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Beaver Valley Traction Company
(From the Beaver Falls
Centennial Book 1968)
Milestones Vol 21 No 4 Winter 1996

Beaver Valley Traction Company was organized in the spring of 1891 by a number of prominent citizens of the Beaver Valley; and on June 29,1891, a charter was issued under the provisions of the Act of March 22, 1887.

In July, 1891, the Traction Company absorbed by contract and purchase of stock, Central Electric Street Railway Company; and in August, 1891, Beaver Valley Street Railway Company was absorbed by similar process.

Later, the College and Grandview Electric Street Railway Company became a part of Beaver Valley Traction Company, and a working agreement was established about 1898 with Beaver & Vanport Electric Street Railway Company.

The property in the spring of 1900 was thus represented by tracks extending from Morado Park on the Beaver River, through College Hill, Beaver Falls, New Brighton, Rochester Township to the Junction, across the Sharon bridge through Bridgewater to and through Beaver and part of Borough

Township to the top of the bluff just east of Two Mile Run. Total mileage, counted as single track was about 17 miles.

There was another system, about three and three-quarter miles in length, called People's Electric Street Railway Company, which extended from St. Clair, through Rochester Township, Rochester, and Bolesville to the Junction, where it stopped a few feet short of connecting with the Beaver Valley Traction Company's tracks. The fares charged from Morado or from St. Clair to Vanport were 15 cents.

Several attempts had been made to unite People's Electric Street Railway Company with Beaver Valley Traction Company under one management, but this was without success prior to 1900. Fresh capitol was invested at the turn of the century, and all the stock of the People's Electric Street Railway Company was purchased, and the property absorbed by Beaver Valley Traction Company. Capitol stock of the Beaver Valley Traction Company was increased from $300,000 to $1,000,000. Plans were carried out to update construction and equipment, and ground was purchased at the Junction, where all the buildings of the company could be concentrated for economy of power and supervision. In 1903, Beaver Valley Traction Company gained control of Riverview Street Railway, which ran through New Brighton and Beaver Falls.

Beaver Valley Traction rails started at Wallace Run ravine and proceeded south. The line that proceeded north was used by Harmony Short Line. When a Harmony car entered Beaver Falls, a Beaver Valley Traction Company crew took over the controls. Beaver Valley Traction lines proceeded south on Fourth Avenue College Hill, to 32nd Street, where it turned left for one block on 32nd Street and turned right and proceeded down College Avenue to 27th Street. In this one block area on these sharp curves, college students liked to grease the rails causing the motorman to lose control of the car. At 27th Street, the line proceeded south on Eighth Avenue to 17th Street, where it turned left on 17th Street to Seventh Avenue, then turned right and proceeded through town down Seventh Avenue to the bridge to New Brighton.

There were two fare zones in Beaver Falls. One from Morado to 27th Street; the other from 27th Street to the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie station. The charge was five cents a zone. There were also money-saving devices such as a weekly pass which permitted one to ride from Morado to the P&LE station. It cost $1.00. Another was a Sunday pass which cost 25 cents. Ten-minute service was maintained until midnight.

The whole company consisted of 48 equivalent single track miles, 41 miles being on paved streets. It served 15 communities. The roster consisted of 42 passenger cars, eight service cars, and three service trucks. Twenty of the one man cars were purchased in 1921, six more in 1924 and the remainder were rebuilt two-man double truck cars.

On April 1, 1924, the zone fare machine was discarded in favor of the honor system. Zone checks were issued by a machine which required the operator to press from two to four keys, tramp on a pedal, and if the machine worked properly, a check would come out. The patron was required to return the check when leaving the car. The honor system was pretty much a success with some education of the public. An article in The Beaver Falls Tribune on April 8,1924, informed the public of the new policy.

Around 1924, Beaver Falls Advertising Club offered free rides to Beaver Falls on Feb. 3 and Aug. 21 of each year for dollar days. The club sent out postcards to be presented to the operator of the car which cost around $175. Beaver Falls Advertising Club paid the bill and the people rode free.

It was surprising how many people rode to Beaver Falls, supposedly for dollar days.

The automobile started taking its toll on this company a little slower than it did on the rest. At first, buses were substituted on Riverview Line, then from Ambridge to Sewickley, then from Rochester to Vanport, and finally the remainder of the line. Beaver Valley Traction Company was responsible for paving the streets between their tracks and eighteen inches on the outside.

Since the remainder of the road, in some cases, was in poor condition, automobiles traveled on the paved portion. This broke up the pavement and caused constant repair which became costly. When the cost became too high, buses were substituted over the line. On Aug. 10, 1937, the last streetcar left Junction Car Barns for Morado at 4:45 p.m. Some retired operators took turns operating the car for short distances. The car was lucky to make it back - riders removed something for a keepsake. The cars were in pretty good shape and were shipped to New York via railroad. The trucks, or wheels, were scrapped here as the company in New York used a different gauge. Buses started carrying people and the company was called Beaver Valley Motor Coach Company. That was the end of streetcars in Beaver County.