Cable Car Lines in Saint Louis
by Joe Thompson

Saint Louis Cable and Western Railway

equipment ad The original cable driving equipment of the Saint Louis Cable and Western Railway, offered in the Street Railway Journal. February, 1889.

line: main

opened: 15-April-1886. North Sixth Street and Locust Street on Locust to North 13th Street. North 13th Street to Lucas Avenue. Lucas Avenue to North 14th Street. North 13th Street to Wash (now Cole) Street. Wash Street to Franklin Avenue. Franklin Avenue to Morgan (now Enright) Avenue. Morgan Avenue to just past North Vandeventer Avenue.

powerhouse: Franklin Avenue and Channing Avenue

grip: Snelson and Judge double-jaw side, converted to Root single-jaw side

gauge: 4' 10"

cars: open grip and trailer trains, double-ended (?), Brownell and Wight

Terminals: crossovers (?)

Intersection Company Status
14th/Morgan (now Delmar)CRCsuperior

notes: The Saint Louis Cable and Western Railway took over the West End Narrow Gauge Railroad, a steam-powered suburban line to Florissant (Western) and connected it to the central business district with a cable traction line (Cable). The cable line was poorly designed because most of the streets between the suburban line's terminal and the central business district were already occupied by horse car lines. The Cable and Western had to operate on various streets which required a high level of curvature, and it tried to operate the whole line with a single cable. The company was plagued with cable problems including short life, extreme stretching and unstranding.

from Notes and Items.

From The Street Railway Journal, March, 1885. Volume I, Number 5.

The Brownell & Wight Car Co., St. Louis, Mo. have in course of construction, equipment for two new street railroads to be built in St. Louis in the spring, one of them to be operated by cable. They have in addition a large amount of work for other cities; among these orders being one from Mexico. Their car for the New Orleans Exposition is ready for shipment, they having held it until the rush of freight was over, so as to avoid long exposure in freight yards. This car is intended for use in summer or winter and comprises many novel points. It must certainly attract the attention of all street railroad men who see it and receive the favorable opinion of those who are anxious to have comfortable cars in summer without being compelled to have a double equipment.

from Notes and Items.

From The Street Railway Journal, March, 1885. Volume I, Number 5.

St. Louis Cable Road. -- An exchange has the following: "The contracts for St. Louis Cable road have all been let, except that for the steel rails. The power station at Franklin & Channing Avenues is nearly completed. The New Albany Rail Mill Company, of New Albany, Ind., has the contract for the conduits. Each will be made of 1/4 inch sheet iron, riveted every 4 1/2 feet to ribs or yokes made of 40 pound steel railroad iron. It will be made in sections of eighteen feet in length and placed in position, when it will be riveted together in one continuous piece. There will be two conduits, one for each track, making the entire distance covered six and two-fifths miles. These conduits will be surrounded with a layer of concrete not less than six inches thick. The twenty-four passenger and fifteen grip cars will be of the most approved pattern, and are to seat forty passengers each. The boilers will be three in number, 60 inches in diameter and 20 feet long, to furnish power for 250 horsepower engine. The Fulton Iron Works have the contract for the winding machinery, pulleys, drums, etc.; Philip F. Stifel for the granite and the paving between the rails, and John A. Roebling's Sons Company, of Trenton, N.J., the contract to furnish the 34,500 foot 1 1/4 inch cable.

The riveted iron conduit was susceptible to slot closure when the ground froze during winter.

from Notes and Items.

From The Street Railway Journal, April, 1885. Volume I, Number 6.

The contract for wire cable for the St. Louis Cable Railway, has been given to Jno. A. Roebling, Sons & Co., Trenton, N. J. It is of steel wire, endless, 1 1/4 in. diameter, 34,000 feet long, weighing 75,000 pounds.

The Brownell-Wight Car Manufacturing Company, St. Louis, received the contract for the rolling stock for the new St. Louis Cable Railway, consisting of 24 passenger and 15 grip cars. Cars must be run at intervals not exceeding five minutes, and the fare will be five cents.

The New Albany Rail Mill Company received the contract for the conduit of the St. Louis Cable Railway, requiring 1,900 tons of iron.

The Smith, Beggs & Rankin Machine Company, St. Louis, took the contract for engine and boilers for the St. Louis Cable Railway. There will be one Corliss engine, 24x48, sixty-nine revolutions, and three boilers, 60 inches diameter by 20 feet long, giving a capacity of 250 horse-power. Foundations for duplicate sets of machinery will be put in.

The Fulton Iron Works, St. Louis, received the contract for the winding machinery, pulleys, sheaves, drums, etc., for the new cable railway in that city.

The cable of over 34,000 feet was unusually long.

In 1889, the company built a new powerhouse next to the original one. The new powerhouse was set up to issue two cables, which was more in line with industry practice.

The new cable line was popular with riders, who moved over from parallel horse car lines. Unfortunately for the Saint Louis Cable and Western, the parallel horse car lines soon converted to cable technology on their routes, which were more direct. Passengers soon moved back to those lines.

The company went bankrupt in 1889 and in 1890 reorganized as the Saint Louis and Suburban Railway. This company converted the steam line to electric traction and then the cable line, which stopped running on 27-October-1891.

According to cable car historian George W Hilton, there are no known photographs of the Saint Louis Cable and Western Railway. If anyone knows of one, I'd be happy to hear about it.

from Street Railway News.

From The Street Railway Journal, January, 1888. Volume IV, Number 1.

ST. LOUIS & WESTERN RY. Co. has been trying some experiments with a new alarm system for the cable road. At intervals of two blocks are alarm boxes, each of which is numbered. Each car conductor is provided with a general key. If any trouble occurs on the line the conductor runs to the nearest box and turns in an alarm which registers the number of the box from which it is sent in three places, one of them being next to the engineer’s station. "One" means that a car is off the track; "two" that a strand of the cable is broken; "three" that the slot is closed; "four" that there is a fire or blockade on the line; "five" that some serious accident requires the attention of the Superintendent. A patrol wagon is always in readiness at the sound of the alarm, and it is run out with a load of workmen to the scene of the accident. In the experiments, an alarm being sounded from Leffingwell avenue and Wash street, the wagon was out of the station in one minute, and arrived at the alarm box in six minutes from the time the alarm was sounded.

From St. Louis, the Fourth City, 1764-1909, by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1911.

St. Louis companies went into cable railroad construction with courage and energy worthy of better results. The St. Louis, Cable and Western, as it was called, began operation in 1886. Within five years it had fallen into such uncertain ways that advantage was taken of the permit to turn it into an electric road. The franchise obtained by the Indianapolis company granted the right to build from Sixth and Locust to Vandeventer. The power house was located on Franklin and Channing. Beyond Vandeventer, connection was made with the former narrow gauge steam railroad built by Erastus Wells to Florissant. For two or three years the cable road did a great deal of summer business. Kensington Garden was established at Union avenue. Spectacular and pyrotechnic exhibitions were given. The pleasure travel was enormous during two or three summers. From the patrons of the horse cars arose importunate demand for rapid transit. Although the first cable road proved anything but reliable, other companies, in 1887 and 1888, let contracts for cabling their lines. About the time the Locust street cable began to show signs of wearing out, the other cable lines were starting. The Franklin avenue cable was built from Fourth street to King’s Highway and from Easton avenue to the Fair Grounds. Cable cars began running in November, 1887. The operation was so irregular and unsatisfactory that in January following the horse cars were put back into service. During the winter and well into the spring the overhauling of the Easton avenue line went on. Not until May were the cable cars tried again.

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Citizens Railway

line: main

opened: 23-November-1887. North Fourth Street and Franklin Street (now Dr Martin Luther King Drive) on Franklin to Easton Avenue (now Dr Martin Luther King Drive). Easton to Prairie Avenue at powerhouse. Return on Garrison Street to Morgan Street to Fourth

extended: 23-May-1888. From Easton Avenue and Prairie Avenue on Easton to North King's Highway Boulevard. King's Highway to Wells Avenue (?)

branch: 26-May-1888. From Easton Avenue and Grand Boulevard on Grand to Natural Bridge Avenue at the Fairgrounds

powerhouse: Easton Avenue and Prairie Avenue

grip: Eppelsheimer bottom grip, converted to Volk bottom grip, 1889

gauge: 4' 10"

cars: open grip and trailer trains, double-ended (?), Brownell and Wight

Terminals: crossovers (?)

Intersection Company Status
14th/Morgan (now Delmar)STLCWinferior

notes: The Citizens' Railway built its first horse car line in 1859. When the Saint Louis Cable and Western Railway opened its parallel cable traction line in 1886, the Citizens' Railway lost business.

In 1887, the Citizens' Railway began converting to cable traction. The conduit was poorly designed, so it frequently got clogged and by January, the slot was getting squeezed shut by the surrounding frozen ground. 1888 was a very bad winter. On 22-january-1888, the company suspended cable operation and started running horse cars again. The company made changes to the conduit and restored cable operation on 17-April-1888.

The Grand Avenue branch served the fairgrounds and Sportsman's Park, home of the American Association (then a major league) Saint Louis Browns. Both places generated good weekend and non-rush hour traffic.

Volk fig 1 Jacob Volk's bottom grip. (Source: "The Volk Cable Grip and Carriage and Other Appliances", The Street Railway Journal, December, 1889.) February, 2015 Picture of the Month.

The company initially used the Eppelsheimer bottom grip created for San Francisco's Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway and still used by the surviving lines of the Municipal Railway. Difficulties with crossings, especially the one at 14th and Franklin, caused the company operational problems.

Master mechanic Jacob Volk developed a bottom grip and an automatic cable lifter for crossings.

In 1888, C B Holmes, promoter of the Chicago City Railway, took over the Citizens Railway. Holmes merged it with the Saint Louis Railroad and others to form the National Railway Company.

The Grand Avenue branch was converted to electric traction in 1883. The main cable was stopped on 26-December-1894.

from Facts and Opinions.

