Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company

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The Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company was incorporated on December 19, 1935, by the merger of the Philadelphia & Garrettford Street Railway Company. The company operated buses and streetcars serving the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

From the description of Records, 1792-1973 (bulk 1848-1973). (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86134141

The Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company was incorporated on April 13, 1936, by the merger of the Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Company and the Philadelphia & Garrettford Street Railway Company. The company operated buses and streetcars serving the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

The oldest element in the company's transportation system was the Philadelphia & West Chester Turnpike Road Company, which built a plank road from 42nd Street, Philadelphia, to Newtown Square in 1850-1851. It was converted into a macadam turnpike in 1856-1867 and was finally condemned by the state highway department in 1918. The Delaware County Passenger Rail Road Company built a horse car line along the turnpike as far as Upper Darby in 1859 but discontinued service in 1865, after which it was purchased by the turnpike company and torn up.

The Philadelphia, Castle Rock & West Chester Railway Company restored the line in 1895 using steam dummies, and the Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Company was organized on April 24, 1895, for the purpose of electrifying and operating the line. It also acquired the turnpike company. Electric trolley wire was installed in 1896 and the line was extended to West Chester in 1898. In 1899 the company passed into the hands of A. Merritt Taylor, who greatly expanded the system and used it to foster real estate development in the western suburbs.

Hoping to extend the line from West Chester to Coatesville, Taylor purchased the remnant of the old Philadelphia & Lancaster Turnpike in 1899. The extension was blocked by the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the turnpike was condemned by the state in 1901. In 1902 the Ardmore & Llanerch Street Railway Company completed a branch to Ardmore. Taylor formed the Eureka Light, Heat & Power Company in 1901 to sell surplus electricity to homeowners.

In 1903 work began on the Market Street elevated which greatly improved the travel time from center city to the western city line. Taylor was quick to exploit the possibilities this offered to real estate developers in the western suburbs. He organized the Philadelphia & Garrettford Street Railway Company in 1904 and constructed a high-speed trolley line on a private right of way from Upper Darby to Collingdale in 1906-1907. A branch was opened from Drexel Hill Jct. to Media in 1913 and the original line was extended to Sharon Hill in 1917. Taylor arranged for all his lines to meet the Market Street el. at a large terminal at 69th Street in Upper Darby in 1907, but opposition of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company prevented him from running his cars directly to center city over the el. as planned.

Small bus operators began to compete with Taylor's rail system in 1918. In 1923 he established the Aronimink Transportation Company as his own bus line, and it soon became the dominant bus company in the western suburbs. In 1940 the revenues from the bus lines surpassed those from the trolleys. A. Merritt Taylor retired in 1932 and was succeeded by his son Merritt H. Taylor.

The Philadelphia & Western Railroad Company was incorporated on May 21, 1902. It was originally intended to form a terminal for George J. Gould's abortive transcontinental railroad scheme, but soon came under the control of George J. Kobusch, president of the St. Louis Car Company. It was sold at foreclosure in 1907 and reorganized as the Philadelphia & Western Railway Company. In the same year it opened a short suburban line from 69th Street to Strafford. The company was purchased by a group of Philadelphia bankers in 1910 for the purpose of securing a Philadelphia entry for their Lehigh Valley Transit Company, and a new line was opened from Villanova Jct. to Norristown in 1912.

Ridership on the P&W collapsed in the Depression, and the company engaged Dr. Thomas Conway, who had rehabilitated several interurban lines in the Midwest. He upgraded the property, shortened running times, and cut costs, and equipped the Norristown line with the Brill Bullets, lightweight aluminum streamlined cars that were the first of their type in the U.S. However, the company remained in bankruptcy during the Depression.

Between 1943 and 1946, Merritt H. Taylor acquired control of the P&W, and the line was reorganized as the Philadelphia & Western Railroad Company in June 1946. It was merged into the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company in 1953. Buses replaced trolley lines after World War II. The West Chester line was discontinued in 1954, the Strafford line in 1956 and the Ardmore line in 1966. In 1963 Merritt H. Taylor, Jr., bought the articulated, streamlined Electroliners from the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee for use on the Norristown line. The company maintained high levels of service until its properties were purchased by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on January 29, 1970. The company was then renamed the Bryn Mawr Group, Inc., and became a Florida real estate company.

From the description of Agency history record. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 86094000

Relation Name
associatedWith Allied Gas Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Ardmore and Llanerch Street Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Aronimink Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Aronimink Transportation Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Bryn Mawr Group, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Conway, Thomas, d. 1962. person
associatedWith Degraw, Ronald, 1942-2006. person
associatedWith Delaware County Passenger Rail Road Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Eastern Securities Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Eureka Light, Heat and Power Company (Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith Garrettsford and Delaware County Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith General Railway Signal Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Lakes Utilities Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Homestead Real Estate Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Homestead Realty Company. corporateBody
associatedWith J.G. Brill Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Main Line Transfer Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Manor Real Estate and Trust Company. corporateBody
associatedWith McClatchy, John H., 1875?-1960. person
associatedWith Norristown Transit Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Paustell Realty Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Garrettford Street Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and West Chester Turnpike Road Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Western Home Owners' Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Western Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Western Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia and Western Street Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia, Castle Rock and West Chester Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Suburban Terminal Building Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Suburban Transit Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Red Arrow Center, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Red Star Lines. corporateBody
associatedWith Schuylkill Valley Lines, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Southeastern Construction Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. corporateBody
associatedWith St. Louis Car Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Taylor, A. Merritt 1874-1937. person
associatedWith Taylor, Charles S. 1850-1939. person
associatedWith Taylor family. family
associatedWith Taylor, Hannah, 1808-1889. person
associatedWith Taylor, Merritt H. 1899-1963. person
associatedWith Taylor, Merritt H. 1922- . person
associatedWith Terminal Railroad Company (Pennsylvania). corporateBody
associatedWith Trans-Potomac Bus Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Tucker, John F. (John Foster), 1950-2008, collector. person
associatedWith West Chester and Wilmington Street Railway Company. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Castle Rock Park (Edgmont, Pa.)
Pennsylvania
Chester County (Pa.)
Pennsylvania
Montgomery County (Pa.)
Upper Darby (Pa.)
Delaware County (Pa.)
Subject
Electric utilities
Amusement parks
Urban transportation
Land titles
Advertising--Local transit
Electric railroads
Street-railroads--Employees
Transportation accidents
Traffic surveys
Quarries and quarrying
Turnpike roads
Plank roads
Bus lines
Local transit
Buses
Roads--Design and construction
Road construction contracts
Real estate development
Electroliner (Express train)
Brilliner (Streetcar)
Bus terminals
Street-railroads
Toll roads
Roads
Liberty Liner (Express train)
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1792

Active 1973

Information

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SNAC ID: 5475336