Electric Streetcar, Capital Traction Co. # 303

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/20/2009

The American Car Company of St. Louis, Missouri, built this 4-wheel, electric motor cars built for Capital Traction Company of Washington, D.C. The car was one of sixteen, and was designated number 303 and assigned to the 7th Street line, which ran from the Wharves to Boundary (now Florida Avenue). This car was used as a motor car and regularly pulled a light trailer car until its retirement from regular service in 1913. Single-truck cars like this one were replaced by larger, more comfortable double truck cars.

The first Washington streetcars were horse-drawn and went into service in 1862, much later than New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. Electric cars first appeared in 1888, and, by the turn of the century, nearly 200 miles of line were in operation. As in other large American cities, street-car traffic began to fall off in the 1920s because of the automobile. Large-scale abandonment began in the late 1950s, and early in 1962 the last streetcar ceased operation in the nation's capital.

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