Tacoma Railway and Power Company

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Tacoma Railway and Power Company

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The Tacoma Railway and Power Company operated the Tacoma Railway and Company Streetcar. It was the first transit system in Tacoma, and on May 30, 1888, it started service as a passenger trolley line.(1) Tacoma's first two streetcar lines were established along Pacific Avenue and Tacoma Avenue.(1) On July 4, 1900, Trolley car No. 116, owned by the Tacoma Railway and Power Company, lost traction on the Delin Street grade and jumped the tracks on the "C" Street trestle. The streetcar crashed 100 feet into a ravine, killing 43 people and injuring 65.(2) The Tacoma Railway and Power Company were later found liable for the accident, which resulted in lawsuits almost bankrupting the company. To prevent bankruptcy Tacoma Railway and Power put over $100,000 into a trust fund and "informed the lawyers either to accept the money and distribute it among the claimants, or the railway would go into receivership." (2) The settlement was accepted.(2) The final day the streetcars ran on June 11, 1938, was celebrated as a city holiday. In 1938, Tacoma replaced the 76-mile streetcar system with buses. (1)


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Written by Leah Selinda Kusnierek, 2022.




(1) Tacoma Railway & Power Company Streetcar photograph album finding aid. University of Washington, May 17, 2018, Archives West (orbiscascade.org).

(2) McClary, Daryl C. "Forty-three passengers die in a trolley car accident in Tacoma on July 4, 1900." HistoryLink, September 12, 2005.

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