Atlanta & Chattahoochee River Railway Co.
In 1890 Hollywood Cemetery was organized, and among it’s officers was C. J. Simmons. With the location so far from the city at that time, a street railway was projected to run to the Chattahoochee River to develop the land along each side of the railway, as well as provide transportation to and from the cemetery.
On Feb.19, 1891, the Atlanta & Chattahoochee River Railway Co. was incorporated, with Simmons it’s chief executive officer. Surveys were made in March and grading started on July 18, 1891. Trade journals for the fall season of 1891 indicated the company would be equipped with the “Rae” system with a total of 10 cars. (“Rae” later became the “Detroit” system and was used by the Atlanta City Street Railway Co.)
However, financial problems on the part of the A&CR appear to have clouded the picture, as the company was not listed at the end of 1891. This ties in with the fact that James D. Collins, who had recently built a fine new home near the end of the line, almost lost it due to a bet with a friend that cars would be running to the river by the close of 1891. He told the friend that if a car had not run to the end of the line by that time he would deed over his home.
Shortly before Christmas, the rails had been laid, but no wires were in sight. Collins became alarmed when the company advised him that it could not string the wires until after the first of the year. Seeing that his beautiful home was about to be lost, Collins took action. He chartered a horsecar, attached two mules to the vehicle, and drove it personally to the river, thus saving his home.
In January 1892, the trade journals announced that the A&CR had contracted with the Short Electric Railway Co. for equipping the line with the “Short” system. The power station would attain 200 horsepower, using Short slow-speed multi-polar generators, and Short single-reduction gearless motors on 10 streetcars.
The first electric car on the River Line operated on May 8, 1892. (This was the last streetcar to operate in Ga. It’s last day was Sun., April 10, 1949.) Receipts for the two cars operated that first day in 1892 came to $33.00.
Within 30 days of operation, about June 7, lightning struck the line and burned out the dynamo at the power station. In order to provide service until electric power could be restored, the steam locomotive Ajax was borrowed from the Western & Atlantic Railroad. The locomotive was used to push a two car train, according to reports. On Fri., June 10, 1892, the second worst accident in Atlanta street railway history occurred.
A train departed downtown Atlanta about 2:00 pm, and it’s cars were pretty well filed. Due to the upgrade from a ravine to English Ave., the engineer let his train run downgrade wide open to insure sufficient momentum to make the ascent to English Ave.
Before the bottom of the grade was reached, the front car starte rocking wildly and then left the rails to plunge down a 20 ft. embankment. The coupling between the cars broke and the second car derailed and went over the other side of the embankment. By now the locomotive was in full reverse. It slid forward a few feet more and came to a stop.
The wooden passenger cars were demolished. Four lives were lost; three were seriously injured, and more than 20 others suffered injuries.
Ten days later, on June 20, 1892, the company’s stockholders decided to “ transfer, sell and convey” all properties of the Atlanta & Chattahoochee to the Short Electric Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, and others to whom the street railroad was indebted in the amount of $100,000. A new company, the Collins Park & Belt Railroad Co. emerged.