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Street Railroading in Arizona, 1905

This article is a reprint from the monthly Street Railway Review of 1905

Windsor & Kenfield Publishers

Street railway men who have been troubled with snow this year, will find it restful to look at the views on this page, most of which were taken on November 30, of last year, on the line of the Phoenix City Railway Company, Phoenix, Ariz. Summer lasts nearly all the year, So there is no falling off of travel on account of winter's chilling blasts.

The Phoenix City Railway Company was organized February 28, 1893, by Gen. M. H. Sherman, president. With him is associated as vice-president, C. F. Ainsworth; treasurer, William Christy; secretary and manager, B. N. Pratt.

About the first construction work of the company was to tear up the tracks of the old Valley Street Railway, on Washington street, the main thoroughfare of the city, and lay five miles of 30 and 35- pound “T” rail for electric service, leaving about three miles of horse railway on other streets. The rails were spiked direct to 6x8 redwood ties, ballasted with six inches of river gravel. Special care was given to the joints, which are “standing up” well under service, though the cars are comparatively light. The line is perfectly straight and practically level, covering the main street of the city, passing nearly all of the principal hotels, business blocks, and going directly through the capitol grounds of the territory, about three-fourths of a mile from the city center.

The rolling stock consists of four motor cars, equipped with Sprague 15-horse-power motors, four trailers and four horse cars. The power house is a short distance from the line, adjoining the city water works plant, both companies using the same boilers, thereby lessening expense of operating for both. The equipment consists of three No. 16 Edison generators, driven by one 300- horse-power Cumner engine, and one 75-horse-power Williams high speed compound engine.

Phoenix is the capitol of Arizona Territory, and county seat of Maricopa county, with a population of a about eleven thousand, and is altogether a lively city. The company, however, does not depend for revenue upon the travel that naturally comes to it, but has various attractions to help create travel, some of which are shown in connection with this article. Among them is a large park a mile and three-quarters from the business center, containing one of the fastest four-lap bicycle tracks in the west, and holding many of the Pacific Coast records.

At the entrance to the park is a quaint building, in which is built large cement tank, 30 x I00 feet, with a depth of three to six feet, holding 100,000 gallons of water. For seven months of the year it is known as the “Park swimming baths,” and is a first-class drawing attraction. Separate days and times are set apart for ladies. and for ladies and their escorts. Five months of the year the tank is covered with a roller skating floor, which, for the comparatively short time it is used, draws well.

People seem never to tire riding round and round the line in the almost perpetual summer evenings that exist in this region. With apparently no objective point in mind, they ride about evening after evening. Especially is this true of the Spanish and Mexican population, which would give the last nickle for a ride on the electric cars.

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