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Massive cleanup[edit]

The original article was a hodge-podge of lifted and disjointed and misspelled copy taken from other sources and just dumped on this page! I have attempted a massive clean-up but it still needs work. I am not an expert in this subject. I created an article about Handley (Fort Worth) which had an interurban service, and that is how I originally arrived here! I then took on the job of trying to make sense out of a total mess. If you are an expert on this subject and a writer, take another look at the article. I don't know whether interurban and light rail have all been mixed up together - it looks like it with regards to the entry for Australia. MPLX/MH 17:06, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The Australia section appears to be a different usage of the term, just as tram can mean different things in different places. --SPUI (talk) 19:09, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I deleted the Australia section, and added some more about Canada. The thigns described in Australia are a collection of modern light rail, commuter rail and heavy rail, and not the historical interurbans this article refers to. Simkid

Are the things in Australia called interurbans? --SPUI (talk) 12:53, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
I've never heard them reffered to as interurbans. I HAVE heard them ocasionally reffered to as subways, or light rail, but my understanding is that they are really heavy commuter rail. That said, I live in Canada and really don't know much about the Australian commuter lines. The main reason I deleted them is that the article refers to historical systems, and the Australian lines certainly don't fall into that catagory. --Simkid (talk)
Different countries use totally different terminology. From [1] it looks like the term there refers to commuter trains, and the article was correct. It might be best to turn this into a disambiguation, move the streetcar stuff to interurban streetcar, and merge the Australian stuff into intercity rail. I've restored the deleted content, and may do that if I get a chance. --SPUI (talk) 00:17, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
I've done that, though intercity rail is now a bit of a mess. To link here, use interurban streetcar or radial railway. --SPUI (talk) 05:44, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

If you look at the Electric Railway Dictionary of 1911 you will find some definitions of EQUIPMENT that divide passenger cars into three groups.

(1) City Cars (2) Suburban Cars (3) Interurban Cars

that defined the type of service the equipment was designed for, not the length of the line or the fact that it ran between two urban areas. By the revisions of today the city cars of the Cleveland Railway that were used to develop the suburbs would qualify as interurban streetcars along with the Lorain & Elyria line in Ohio and even the Newark & Zanesville and the longest push yet is the Victory Park Railway ...all of which used city cars as defined by the industry. In 1893 the Sandusky Milan and Norwalk Electric Railway recieved equipment that was above and beyond city car design and began the true INTERURBAN era in Ohio.

I do not think interurban streetcar was a term the industry used

Do you think interurban streetcar line would be a better place for this? --SPUI (talk) 23:50, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
In U.S. usage, the term interurban railroad was the most common term. — JonRoma 19:23, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

The term most commonly used was Interurban Electric Railway.

Interesting point, re: definition of equipment as to type of service. It has always been my understanding that a "City Car" was what was commonly called a "street car." It was a car designed and built for use city streets. It was smaller in size and lighter in weight than standard steam railroad equipment. It was intended for operation at low speeds with frequent stops. It was capable of handling very sharp radius turns. It was capable of handling crush passenger loads during rush hour traffic. In cities like Cleveland, Ohio, the city streetcar system reached out to the corporate limits of the city. An example of this would have been a car owned and operated by the Cleveland Street Railway.

As the population pushed outward and away from the central city, a "Suburban Car" would have been used to serve (and in some cases, even to help create) what we now call "first ring suburbs." Equipment may have been newer than standard City Cars, maybe a little bit more plush, but they could easily be used in city service over a city system's entire line. An example of a suburban line would be the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit which ran from Cleveland's Public Square out into the City of Shaker Heights (which was built in conjunction with the Rapid Transit line). The cars originally used on this system were eventually replaced by PCC cars.

An "Interurban Car" was typically much larger than either of the other two types of car (it is interesting to see a period photograph showing a City Car and an Interurban Car standing in close proximity to one another. The size difference is quite impressive.). It was built more to steam railroad standards as was the trackage over which it ran. It was built for much higher maximum speed than either of the other two cars and, depending on the road, it may have been built for high-platform use outside of the center city. The lines which were called "interurban" lines often ran between larger cities or, at least, a larger city and another city of some significant size at some distance away from the larger city. Sometimes the interurban ran parallel to, and in direct competition with, the steam railroads. They served the freight and travel needs of the people we would now say lived in the "exurbs" and rural areas.

