Interurban rail service between Seattle and Tacoma begins on September 25, 1902.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 3/02/2003
  • Essay 5340
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On September 25, 1902, the Seattle-Tacoma Interurban Railway inaugurates electric rail service between Seattle (from a Pioneer Square terminal at Yesler Way and Occidental Street) and downtown Tacoma, with a branch line to Renton. Wooden cars manufactured by the Brill Co. depart approximately once every hour with the typical run taking 100 minutes. Limited service is 70 minutes. One-way fare costs 60 cents and a round trip one dollar.

Later named the Puget Sound Electric Railway, the line was part of a system that also owned the Tacoma City Railway. The line ran on tracks along city streets in Seattle and Tacoma receiving its power from overhead wires, but most of the line ran on private, fenced right of way with an electrified third rail providing power. The carbarns and base of operations were in Kent.

The Issaquah Independent reported on January 25, 1900 (when the construction of the line was announced), that Issaquah residents would be able to leave town at 9 o'clock in the morning, travel by road to Renton, take the interurban to Seattle, conduct business there during the day, and return to Issaquah by 9 o'clock that night.

In 1919, the line carried three million passengers, but competition from automobiles speeding over paved roads pushed the interurban to bankruptcy in 1927. The lines were abandoned in 1928.


The Puget Sound Electric Railway (Los Angeles: Electric Railway Publications, 1960); The Issaquah Independent, January 25, 1900, p. 1.

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