take you to your destination, you had the option of double-decker buses pictured here in 1926.

In 1928, the Terminal Tower (formerly Union Station) became the center of all transportation activity with underground mass transport for local commuters and train connections around the country. The elegant design was appropriately stylized as the "grand concourse of new Union Station at Public Square . . .  unequaled in the country." From the animated grid below, the elaborate construction can be seen as you travel back in time to wait for your train, dine at the Old English Oak Room (featured in PFIB), browse through hallways filled with splendor, or catch your train to embark on a new adventure  . . .

Railway & Public Transport

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