In most cases, all of the cars noted above would have shared the same gauge. Any problems with interoperability would have been due to the particular characteristics of the cars' electrical systems and those of the power distribution system. NorthCoastReader (talk) 02:10, 22 April 2012 (UTC)


Stadtbahn Karlsruhe deserves a mention, because the rolling stock is designed to do all of the following:

Heilbronn Bahnhofsvorplatz Stadtbahn01 2002-09-08.jpg Stadtbahn on a city square, acting as Straßenbahn.
S-Bahn-Karlsruhe.JPG Stadtbahn in the central station, acting as S-Bahn.
Murgtalbahn Tennetschluchtbruecke Stadtbahn.jpg Stadtbahn in the Schwarzwald, acting as Regionalbahn. (talk) 23:08, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


I think "Interurban streetcar" is a poor name for this article. In a project where Use Common Names is one of the prime naming conventions, this article has ended up being named something almost never used.

Any suggestions as to a better name? Does a pointer to Australian intercity rail (that could simply be a {{otheruses}} marker at the top of the article) really signify we shouldn't just have this article at Interurban? Taking your suggestions ... —Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 05:33, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the existing name, Interurban streetcar is a poor name for the article — it doesn't represent a name ever in common use for the particular subject matter. What is considered by most scholars to be the definitive work on the subject is
Hilton, George W.; John F. Due (1960). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 
Accordingly, I suggest the most suitable article title as Electric interurban railway. — JonRoma 06:02, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree. To me "Interurban Streetcar" refers to the motive power and rolling stock of an Interurban Railway. But "electric" should not be part of its name as not all interurbans were electric; some were powered (at least initially) by steam dummies. One in Michigan never electrified. --RedJ 17 13:04, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I was bold and just moved it to Interurban after looking at what linked to that page; all the links meant this, not the Australian term. We do primary topic disambiguation when one meaning of a term overwhelms the usage of the other; I think that especially counts in this case, where the other usage doesn't even have its own article, but just redirects to a page named differently. —Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 13:45, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Nice work Matthew on the reorganization of the page. I think the addition of a definition is good as Hilton and Due devote a lot of time to defining exactly what an interurban is. One thing that this page and its related pages now face is grammar revision or hyphenators. I see that the list of interurbans has been named a list of "inter-urbans," a name that anyone who is familar with interurban railways in the US would not have given it. --RedJ 17 18:08, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I've moved that list back to List of interurbans, where I originally placed it. User:Phronima, who moved it, lives in England and is probably unaware that "Interurban" is the commonly used term in North America and has a better defined meaning.
I plan some further cleanup here too, to present a more coherent story of these lines (while avoiding too much discussion of individual systems). I'm in two minds about the inclusion of European systems; I think I'll have to read up on the nature of the two formerly linked here (and now in List of interurbans) to see how well they fit under Hilton & Due's criteria. In Western Europe, regulation generally placed such restrictions on street running that only wholly urban trams (streetcars) did so. —Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 18:24, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I think that such tramways as New Jersey's new light rail lines and the Portland light rail systems should be considered interurbans, as well as the San Diego and Los Angeles systems. That's why I put a POV tag on there. 02:13, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

If I could add that true interurbans did a lot more then carry passengers ... they did package, LCL freight and car-load lots. The progressive ones sold power, ran amusement parks and did all sorts of promotional exercises to generate fares. A true interurban would have a hard time operating with streetcar equipment.

Dennis 13:13, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Rather than adding a tag, how about helping improve the article? It sounds like you (is this two people or one?) know a good bit about the subject. I agree with you about a lot of this.
Certainly some modern light rail projects could be considered interurban - those that are bigger than just streetcar systems, at least.
Not all interurbans ran freight. Most if not all did express; the vast majority, I believe, did LCL freight, while a good proportion did carload freight and interchange with railroads. In the latter case, it depended on whether the interurban was built to a standard that would allow railroad freight cars, and whether the laws and charters they operated under permitted them to carry carload freight (many did not). It would probably be fair to say that in the overwhelming majority of cases, interurbans that did not carry carload freight did not choose not to, but could not. It's also certainly the case that the survivors of the interurban sector were almost universally freight carriers, with the exception of a few that became very busy commuter routes.
Most interurbans did not run with streetcar equipment, but they ran with cars that owed a lot to streetcar technology. Interurbans were larger, faster, equipped with MU equipment fairly commonly, and borrowed a fair amount from railroads as well - to a greater or lesser degree. Some interurbans were closer along the continuum towards being fullsize railroads than others; many of those were railroad-owned. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 23:44, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
"Interurbans" were not light rail transit by any stretch of imagination. The use of this term for LRT lines is not appropriate, and should be resisted. Ldemery 23:29, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

notice of pending section on British Columbia/Alberta lines[edit]

