Cable Car Lines in Kansas City
by Joe Thompson

Where Should I Go from Here? Visit the Map

Kansas City had ideal geographical conditions for cable traction, with an industrial district by a river and residential areas up on bluffs on either side of the Missouri River.

  • Kansas City Companies
  • Kansas City Miscellany

    Kansas City Cable Railway

    9th Street trestle Looking down the 9th Street trestle across Santa Fe's Argentine yards, towards Union Depot and the West Bottoms. (source: Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. Negative Number: N841-412. Identifier Number: 10007406. All rights reserved). January, 2007 Picture of the Month.

    line: Ninth Avenue

    opened: 15-June-1885. From Union Depot on Ninth Street to Grand Avenue. Grand Avenue to Eighth Street. Eighth to Woodland Avenue.

    revised: 25-June-1886. From Eighth and Woodland on Woodland to Independence Avenue. Independence to Prospect Avenue.

    revised: 24-November-1886. From Eighth and Woodland on Woodland to Ninth Street. Ninth to Prospect Avenue.

    revised: 12-July-1889. From Independence and Prospect on Independence to Elmwood Avenue.

    revised: 8-December-1886. From Ninth and Prospect out Prospect to Jackson Avenue.

    powerhouse: Ninth Avenue and Washington Street

    powerhouse (1889): Ninth Avenue and Woodland Avenue

    grip: Hovey double-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Ninth/DelawareMetsuperior
    Ninth/MainMetsuperior
    Ninth/WalnutMetsuperior

    line: Troost Avenue

    opened: 18-November-1887. From Eighth Avenue and Troost Avenue on Troost to 33rd Street.

    powerhouse: Ninth Avenue and Woodland Avenue

    grip: Hovey double-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Troost/10thPCRsuperior
    Troost/12thMetsuperior
    Troost/15thGARinferior
    Troost/18thMetinferior
    Troost/19thMetsuperior

    line: Washington and Summit

    opened: 01-October-1889. From Union Depot on Ninth to Washington. Washington to about 13th-14th Streets. On 13th-14th Summit Street. Summit Street to 29th Street.

    cut back: early 1901. Summit Street to Southwest Boulevard

    powerhouse: Ninth Avenue and Washington Street

    grip: Vogel and Whelan bottom

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Troost/12thMetinferior

    notes: Engineer Robert Gillham had to solve the problem of getting commuters from Union Station in the West Bottoms to residential areas atop bluffs to the east. His solution began with an elevated waiting room by the Union Station. An iron truss bridge almost 200 feet long carried the tracks across the Union Depot yards. From there, an iron trestle climbed the bluff on about an 18 per cent grade. Once the cars reached the top of the incline, the rest of the line on Ninth, Grand, and Eighth was fairly simple except for the sharp curves at Grand.

    DJ Miller DJ Miller invented the duplicate cable system used by the Kansas City Cable Railway. From the May, 1895 Street Railway Journal

    Gillham chose to use D J Miller's duplicate cable system, which required two cables under each slot, either of which could operate at any time. This very expensive option allowed the system to operate with minimal interruptions. Miller's system was not covered by the trust's patents, which led to long and costly lawsuits. Ironically, Gillham was forced to use the trust's Hovey grip to ensure safety on the incline.

    The company lost Gillham's services when a shopman dropped a grip on his head while he stood in a pit inspecting the cable. Clift Wise designed the company's many extensions and revision.

    The company's single truck grip cars were unusual in that the gripman had controls at each end, rather than in the middle of the car.

    Riders worried about the safety of the steep incline. After a runaway in 1885 and a fatal accident which killed a gripman in 1888, the company added a device like the dog found on roller coasters to prevent the up-bound trains from rolling backwards. It could also be used to engage sections of slack cable to slow down-bound runaways.

    On 12-October-1887, President Grover Cleveland and his wife were riding in a carriage on Broadway, through a large crowd. As the carriage crossed Ninth Street, a train caught a loose strand and ran away, crashing into the crowd of people and just missing the President's carriage. Two members of the crowd were seriously hurt, and members of the crowd considered lynching the car's crew. The police rescued them. ("But Ten Feet from Death", Kansas City Journal, 13-October-1887).

    In 1888, the company built Troost Park to promote business.

    The Metropolitan Street Railway acquired the company in 1895.

    The Washington/Summit line was cut back to Southwest Boulevard in early 1901.

