Commercially Viable Streetcar

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Frank J. Sprague
Postcard view of "Theatrical District, Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia", A historic postcard showing electric-powered trolley streetcars in Richmond, Virginia, the city where Frank J. Sprague successfully demonstrated his new system on the hills in 1888. Of course the streetcars shown here are those of two generations later, of the type mass produced and seen in cities throughout North America.

In February 1888, the 17-mile electric street railway system designed by Frank J. Sprague for the Richmond Union Passenger Railway began operating in Richmond, Virginia. It became the lasting prototype for electric street railways because of its large-scale practicality and operating superiority.