From The Street Railway Journal, January, 1888. Volume IV, Number 1.

The Citizens’ Railway, of St. Louis, operated its in main line last Thanksgiving day with 25 cars less than on Thanksgiving of 1886, and received $200 more, the expense of operating cable being 40 per cent less than operating horses. This company‘s experience has intensified the cable boom among St. Louis roads.

from Street Railway News.

From The Street Railway Journal, January, 1888. Volume IV, Number 1.

Citizens’ R. R. Co. President Walsh attributes the success of the new cable largely to the absence of boiler iron as a lining in the conduit, which, it is claimed, is entirely unnecessary in the construction of cable railways. It is stated that the conduit of the Olive street line is made of concrete, the same as the Citizens’ and the difference in cost in the construction of these two lines and the one on Locust streets amounts to just the difference that the iron costs. The Franklin avenue line was opened Nov. 23, and in the afternoon the company gave a banquet at the power house, 3,800 Easton avenue, to about 200 guests, at which speeches were made by President Walsh and others and a letter of congratulation read from President C. B. Holmes, of Chicago. This cable is 30,500 ft. long, and there will be, besides, the Grand avenue cable, 16,500 ft. long, and the Western extension, 22,000 ft. long. For the Franklin avenue line there are two Corliss engines of 1,400 H. P.; cylinders, 30 by 60. The yokes weigh 370 lbs. each. The cost is estimated at $1,500,000. After starting, the new cable had to be shut down for two days, on account of the breaking of one of the strands. A new wire had to be made for it. During the first two weeks that the cable was running, it carried on the average 10,000 people per day, and the receipts of the line were about $100 a day in excess of what they were last year at the same time. Twenty four trains are to be run daily for the present.

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Missouri Railroad

Fig. 30 -- Cable train -- missouri railroad co. A typical three-car train of the Missouri Railroad. The open grip car is on the left. It is towing two enclosed trailers. (Source: "The Street Railway System of Saint Louis", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1895.) March, 2015 Picture of the Month.

line: main

opened: 31-March-1888. North Fourth Street and Olive Street on Olive to North Sarah Street.

extended: 01-June-1889. From Olive Street and North Sarah Street on Olive to North Boyle Avenue. Boyle to Maryland Avenue. Maryland to North King's Highway Boulevard near Forest Park. King's Highway to Wells Avenue (?)

powerhouse: Olive Street and Channing Avenue (now Josephine Baker Boulevard)

grip: Root single-jaw side grip, converted to Jonson double-jaw side grip, 1896

gauge: 4' 10"

cars: open grip and trailer trains, double-ended (?). Often two single-truck trailers. Later used single double-truck trailers.

Terminals: crossovers (?)

Intersection Company Status

notes: The Missouri Railroad ran a horse car line Olive Street, a long, straight street with lots of potential for generating traffic. The company converted it to cable traction and had a great success. When it was extended to Forest Park, it did even better.

Unlike most companies in the industry, it usually ran three-car trains, with one grip car and two single-truck trailers. In 1896, it replaced all of its equipment with closed grip cars and double-truck trailers, so the line could run with two-car trains. At the same time, the company switch to the Jonson grip used by Manhattan's Third Avenue Railroad. This may have been an attempt to nake smoother starts with the company's heavy equipment.

From The Great Cyclone at St. Louis and East St. Louis, May 27, 1896, compiled and edited by Juiian Curzon, 1896.

The Olive street line was stopped by a perfect network of wires at Nineteenth street, which stretched across the entire open space at the corners. Owing to the prompt action of an employe in running to the City Hall for assistance the wires were cut away and the Olive street line resumed operation in about 20 minutes.

The Olive street line, when it resumed operations after its 20-minute stop, was so crowded with humanity that movement within the cars was an impossibility. People got on cars as far west as Twelfth street in order to obtain standing room even when the car returned on its west-bound trip.

The Olive street did a tremendous business. The electric lines operated by the same company, on the other hand, fared badly. The power house from which they were operated was partically demolished and it was several days before traffic on them was resumed.

In 1897, the LIndell Railway, a company that used electric traction, took over the Missouri Railroad. Both companies were merged into the United Railways in 1899. The Olive Street cable was stopped on 14-March-1901.

Fig. 23 -- Cable train -- missouri railroad co. A two-car train of the Missouri Railroad with one of the double truck trailers. (Source: "The Street Railway System of Saint Louis", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1895.) March, 2015 Picture of the Month.

from Street Railway News.

From The Street Railway Journal, January, 1888. Volume IV, Number 1.

St. Louis, Mo.

Missouri R. R. Co. has been notified by the city to make quicker time with the construction of the Olive street cable road. This line will be double track from Fourth street to Sarah street. It is thought that the cable will be running by Jan. 15 at latest. It is expected that by next spring electric cars will be running on Market street and Laclede avenue. Before deciding upon which system they will adopt, the company will await the experiments with storage battery systems.