    On 22-August-1902, a train ran away on the trestle and killed a gripman and injured 17 passengers.

    The Troost Avenue line was converted to electric on 02-September-1902. The 9th Street line was replaced by electrification of the former Inter-State Consolidated Rapid Transit Company line on Eighth Street. The remainder of the Summit line was abandoned, not converted, on 02-October-1904.

    Read an interesting 1885 magazine article about the Kansas City Cable Railway, published before the line opened.

    up 9th Street trestle Looking up the 9th Street trestle as a train approaches the terminal above Mulberry Street. (source: Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. Negative Number: N841-412. Identifier Number: 10007406. All rights reserved). August, 2007 Picture of the Month.

    9th Street Ninth Street, near Walnut. Engraving by Charles Graham, from the 07-Jun-1890 Harpers Weekly. It shows cable trains of the Kansas City Cable Railway on Ninth crossing the Metropolitan Street Railway's 18th-19th Streets cable line on Walnut. August, 2008 Picture of the Month.

    Robert Gillham Engineer Robert Gillham designed and built the Kansas City Cable Railway's Ninth Street Line. From the 30-July-1897 Railway Age and Northwestern Railroader.

    Clift Wise Clift Wise was chief engineer of the Kansas City Cable Railway. From the May, 1895 Street Railway Journal

    MK Bowen MK Bowen was chief engineer and superintendent of the Kansas City Cable Railway from 1887 to 1891. From the May, 1895 Street Railway Journal

    from Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887

    P. 248

    Kansas City Cable Ry. Co. operates 3 miles of double-track road and owns 20 cars. Directors Wm. J. Smith, N. J. Hall, W. H. Lucas, J. I. Thornton, Robert Gillham, Kansas City, Mo.; P. A. Chase, Lynn, Mass. -- Wm. J. Smith, Pres. & Treas., P. A. Chase, Vice-Pres., W. H. Lucas,Treas., Edw. J. Lawless, Supt., etc. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Ninth and Washington Sts., Kansas City, Mo.

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    Metropolitan Street Railway

    Bluff Street bridge Two trains pass at the top of the bridge used by Kansas City's Metropolitan Street Railway to reach Union Depot in the West Bottoms. (source: Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. Negative Number: V-1496. Identifier Number: 10001046. All rights reserved). February, 2007 Picture of the Month.

    line: Wyandotte

    opened: 12-May-1887. From Fifth Street and Walnut Street on Fifth to Bluff Street. Bluff to Mulberry Street. Mulberry to Ninth Street. Ninth to Wyoming Street

    revised: 27-October-1887. From Ninth and Wyoming on Ninth to James Street. James to Third Street. Third to Minnesota Avenue. Minnesota to Tenth Street.

    revised: 30-May-1891. From Minnesota and Tenth on Minnesota to 18th Street.

    powerhouse: Ninth Street and Wyoming Street

    grip: Root single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Third/WalnutMetsuperior
    Third/DelawareMetinferior
    Ninth/WalnutMetsuperior

    line: 12th Street

    opened: 07-Apr-1888. From 12th Street and Monroe Avenue on Monroe to 13th Street. 13th to Cleveland Avenue. Cleveland to 12th Street. 12th to Bell Street. Bell to 16th Street. 16th to Genesee Street. Genesee to 12th.

    revised: ??-???-1894. Stockyard loop was revised from Bell to Wyoming Street

    powerhouse: 12th Street and Charlotte Street

    grip: Root single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: single-ended combination cars. These cars proved too heavy to be safe.

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    12th/BrooklynPeoplesuperior
    12th/TroostKCCinferior
    12th/WalnutGARsuperior
    12th/MainMetinferior
    12th/WashingtonKCCinferior

    line: 18th-19th Streets

    opened: 23-Oct-1888. From 18th Street and Cleveland Street on 18th to Main Street. Main to Ninth Street. Balloon loop at Ninth and Main. Ninth to 19th Street. 19th to Olive Street. Olive to 18th. 18th to Cleveland.

    revised: ??-???-1889. From Ninth and Main on Walnut Street to Delaware Street. Delaware to Main at Ninth.

    powerhouse: 18th Street and Olive Street

    grip: Root single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: none

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    18th/BrooklynPeopleinferior
    18th/TroostKCCinferior
    18th/HolmesGARinferior
    18th/GrandGARinferior
    9th/MainKCCinferior
    Walnut/5thMetsuperior
    Delaware/5thMetinferior
    19th/GrandGARinferior
    19th/HolmesGARinferior
    19th/TroostKCCinferior
    19th/BrooklynPeopleinferior

