On this day in Alabama history: Birmingham Railway and Electric Company began car service

On this day in Alabama history: Birmingham Railway and Electric Company began car service
A mule-drawn street car on First Avenue North in downtown Birmingham in 1887. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives)

October 10, 1891

The new Birmingham Electric Company, which had received state charters to operate electric-powered streetcars, joined with the Birmingham Union Street Railway Company and the Ensley Railway. Thus, the Birmingham Railway and Electric Company was formed. During the spring and summer of 1891, the first electric lines were strung from North Highlands to South Highlands and from Elyton to Avondale. The company then purchased 24 small covered cars from the J.G. Brill Company in Philadelphia and set the first car on the Highland line on Oct. 10 that same year. Nat Baxter Jr., president of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, took the reins of the Birmingham company, with the dream of creating a single utility for the city. Through his vision, the Consolidated Electric Light Company and the Birmingham Gas Company became part of the newly incorporated Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Company.

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For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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