Darby has a long and distinguished transportation history. As early at 1837,an omnibus (similar to a stagecoach) ran twice daily
between Smiths Public House in Darby and the Pennsylvania Hotel on Sixth Street above Market in Philadelphia. In 1859, horse
cars operated by the Philadelphia and Darby Railroad Company began operating between Front Street in Philadelphia and 9th
and Main in Darby. The Darby Trolley route was electrified May 29, 1894 and operated by the Philadelphia Traction Company,
which later became the Union Traction Company, and later became the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company (PRT) and then
Historian Ed Havens, citing "Trolleys of Lower Delaware Valley Pennsylvania" by Schieck and Cox said:
The Media, Middletown, Aston and Chester Electric Railway Co.(MMA&C) organized in April 1893 and was the trolley road that
triggered the development of what became PRT'sDelawareCounty lines. Nearly six years later, in February 1899, the
Philadelphia, Morton & Swarthmore Street Railway (PM&S) was organized. The Philadelphia Media and SwarthmoreÂ Raliway
purchased a piece of ground adjacent to the B & O R.R. at Folsom on which they erected a barn and power house. Construction
of the line, in contrast with the leisurely pace of the Middletown line, was began immediately and the power plant was ready for
use when the first section of the line from Darby to Yale Ave. in Swarthmore was completed on 29 June 1900. The line was
extended as the track and bridges were completed. On 10 July 1900 the cars began running to Yale and Park Ave. and on 17
January 1901 were extended as far as Crum Creek where it was necessary to build a long trestle. Service into Media was finally
opened on 4 July 1904."
The MMA&C leased the PM&S, which authors Schieck and Cox say was like the tail wagging the dog. The Middletown lines were
owned by British interests - New General Traction Co. Ltd. of London -- which held 82 percent of the stock. However, the foreign
capitalists were content to the let the Folsom lines be operated by PRT.
Until the 1932 abandonment of the Folsom-Darby section for road construction, the short Darby-Lansdowne shuttle, Rt. 78,
operated out of Folsom carhouse. Thus, its trolleys also had to cross the Darby bridge along with those of PRT Rt.
71-Darby/Media and Rt. 76-Darby/Chester. The Lansdowne shuttle, built by the MMA&C, opened for service on 4 July 1902. It
was totally separated from the other Middletown lines "until the route across private land from Parker Ave. to Main St. was
opened in January 1904.
At the present time research is ongoing. The bridge is a Warren Pony-Truss bridge of a type that was once very common across
the United States and now is becoming rare. Several bridges of this type are on the National Register of Historic Places. Use of
the bridge for pedestrian traffic would pay homage to Darby's role as a transportation hub while enhancing the area's scenic
assets. The bridge can act as a connector for the Darby Creek Greenway between BartramPark and PowellPark, as well as
serve as a focus of civic pride, creating a sense of place and providing a scenic respite and enhancement to the
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1904 Trolley Bridge