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TROLLEY’S

By 1929, patronage on the nation’s street railways was showing an alarming decline. True, part of this was due to both the automobile and the Depression, but a formidable factor was the trolley itself, by then considered old-fashioned. It was unattractive, it was noisy, it was slow. Many efforts were made to produce an ideal street car by builders and transit companies. Some of these productions were quite unconventional and closely resembled busses of the time. None had any lasting success. Finally, in mutual desperation, traction company executives joined together to call a conference. Its purpose; to develop a radically new streetcar without the objectionable features of the cars then in use. A million dollars was earmarked for the project, which was directed by Professor C. F. Hirschfield of the Detroit Edison Company. It was believed that a non-streetcar man would have fewer preconceived ideas on a subject demanding an entirely fresh outlook. The President’s Conference Committee went to work, testing everything imaginable to find a “better way to do it.” Acceleration, brakes, lighting, heating, seating, ventilation, noise, springing – everything about a trolley was probed and thoroughly studied.