Interurban Railway, Town of Lisbon / Village of Sussex Local History

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Interurban Railway

Compiled and transcribed by Michael R. Reilly

updated 03/07/2005

    Sussex and town of Lisbon residents may havelost out to a tremendous opportunity, if the interurban railway had become areality. Why the lack of interest, as mentioned below? Selfish interests, lackof funding, or ? The interurban railway could have been a new and modern way oflife for the area, simulating personal transportation and the economy. Why didthe venture fail? Current research doesn’t reveal the whys.

May 6, 1909 – Waukesha, City of, Common Council meeting:
Alderman Green, by request, presented a proposed franchise by the MilwaukeeWestern Electric Ry. Co. granting that company right-of-way on St. Paul Ave.,North and Barstow Sts. in the city. The provisions are in the usual form. Theproject provides for connecting at Sussex with the proposed main line of therailway company extending from Milwaukee to Beaver Dam. The franchise wasreferred to the ordinance committee. Waukesha Freeman
May 13, 1909 – “interurban railway…and operated between the …Sussex,Pewaukee and the …Waukesha. ” Waukesha Freeman
August 12, 1909
No. 170
An Ordinance…
Second, That said interurban railway shall be run andoperated between Sussex and the city of Waukesha, in said county, via the way ofvillage of Pewaukee as a division line to connect with the main line of saidMilwaukee Western Electric Railway company, to be built and operated between thecities of Milwaukee and Beaver Dam.
Third, That the construction of such railway between Sussexand the city shall be commenced within twelve months after the approval of saidproposed route…, and such construction shall be diligently prosecuted by saidrailway between Sussex and said city completed and regular service commencedthereon within thirty months from such date…
Section 10. Local passenger cars, operated by said interurbanrailway company, shall stop when required by passengers wishing to leave or takethe same at any street or highway crossing within the city limits; and shall runand operate passenger cars between the said city of Waukesha and Sussex for thefirst year after the completion of said railway, at least once every two hoursfrom six (6) o’clock a.m. to eleven-thirty (11:30) o’clock p.m. each day, andeach and every year thereafter at least hourly service.
Section 11. The fares…, shall be for each person overtwelve years of age, for one continuous trip over the whole, or part of thecompany’s lines, within the city, not to exceed five cents; for each childbetween the ages of five and twelve, not to exceed three cents; children underfive years of age, when in charge of a parent or guardian, shall be carriedfree. Waukesha Freeman

A 1908 scene of the Interurban at Waukesha Beach in Pewaukeewhere the trolly would have left for Sussex.
March 2, 1911 – …The Wisconsin Railroad Commission has granted a certificateof Convenience and Necessity which will permit the Milwaukee Western Railway build a division from Sussex to Waukesha in connection with the line runningfrom Milwaukee to Fox Lake. …Only a small portion of the work has been doneon the division from Sussex to Waukesha, as the people heretofore have notmanifested any particular interest in developing this division. WaukeshaFreeman
March 9, 1911 – No. 31 Proposed Ordinance (revised from No. 170 or same?). WaukeshaFreeman
Nov. 28, 1912 – A report from County Assessor to County Board of Supervisorsregarding the various tax districts within the county of Waukesha. …takes upthe question of adding certain amounts to assessments of various towns, villagesand cities wherein are located interurban railways. These towns, villages andcities are receiving considerable amounts of cash because of the railway linesin their territory, whereas they impose no expense, care or burden upon themunicipalities. It is, therefore held that the assessment should be increased. WaukeshaFreeman.

The Milwaukee Western Electric Railway Co. may have evolved into TheMilwaukee Light, Heat and Traction Co. A January 6, 1914 Waukesha Freemannotice discusses rates for the company and it’s interurban operation fromMilwaukee to Waukesha and points beyond (terminating at Watertown some 50.40miles from the Milwaukee terminal).