THE OLIVE STREET CABLE. The Work of construction has been delayed. The company hoped to be in running order by Jan. 15, but it is possible that the horses will not be withdrawn before spring.

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Peoples' Railway

Fig. 27 -- Cable train -- Cable Train -- People's Railroad Co. A train of the Peoples' Railway (Source: "The Street Railway System of Saint Louis", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1895.) May, 2015 Picture of the Month.

line: main

opened: 31-March-1888. Morgan Street and North Fourth Street on North Fourth to Choteau Avenue. Choteau Avenue to South 18th Street. South 18th to Park Avenue. Park Avenue to Mississippi Avenue. Mississippi Avenue to Lafayette Avenue. Lafayette to South Grand Boulevard. South Grand to Halliday Avenue at Tower Grove Park. Return Park Avenue to Saint Ange Avenue to Choteau.

powerhouse: Park Avenue and South 18th Street.

grip: Root single-jaw side grip

gauge: 4' 10"

cars: open or closed grip and trailer trains, double-ended (?). Built by John Stephenson.

Terminals: crossovers (?)

Intersection Company Status

notes: The Peoples' Railway began operation as a horse car line in 1859. The company converted to cable operation on 10-April-1890. The line had too much curvature, which put a lot of wear on the cables.

after the cyclone The Peoples' Railway powerhouse after the cyclone. (Source: The Great Cyclone at St. Louis and East St. Louis, May 27, 1896, compiled and edited by Juiian Curzon, 1896)

On 27-May-1896, a cyclone tore the roof off of the powerhouse. The company was able to run by cable the next day.

From The Great Cyclone at St. Louis and East St. Louis, May 27, 1896, compiled and edited by Juiian Curzon, 1896.

The power house of the Peoples' Cable railway was also badly wrecked. Hundreds of cars were injured and several destroyed. The machinery escaped, but the entire second floor was wrecked, and when operations were resumed, the immense wheels revolved in mid air.

The Fourth street cable was stopped by an immense number of telegraph poles which were blown down on Choteau avenue from Fourth street west. The poles were piled across the car tracks in all directions. The cable was shut off until they could be cleared away.

In 1897 the company went bankrupt. The cable ran until 14-February, 1901, the last to run in Saint Louis.

Cable Bonds from the New York Tribune, 27-October-1889. No thumbnail.

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Saint Louis Railroad

Fig. 18. -- Grip and Open Trail Car -- National Railway Co. A train of the Saint Louis Railroad's Broadway line, after the company was taken over by the National Railway Company. (Source: "The Street Railway System of Saint Louis", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1895.) June, 2015 Picture of the Month.

line: Broadway

opened: 25-December-1890. Gano Avenue and North Broadway on North Broadway to Salisbury Street.

extended: 19-January-1891. Salisbury Street and North Broadway on North Broadway to South Broadway. South Broadway to Keokuk Street.

powerhouse: Salisbury Street and Broadway.

powerhouse: Lami Street and Broadway.

grip: Eppelsheimer bottom grip

gauge: 4' 10"

cars: open or closed grip and trailer trains, double-ended (?). Brownell and Wight.

Terminals: crossovers (?)

Intersection Company Status

notes: The Saint Louis Railroad was the only north-south cable line in Saint Louis. It ran along Broadway, at the top of the bluffs along the river. The company tested Sidney Short's electric system, but could not get permission from the city to put up the double overhead wires used by the Short system.

Short system Short Series System of Electric Railway. (Source: "The Short Series System of Electric Traction", The Street Railway Journal, May, 1888.)

Because the line ran counter to all the other companies, the builders, Wright, Meyersburg, chose to use the Eppelsheimer bottom grip, the one that is still used on today's cable cars in San Francisco. It is easier to drop and pick up the cable at crossing with a bottom grip than with a side grip.

One unusual crossing involved a freight-hauling cable-operated line, the Western Cable Railway.

"The style of grip used is of the bottom pattern and was manufactured by the McMurray-Judge Architectural Iron Co. of St. Louis. There are at present on hand 100 grips, two for each grip car. This type is used because it is necessary to drop the rope so many times. The gripman has to drop the rope fourteen times on one round trip, twice at five cable road crossings, including Lemp's brewery-cable road crossing, and twice at each of the two power houses." (Source: "The St. Louis Railroad Co.'s Cable Plant", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1891.)

In 1888, C B Holmes, promoter of the Chicago City Railway, took over the Saint Louis Railroad and incorporated it and the Citizens Railway into the National Railway company.

On 08-October-1900, the Broadway line was converted to electric traction.

Fig. 3. -- Engine and Driving Machinery -- Broadway Cable Line, St. Louis, Mo. A powerplant of the Saint Louis Railroad's Broadway line. (Source: "The St. Louis Railroad Co.'s Cable Plant", The Street Railway Journal, June, 1891.)

Captain Robert McCulloch Captain Robert McCulloch was general manager of the Citizens' Railway and the Saint Louis Railroad. From the October, 1897 Street Railway Journal

From St. Louis, the Fourth City, 1764-1909, by Walter Barlow Stevens, 1911.