    From History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its People, edited and compiled by Perl W Morgan (1911):
    The Metropolitan Street Railway Company was organized and incorporated in July, 1886, by C. F. Morse, president; W. J. Ferry, secretary; A. W. Armour, treasurer. Its capital was $1,250,000, for which sum it purchased Thomas Corrigan's entire system of horse railways in Kansas City, Missouri, and its first operation consisted in the conversion of these railways into cable lines. The first line, from the Union Depot to the Market Square, Kansas City, Missouri, was opened to the public May 1, 1887; the second, from the state line to Wyandotte, ran its first through train November 1st, following over what now is the Fifth street line. The power house, at the corner of Ninth and Wyoming streets, was built in the winter of 1887. The Fifth street line of this company ran from Tenth street and Minnesota avenue to Market Square in Kansas City, Missouri, over the old mule car route. Another cable line was built by the company on Twelfth street down an incline and one to the stock yards around a loop, where it connected with the Armourdale line, operated by mule cars from the stock yards.

    In 1892-3 the West Side Railway Company was founded and the West Side - now the "Wyandotte" - was constructed from Seventh street and Haskell avenue, in the north part of the city, to Third street, and thence, by way of Third street, Minnesota avenue and Fifth street, across the Seventh street viaduct, and down Kansas avenue to the stock yards.

    By 1895, when it was apparent that street railway building had about reached the limit, a movement was started which ultimately resulted in the Metropolitan Street Railway Company absorbing or taking control of every street railway line in the two Kansas Citys. Then began a period of renewed activity, All the lines were equipped for operation by electricity and several important extensions were made.

    notes: The Metropolitan Street Railway operated several horsecar lines in Kansas City, Missouri. Unlike the Kansas City Cable Railway, the Metropolitan chose to license the cable railway trust's patents.

    The Metropolitan was regarded as a big bully, especially after it acquired other lines, including the Inter-State Consolidated in 1894, the Kansas City Cable Railway and the Grand Avenue Railway in 1895, and the Peoples' Cable Railway in 1899.

    The Wyandotte line, which reached Kansas City, Kansas, had too many curves. This line was converted to electricty on 01-November-1898. The 12th Street line reached the stockyards in the West Bottoms by a steep trestle. The line had a loop at each end. This line was difficult to convert to electricity because of the steep grades. The company combined the line a remnant of the Kansas City Cable Railway's Washington Street line, producing a line from 9th and Washington on Washington to 12th Street, and then along the former 12th Street line to the loop at the stockyards. This line was abandoned on 13-October-1913.

    The 18th-19th Streets line was converted to electric on 30-October-1900.

    American Street Railway Investments

    A Supplement to the Street Railway Journal

    Here is the Metropolitan Street Railway's listing in the 1900 American Street Railway Investments, "Published Annually, for the use of Bankers, Brokers, Capitalists, Investors, and Street Railway Companies", (page 125):

    Metropolitan Street Railway Co. -- Chartered July 19, 1886. Annual meeting in June. This is a consolidation of the Corrigan Consolidated Street Ry. Co., the Kansas City & Rosedale Street Ry. Co., the South Suburban Ry. Co., the Kansas City Cable Ry. Co., the Grand Avenue Ry. Co. and the Kansas City & Independence Ry. Co. The company owns the capital stock of the Kansas City (Kan.) Elevated Ry. Co. and also controls the Kansas City Traction Co. and the West Side Ry. Co., of Kansas City, Mo. In June, 1895, the company's franchises were extended to 1923.

    Capital Stock. -- Common stock, authorized, $8,500,000, issued, $5,586,800; par value, $100 per share.

    Funded Debt. -- Corrigan Consolidated Street Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. gold coupon bonds, authorized and issued, $893,000; dated July 1, 1886, due 1926; denom. $1,000; int. payable Jan. and July, in New York.

    General mortgage 5 p.c. gold coupon bonds, authorized and issued, $1,000,000; dated September 1, 1889, due 1909; denom. $1,000; int. payable Mar. and Sept., in Boston.

    Consolidated mortgage 5 p.c. gold coupon bonds, authorized $8,500,000, issued $3,721,000, in escrow (see Note), $4,779,000; coupon, but may be registered; dated May 1, 1895, due 1910; denom. $1,000; int. payable May and Nov. at Old Colony Trust Co., of Boston, trustee of mortgage.

