Virgil Stanfield: With soaring gas prices, maybe streetcars are the way to go
By VIRGIL A. STANFIELD • News Journal • September 14, 2008
Editor’s Note: Gasoline prices well above $3.75 per gallon may have some area residents longing for the days of streetcars and trolleys. This column by the late Virgil A. Stanfield, a former News Journal managing editor, was published Oct. 31, 1943, in the midst of gasoline and tire rationing during World War II.
MANSFIELD — The gasoline and tire famine must be making a lot of Mansfielders recall how handy it was to be able to ride downtown on a streetcar, or to Shelby, Ashland or Bucyrus on the trolley.
That was only 10 years ago, but it seems like it all happened in another generation. It marked the end of an “electric era” in transportation in north central Ohio. Few people probably thought then they would want the old trolley cars back.
Now transportation firm heads readily admit an electric car would be a welcome sight — especially when they try to get 40 passengers into 30-passenger cars and the government tells them to go easy on gas and tires.
Mansfield’s streetcars have been gone for nearly seven years. There was no war in sight when the old trolley cars were junked, and there was enough gas for every motor. The truck and bus lines were making the railroads look bad, too.
But the picture has changed. The three railroads through Mansfield are overburdened with passengers and freight. Mansfielders grumble because they can’t get a seat on a city bus, and the motor bus routes through the city have so many passengers that they don’t know what to do with them.
Longing for Streetcars…in 1948
September 16, 2008 by John