A bit shocked not to see these in the Canada section; on the other hand I'm getting use to seeing sites on "Canada" only talking about Ontario and Quebec, which is par for the course in this country (and they wonder why the so-called "regions" are "alienated"). The BC Electric Railway Company interurban and streetcar system was very important in the development of Vancouver and Victoria, and is the foundation of the current crown corp BC Hydro; think there may have also been an interurban line around Nelson-Trail in the West Kootenay, run by West Kootenay Power and Light but I'm not sure; both cities had electrified streetcar systems but most intercity rail lines around there were CPR/steam. Anyway, no time right now but just notice of a pending section or article on the BC systems; if anyone from BC is reading this let me know if you want to help.Skookum1 19:58, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Good; I personally know little about the Canadian lines overall so that section has been left as I found it. Note that the individual lines should have articles (see List of interurbans) and that the section here should only be an overview. It doesn't have to list every line, just give a good overview of the history. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 07:34, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Everett-Seattle-Tacoma interurban line[edit]

Another glaringly-missing line; will do my best on this from available on-line resources but I'm not a Seattlite; I'll see who I can enlist.Skookum1 20:04, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Again, note that full histories should go in individual lines' articles, but please, feel free! Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 07:35, 22 July 2006 (UTC)


The title of this article "should" be either Interurban Electric Railway or "Electric Interurban Railway;" it's clear from the historic record that the label "Interurban" was understood as a one-word abbreviation either or both.

Also, it is true that "not all interurbans were electrified." But very few enterprises were promoted (or considered themselves) as "interurbans" and did not use electric traction. This fact should be mentioned in the title but should not determine the choice of title. Ldemery 03:51, 22 August 2006 (UTC) 03:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Certainly the term started out as one of those two, IMO, but it wasn't long before it just became 'interurban'. Wikipedia generally uses the commonly used term for article naming, for one thing because it makes linking easier; articles generally won't have the text 'Interurban Electric Railway' in them, but they will say "... was an interurban built between ...". Those titles should be linked to this one, though.
I suspect in virtually every case, interurbans that weren't electric intended to be electric, but weren't. In some cases, the money ran out and gasoline cars were used; in other cases, the electrification was removed but the line continued to operate. This is certainly the case with the lines I'm familiar with. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 00:51, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Modern light rail as interurbans?[edit]

Is it original research to use the term for newer lines like Portland's MAX that undeniably meet the criteria? There is at least one source ([2]) that calls it one but it might not be a reliable source. There is a similar source ([3] - but possibly more reliable - is Railway Age reliable?) that calls the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail an interurban. --NE2 08:58, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, on at least one of the maps, the Environmental Impact Statement for the Portland line did refer to it "Electric Interurban Light Rail". Really, modern light rail systems share a lot of features with Interurbans (i.e. on-street running but also at higher speeds elsewhere). Jason McHuff 03:53, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, the Westside extension (now a part of the MAX Blue Line) uses a portion of a former interurban line, including some old station sites--Orenco, Quatama and Elmonica I believe. Jason McHuff 05:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
"Modern light rail" lines are by no stretch of imagination "interurbans," and use of this term should be avoided. Ldemery 23:31, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I'd agree. Interurbans are historical. Today's railways that fulfill similar functions, such as light rail, are of a different period. --RedJ 17 03:02, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd disagree - especially because modern light rail lines have similar, although updated, characteristics. See, it "walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks (mainly) like a duck", so I might as well call it a duck, even if it looks a little strange for a duck. (talk) 17:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
You're suggesting we call swans, geese, and loons, ducks. RedJ 17 (talk) 15:31, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Taken litterally, a light rail systems is an interurban if and only if it do connect two or more cities and towns, like e.g. some of the Tram-Train systems but not for instance Bergen's light rail (Bybanen i Bergen in Norwegian). This is true though the term interurban perhaps is a little bit untrendy. Pål Jensen (talk) 08:32, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Suggestions to improve from "B-Class"[edit]

This "B-Class" article has some "A-Class" features, and I thought I'd throw in my two cent's worth about how the overall classification could be improved to "A-Class."

--OK, this is a "pet concern" of mine, but:

We who edit English Wikipedia articles should keep in mind that English pages are likely to be the "primary" reference for many, many people whose first language is something other than English. We should therefore work to make pages such as this (which at the moment is available "only" in German, Dutch, Japanese, Russian and Swedish in addition to English) as "reader-friendly" as possible.

