Things you learn from guys at bars

About secret, hidden underground subway tunnels.

According to bar-guy, they exist in the Twin Cities. Further research: the only “subway” tunnels that exist are tunnels holding the electric wires for streetcars. Well, that’s almost the same. Wikipedia unverifiably confirms the existence of streetcars in the cities. In this historical document (an automotive industry trade publication) we learn that the streetcars certainly did exist; they even extended to a proposed speedway. This is in the 1910s. They had automotive speedways back then? This website of unclear provenance tells us more about the history of streetcars in the area (they ended service in the 1950s). Here’s the sad story of what happened to the cars. Newark? Wikipedia’s history of the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company is quite comprehensive, as is to be expected. It confirms this guy’s story, which blames the demise of the streetcar on a Cloverleaf-style takeover of public transportation. Privatization and all that.

In its heyday, the streetcar system was huge:

Of course, the out-of-state takeover by a Wall Street speculator in the 40s was preceded by a 1917 worker’s strike and the rise of the automobile. Street cars were dying everywhere.

The Minnesota Historical Society confirms:

The Twin City Rapid Transit Company (a New Jersey corporation) was incorporated in 1891 as a holding company, with the MSR and the SPCR as wholly-owned operating subsidiaries. The TCRT was succeeded in 1939 by a new Minnesota corporation of the same name. A management change in 1949 brought New York financier Charles Green to the presidency of the Twin City Rapid Transit Company. Green and his associates decided to abandon the streetcar lines and convert to buses as quickly as possible, apparently in order to maximize their short-term profit. The company’s entire streetcar fleet was scrapped and replaced by buses in an aggressive conversion plan completed in 1954 under TCRT president Fred A. Ossanna, a former associate of Green’s who managed to oust him in 1951.

(And a simple chronological history of the streetcar in the Twin Cities. 1949 and 1954 in particular are quite interesting.)

Anyway, the point of this story was that I wanted to find underground streetcar tunnels. Since they were streetcars, though, obviously they won’t be underground (unless, apparently, they were crossing railways, in which case they were to be built underground as subways). Simply etymology. However, the tunnels holding the electric wires are obviously accessible (scroll all the way down) somehow, so maybe not all hope is lost.

The adventure might continue…

(h/t guy at bar)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s