Author Topic: The buyout of the LA trolley system and hundreds of others, to dismantle them.  (Read 1062 times)

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Offline cdev

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When I grew up, I used to spend my summers in LA, and they had the worst bus system you could ever imagine, the RTD. But, people used to tell me, how great the streetcars had been. They went everywhere.

And then, almost overnight, they vanished.

The same thing happened in literally hundreds of other cities. Only a few cities escaped it, the ones that owned their own transit systems. New York, San Francisco, and just a few others.

Don't believe the people who try to say this never happened, it did.



http://moderntransit.org/ctc/ctc06.html (and many other pages on this same web site)

More info on National City Lines, one of the holding companies which were used, and a number of legal cases that were brought against GM and others.

http://www.worldcarfree.net/resources/freesources/American.htm  American Ground Transport by Bradford Snell

Snell testimony to Congress
http://libraryarchives.metro.net/DPGTL/testimony/1974_statement_bradford_c_snell_s1167.pdf

Harper's magazine article

« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 05:28:43 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Strictly speaking that is a tram system.  A trolleybus pulls electricty from overhead wires but runs on standard rubber donuts.

Edinburgh recently installed trams on just one route, and it cost about 3/4 of a billion.  They found out that installing rails is vastly more expensive than in the Victorian or early 20thC era because of the number of services that run under the road. Trolleys would have been a more sensible choice, and plenty people said so, but the Greens are very fixed in their ideas. OK, obsessive.

In an epic failure to think consequences, they also found out that the rails are deadly to the cyclists that the various Green groups behind this idea were also promoting.  :palm:
 

Offline cdev

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I love the old PCC cars, they are so much fun to ride. And they are quite fast too.

Such a shame they got away with doing that.

Now they want us to have another oil war too. How many have they had now, Ive lost count. Too many.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline james_s

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We have a mix in Seattle of electric trolly buses that drive on the road, and light rail. Both have advantages and disadvantages but in practice rail is much nicer, at least out here. It has fixed routes that never change so you can rely on it, the bus routes change too often to depend on it if you need to get to and from work at a set time. Rail is more power efficient due to lower rolling resistance, and perhaps most importantly rail is a dedicated route with right of way whereas the electric buses sit in the same gridlock with all the cars. The unfortunate thing is that they didn't put in the rail 50 years ago when they started talking about doing so, instead they waited until traffic became unbearable and costs were much higher.

When I've visted Los Angeles and Chicago I made extensive use of the light rail/subway systems and they work very well, in urban areas it beats driving any day, and I'm a car guy, I just hate driving in downtown gridlock.
 

Offline cdev

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I'm pretty sure all those cities had electric light rail (trolleys) not busses, diesel or wired. Which are railed vehicles that run on electricity.

Most of the systems were put into place more than 100 years ago and we had the best public transit in the world for quite some time. The country thrived. But, they were quietly bought up and dismantled after WWII, over around a 20 year period.

A bunch of shell companies bought them all up, hundreds of cities trolleys and dismantled them. So people would have to buy cars, and those who couldn't buy cars were SOL. The only cities that managed to keep them were the ones that owned their own systems, they did really well.

Thats how we ended up 'addicted to oil', and also how we ended up with an underclass, in no small part.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 02:18:30 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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I think the story is more complex. By all accounts the trolleys were a great in their time.  But rapid population expansion and expectation growth post WWII would have required huge expansion to maintain a comparable level of service.  Scaling problems also exist.  If the business proposition to do this was good GM could not have afforded these buyouts.  So skulduggery yes, but in the absence of skulduggery it isn't clear that LA and other areas would have great transit systems.
 


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