New exhibit: Clang, clang, clang went the trolley

Map of the Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway, n.d.
Map of the Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway, n.d.

From 1889 to 1928, trolleys ran through Kingston, every half hour or so, reaching Brockton to the west and Manomet to the east.  The line was run by three companies in succession: the Plymouth & Kingston, the Brockton & Plymouth, and the Plymouth & Brockton (and if that last one seems familiar, that’s because they still run buses between Logan Airport and Provincetown).  There’s not much left of the street railway, but you can stop by the Library to see photos of some of the trolleys in the exhibit case this month.

Source: OC2 Vertical Files – Trolleys. “Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway” by O.R. Cummings. In Transportation Bulletin, No. 59, July-August-September 1959. Inserted between pages 2 and 3. 

For more, visit the Kingston Public Library, and the Local History Room, and the full blog at  piqueoftheweek.wordpress.com.

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Digging out

Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway Company snowplow, circa 1915
Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway Company snowplow, circa 1915

The trolley ran through Kingston from 1889 to 1928, and while the traffic definitely increased in the summer, the cars ran all winter too. In 1922, when the Brockton & Plymouth (successor to the Plymouth & Kingston and predecessor to the Plymouth & Brockton) owned the line, the rolling stock included three snowplow cars. One is shown here, scanned from a glass plate negative copy of an earlier photographic print.

Motormen

Three motormen, no date
Three motormen, no date

In the search for photographs for the summertime exhibit, these three images turned up.  As seen in earlier posts, the Plymouth & Kingston trolley, which started in 1886, merged with other lines and expanded until the tracks reached Brockton in 1900.   The emergence of Kingston as a summer destination and the development of the cottage communities of Rocky Nook quickly followed.

The company evolved into the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway, which (despite its name) runs buses on the South Shore.

Inside a trolley, no date
Inside a trolley, no date

While it’s not clear if these men are motormen (drivers) or conductors (ticket takers, schedule keepers and safety inspectors), they seem very serious about the work at hand, or at least about posing for the photographer.

Two motormen and friend, no date
Two conductors and friend, no date

Not to mention well-armed.

“The Public Bedammed”

Plymouth & Kingston trolley headed north to Cobb's Store, circa 1890
Plymouth & Kingston trolley headed north to Cobb's Store, circa 1896

Kingston, Mass. Oct. 29th, 1896.

To the Selectmen –
Kingston, Mass.
Gentlemen: –

Is it not about time that some attention was given to the operation of the Plymouth & Kingston Street Railway and better accomodations demanded for the use of more than half the main highway in the town?  The cars do not connect with the trains either one way or another and on the so-called local cars running between Cobb’s Store and Jabez Corner they demand two fares (ten cents) to ride the whole distance, about four miles, and give a check allowing you the privilege of waiting three quarters of an hour to take the next car for Kingston, which of course no one wants to do.  If it does not pay to operate this end of the line let us have the rails removed and the street free for driving.  It seems to me if a little severity is shown at first that the company will be more considerate in the future.  I think their mottoes for our town are “Bleed the People” and “The Public Bedammed”.

[signed] Fred B. Cole

Source: Kingston Highway Department Papers, JRVHS Lantern Slides.

Crash!

Conductor at trolley accident, 1910
Conductor at trolley accident, 1910

Here are two views of a trolley accident in Kingston from sometime in 1910.

The cars shown here belonged to the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company, which was originally called the Plymouth & Kingston Street Railway.  For more information on the company, which still runs buses in the region, visit the history page of their website.

Spectators at trolley accident, 1910
Spectators at trolley accident, 1910