Railroad History
Other Local Railroads up to the 1950's

Many other railroads influenced the Puget Sound.  Due to limited space, we didn't model several local Tacoma railroads, or included their operations in an abstract fashion into our exhibit.  Also, there are railroads in the wider Puget Sound region which had an impact on Tacoma.  Here are brief histories of a few of them, with more to be added as time and research permit.

beltline.orig.gif (936 bytes)The Belt Line began life in the early part of the century as the Municipal Street Railway, which provided trolley passenger service to the industrial tideflats. It became a utility operation in 1914 and, within four years, doubled its lines. In 1918, voters approved creation of the Port of Tacoma and rail lines were extended to the new shipyard, which was booming.  Soon, the Municipal Street Railway added freight switching to its passenger operation and the name was changed to the Tacoma Municipal Belt Line Railway. Some Tacoma old-timers still refer to the Belt Line as the "Muni."

The Belt Line began adding buses to its fleet of trolley cars and, eventually, the buses replaced the trolleys. World War II spurred the growth of the Belt Line, just as the First World War had. During the Second World War, the Belt Line operated 30 buses around the clock to serve shipyard workers. After the war, passenger operations were transferred to the Tacoma Transit Company and the Belt Line retained only the freight switching operations.

For more information on Tacoma Belt Line:

For brief summary of the Belt Line today, see Tacoma Railroads Today (Beltline)
Or see Tacoma Rail's (Belt Line Railway) own pages, part of the Tacoma Public Utility site, which provided the info above and a lot more.


Under Construction - More Coming!

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