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History: Local: Transportation: 

Interurban Railway

Compiled and transcribed by Michael R. Reilly

updated 03/07/2005

    Sussex and town of Lisbon residents may have lost out to a tremendous opportunity, if the interurban railway had become a reality. Why the lack of interest, as mentioned below? Selfish interests, lack of funding, or ? The interurban railway could have been a new and modern way of life for the area, simulating personal transportation and the economy. Why did the venture fail? Current research doesn't reveal the whys.

May 6, 1909 - Waukesha, City of, Common Council meeting:
Alderman Green, by request, presented a proposed franchise by the Milwaukee Western Electric Ry. Co. granting that company right-of-way on St. Paul Ave., North and Barstow Sts. in the city. The provisions are in the usual form. The project provides for connecting at Sussex with the proposed main line of the railway company extending from Milwaukee to Beaver Dam. The franchise was referred to the ordinance committee. Waukesha Freeman
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May 13, 1909 - "interurban railway...and operated between the ...Sussex, Pewaukee and the ...Waukesha. " Waukesha Freeman
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August 12, 1909
No. 170
An Ordinance...
    Second, That said interurban railway shall be run and operated between Sussex and the city of Waukesha, in said county, via the way of village of Pewaukee as a division line to connect with the main line of said Milwaukee Western Electric Railway company, to be built and operated between the cities of Milwaukee and Beaver Dam.
    Third, That the construction of such railway between Sussex and the city shall be commenced within twelve months after the approval of said proposed route..., and such construction shall be diligently prosecuted by said railway between Sussex and said city completed and regular service commenced thereon within thirty months from such date...
    Section 10. Local passenger cars, operated by said interurban railway company, shall stop when required by passengers wishing to leave or take the same at any street or highway crossing within the city limits; and shall run and operate passenger cars between the said city of Waukesha and Sussex for the first year after the completion of said railway, at least once every two hours from six (6) o'clock a.m. to eleven-thirty (11:30) o'clock p.m. each day, and each and every year thereafter at least hourly service.
    Section 11. The fares..., shall be for each person over twelve years of age, for one continuous trip over the whole, or part of the company's lines, within the city, not to exceed five cents; for each child between the ages of five and twelve, not to exceed three cents; children under five years of age, when in charge of a parent or guardian, shall be carried free. Waukesha Freeman

A 1908 scene of the Interurban at Waukesha Beach in Pewaukee where the trolly would have left for Sussex.
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March 2, 1911 - ...The Wisconsin Railroad Commission has granted a certificate of Convenience and Necessity which will permit the Milwaukee Western Railway Co. to build a division from Sussex to Waukesha in connection with the line running from Milwaukee to Fox Lake. ...Only a small portion of the work has been done on the division from Sussex to Waukesha, as the people heretofore have not manifested any particular interest in developing this division. Waukesha Freeman
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March 9, 1911 - No. 31 Proposed Ordinance (revised from No. 170 or same?). Waukesha Freeman
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Nov. 28, 1912 - A report from County Assessor to County Board of Supervisors regarding the various tax districts within the county of Waukesha. ...takes up the question of adding certain amounts to assessments of various towns, villages and cities wherein are located interurban railways. These towns, villages and cities are receiving considerable amounts of cash because of the railway lines in their territory, whereas they impose no expense, care or burden upon the municipalities. It is, therefore held that the assessment should be increased. Waukesha Freeman.


The Milwaukee Western Electric Railway Co. may have evolved into The Milwaukee Light, Heat and Traction Co. A January 6, 1914 Waukesha Freeman notice discusses rates for the company and it's interurban operation from Milwaukee to Waukesha and points beyond (terminating at Watertown some 50.40 miles from the Milwaukee terminal).


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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the SLAHS.org website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the SLAHS.org website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the SLAHS.org website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)