loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Fighting to Give Service

“The worst weather condition we have ever experienced in all our years with the railway company.”

This statement by veterans in the service of the Grand Rapids Railroad company completely sums up the situation faced during January and February in battling the storms to maintain street car service against the worst weather obstacles and difficulties it ever encountered.

Not only have the railway company employees worked day and night to overcome the unusual conditions, but trucking companies, bus lines, mercantile firms and private autoists have shared in the storm grief.

In spite of the great weather odds against it, the railway company has maintained its service, although delayed or crippled at times—and won its battle—while other transportation agencies temporarily abandoned their activities until conditions improved.

The railway company has done everything possible to keep its cars running, to get people to and from work, to avoid and overcome delays, and only by the loyal co-operation, hard work, long hours and determination of its employees was service maintained.

Tuesday, January 22, was the worst day for assorted weather condition and tie-ups ever recorded. From 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., every variety of weather was packed into hours of grief for management and men. First snow, then rain, then sleet, ice on trolley and rails, then flooded tracks and more ice. Thousands of people fell back on the street cars, just at a time when operating conditions were the worst.

Snowplows, sand cars, salt cars, every piece of winter fighting equipment was called into service. Cars derailed, trolleys burned, armature shorted, electrical troubles by the score, cars stalled, traveling in twos, threes and fours. Railroad crossings blocked, autos broken down or stalled on street car tracks. Employees drenched to the skin and hours without food battled to keep the lines open.

Incidentally every street car owned by the Company that was possible to operate has been in service during this period.

Excerpted from Trolley Topics, February, 1929. Published monthly by the Grand Rapids Railroad Co. for free distribution to its patrons.

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC