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Union Traction: 1907

Union Traction: 1907

Indianapolis, Indiana, circa 1907. "Union Traction Co. -- Union Terminal Building." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Changing modes of transport

Somewhat later, this was the Greyhound Terminal. See Terminal Lunch:1943 and Indianapolis: 1943.

Market & Illinois

West Market and North Illinois Street. The building in the background is the Indiana Statehouse.

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"The standard of perfection"

Long before Cadillac adopted that motto!

[I think Cadillac's was "Standard of the World." - Dave]

Express car

They sure do seem to be loading express parcels, likely from the Terminal's basement. Note the elevator is up.

But I don't think this car was going any great distance. Those four wheels would preclude making any time on a high speed run. Probably making local deliveries around town.

Interurbans ran parcel express cars, Railway Post Office cars, and as I said earlier, hauled their own or steam railroad freight cars on some lines.

In Baltimore was an express company running their own cars on the city car lines for a time; Indianapolis may have had a similar outfit. Someone with more knowledge of I'polis might tell us.

Is that a mail delivery trolley?

Or an early UPS truck in the barn?

Pretty cool, whatever it is.

Union Terminal interurbans

This was the largest interurban terminal in the world. Indianapolis was the epicenter of the traction industry, with routes leaving the city in virtually every direction, with all the lines terminating here.

An interurban was not a streetcar, but a long distance, heavy duty electric railway running between distant cities. They ran limited express, milk run locals, some sleepers and diners and even carload freight trains.

Union Traction merged with a number of other properties to form Indiana Railroad. The tax-supported highways killed the IR off in the 1930's.

Many cities had at least one or two interurban lines, and with few exceptions were all gone by Pearl Harbor. Few American industries rose so high and fell so far so fast. About the last old interurban still under wire is Chicago, South Shore and South Bend RR.

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