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Enter the Electric Trolley Bus

In August of 1932, a serious fire at the Lorain Avenue car barn of the Dayton Street Railway Click to enlarge Company (not to be confused with the pioneer Dayton Street Rail Road Company) destroyed most of the cars parked inside for the night. Temporarily borrowing cars from the other companies, DSR President Worman had to make a decision as to what kind of vehicle his company was to face the future with; he had to acknowledge his worn-out rails, too. In December 1932, nearby Indianapolis Railways initiated operation of their first ETB route, replacing streetcars because of worn trackage. Worman and his executives were invited to attend the inaugural parade of the new ETBs. The Brill Car Company had built 15 of their new model T-40 ETBs for Indianapolis, and offered to have a dozen similar coaches ready for Worman's DSR by late April of 1933. Worman accepted, and had his line department start at once stringing the second trolley wire needed by the ETBs. (Streetcars needed only one wire, as the rails provided the return path back to the powerhouse. ETBs are insulated by rubber tires, and must have a separate return wire; thus the two wires and two poles.)

Brill delivered, and on the 23rd of April 1933 the first ETB in Dayton, and in Ohio as well, sallied forth from the rebuilt DSR barn at Lorain and Pritz Avenues. That ETB established a Local Legacy in Dayton that is alive and well almost sixty-seven (67) years later.

Citizens, appreciative of the quietness of the ETB, demanded more conversions.

One by one, the other four Dayton streetcar companies converted their railcar lines to ETB operation, with the final streetcar clanging into oblivion in September of 1947. No other city can claim that it had five separate transit companies operating streetcars or ETBs at the same time, as did Dayton until final consolidation into one company in 1956.

We will now examine company by company their conversion to ETB and the different types of ETBs they operated.

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