Friday, September 16, 2011


A little bit of yesterday originally posted Saturday, May 10, 2008

With all the concern registered about public access to MRC's replacements,I thought a brief and likely inaccurate essay would be appropriate.

In the twenties the local public transportation was provided by the trolley lines. The Public Service Transportation line ran from Bound Brook to Newark. It may have started in Somerville but I have no recollection of its exact route.

In Plainfield the tracks ran from the Dunellen border down Front St. to Watchung Ave. turned south to Fifth Street. The route continued east to Richmond St. then under the RR tracks to Third St. (I don’t believe it was Second but 60-70 years was a long long time ago.) and east to the city line.

After crossing Terrill Road, the tracks used a private “cross country” dirt right of way, finally entering Westfield on North Ave. The Jolly Trolley is so named because of the tracks that ran down the Street. I can’t recall where the tracks again ran south of the railroad, but between Garwood and Cranford there was again a private right of way south of the road.

In Elizabeth after passing under the Pennsylvania RR tracks into downtown Elizabeth the cars merged with “the main line tracks into Newark and Penn Station.

Sometime in the 30s the trolleys were replaced by ecological friendly ‘Trolley-Busses”. They ran on electricity from the overhead wires, and could manipulate as vehicles do today. Of course the tracks were abandoned or paved over. The Scotch Plains right of way became Midway Avenue. Many of the tracks were torn up for the steel during WWII.

There were two local lines serviced by “Toonverville Trolley"** like cars. Unlike the interurban vehicles of the main line (29) these cars did not have double trucks for wheels. The 4th Street line went from beyond Clinton Ave ( Evona???) to join the Public Service line at Watchung Ave and terminated its run downtown perhaps in New Street.

The other line I remember ran down Somerset Street in North Plainfield, then via the 4th St. route from Front Street to Arlington Ave, down Randolph to Park, past the Hospital, to South End Parkway, terminating at Hillside Cemetery.

We had a “Heinz Hound”, Rex, who was every child’s delight, and the Lothario of the West End as well as the Adirondacks. On warm days, Rex like to lie-down in the middle of 4th. St. on the tracks and absorb the sun. Obviously auto traffic was much less than it is today so he was never in real danger. The trolley operator would stop, clank the car’s bell and Rex would amble off to the side until the street was clear.

In as much as my memory is faulty on some matters, as always, I would appreciate comments from anyone who has a better recall

** a comic strip.

1 comment:

  1. I recall the 22 Arlington bus following the latter route you describe. After going up South End Parkway, it went down Belleview where I lived (mid 1950's to late 1960's) and then made the return route. The bus driver was Ralph (but not Kramden.