Fort Collins Municipal Railway

The Fort Collins Municipal Railway ran streetcars in Fort Collins, Colorado, from 1919 until 1951. They stopped running sometime after that due to outdated technology and it wasn’t until 1984 when a section of the former route was repurposed as a seasonal heritage streetcar service, operating under the same name.

The heritage service is operated by members of the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society. That’s not just because it’s loads of fun, but also because one of the Birney “Safety” Streetcars in use on the heritage line (car number 21) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Electric streetcar service for the city of Fort Collins apparently began on December 29, 1907.

The first local street railway service began on August 8, 1907, borrowing a steam locomotive from the Colorado and Southern Railway to haul four passenger coaches.

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True electric trolley/streetcar service was inauguration on December 29 with the opening of a new streetcar system. The company that started this, Denver and Interurban Railroad (D&I) are also a subsidiary of Colorado & Southern (C&S).

The system faced financial difficulties and its low ridership made it no longer economically viable as a private venture. The D&I itself soon went into receivership and abruptly ceased operation of its Fort Collins trolley system on the night of July 10.

The streetcar system in Fort Collins, Colorado was shut down around 1923 and it left the city without a reliable transport system. The city council voted to purchase the railways and restored service on January 1919 following a citizens vote.

The new streetcars were not part of the deal, so four cars were delivered from the American Car Company. They arrived on May 24th and by the next week, service was restored in Fort Collins.

Fort Collins bought two Birney cars in 1924 from the Cheyenne Electric Railway Company. They became cars 25-26.

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Back in the mid-1940s, cars 24 and 25 were replaced with new ones from Virginia Electric Power Company. The system operated three routes and had a 20-minute schedule.

Birney-type cars were the only network during its period of municipal ownership. With up to just five cars being maintained at any given point, the system was one of the last Birney networks to be dismantled.

Reliable Water Restoration of Fort Collins, 2121 E Harmony Rd #300, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80528, (970) 230-6844