When human being analyzed transportation history they forget one of the most colorful
eras in the face of this industry. History cannot ever be recreated without mention the electric
interurban. In the vision of the developer, they were only focused on developing something
peculiar that would be used in the process of attracting short distance passages traffic and also
the light freight. The development took place in early 1900. But the development of the
automobiles and also the introduction of the motor vehicles made these interurban to decline
after the World War 1. But as we try to link the historical components, we may never forget the
electric interurban. Some of the greatest failures in the industry concerning electric interurban
can be attributed to financial constraints. Although these locomotives declined in their usage the
focus of these paper is trying to understand the electric interurban from the perspective of two
great books in the history of their development.
Similarities between the two books.
A critical examination of the two books can lead to the following similarities. First is that
both books agree on the effects of electric interurban on the small towns. Both the book authors
seems to be focusing on one thing that the interurban transportation opened the small towns
(Chandler, 1963). Whenever they operated, they had a nature and quality turning effects on the
small town life. These were regarding offering low fares and frequent and convenient services to
the local population. They in fact improved the mobility in these small towns (Middleton 1961).
The books agree that the electric interurban made travel to large cities from the small towns to be
coordinated. It thus offered better opportunities to the residences. The two books trolley and interurban era present some common idea when it comes to
the electric interurban role in farming and agriculture. Both the books agree that interurban
greatest impact would be traced back to the rural farming community. They provided the means
of linking the rural sheds with the urban market segment (Chandler, 1963). It can be attributed to
being the main elements that these interurban achieved. The framers were able to make sure that
their products were reaching the market. Fast and frequent services made the trolley freight to be
the most attractive method for milk, fruits to be shipped to the market. Both the books agree that
these interurban offered better social benefits to the farmers including new mobility which was
limited initially by wagon and horses. It enabled them to travel to and back from the city
(Middleton 1961). The idea of farmers remaining at their homes was charged with this
Another critical component that the two book seems to be agreeing is the lasting effects
of the interurban. Although these lines can be traced by having old stations and freight houses.
The long lasting effects are not felt today. If the American development is traced toady the
impact of these interurban is very limited, and their traces is not easy to understand (Chandler,
1963). The only impact that these interurban had is the development of the modern railway. A
critical example that can be used in the process of illustrating these it’s the Maine’s PortlandLewiston Interurban. It was introduced in on June 1914, but even during the time when the last
freight made it way on June 1933, the same car was being used. It is just an explanation that
shows that development was limited when it come to the interurban transportation (Middleton
1961). The only trace that can be found is that of the transitional technology. The role of these
cars in the modern development is limited, and authors aggress that these was just a transition
technology which never lasted. Both the two books use the growth of Los Angeles to explain the importance of
interurban. It is through this interurban development that Los Angeles grew to be one of the
biggest cities in the world. Having been connected with Pacific electric railway, the system grew
to over 1200 miles and connected to 125 cities (Chandler, 1963). Los Angeles has since grown
from the time this interurban was introduced to be one of the greatest cities across united city and
recognized in the world due to its rail development. The development of this city can be traced
by the integration of the real estate interest making it an overall figure (Middleton 1961). These
development has made the city reputation for staying intact.
Both two books agree that the decline in the number of the railroad users was as a result
of the electric interurban development. After their development, they offered high competition
levels which would not be matched by railroad and hence their eventual decline in their use
(Middleton 1961). These interurban give a convenient trolley that offered satisfactory results
when the element of mobility was concerned. With this, it offered a better solution to the users as
compared to the solution which was seven offered by the railroad. Within a short duration of
time, these interurban took over the city business.
Strengths in the books
Enhanced access to the US
Several strengths are common for both the interurban and the trolley through the
countryside. An outstanding strength between the two is that they improved accessibility to the
some of the remotest places within the US. Through improved access, it became possible to
integrate the different communities that are in the US. It was also feasible to experience the
different cultures that are in the US (Middleton 1961). Therefore, there was a general state of peace as all states had to come together to develop the interurban efficiently. Additionally, it
became far much easier to engage in business as the developed railway transport could be used to
ferry products from the producers to the identified market. Therefore, the development of
interurban resulted to the development of business opportunities (Chandler, 1963). The region
where the trade took place grew steadily to become major cities and towns within the United
States of America.
Paved room for more advancements in technology
The use of interurban paved the way for the development of the modern electric trains
that are even faster. Therefore, the interurban provided an opportunity for engineers to learn
which enabled them to make the contemporary developments that we see today in the railway
industry. The use of electricity as the force that was used to drive the locomotives was also of
major importance as the level of pollution in the environment was significantly reduced
(Chandler, 1963). Reduction in rate of pollution to the environment made it possible to live in a
pollutant-free environment. Also, the use of electricity to run the trains facilitated the ability of
the government to harness sufficient electricity that resulted in an increase in the lighting of
households within the US. Lastly, the pioneer models in the interurban gave sufficient room that
led to the development of the current electric trains that are in wide use. The interurban provided
lessons and recommendations were made which resulted in the current developments in the
industry (Middleton 1961).
