Rockford & Interurban Railway

  • Overview
  • Details
  • Author
  • More About This Book
With today's America dominated by the automobile, it is difficult to believe that until the 1920s nearly 100 percent of the US population traveled via rail. Conventional passenger-train service spread rapidly by the 1850s, but another form of rail transportation did not emerge until the turn of the 20th century: the interurban. Almost always electric, interurbans linked cities with burghs. Rockford, one of Illinois's three largest urban centers during the 20th century, enjoyed a system appropriately named the Rockford & Interurban, dating from the city's horse-drawn streetcars of the 1880s. By World War I, the Rockford & Interurban ran from downtown Rockford to Cherry Valley and Belvidere; Winnebago, Pecatonica, and Freeport; Roscoe and Rockton; and Beloit and Janesville, Wisconsin. The Rockford & Interurban enjoyed a supernova of success, rising quickly in popularity before slowly dying when the automobile became widespread in the 1920s; the Great Depression finished the job in 1936.
ISBN: 9781467112390
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: Illinois
Series: Images of Rail
Images: 196
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Rockford native Mike Schafer is a transportation historian and photographer who has observed and documented the North American railroad scene. Machesney Park resident Brian Landis is an aficionado of northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin railroading. Both have been in search of early photographs of the R&I and, with the archives of the Chicago-based Shore Line Interurban Historical Society and local sources, present their story here.
More About This Book