Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Questions Regarding the Trolley Franchise from Bartow Station to the Tip of City Island Arose in 1915

Yesterday I wrote about the dissatisfaction of City Islanders with the transportation service they had used for years from Bartow Station to the tip of City Island.  (A link to that posting and other related postings appears at the end of this brief article.)  By 1914, they were angry that they had been subjected to a "dilapidated" horse railroad system followed by a disastrous experiment with a monorail system.  The Public Service Commission stepped in and authorized reorganization of the Pelham Park Railroad Company and the City Island Railroad Company to create the Pelham Park and City Island Railway Company.

Later in the year, the railroad was reconstructed and battery-operated trolleys began running on the line.  City Islanders were still not happy because the battery-powered cars did not have the power or the "get-up-and-go" that overhead electric trolley cars did. 

By 1915, questions arose over the legitimacy of the franchise under which the battery-powered trolleys were being run.  The following Report of the Bureau of Franchises of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of New York sheds some light on the matter. 

"Borough of The Bronx.

Pelham Park and City Island Railway Company, Inc.

In last year's report it was related that the Union Railway Company had acquired from the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, control of the City Island and Pelham Park Railway properties and had obtained a temporary permit from the Commissioner of Parks, The Bronx, for operation through Pelham Bay Park pending the acquirement of a franchise.

In August, 1914, the railway was reconstructed on the City Island Road through the park, its original route, and storage battery cars have since been operated from City Island station to Belden Point, the old monorail structure through the park having been removed.

On July 9, 1915, the Park Commissioner was authorized to renew the permit for temporary operation for an additional period of six months, upon the usual understanding that the tracks would be removed unless a franchise were obtained. This permit the company at first refused to accept, on account of the condition mentioned, it being claimed that the company has a valid franchise to operate, which it did not care to endanger. This matter has, of course, been thoroughly threshed out during the last few years, and the bringing of an action to have the franchise of the Pelham Park Railroad Company declared forfeited has been in the Corporation Counsel's hands for some time. When the Union Railway Company acquired the property it was understood that an application for a franchise would be made, and it was on this condition that the first temporary permit was granted, and that the Corporation Counsel has withheld action in the forfeiture proceeding. The company finally accepted the permit for six months' additional operation, with the condition specified, but up to the end of the year no application for a franchise had been presented. Meanwhile the Public Service Commission has granted the Pelham Park and City Island Railway Company another extension of time to complete construction of its system and issue capital stock under the reorganization plan approved by the Commission in 1913. This plan provides for an issue of $117,000 of capital stock and the construction of an overhead electric, standard gauge street railway along the original routes of the former City Island and Pelham Park companies, or such substitute routes as the Board may approve between City Island station and Belden Point. The Receiver of the Monopod Construction Company, which company, it appears, financed the construction of the unsuccessful monorail company, has applied to the Board for the return to him of the security deposit of $2,500 in cash, made by the City Island Railroad Company and the Pelham Park Railroad Company under the consents given by the City in 1909 for the change of power to the monorail system. No action has as yet been taken on this application, nor would it be advisable to take any until the question of the companies' franchise rights has been definitely determined."

Source:  Report of the Bureau of Franchises of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of the City of New York for the Year 1915, pp. 9-10 (NY, NY:  Press of Clarence S. Nathan, Inc. 1916).

Mon., May 3, 2010:  Efforts To Reorganize the Operators of the City Island Horse Railroad and Monorail in 1914.

Fri., April 30, 2010:  "Truly, An Illuminating Little Passage in the History of New-York!" - Efforts to Develop Shore Road Trolley Line in 1897.

Thu., April 29, 2010:  City Islanders Complain and Force the Operators of Their Horse Railroad to Agree to Replace Antiquated Cars in 1908.

Wed., April 28, 2010:  Efforts by the Pelham Park Horse Railroad to Expand and Develop a Trolley Car Line on Shore Road in 1897.

Tue., April 27, 2010:  New York City's Interborough Rapid Transit Company Sued to Foreclose a Mortgage on the Horse Railroad in 1911.

Mon., April 26, 2010:  Public Service Commission Couldn't Find Marshall's Corners in 1909.

Fri., March 5, 2010:  Construction of the City Island Horse Railroad in 1887.

Thu., March 4, 2010:  Beginnings of Horse Railroad - News from Pelham and City Island Published in 1884.

Wed., March 3, 2010:  1879 Advertisement for Robert J. Vickery's City Island Stage Line, A Predecessor to the City Island Horse Railroad.

Tue., March 2, 2010:  1901 Report Indicated that The Flynn Syndicate Planned to Buy the Pelham Bay Park & City Island Horse Car Line.

Mon., March 1, 2010:  Flynn Syndicate Buys the City Island Horse Car Line in 1907 to Incorporate It Into Electric Trolley Line.

Fri., February 26, 2010:  1913 Decision of Public Service Commission to Allow Reorganization of City Island Horse Railroad for Electrification.

Thu., February 25, 2010:  Photograph of Patrick Byrnes and Article About His Retirement of the City Island Horse Car in 1914.

Wed., February 24, 2010:  Attempted Suicide of City Island's Long-Time Horse Car Driver

Wed., February 3, 2010:  Early Information Published in 1885 About the Organization of the "City Island Railroad", a Horse Railroad from Bartow Station to City Island

Tue., February 2, 2010:  Information About the Pelham Park Railroad at its Outset

Fri., January 22, 2010:  1884 Account of Early Origins of Horse Railroad Between Bartow Station and City Island

Tue., September 1, 2009:  Pelham News on February 29, 1884 Including Talk of Constructing a New Horse Railroad from Bartow to City Island

Wed., December 2, 2009:  Accident on Horse-Car of the Pelham Park Railroad Line in 1889

 Thu., December 31, 2009:  1887 Election of the Board of Directors of The City Island and Pelham Park Horse Railroad Company

Mon., January 4, 2010:  1888 Local News Account Describes Altercation on the Horse Railroad Running from Bartow Station to City Island.

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