The cabling of the St. Louis railroad or Broadway line made a record. At that time the Broadway cable was the longest which had been constructed. It occupied what was then the busiest street in the city. It was seven and one half miles of double track. Extraordinary difiiculties were overcome. From one end of the line to the other it was necessary to move gas pipe and water pipe. At Washington avenue the crown of the railroad tunnel was so near the surface that the cable conduit could not be given the full depth it really required for normal operation. The Broadway cable crossed every other cable but one. This meant frequent "let gos." In spite of the unusual difficulties the Broadway cable, with two power houses and the longest cable road in the country, went into operation in 1891.

From The Great Cyclone at St. Louis and East St. Louis, May 27, 1896, compiled and edited by Juiian Curzon, 1896.

The Broadway cable ran successfully through the storm for about five or ten minutes when the destruction of buildings on South Broadway effectually barred the street. The cable continued to run along all right, but the cars were stopped by the vast amount of debris and timbers thrown along the tracks.

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Western Cable Railway

Lemp's Western Brewery Read more about the Western Cable Railway: An Inclined Cable Railway for Transferring Freight Cars Between the Upper and Lower Yards of the Western Cable Railway Co., St. Louis, MO. By Edw. Flad, Member, Engineers' Club Of St. Louis. . (Image Source: Rippey's Index Map and Business Guide of St. Louis, Mo., Joseph Rippey, 1888)

The Lemp Brewery was founded in 1840 by Johann Adam Lemp. His son William Lemp took over in 1862 and built the brewery complex which still stands today on what is now Lemp Avenue. The brewery is on top of the bluff along the river, and underneath it is a series of tunnels, which provided natural cooling to the beer. At the bottom of the bluff, along the river, ran the tracks of the Saint Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, which was later taken over by the Missouri Pacific.

The brewery wanted to ship its product in refrigerated cars on the railroad, but it was difficult to carry it 95 feet down to the tracks in wagons. "Formerly all freight, whether supplies for the brewery or beer shipped therefrom, was loaded and unloaded in the lower yard established next to the Iron Mountain tracks, being transferred by means of wagons between the yard and the brewery. The expense, delay, and annoyance incident to the hauling, up and down so steep a grade, of the large amount of freight, which required from thirty-five to forty two-horse wagons, rendered it desirable to adopt some other method, and finally led to the construction of a cable road by means of which the regular freight cars are transferred between the lower yard and an upper yard which was established on a level with the brewery buildings." ("An Inclined Cable Railway for Transferring Freight Cars Between the Upper and Lower Yards of the Western Cable Railway Co...")

In 1891, the Western Cable Railway began hauling freight cars up and down the hill. A stationary steam engine in the brewery complex paid out and pulled in a finite cable. One end of the cable was attached to what is referred to as a grip car, even though it did not have a grip. At the bottom, switching locomotives would spot empty freight cars on the uphill end of the grip car. When the little train was ready, the conductor on the grip car would send a signal to the steam engine operator, who would reel in the cable, pulling the grip car and its companions up the hill. When the cars were loaded, the operator would pay out the cable and the grip car and the freight cars would run down the hill by gravity.

An elaborate slot brake would stop the train if the cable broke.

The Western Cable Railway crossed the Broadway line of the Saint Louis Railroad. The Broadway cars had to drop their cable and coast across.

When Prohibition and the Volstead Act took effect on 01-January-1920, the brewery and the railroad went out of business.

From Report of the Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the Master-Car Builders' Association, Volume 40, 1906.

Arbitration Case No. 702.
Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company
The Missouri Pacific Railway Company.
Car Destroyed On Private Track.

Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company's box car 11830 was totally destroyed by fire in the yard of the Medart Patent Pulley Company, St. Louis, Mo., May 4, 1902. The Missouri Pacific Railway Company notified the L. & N. R. R. Co. of the destruction of the car, but advised that the car was delivered to the Medart Patent Pulley Company by the Western Cable Railway Company, and that if bill was presented to the Western Cable Railway Company the same would be accepted. The L. & N. R. R. Co. replied that it did not consider such procedure in accordance with Master Car Builders' Rules, but, at the request of the Missouri Pacific Railway Company, bill was rendered against the Western Cable Railway Company, which made no response either in the way of payment or declining the bill. The L. & N. R. R. Co. then rendered bill to the M. P. Ry. Co., which is declined, and the M. P. Ry. Co. made statement with regard to the same as follows:

"In receiving this car from the Wiggins Ferry Company and switching it to a connection with the Western Cable Railway Company, the Missouri Pacific Railway made merely a switching movement, and to that extent acted as the agent of Louisville & Nashville Railroad in moving the car on M. P. Ry. rails as far as they extended in the direction of making the delivery to the final destination contracted for by L. & N. R. R. Co. with the consignees.

"The M. P. Ry. Co. had no voice in the origin of this freight, in the rate paid for its transportation from point of origin to destination or power to influence its movement beyond the service that the M. P. Ry. Co. performed of switching it from the Wiggins Ferry Co. to the Western Cable Railway Co.'s connection.