    Kansas City Cable Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. coupon bonds, authorized and issued, $1,050,000; dated April, 1887, due 1901; denom. $1,000; int. 5 p.c. payable Apr. and Oct. at office of New York Security & Trust Co., New York.

    Grand Avenue Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. gold bonds, authorized and issued, $1,200,000; coupon, but may be registered; dated July 10, 1888, due July 10, 1908; denom. $1,000; int. payable Jan. 10 and July 10 at office of Central Trust Co., of New York, trustee of mortgage.

    Kansas City Elevated Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. gold bonds, authorized and issued, $2,600,000; coupon, but may be registered; dated July 1, 1892, due 1922; denom. $1,000; int. 4 to 6 p.c. (see Note), payable Jan. and July at office of Manhattan Trust Co., of New York.

    South Side Street Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. bonds, $12,000; due June 1, 1899.

    Note. -- $4,550,000 of the consolidated mortgage bonds are held in escrow to retire at maturity the general mortgage bonds ($1,000,000), the Corrigan Consolidated Street Ry. Co.'s bonds ($1,000,000), the Kansas City Cable Ry. Co.'s bonds ($1,350,000), and the Grand Avenue Ry. Co.'s bonds ($1,200,000).

    $229,000 of the consolidated mortgage bonds are held in escrow for improvements.

    The company guarantees 6 p. c. int. on $600,000, of the first mortgage bonds (stamped "preferred") of the Kansas City Elevated Ry. Co., and upon the remainder (stamped "common") 3 p. c. per annum until July, 1895, and 4 p. c. thereafter.

    Plant and Equipment. -- Miles of track, 136; operated by electricity, 73, by cable, 63; gauge, 4 ft. 8 1/2 in.; 56 lb. 50 103 lb. c. b. and girder rail; 609 cars of which 119 are motor cars, 147 are grip cars, 80 combination cable cars and 263 trail cars; 9,450 H. P. engines, Babcock & Wilcox boilers, A. & S. Hamilton & Wright and Allis engines, Gen Elec. and Walker dynamos and Gen Elec. motors, Laclede, Pullman, St. Lous and Stephenson cars, Bemis and St. Louis trucks.

    Officers. -- Pres. & Treas. C. F. Morse, W. H. Holmes, V. Pres. & Gen. Man. W. H. Holmes, Sec. L. C. Krauthoff, Asst. Sec. & Audr. J. A. Harder, Asst. Gen. Man. C. F. Holmes, Asst. Gen Supt. W. A. Satterlee, Pat. Agt. H. C. Schwitzgebel, Ch. Engr. of Power Station D. W. Dozir, Elecn. Chas. Grover.

    Directors. -- C. F. Morse, Wallace Pratt, C. F. Adams, P. A. Valentine, W. H. Holmes, L. E. James, Norman H. Ream, C. F. Holmes

    General Office. -- 1500 Grand Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

    References. -- Description of road, Vol. VI, Mar., '90, p. 112(ill.); conditions of consolidation, Vol XI, May, '95, p. 322; description of road (brief), Vol XII, Oct., '96, p. 607; description of track, Vol XIII, Mar., '97, p. 169 (ill.); pleasure park, Vol XIII, May '97, p. 289, (ill.); operating detail, Vol. XIII, Aug., '97, p. 492 (ill.); description of road, Vol XIV, Feb. '98, p. 67 (ill.).

    Date of information, May, 1899.

    from Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887

    P. 248

    Metropolitan Street Ry. Co. (formerly the Corrigan Consolidated Ry. Co.) operates 11.714 miles of road, double-track, owns 500 horses, 94 cars and 12 other vehicles. -- C. F. Morse, Pres., R. J. McCarty, Sec., Armours Bank, Treas., E. J. Lawless, Supt.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Security Building, Kansas City, Mo.