In other words, "pariochalism" on English-language pages should be avoided. We should avoid "Americanisms" and use terminology likely to be easily and widely understood. After all, U.S. and Canadian interurbans do command a "following" overseas - not a "large" readership, but a readership nonetheless.

--the "first graf"

"An interurban, also called a radial railway in parts of Canada, is a streetcar line running between urban areas or from urban to rural areas. The term was mostly used in North America. The lines were mainly electrified in an era when steam railroads had not yet adopted electricity to any large degree."

This needs work. How about:

"Interurban lines are a form of land transport that incorporate elements of railway and tramway practice. The "typical" U.S. interurban operated between urban areas, serving towns and rural areas in between. It used technology based on railway and urban tramway practice. The most notable tramway practice was large-scale use of electric traction in an era when few railways were electrified.

"In the U.S. and parts of Canada, the term "interurban" became the common one-word abbreviation for "interurban electric railway" or "electric interurban railway" at an early date. The term "radial railway" was also used in parts of Canada. The term "interurban," whether borrowed directly or translated, was seldom used in other countries.

"The various U.S. and Canadian lines described as interurbans had distinctive sets of characteristics. These were not typical of other electric railways or tramways. Interurbans were distinct from railways, metros, urban or suburban tramways, and from current applications of light rail transit. There were relatively few overseas examples of electric railways or tramways built after U.S. - Canadian "interurban" practice."

Just a suggestion, and a starting point.

--"This article deals mainly with the interurban in North America."

Um, why? Why not make an attempt to "compare and contrast" with "elsewhere?" I'd be willing at least to "start" to take this on. . .

(see also "first graf," above)

--"North America"

Um, why does this section "precede" rather than follow "Definition of 'Interurban'" and "Interurban technology"?

--Definition of "Interurban"

Kudos to the editor who wrote this. There are some things that "should" be added - some of which are in Hilton and Due - but the overall quality is very high.

--Passenger service

Hilton and Due would be a good source to start.

Enough for now. Ldemery 23:27, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Interurban definition[edit]

Heavy rail with no grade crossings is NOT interurban, correct??? DCDuring 07:46, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

If so, the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway was no more an interurban than the LIRR. Its equipment and track was of a standard equal to or better than the New Haven. It WAS predominantly freight and exclusively electric, but not street operations at all, ever. DCDuring 07:54, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Move Europe[edit]

I suggest that the section dealing with Europe be moved to intercity rail or tram. After all the author of the section on German "interurbans" claims that they weren't really interurbans at all. It shouldn't be here. --RedJ 17 00:49, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Isle of Man[edit]

Isn't the Isle of Man Electric system (consisting of 2 lines) an interurban?

Exile (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 21:17, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll think it's an interurban. The railway is served by trams (streetcars), and they run between several cities or towns.Pål Jensen (talk) 20:11, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Rural Electrification[edit]

In the US, interurbans often supplied electricity in rural areas along their lines. According to Electrifying America, by David E. Nye, in 1935, the federal government forced interurbans to give up their electric utility service. This contributed to their decline.

The article omits these points. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


The new sections added to the bottom of the page make me think that the article is becoming US-centric. Is it time to split out the majority of US information to a new article? Maybe Interurbans in the United States? Binksternet (talk) 01:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