"If the L & N. R. R. Co. contracted to deliver the freight to a concern located beyond the rails of a common carrier of freight, the L. & N. R. R. Co. assumes the responsibility beyond the line traveled by the common carrier, and the M. P. Ry. Co. is no more concerned in the transportation than the Wiggins Ferry Co., which forms a part of the switching line of communication, after the car had reached its terminus at St. Louis, and its further progress became entirely a switching movement, and the M. P. Ry. Co. were therefore only one of the agencies in the chain, namely, the Wiggins Ferry Co., M. P. Ry. Co. and the Western Cable Ry. Co.

"Switching cars for another railway is a matter for their convenience. The situation of this industry at St. Louis was as well known to the L. & N. R. R. Co. as it was to the M. P. Ry. Co.. as the L. & N. R. R. Co. is practically a St. Louis road and its organization is supposed to be familiar with all of the locations and conditions to be met in handling business within the city and its adjacent manufacturing districts.

"The M. P. Ry. Co. did not deliver this car to a private track. On the contrary, the M. P.. Ry. Co. delivered the car to the Western Cable Ry. Co., an independent connecting railroad, which, in turn, delivered it to the Medart Patent Pulley Co.'s tracks.

"Owing to these conditions, and as stated in first paragraph, the M. P. Ry. Co. can not consistently entertain the account in question."

The L & N. R. R. Co. make statement regarding the same as follows:

"The Western Cable Railway Co. is nothing more than a private track operated by the Lemp Brewing Company for the purpose of handling cars between their brewery and the M. P. Ry., a distance of four blocks and up a very steep incline. This railway is operated by a cable on a drum located in the Lemp Brewing Co.'s plant. The cars are hauled up this incline by the cable and allowed to drop back by gravity, and in doing so pull the cable to the foot of the hill where the tracks connect with the M. P. Ry. The plant of the Medart Patent Pulley Co. is about one-half way between the Lemp Brewing Co. and the M. P. Ry. Co.'s tracks, and located adjacent to the Western Cable Railway Co. The Medart Patent Pulley Co. have arrangements with the M. P. Ry. and the Western Cable Railway Co. to handle cars between the M. P. tracks and its tracks, which are operated by this cable. The Western Cable Railway Co. is a private concern operated for the benefit of the Lemp Brewing Co., and is not a railroad in the common acceptance of the term, and from what we can learn was so styled in order to secure franchise to lay the tracks of this switch in the streets. It is the opinion of the L. & N. R. R. Co. that this case clearly comes under Master Car Builders' Rule 6, Section 4, revised September, 1001, and decision of the Arbitration Committee of the Master Car Builders' Association No. 323, which is parallel to the one in question. The claim of the M. P. Ry. is not based upon Master Car Builders, Rules, but upon the legality of the transaction of which we are not advised, and which would have no bearing on the case in so far as Master Car Builders' Rules apply. The L. & N. R. R. Co. claim that M. C. B. Rule, Section 4, was incorporated for the express purpose of avoiding such complications and to avoid railway companies dealing with private concerns, of whom they have no knowledge, and while it works out to the loss of railroad companies in some instances it is to their benefit in others and is therefore reciprocal."

The same is respectfully submitted by the L. & N. R. R. Co. to the Arbitration Committee of the Master Car Builders' Association for decision as to whether or not the M. P. Ry. Co. is responsible to the L. & N. R. R. Co. under Master Car Builders' Rules for the loss of above car, the M. P. Ry. Co. stating that the matter is in the hands of its legal department, and it is not in position to act one way or the other in the submission of abstract.


The information furnished shows pretty clearly that the Western Cable Railroad Company, on which L. & N. car 11830 was destroyed, is not a railroad in the common acceptance of the term. It has no engines nor cars and was not a subscriber of the M. C. B. Rules at the time the car was destroyed, it is also evident that the Missouri Pacific Railway is not a switching road, as claimed. Section 28 of Rule 5, of the Rules of 1905, defines a switching road as a corporation doing the major part of its business on a switching charge, or one that does not pay mileage for handling cars.

This is a parallel case with Arbitration Case No. 323, and is clearly covered by Section 4 of Rule 6 of the M. C. B. Rules of 1901, which provides that settlement for a car owned or controlled by a railway company, damaged or destroyed on a private track, shall be assumed by the railway delivering the car on such track. The M. P. Ry. Co., having in this case delivered the car to private tracks, is responsible under the M. C. B. Rules for the destruction of the car.

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The Volk Cable Grip and Carriage and Other Appliances

The Street Railway Journal. December, 1889

When, not many years ago, the success of cable traction as a substitute for horses on street railways was established beyond question in San Francisco, an almost limitless field for invention was thrown open, and the attention of the practical man of our street railways and inventors generall was directed towards the opportunities thus afforded. All sorts of devices have resulted, many of them of little value, as is the case in all fields of invention, but one improvement after another has been made until it would seem as though all the component parts of a cable road have been brought as near to perfection as may be practicable. Among the practical men who have devoted attention to these subjects is Mr. Jacob Volk, for eighteen years connected with the Citizens’ Railroad Co., of St. Louis, and new master mechanic of the road, which was acquired not long ago by the syndicate of which Mr. C. B. Holmes, of Chicago, is the head. The results of Mr. Volk‘s labors are a number of cable devices which are said to possess great merit, and are in part illustrated and described in the following article. The inventions, including the patent of Mr. C. J. Chapman, master mechanic of the Kansas City Cable Railway, which covers a grip-operating device and quadrant (illustrated and described in the April number of this year, page 82), are controlled by the Volk Cable Crossing, Grip & Car Brake Co., of St. Louis, of which Dr. K. Morgner, of 2800 Chouteau Avenue in that city is president, and they inform us that under a recent contract with the Citizens‘ Railroad Co. above mentioned,which have been employing the Volk grip since last June, and now have 120 in use, that company are to use all of their six patents during their entire term.

The Volk Grip.

Fig. 1

This is a type of bottom grip, and the features peculiar to it may be seen by an examination of Figs. I to VIII in the accompanying engravings, of which Fig. I is a side elevation. Fig. II, an enlarged detail elevation showing the lower end of the grip. Fig. III, an end view of the lower end of the grip, showing the guard plate in section. Fig. IV an outside view or elevation of one of the jaws with the die removed. Fig. V, a horizontal section showing also one of the jaw plates. Fig. Vi a top view of one of the dies with part of the jaw carrying the die in section. Figs. VII and VIII, vertical sections; Fig. VII showing the jaws closed, and Fig. VIII showing them open.

Fig. 2

The application of the invention to a larger grip than the foregoing shown in the second set of cuts, of which Fig. IX is a similar view to Fig. II. Fig. X is an inside view of one of the jaws shown in Fig. IX, and Figs. XI and XII are vertical sections. The jaws are shown closed in Fig. XI and open in Fig. XII.

The main points aimed at have been to provide a grip occupying the least possible space in the conduit and which without injuring the cable, will firmly grasp it; yet in case of stranding, or when for any other cause it becomes necessary to let go of the cable, will instantly drop it altogether; and these points seem to be well provided for. The jaws of the grip are fitted with dies in such a manner that as they become worn they can be set out to compensate for the wear, and thus economize renewals. Each jaw, at the outer ends, is fitted with antifriction pulleys or rollers, set at such an angle and with bearing surfaces so formed that as the cable rides through the grip, when the jaws are slightly open to allow its passage, the rollers carry it, instead of its being carried by the dies; but not entirely so; the result to be achieved being that the friction is divided between dies and rollers and a saving in wear effected. Another feature is that the jaws at the top have interlocking projections, which as shown in Fig. XII are designed to prevent any possibility of the cable passing up above the jaws, and thus getting out of their grasp.

The Grip Carriage.

Fig. x

A perspective view and an end elevation of this device appear in the cuts herewith, an examination of which will show the distinctive features of the invention. The supporting frame for the grip is so arranged that it has both a lateral and a longitudinal movement, which enable it to work easily on curves and in starting, a spring being provided to take up the strain.

The Automatic Cable Lifter.

Fig. y

This invention is designed to supply a means of automatically raising the cable after it has been dropped from the grip for the purpose of crossing another cable. Its location is in the conduit at a point beyond the crossing; and the car being carried past the other cable by its momentum, its grip strikes the lever and, sliding along its surface, depresses it, thus raising the cable, which is also simultaneously raised further on by a similar lever set in an opposite position; until the cable is sufficiently raised to enter the jaws of the grip; the levers falling back to their original position as soon as the car has passed on. The operation is very clearly shown in the cuts which will be found herewith.

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The City of St. Louis

The New England magazine. Volume 11, Issue 5, January 1892

The street railway system of St. Louis is well appointed and complete. The city is not compactly built, hence the roads are not only numerous but they are long. Four cable lines have 47 miles of single track where traffic is heavy; three unimportant roads have 12 miles where they still use animals; while ten lines have 161 miles of electric road. The total is 220 miles of single surface tracks, with 1000 cars in constant use. The fare is uniformly five cents. Cables run from 10 to 12 miles per hour; the electric cars with overhead wires reach at times a speed of 20 miles per hour. In contrast with these, the few remaining bob-tail cars dragged by mules seem intolerably slow. There is no record in St. Louis of an accident from an overhead railway wire.

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New St. Louis

The New England magazine. Volume 15, Issue 1, September 1893

Up to the year 1885 the street-car service of St. Louis was operated by horses and mules. The usual western terminus was at Grand Avenue, three miles from the river front, and from twenty-five to thirty minutes were consumed in the trip. Now the roads have been extended several miles farther west, and the speed of the cars has been more than doubled. Electricity is the favorite motive-power, and one electric road carries passengers seventeen miles out into the country. Others reach the city limits north, south, and west, and where there is no electric road a cable road supplies its place.