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    Grand Avenue Railway

    Grand Avenue combination car A Grand Avenue Railway combination car, built by Brownell and Wight of Saint Louis. (source: Street Railways: Their Construction, Operation and Maintenance by CB Fairchild). March, 2007 Picture of the Month.

    line: Grand Avenue

    opened: 18-September-1887. First Street at Walnut Street on First to Grand Avenue. Grand to Third Street. Third to Walnut Street. Walnut to 13th Street. 13th to Grand Avenue. Grand Avenue to 15th Street.

    extended: 15-December-1887. Grand Avenue and 15th Street on Grand to Main Street. Main to 40th Street (Westport)

    cut back: 1888. North loop reduced to balloon loop at 3rd and Walnut

    powerhouse: 15th Street and Grand Avenue

    grip: Single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: Single-end combination cars

    turntables: 40th and Main

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Walnut/9thKCCsuperior
    Walnut/10thPeopleinferior
    Walnut/12thMetinferior
    Grand/18thMetinferior
    Grand/19thMetinferior

    line: 15th Street

    opened: 18-September-1887. 15th Street and Grand Avenue on 15th to Kensington

    powerhouse: 15th Street and Grand Avenue

    grip: Single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: Single-end combination cars

    turntables: 15th and Kensington

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    15th/TroostKCCsuperior
    15th/BrooklynPeopleinferior

    line: Holmes Street

    opened: 01-July-1889. 15th Street and Holmes Street on Holmes to Springfield Avenue

    powerhouse: Holmes and Springfield

    grip: Single-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: Single-end combination cars

    turntables: Holmes and Springfield

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Holmes/18thMetsuperior
    Holmes/19thMetinferior

    notes: The Grand Avenue Railway was promoted by the Holmes Brothers. Once the clumsy north loop of the Grand Avenue line was truncated, the system was considered one of the best-designed in the industry. The subsidiary Holmes Street Railway built the Holmes Street line. Engineer Daniel Bontecou designed and built the line and served as chief engineer.

    The Metropolitan Street Railway acquired the company in 1895. The Grand Avenue line was converted to electric on 02-May-1900. The other lines were converted after 01-September-1903.

    Grand Avenue terminal loop The north end loop of the Grand Avenue Railway, showing the congested conditions in that area. (source: Street Railways: Their Construction, Operation and Maintenance by CB Fairchild).

    Holmes Street open car Open car 20 of the subsidiary Holmes Street Railroad. (source: Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. Identifier Number: 10006776. All rights reserved).

    E Saxton An ad for cable and electric railway contractor Edmund Saxton, who built the tracks and conduits for most of the company's lines. From the October, 1895 Street Railway Journal.

    from Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887

    P. 247

    Grand Avenue Ry. Co. operates 6.75 miles of road, owns 75 horses, 26 cars and 4 other vehicles. Directors C. F. Morse, J. S. Ford, Walton H. Holmes, C. F. Holmes, Jas. T. Thornton, J. L. Loose, Daniel B. Holmes, Victor B. Buck O. P. Dickinson, Kansas City, Mo.; C. E. Cotting, Boston, Mass.; P. A. Chase, Linn (sic -- JT), Mass. -- W. H. Holmes, Pres., B. V. Buck, Vice-Pres., D. B. Holmes, Sec. & Atty., O. P. Dickinson, Treas., C. F. Holmes, Supt., Knight & Bontecon, Engs., Thos. J. Fry, Aud., Thos. Barrett, Mast. Car Rep.. -- GENERAL OFFICE, Kansas City, Mo.

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    Inter-State Consolidated Rapid Transit Company

    9th and 12th street trestles Looking across the West Bottoms at the 9th Street trestle and the 8th Street trestle and tunnel portal. The ICRT's powerhouse releases clouds of smoke and steam. (source: Kansas City Public Library Special Collections. Negative Number: V-1500. Identifier Number: 10007403. All rights reserved). May, 2007 Picture of the Month.

    line: Elevated (Kansas City, Missouri)

    opened: 24-April-1888. Eighth Street at Delaware Street on Eighth to trestle at Bluff Street. Trestle to Saint Louis Avenue Station.

    powerhouse: Eighth Street and Bluff Street

    grip: Double-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: Double-end dummies (no passengers carried) with heavy trailers. Exchanged with Riverview line in October, 1888

    turntables: N/A

    crossings:

    line: Riverview (Kansas City, Kansas)

    opened: 22-May-1888. Riverview Boulevard (Now Central Avenue) at Fifth Street on Riverview to 18th Street

    powerhouse: 10th Street and Riverview Boulevard

    grip: Double-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended dummy & trailer trains. Later exchanged with elevated line in October, 1888

    turntables: N/A

    crossings:

    From History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its People, edited and compiled by Perl W Morgan (1911):
    The first of these companies to be formed was the Inter-State Rapid Transit Railway Company, organized in December, 1883, and chartered to build a line or lines of railway between Kansas City, Missouri, and Wyandotte and other points in Kansas. Prominent among the incorporators were D. M. Edgerton and Carlos B. Greeley then of St. Louis, David G. Hoag of Wyandotte and S. T. Smith, Robert Gillham and James Nave of Kansas City, Missouri. The first election of officers was held on December 15, 1883, when D. M. Edgerton was chosen president, S. T. Smith vice president, and David D. Hoag secretary. The original capital stock was $600,000. It was afterwards greatly increased. The work of construction began in May, 1886, and in the following October trains, each consisting of a "dummy" engine and two small coaches, were operated from the Union Depot over an elevated structure to Riverview and thence on the surface to Edgerton Place at Fourth street and Lafayette avenue.

    This road, promoted by its president, D. M. Edgerton, who had been receiver for the Kansas Pacific Railroad, was the first Kansas City enterprise of magnitude and it attracted world-wide attention. On March 22, 1887, the tracks of the Inter-State Rapid Transit Company were consolidated with various other lines which the company was then constructing, and a new organization was affected under the name of the Inter-State Consolidated Rapid Transit Railway Company. Work on the tunnel division of the line from the Union Depot to Eighth and Delaware streets in Kansas City, Missouri, was begun in May, 1887, and the trains began running in April, 1888. This was a gigantic undertaking, the tunnel having been cut through solid limestone, It was first operated by cable.

    Meanwhile the company was busy on the Kansas side. The branch from Fifth street and Virginia avenue to Chelsea Park was opened for traffic on July 4, 1887. A cable line on Central avenue from Riverview west to Eighteenth street, was constructed and placed in operation in May, 1888. This is now the Central avenue-Sheffield line, one of the best in all Kansas City. These lines of the Elevated system operated by cable and dummy power for a few years, were equipped with electrical power in the nineties and then began a realization of the benefits of modern street railway service.

    notes: Engineer Robert Gillham, who had built the Kansas City Cable Railway and would build the Peoples' Cable Railway, was hired by real estate promoter and steam dummy operator Inter-State Investment Company, owned by DM Edgerton. The company had operated a steam line from Union Depot at Saint Louis Avenue Station, on an elevated structure across the river to Kansas City, Kansas, and then on ground level to Chelsea Park.

    Gillham created two cable car lines to connect with the steam line. One line ran from the elevated at Saint Louis Avenue Station, down to street level on Eighth Street and then into a tunnel through Quality Hill, and on Eighth Street from about Washington Avenue to Delaware Street. This line used short grip cars, which did not carry passengers, and heavy trailers. The double-track tunnel was a large engineering project. It contained a grade of nearly 9 percent.

    The Riverview Boulevard line connected with the steam line in Kansas City, Kansas at Fifth Street and Riverview. It ran out Riverview to 18th Street, through a residential area. This line used normal grip and trailer trains of Pullman-built equipment.

    In October 1888, the company exchanged equipment between the two lines. Riverview did not have enough traffic to use the equipment the company had purchased. The heavy rapid transit trailers were damaging the cable on Eighth Street in the heavy climb through the tunnel. The short tunnel grip cars pulled former rapid transit trailers on Riverview and the former Riverview trains ran through the tunnel and out Eighth Street.

    The company went bankrupt in October, 1889 and was reorganized as the Kansas City Elevated Railway. The lightly-used Riverview line was converted to steam traction in 1890. The tunnel line was converted to electricity in 1892, and the whole system was using electric traction by 1893. The Metropolitan Street Railway purchased the Kansas City Elevated Railway in 1894.

    The Metropolitan built a new tunnel below the original to reduce the grade to 5 percent. This tunnel joined with the old one near the upper end. Electric streetcars continued to use the tunnel until the electrics, too were abandoned in 1956. The portals were sealed and the tunnels were largely forgotten.

    On 04-December-1995, surveyors studying the site of a new building for DST Realty near Eighth Street and Washington Avenue found the entrance. They went on to explore the tunnels and found them to be in good condition and very solidly built (reported in the Kansas City Star on 20-January-1996). They found stalactites and stalagmites growing from the ceiling and floor. Urban spelunkers visit both tunnels.

