The Utah County community seems generally excited about the upcoming arrival of Frontrunner commuter rail in December. Even after it arrives, however, Provo’s rail network may still lag behind what it was more than a century ago.
When I was looking for old photographs for this post on The Paramount Theater, I also stumbled upon a number of images depicting Provo’s old street cars.
Based on these pictures, the street cars apparently ran at least along Center Street and University Ave (which went by a different name at the time). It’s also worth remembering that these cars were installed when Provo’s population and density were far lower than they are today.
Most of these pictures come with minimal information so it’s hard to say what happened to the street cars. My guess is they were replaced as automobiles gained popularity. However, the incident in the pictures below also could have contributed the system’s demise.
The spectacular accident aside, it’s remarkable that a tiny frontier town was able to build this rail system while today we struggle to get funding even for bus rapid transit. It seems we could learn a thing or two from our forebears.