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Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolley!

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

Eight years after the first street lights were installed in the city, the Port Jervis Electric Street Railway established an electric trolley line on January 15, 1898. A company from Goshen began construction on November 15, 1897. The initial route was 3.3 miles from Tri-States to the West End. When you hopped on the trolley you took a scenic trip through the village. Your journey started on East Main Street (the east side of the Neversink River ) then turned left onto Ball Street, left onto Fowler Street, and right onto Jersey Avenue by the train station. Your trip then continued onto Front Street before turning right onto Pike Street where it would pass by the main waiting room and office for the trolley located at 113 Pike Street. After climbing up Pike Street, the trolley continued onto West End going over the Erie tracks and eventually stopping at the powerhouse and trolley repair facility located near the intersection of West Main and Erie Street.

Service for the trolley eventually extended to 4.3miles, going on to Sparrowbush, and three trolleys were available to ride. Power to run the trolleys came from a cable down the center of the street and a long iron arm stretched up from the vehicle to wheel along the line. Passengers rode inside or, if it was too crowded, on the outside of the trolley standing on the running boards. Even though the cost was relatively reasonable (five cents) the line was never really popular. By 1910 the Port Jervis Electric Street Railway merged into the Port Jervis Electric Light, Power, Gas & Railroad Company. The company now included most of the utilities in town. Expansion of the utilities caused the trolley to be neglected and the money-losing trolley was shut down on June 9, 1910. It did reopen briefly in July of 1910 as the Port Jervis Traction Company but with the advancements of the automobile and buses, the trolley continued to have financial issues. Eventually, the Port Jervis Traction Company sought permission to substitute bus service along the trolley routes. The trolley line was abandoned and replaced with a bus service on November 18, 1924.

All of the pictures below are from the collection of the Minisink Valley Historical Society and have been scanned from the book, 'Images of America', Port Jervis, Matthew M. Osterberg

Trolley on its way along West Main Street to pick up riders at the end of the four-mile trip.

Last stop eastbound on the line was Laurel Grove Cemetery due to the weight limit of the bridge.

Trolley tracks began at Tri-States Bridge . Three women waiting to board the trolley.

1916 picture of the trolley traveling up West Main Street toward Point Peter.

People enjoying a ride on the trolley.

Trolley tracks along the Delaware headed to Sparrowbush.

Look carefully at this picture from 1915, you can see the trolley, bicycle, horse and buggy and automobile are all present.

As stated in an earlier article information was gathered from various sources:

Port Jervis Transportation History Center article (2020-2021)

Diamond Jubilee Booklet 1907-1982

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