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    Peoples' Cable Railway

    line: Brooklyn Avenue

    opened: 29-May-1888. Tenth Street and Main Street on Tenth to Brooklyn Avenue

    revised: 6-August-1888. From Tenth and Brooklyn on Brooklyn to 27th Street.

    powerhouse: Tenth and Euclid

    grip: Double-jaw side grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended (?) dummy & trailer trains.

    turntables: N/A

    crossings:
    Intersection Company Status
    Tenth/WalnutGARsuperior
    Tenth/TroostKCCinferior
    Brooklyn/12thMetsuperior
    Brooklyn/15thGARinferior
    Brooklyn/18thMetinferior
    Brooklyn/19thMetsuperior

    notes: Engineer Robert Gillham, who had built the Kansas City Cable Railway and the Inter-State Consolidated Rapid Transit, also designed and built the Peoples' Cable Railway, which was intended to promote real estate development along Brooklyn Avenue.

    The downtown terminal at Tenth and Main was not close enough to Union Depot to generate enough traffic. The line climbed a steep hill on Tenth. The housing developments along Brooklyn Avenue were unsuccessful. Even though the franchise called for the line to continue down Brooklyn Avenue to 31st Street, the company, losing money, could not do it.

    In 1896, the company was sold at auction and reorganized, becoming the Brooklyn Avenue Railway. In 1899, the company was consumed by the Metropolitan Street Railway. Electric cars replaced the cable cars on 14-December-1899.

    American Street Railway Investments

    A Supplement to the Street Railway Journal

    Here is the Brooklyn Avenue Railway's (successor to the Peoples Cable Railway) listing in the 1900 American Street Railway Investments (page 125):

    Brooklyn Avenue Railway Co. -- Chartered in 1896, as the successor to the People's Cable Ry. Co, which was sold in Feb., 1896 to J. H. Lucas. The company also recently purchased and operates the property of the North East Electric Ry. Co. In Feb, 1899, it was stated a new company, knows as the Central Electric Ry. Co., with capital stock of $2,500,000, had been incorporated to operate the combined propersites.

    Capital Stock, authorized and issued, $750,000; par value, $100 per share.

    Funded Debt. -- New mortgage, unknown.

    North East Electric Ry. Co.'s first mortgage 5 p.c. coupon bonds, authorized and issued, $250,000; dated 1896, due 1916; denom. $100 and $500; int. payable Jan. and July at office of North American Trust Co., New York, trustee of mortgage.

    Plant and Equipment. -- Miles of track, 16.8, of which 9 miles are electric and 7.8 miles cable power (cable to be changed to electric power and 15 miles of extensions to built in spring of 1899); gauge, 4 ft. 8 1/2 in.; 58 1/2 lb. rail; 45 cars of which 10 are motor cars, 15 are grip cars, and 20 trail cars; 650 H. P. station plant; West. motors, Armington & Sims and Corliss engines, Brownell & Pullman cars.

    Officers. -- Pres. J. H. Lucas, V. Pres. J. H. Frost, Sec. & Treas. W. T. Johnson, Gen. Man. W. H. Lucas, Supt. & Pur. Agt. J. S. Linney, Elecn. & Ch. Engr. of Power Station F. L. Bloss.

    Directors. -- J. H. Lucas, V. Pres. J. H. Frost, W. T. Johnson, W. J. Smith, James Lillis

    General Office. -- Lexington & Prospect Aves., Kansas City, Mo.

    Date of information, Feb., 1899.

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    Union Cable Railway

    line: Fourth Street (Positively)

    opened: 20-Dec-1889. Fourth Street and Highland Avenue on Fourth to Oak Street

    powerhouse: Fourth and Highland

    grip: Terry bottom grip

    gauge: 4'8 1/2"

    cars: double-ended horsecars with grips attached

    turntables: N/A

    crossings:

    notes: The Union Cable Railway was intended to demonstrate a shallow conduit system designed by Samuel H Terry of Guthrie, Missouri. The Continental Cable and Grip Company, which promoted Terry's patents, advertised that they could be used to build a line "for LESS THAN HALF THE COST of other successful cable roads, and operated for LESS THAN HALF THE COST of horse power roads". The ad, reproduced in Hilton's The Cable Car in America, also states that "It is not an experiment; it has been fully tested, and can be seen in operation on the Union Cable Railway in Kansas City, Missouri." That last part isn't true.

    The line would have connected the North End with the East Bottoms, had it been completely built. Only a short section of line was built on Fourth Street.

    A single grip was attached under the center of a horsecar, with a wheel on each platform.

    The line opened for service on 20-December-1889. It closed on 20-December-1889. Some reports said that it was functional, others that it barely worked at all.

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