The issue is that there were no interurbans outside the US and Canada. This article has completely conflated the definition and character of what interurban railways were. It has confused interurbans with commuter rail, light rail, inter-city rail, trolleys, and trams. Obviously, the confusion is warranted as they all use much the same technology and provide more-or-less the same sorts of services in the same sorts of service areas. But interurban rail is bounded geographically and historically to the US (and Canada) between 1888 and about WWII (some continue on, as the article notes, and morph into other forms of light rail). Interurbans were built, unlike Europe or Japan, primarily as development and investment projects not as people movers. This is why commuter railroads like LIRR do not qualify. Commuter lines were built between already established population centers. Most interurbans were built (similarly between towns) but through sparsely populated regions in order to promote and advance abutters' property values and investor stock prices. Like most stock jobs, interurbans were bets. And when the automobile came along it changed the whole trajectory of suburbanization and made interurbans a losing bet. Nearly all of them were financial failures, but they made money for investors in various ways often unrelated to the actual transportation of passengers.
Fundamentally, the story of the interurban is a story of an obsolete technology and business model. Much like the Viking longship, the interurban had it's historical moment, made some contributions to technological and economic history, but is no more. The article shouldn't try to argue that because we still have sailboats we still have Viking longships, or because the Chinese had sailboats, they too had Viking longships.
European, Asian, Central and South American light rail, trolleys, and trams do not follow this same narrative of technological & entrepreneurial speculation terminated by automobile suburbanization within the same chronology. New technology and business models mean separate articles.
I'm not opposed to the material written on non-US/Canadian rail transportation. I don't think it belongs here. It's great information and well written, but it confuses rather than helps to explain what interurbans were. The sections that should be "split out" are the sections that do not deal with interurbans. RedJ 17 (talk) 15:24, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I can agree. But then we need a new overarching article on regional trams, which can cover developments in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands etcetera, and link to an Interurban article covering only those services that were/are really called thus; the Australian Intercities can remain a link from that Interurban article. Main question: what would be the best name for the new article on regional trams? Or would we want to split that further, covering Belgian/Dutch buurtspoorwegen from the 1930s in a different article from German 'intercity trams'? Classical geographer (talk) 14:23, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
US-centric is only part of the problem - the article is way too long! Agreed - time to split it up. I started to rewrite a bit of it (because long lists that should be short and are mostly made up of links to articles that don't exist drive me bonkers and make me write run-on parenthetical statements) and then realized that this article needs 1 short ton (0.91 t) of work. Ugh! --plaws (talk) 19:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Too long? So long that navigation in the article is difficult, or too big for downloading into old computers with a slow connection? Should we change our writing style a bit, i.e. use fewer words to give the same information? Pål Jensen (talk) 09:33, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
I just cleared out a bunch of the cruft. This will make some people unhappy. Deal with it. If you are desperate to mention your favorite museum or association, at least work it into the text in a way that is relevant to the article. --plaws (talk) 19:20, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

On interurbans and Viking longships[edit]

Of course, not every sailship is a Viking longship. However, if I build a Viking longship, it is a Viking longship though it doesn’t play the same role as the Vikings’ longships did. By the same way, I think a railcar or train which runs both through the streets like a tram (streetcar) and between the cities or towns, is an interurban even if the word interurban is untrendy and never has been common in European English. Therefore, a light rail or a commuter railway may or may not be an interurban. But the modernized ones like the Tram-Trains differs from the old ones, e.g. by using AC and by some other technical improvements and a different design (by the same way, a T-Ford differs from today’s models, but they are all automobiles). The limit between interurban/light rail and heavy rail is blurring, but just this flexibility characterizes this transportation mode.
       It’s true the interurbans never became as extensive in Europe as in the U.S., and Europe’s interurban scene doesn’t know any high-speed interurbans before the Tram-Train renaissance. In Europe, most of the intercity rail network was built outside the streets. Pål Jensen (talk) 09:33, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Origin of term[edit]

Local rail historians in the U.S. state of Minnesota claim that the Interurban (with a capital "I") service along University Avenue, also known as the St. Paul–Minneapolis Line, is where the term "interurban" originated. That line started up in 1890 as an electrified streetcar, around the same time that the street railways of the two cities were merged under the umbrella of the Twin City Rapid Transit Company. However, since many other claimed "firsts" in this region turn out to be false, I've been reluctant to add this statement to any articles. Also, any rural areas that might have existed between the two downtowns when the line started probably became urbanized very quickly after it opened, so the line probably never fit the definition it (supposedly) helped spawn. Of course, if anyone can find references to the term "interurban" dated to before 1890, this probably all works out to be false anyway. —Mulad (talk) 19:38, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Both inter and urban have Latin origin. Did the Romans use the word, e.g. in the form interurbanus, for instance about their roads which ran from city to city? Pål Jensen (talk) 09:30, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Use (and Origin) of term[edit]

SUNSET LINES, The Story of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, Volume 1-Trackage by Larry Plachno, published in 1986 by Transportation Trails ISBN: 0-933449-02-X.

Page 3 has “The Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin is unique among electric interurban railways.” There are other “interurban”s on that page

Page 9 paragraph 3 ends with “These longer-distance lines soon became known as electric interurban railways.” The rest of this page, the Introduction, repeatedly mentions “interurban”, as does page 15, the first page in chapter 1, The Super Interurban.

SUNSET LINES, The Story of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, Volume 2-History by Larry Plachno, published in 1989 by Transportation Trails ISBN: 0-933449-10-0.

Page 169 (page numbers are a continuation of volume 1) has “December 10, 1891, saw the incorporation of the Aurora & Chicago Interurban electric railway”. This shows the word “interurban” used legally as early as 1891 for an electric railway.