Enhanced transport of goods and services
Interurban played an important role enhancing the transport of goods and services.
Through the transport of goods that would include agricultural supplies, it became possible to support livelihoods in the United States of America. Many of the states that were not in a
position to carry out agriculture were supplied with sufficient farm produce from agriculturally
productive regions (Middleton 1961). Through transport, it became possible to sustain life all
over the USA. The interurban, therefore, provided the opportunity to ensure the economy of the
US was stable through the established trade and business practices.
Development of towns
The interurban led to the development of the major towns in the US. Through the
development of those towns, there was an increase in the services that were being on offer for the
people (Middleton 1961). Therefore, amenities such as hospitals, road, and money lending
institutions were developed. Their development was going to help raise the living standards of
the Americans. Raising the standard of living for the Americans ensured that they could get
sufficient food to feed themselves as a nation. It also ensured that there were enough schools
within their country that they would use to transform the literacy level within the US. The
development of towns also resulted to the decentralization of the government (Chandler, 1963).
The government established its offices in these cities. It was thus easy to administer the rule of
law with ease. Additionally, through the development of towns, more opportunities for
interaction between communities within the American soil. Through the interaction, there was a
state of peace and calm as the nation remained united.
Increased safety in transport
The use of interurban trains helped to reduce chances of accidents were occurrences in
the roads. The trains were far safer as they had their chassis made out of strong materials. The
fact that they operated on a schedule reduced the instances of accidents occurring (Middleton, 1961). Therefore, transport using railway was deemed the safest and many people opted to use
them. The road industry was fast developing, and the need for private transport is one of the
factors that led to the decline in the use interurban railway transport.
Weaknesses of both the books
Many are the strengths that have been mentioned to be associated with the electric
interurban transport system. As much as the evolution had provided many of the positive
development in the sector of transport including the opening of towns fastening transport
network which cannot go without discussing the weaknesses that the two books describe. First is
that both the trolley and the interurban electric trains used to make most stop overs during the
journeys. This was mainly associated because of the carrying of short distance passengers
making of stopovers greatly affected the production of that made the train spend a lot of time e
train. Stopovers were related to the waste of much time that made the train take a lot of time to
arrive at their destination (Middleton, 1961).
Secondly, both the trolley and the interurban era were greatly influenced by the
competition that prevailed in the market. Before the invention of the rail transport use of the
trolleys and the electric interurban, the use of trucks and cars had widely spread in those areas.
People used trucks to get their agricultural products to the market and travelling. Therefore
regardless of the use of the rail as a second option people had already got used to using their
trucks. The rail industry experienced low incomes due to the inadequate passengers that were
supposed to meet their operation cost. The fact made the two companies experience a lot of
challenges before picking up in the business as explained in the book (Chandler, 1963). The two books express the aspect of the heavy equipment by the two innovations. The electric
trains were made from steel materials which were so heavy. The heavy component of the
material was counterchallenging the wind motion. It is the main consideration that made the
trains move at the lower speed than the trucks and cars. Passengers were not able to arrive at
their destinations as they always anticipated (Middleton, 1961).
Both books explain the increase of the level of the fatality that highly rose within a short period.
Fatality accidents came up and the mortality rate of people highly increased. Accidents were
mainly brought up by the malfunctioning o the locomotive engines. It arrived at a time whereby
people were highly discouraged to use the trains. Accidents came hand in hand with causing
poverty in families. The sole providers in the families succumbed to death living widows and
orphans who were unable to provide for themselves (Chandler, 1963).
Both the trolley and the interurban books describe the weakness that was brought by the train’s
use of the electric source of energy. For instance, the interurban train used to pass through rural
areas where electricity was a challenge. It led to use of a lot of funds to connect the areas with
electricity to ensure that locomotion of the trains was effective (Middleton, 1961).
How both books are alike
The two books trolley through the countryside, and the interurban era is closely related in
one way or another. They provide similar discussions on their main topics being the train
locomotives introduced in the early 1900s. Both books describe the coming of the railway
transport, the critically explain what the innovations represented by the people at those particular
time, they try to explain of how the innovations affected the lifestyles of man. How did they improve their lifestyles? The books discuss the effect of the innovations in growth and
development of the country and major towns.
In conclusion, the interurban provided an opportunity that set the ground and pace for
what we currently have in the transportation industry. The books help to explore the role that the
interurban played in ensuring the development of major towns with the United States of
America. It’s clearly evident that the development of the electric interurban present an
opportunity that saw the development of what rail transport is today. Additionally, there were
profound effects that were introduced by the development of the interurban. The major farming
fields in the US were developed during the interurban era. Even after the interurban ceased its
operations, the regions that were carrying out agriculture continuously took part in the economic
activity. Lastly, the decline in the use of interurban could be associated with the reduction in the
number of users. Word Cited
Chandler, A. (1963). Trolley through the countryside. Sage Books.
Middleton, W. D. (1961). The interurban era. William D. Middleton.