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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The CLEVELAND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO., known as Big Con(solidated), was created by a merger of the East Cleveland, Broadway & Newburgh, Brooklyn, and South Side railway companies on 15 May 1893. On 29 May the Cleveland City Cable Co. and the Woodland Ave. & West Side St. Railway Co. merged to form the rival Cleveland City Railway Co., or Little Con(solidated), leaving Cleveland with only 2 local transit companies. Big Con operated the Abbey, Broadway, Cedar, Central, Clark, Euclid, Fairhill, Mayfield, Scovill, Scranton, Union, Wade Park, W. 14th St., W. 25th St., and partial E. 55th St. lines. In 1897 it owned 127 miles of track, 344 motor cars, and 145 trailers. By 1901 it had expanded to 135 miles of track, 426 motor cars, and 83 trailers. Workers at Cleveland Electric Railway called a strike on 10 June 1899, demanding improved pay and working conditions and union recognition. Violence and lawlessness followed as the strike failed (see STREETCAR STRIKE OF 1899). On 1 July 1903, the company acquired and merged operations with the Cleveland City Railway Co. Known as Con-Con, the virtual streetcar monopoly owned 901 motor cars and 236 miles of track. From 1901-09, Cleveland Railway officials, who favored a 5-cent fare, were embroiled in a legal battle with Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON† over the issue of MUNICIPAL OWNERSHIP and a 3-cent fare. During this period, Con-Con experimented with zone fares, penny transfers with a 3-cent fare, and 7 tickets for a quarter as ways of improving its position with the public. In 1907 the company gave in to Johnson, agreeing to lease its operations to the Municipal Traction Co. The 3-cent fare was a reality, but operating economies and a violent transit strike resulted in a 1908 referendum election defeat for the municipal system, forcing it into receivership. In 1910 voters approved the compromise "Tayler Grant," which provided "service at cost" and a 3-cent fare (see ROBERT W. TAYLER†). Operations were returned to the newly reorganized CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. under city supervision.

Last Modified: 14 Jul 1997 10:16:53 AM

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