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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Traction War

Dallas Bogan on 7 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

First Shot Fired In What May Be Bitter Strife

Cincinnati Northern Traction Company And Village Of Franklin Up In Arms With Blood In Eyes

Much of the following was taken from the Franklin Chronicle

"War clouds thick and heavy are hovering over the neighboring town of Franklin. The combatants in the brewing conflict are the village of Franklin and the Cincinnati Northern Traction Company. The first shot has in reality been fired, the situation looks exceedingly grave and the outcome is awaited with daily increasing interest.
"An undercurrent of murmurings of dissatisfaction on the part of the Franklin people have been heard for probably two years past and the present outbreak is simply the inevitable solution of a typical corporation squabble. The trouble was first brought before the public eye when the village refused the company a renewal of the present franchise and right of way for the construction of a double track. The village wants a revised franchise and may then consider the double track proposition.

Start Of It All

"Before this the fare to Dayton and other points had been raised and the people howled. Then the village claimed that the company was not living up to the requirements in the franchise and was letting their tracks through the town run down. Then when the council was asked for a renewal of the contract, which will run out in a few years and to deliver right of way for another track and the town fathers backed, by the citizens rose up in indignation.
"Since then the rivalry has been bitter. The city threatens to dissolve the franchise if the company does not improve its road and service and the company independently asserts that it can easily build out around Franklin. The present situation is a series of spite transactions.
"Conductors and motormen are arrested every few days from exceeding the speed limit. Then in Mayor McLane's court they are given the limit of the law and the fine must be paid out of the pockets of the employee, as the road does not hold itself liable to any misdemeanors of its crewmembers.
"Last week a motorman was timed by a stop watch and was found to have run the car through Franklin in ten seconds less time than as per the law. He was immediately arrested and fined $65. The money came from his own pocket. Another crew was held up for breaking up a funeral procession and fined heavily.

Company Strikes Blow

"A few days ago the company struck another blow from which the townsfolks have not entirely survived. Eighty commuters go down to Middletown each morning and return each evening. In the early part of last week the regular commuter car, which comes up from Trenton turns at Franklin and takes the laborers to work down the line, did not arrive. The commuters were compelled to go to work via the Big Four and by the delay were late to their work. When inquiry was made from the company concerning the matter, it was claimed that on account of the rigid restrictions as to speed through Franklin the whole system is thrown out of schedule early in the day to a degree beyond remedy.
"When these workers tried to return by traction at night they claimed the company worked some more of its spite. The passengers say that the car was run in about every siding they came to and was held there for a half hour or more. It took over two hours to run from Middletown to South Franklin. There the passengers alighted and started to walk to their homes and when well out of sight they claim the car went whizzing through the town and made good time the rest of the way to Dayton.

War Still Wages

"Last Friday morning the commuter car was on time for the first time in many days. It left North Franklin on scheduled time gathered up its regular passengers and proceeded slowly through the city. At Sixth Street the crew received orders to return to the North Franklin switch. The passengers alighted and were required to find other means by which to reach their duties. Franklin citizens think the company is doing this to put Mayor McLane in bad with the voters. However they pledge their allegiance to his honor. Still the war wages. Each adversary is determined he will be the final victor.
An adjustment of the matter is not yet in sight and the fight is expected to wax warm before it reaches the decisive point."

The Western Star, July 16, 1908 spoke of a new trolley system. It wrote of a new trolley road which was to pass through southern Warren County. There were two routes spoken of: one route was from Cincinnati to Milford, through Goshen to Pleasant Plain and Butlerville and thence to Wilmington and Washington C.H., with an extension to Xenia. The terminus would be at Columbus.
The second route would pass from Cincinnati to Montgomery, through Maineville and Butlerville and probably Morrow and thence to Wilmington and Columbus.
The approach to this project was that the road would be an air line; the cars would be propelled by compressed air. Upon investigation of this new type of locomotion it was said, after the purchase of the new cars, the maintenance on these particular carriers would be minimal.
A meeting at Goshen, with the chief promoter, met with great approval. A statement was made that as soon as the right-of-way was cleared the project would be underway. Apparently the project never got beyond the talking stage. There is no evidence of this line being routed except on paper.

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This page created 7 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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