Trolleys to York Beach Portsmouth Dover & York Street Railway By O R Cummings SC
Trolleys to York Beach Portsmouth Dover & York Street Railway By O R Cummings Soft Cover 1964 Approx 56 pages.
Connecting the towns of Kittery, York, Eliot and South Berwick in the southeastern region of Maine's York County and serving the cities of Portsmouth and Dover in neighboring New Hampshire, the Portsmouth, Dover & York Street Railway, jokingly but affectionately dubbed the "Pull, Drag & Yank" by its patrons, has been only a memory for more than 40 years. Chartered in 1901 as the Berwick, Eliot & York Street Railway, it absorbed the previously-constructed Portsmouth, Kittery & York and Kittery & Eliot Street Railways in 1903 and leased an outright subsidiary, the Dover & Eliot Street Railway, to create a 41 mile system, which was merged into the Atlantic Shore Line Railway in 1906.
For approximately 11 years - until mid-1917 - the Portsmouth, Dover & York lines comprised the Western Division of the Atlantic Shore Line and its successor, the Atlantic Shore Railway, and was an important link in the chain of electric railways extending from New York City to the heart of Central Maine. Resuming independent operation (but under receivership) in 1917, it lasted only six more years, abandonment occurring in 1923.
The principal raison d'etre of the PD&Y lines was to transport passengers, mail and merchandise to and from York Beach, one of Maine's favorite seaside resorts for the past century, as well as York Harbor and York Village which, to this day, have a heavy influx of summer residents. The trolleys did a heavy summer business but since much of the area they served was rather sparsely populated, there wasn't too much traffic in other seasons except in Kittery and Kittery Point.
The PD&Y was unique among New England street railways in that it operated steam ferry service across the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery and was one of the comparatively few traction lines in the United States to have what might be termed a marine division. In the pre-automobile days, the ferry crossing was not considered a real inconvenience but, in time, it became a severe handicap to the railway. In fact, the construction of a new bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery after World War I-a bridge across which the railway couldn't afford to extend-was one of the principal reasons for the PD&Y's throwing in the sponge.
For those who rode on the PD&Y lines-or worked on its cars-it is hoped that this booklet will recall many pleasant memories. For more recent generations, to whom trolleys are a form of transportation long obsolete, it is hoped that this history will instill an appreciation of the important role played by electric railways in the days when automobiles and paved highways were few and far between and when the street car was as much a part of everybody's way of life as the motor vehicle, jet plane and television set are today.
In the following pages, the history of the Portsmouth, Dover & York is covered from the chartering of its earliest predecessor in 1893 to the operation of the last cars 30 years later. The illustrations have been carefully selected from nearly 200 available photographs in an effort to portray the old PD&Y lines in the best possible manner. Unfortunately, there are some significant gaps in the photographic coverage.
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