North Carolina Railroads - Street Railways - Salisbury

Click Here for an excellent write-up on the history of "Street Railways" in North Carolina provided by Walter R. Turner.

The following two (2) known "Street Railways" were operational in the town of Salisbury from 1906 to 1938, when the last line ceased operations.

Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1905

1906

1920

10.40 miles


Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company Streetcar c.1910

Around 1902, the Southern Development Company began building a new subdivision, Fulton Heights, located a mile south of Salisbury. J. M. Maupin, William Murdoch Wiley, and three others were the investors. At the same time, Southern Railway began establishing a major maintenance facility in a new town, Spencer, three miles northeast of Salisbury. The Fulton Heights developers pushed for a streetcar system that connected their neighborhood to downtown Salisbury and Spencer. What strengthened the system was the steady expansion of the Southern Railway facility, and the communities of Spencer and Fulton Heights, which added an amusement park. In fact, many managers of the railroad lived in Fulton Heights and commuted to work on the streetcar. Though the Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company, operator of the streetcar system, maintained its name for several years, it involved different owners. One source asserts that it was sold to the North Carolina Public Service Company in 1911 - if so, it retained its name until 1920. The North Carolina Corporation Commission reported that this railway remained intact until 1920, and it was then that the North Carolina Public Service Company finally acquired all assets.

The 8th Annual Report of the North Carolina Corporation Commission, dated December 31, 1906, reported that the Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company operated two (2) miles of track within the city limits of Salisbury and two (2) miles of track outside of the city limits. Company officers were: Edward M. Deane of Grand Rapids, MI as President; N.B. McCanless of Salisbury as 1st Vice President; T.H. Vanderford of Salisbury as 2nd Vice President; Frank G. Deane of Grand Rapids, MI as Secretary; Dwight Smith of Grand Rapids, MI as Treasurer; and James Trimble of Salisbury as Manager & Superintendent.

The Electric Railway Journal of June 10, 1916 reported: "North Carolina Public Service Company, Greensboro, NC, has recently placed in service on its Salisbury-Spencer lines two cars which were overhauled and rebuilt at the Salisbury carhouse."

The 21st Report of the North Carolina Corporation Commission, with Railroad Returns dated December 31, 1921, reported that the Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company operated 9.71 miles of track and carried 1,287,500 passengers during the year of 1921. Although this commission continued for another decade, this was the last report they had on the Salisbury & Spencer Railway Company. One source asserts that the S&S continued from 1911 to 1924 under the lease and management of the North Carolina Public Service Company, then in 1924 began using the latter's company name. Another source asserts that the North Carolina Public Service Company took over in 1920, even though the company had been incorporated in 1909 to manage other street railways.

North Carolina Public Service Company / Duke Power Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1909

1920

1938

7.16 miles

In 1909, the W. N. Coler Company of New York City purchased the streetcar systems and electrical and gas utilities of Greensboro and the franchise for High Point, and organized a new company, North Carolina Public Service Company. Based in Greensboro, the company was controlled by officers and directors from the north, although it included representatives from its NC service areas. By 1920, the company had acquired two more streetcar systems, in Salisbury and Concord. In 1926, the North Carolina Public Service Company was sold to Duke Power Company of Charlotte, NC. Salisbury's streetcar service ended in 1938.

The Electric Railway Journal of April 26, 1924 reported: "North Carolina Public Service Company, Greensboro, NC, is improving its track between Spencer and Salisbury by lowering the rails almost on a level with the surface of the street."

The Electric Railway Journal of July 26, 1924 reported: "The General Gas & Electric Company has purchased the Salisbury & Spencer Railway." The journal reported earlier that the General Gas & Electric Company also purchased the North Carolina Public Service Company, but the latter had retained its name.



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