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from Rippey's Index Map and Business Guide of St. Louis, Mo., Joseph Rippey, 1888

Rippey's Index

Baden and St. Louis Railroad—From Grand avenue and Broadway to Baden. Office and stables, 8236 North Broadway.

Benton-Bellefontaine Railway—From Third and Washington avenue, via. Washtngtan avenue, Tenth and Eleventh streets, to Water Tower, thence west on Grand avenue to Florissant avenue, thence north on Florissant avenue to John avenue. Office and stables, 4238 North Twentieth.

Cass Avenue and Fair Ground Railway —Route: Broadway and Walnut, north on Seventh to Cass avenue, thence to Glasgow avenue, north to St. Louis avenue, west to Grand avenue and Fair Grounds; return by same to Eighth, south to Walnut, thence to Broadway. Office, 2900 Cass avenue ; stables, corner Cass and Glasgow avenues.

Citizens' Railroad Company—(Cable), from Fourth and Morgan to Grand avenue via. Franklin avenue. Extensions to Six-mile House, Easton avenue; on Grand avenue to Fair Grounds; also, Marcus avenue to Four-mile House, Natural Bridge road. Office and stables, Easton avenue. Three-mile House.

Forest Park, Laclede and Fourth Street Railway Company—1828 Market.

Jefferson Avenue Railway Company— Office and stables, Montgomery near Jefferson avenue.

Lindell Railway Company — (Yellow Cars),from Third and Washington avenue to Garrison avenue , north to Lucas avenue: west to Grand avenue; north on Grand avenue to Delmar avenue ; west on Delmar avenue to Vandeventer ave.; thence north on Vandeventer avenue to Finney avenue; thence east on Finney avenue to Grand avenue ; thence south on Grand avenue to Morgan; thence east on Morgan, connecting with regular tracks. (Blue Cars), 19 Compton avenue via. Fourteenth and Chouteau avenue. Office, 2207 Washington avenue.

Missouri Railroad Company — From Fourth and Market to Grand avenue; extension to Tower Grove station, Manchester road. Cable division from Fourth to Grand avenue on Olive. Office and power house, Olive near Channing ave.

Mound City Railway Company—From Pine cor. Fourth to Ntnth ; thence north to St. Louis avenue; thence west to Lindell avenue and Fair Grounds; return, from Fair Grounds, south to Lindell and and St. Louis avenue; east to Fourteenth, Lucas avenue, Twelfth, Pine to Fourth. General office and stables, 2500A St. Louis avenue.

Northern Central Railway Company— From Fourth and Locust to Fair Grounds. Office and stables, 2401 Spring avenue.

People's Line—From Fourth and Morgan to Grand avenue, by Chouteau Park, Mississippi and Lafayette avenues. Office, 1810 Park avenue.

Southern Railroad Company—Line of route, north from stables along Main, Broadway, Jefferson avenue; east on Pestalozzi, north along Ninth, east on Lafayette avenue to Eighth, north to Hickory, east to Sixth, north to Market; returning, same to Pestalozzi, south on Eighth to Arsenal; thence west to Jefferson avenue and south to stables. Office and stables, 4041 South Broadway.

St. Louis Cable and Western Railway Company—From Sixth and Locust west to Thirteenth, north to Wash, west on Wash to Easton avenue, west on Franklin avenue to Grand avenue, south to Morgan, west connecting with Narrow Gauge Railroad and running to Florissant. Office, Franklin avenue northeast cornet Charming avenue.

St. Louis Railroad Company—From Grand avenue on north to Kcokuk on south, via Broadway and Seventh, seven and a half miles. Office, 3710 N. Broadway.

Tower Grove and Lafayette Railway— From Fourth and Morgan to Anna, via Second and Third. Office, 1810 Park avenue; stables, Second and Victor.

Union Depot Railroad Company—Gravois branch (yellow cars), from Fourth corner Pine, on Ninth, Clark avenue, Twelfth; south on Park avenue to Ninth. Gravois avenue to Jefferson avenue, with extension to Tower Grove Park. Lafayette branch, same to Park avenue, thence north to Twelfth, Carroll, Linn and Lafayette avenue to I>afayette Park. General office and stables, Gravois avenue southwest corner Jefferson avenue.

Union Railway Company—From Locust and Fourth to Hyde Park and Fair Ground. Office and stables, 3629 Kossuth avenue.

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The Loop Trolley

St Louis Loop Trolley Logo No thumbnail.

Saint Louis cancelled its last electric streetcar lines on 21-May-1966. MetroLink. a light rail system, began service on 31-July-1993. Now a new streetcar line is being tested.

The Loop Trolley will connect the Delmar Loop entertainment and shopping district to Forest Park. The line will use two modern replicas of Portland Council Crest cars and one Melbourne W-class car that used to run on Seattle's George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line. Two more W-class cars are in storage and should be put into service later.

The line is being tested in late 2017. It may require further funding to begin operations.

The Loop Trolley website:

In December, 2019, John Meyer, president of the Loop Trolley Company, announced that the line would suspend operations on 29-December-2019.

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