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Interurban Electric Lines
The first interurban electric lines connecting Grand Rapids with other cities was the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon, organized March 6, 1899. It built about 44 miles of track, using the third rail. This company ran cars between Grand Rapids and Muskegon February 1, 1902, and first trains to Grand Haven June 18, 1903. The road was promoted by Thomas F. Carroll and Joseph Kirwin, Mr. Carroll being its first president. In June, 1912, it became a subsidiary of the United Light and Railways company.
For a number of years the line was profitably operated, but when motor truck and privately owned automobile competition became too strong its revenues fell off. January 1, 1926, it was unable to pay its bond interest. In July, 1926, it was placed in the hands of the Grand Rapids Trust company, as receiver.
The Grand Rapids, Holland & Lake Michigan railroad was organized in 1901. It became the Grand Rapids, Holland & Chicago by reorganization in 1903. This company built a double track line from Grand Rapids through Holland to Macatawa Park, with a single track branch to Saugatuck. First cars ran over this line from Holland to Grand Rapids in September, 1901. The road was promoted by Benjamin S. Hanchett, who became its first president.
The Grand Rapids, Holland & Chicago company was forced into receivership in June, 1924. The property is now operated by the Michigan Electric railway.
Construction of an interurban electric line connecting Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo was started late in 1912 by the Michigan Railway Engineering company, W. A. Foote, president, and George L. Erwin, vice-president and general manager. To reach the downtown district of this city the company constructed two bridges across the river, one below the Wealthy street bridge, the other at the foot of Lyon street, and purchased a right of way near the west bank of the river between its two bridges. The line to Kalamazoo was in operation in 1915. Later the company purchased from the Michigan Central and Lake Shore railroads the right of way and tracks of the old C. J. & M. railroad and electrified that route from Allegan to Battle Creek. This gave Grand Rapids electric service to Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Allegan. Recently this system was taken over by the Michigan Electric railway.
Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 16 January 2000