Has anyone outside the United States used the word locally? Has anyone in the United States used the word for “Light Rail”? Isn’t "interurban" an historical American term, used for a class of electric railroads?A Source Monster (talk) 16:39, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Proposed refactoring[edit]

I think this article is much, much too long as currently written. Consider that rail transport, in some ways a peer article, has 41K of prose. This article has 92KB. Besides being prosy throughout, there's a lot of duplicated content. The discussion (more than a summary) of interurbans should probably be removed altogether as the material duplicates content in articles about the individual systems. Per WP:SUMMARY, this article simply goes into too much detail. I've scaffolded a possible new article structure at User:Mackensen/Interurban and I'd appreciate comments. Relatedly, there's a question of scope. I think the article should be clear at the outset that the article is discussing the "interurban" as a distinctly North American, early 20th century phenomenon, unless there are reliable sources which discuss non-North American interurbans as interurbans. Mackensen (talk) 14:30, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Too long?[edit]

There may be several reasons why this article is longer than the rail transport article, e.g. that the latter theme is split into a lot of articles: High-speed trains, high-speed rail, Land speed record for rail vehicles, Rainhill Trials, LGV Atlantique, North-East Corridor, etc., etc.

Interurbans, i.e. railcars or trains which run as streetcars (trams) in the cities and from city to city, is not only as a distinctly North American, early 20th century phenomenon:

  • There are still a few interurbans in the U.S.
  • Interurbans existed and do still exist in Europe and Asia.

But perhaps the high-speed, long-distance interurbans like Red Devils were unique for the U.S. However, I'll think some of the Tram-Trains seem to be very similar. Of course the technology has developed a lot, the safety requirements are stricter, etc. – but perhaps the biggest difference is that they are rarely named the untrendy word "interurban".

There are several reliable sources which discuss non-North American interurbans as interurbans, e.g. William Middleton's The Interurban Era, Swedish Wikipedia, and several articles in the Norwegian railway publication For Jernbane. But of course the word "interurban" is not used overall.

I think the article does not contain too much information, though it may be too long because of repetitions and verbosity.

But if it is correct to reduce "interurban" into a distinctly North American, early 20th century phenomenon, I think the article should start like e.g.:

"Interurban" denotes a sort of North American streetcars (trams) which, like e.g. some of the modern Tram-trains, also ran between cities. They were invented about 1890, and the systems expanded very fast till about 1920. Thereafter, most of them afterwards were dismantled or reduced to goods railways, but a couple of interurbans do still exist... Pål Jensen (talk) 08:33, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

  • See, I look at these massive unreferenced prosy paragraphs and they make me sad. The interurban topic on Wikipedia as a whole suffers from this: do an internal search for "middleton interurban" and you'll see numerous articles written in the same style. Scanning the entire article, I see entire paragraphs which could be summed up in a sentence. Mackensen (talk) 11:49, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
    • Could you please give an example on how to reduce a paragrapgh into a sentence without losing valuable information? Pål Jensen (talk) 09:21, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
      • A couple examples. Look at "Receivership". It could probably be removed altogether, as we have an article on Receivership. There are very few interurban-specific details and what references there are don't support those details. It could probably be stubbed as "Poor financial condition led many interurbans into receivership. This permitted the interurban to keep running, providing a public service, which attempts were made to better the company's financial situation." Look at the wall of text at "Freight operation". It includes sentences like "The CH&D company had a very formal and efficient freight department." That's inappropriate for a survey article such as this and probably inappropriate for an article on the individual company, though whomever wrote that originally did not see the need to link the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway (1926–30). There are these lengthy digressions about individual companies which are better located, if anywhere, in individual articles. In the "Interurbans in North America > United States" section, the second paragraph has neither a wikilink nor a reference. That speaks for itself as a problem. I could go on and on. Without reckoning with the article's structure it's difficult to speak specifically on what goes away, but I'm not going to rewrite an article this long unless other people are onboard with the idea. Mackensen (talk) 12:24, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
        • I'll agree there are too many repetitions in the paragraphs Rolling stock and Improved interurban car design, and I'll try to improve the article's design in the spirit of the Red Devils and the Bullets, i.e. to minimize the deadweight. However, the receivership paragraph should be (re)written by a person with some knowledge about U.S.justice. Pål Jensen (talk) 14:21, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
        • Repetitions, digressions, meanderings. To be frank it's an embarrassment. I've just cut Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad back to something manageable. Mackensen (talk) 16:57, 6 September 2014 (UTC)