Railroad History

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First large-scale electric trolley line in the world

Frank Julian Sprague incorporated many of inventions in the equipment his company installed for the Richmond (VA) Union Passenger Railway in 1887-1888, the first large-scale electric trolley line in the world.

Within two years of its opening, 110 electric railroads using Sprague's equipment were built or under contract, including systems in Italy and Germany.
In 1890, Edison General Electric Company, which manufactured much of Frank Sprague's equipment, purchased and absorbed the Sprague Electric Railway & Motor Company, and Sprague turned his attention to the field of vertical transportation.
 

Frank Julian Sprague (1857-1934)

Hailed during his lifetime as the "Father of Electric Traction" by leaders in the fields of science, engineering and industry, Sprague's achievements in horizontal transportation were paralleled by equally remarkable achievements in vertical transportation. During a six-decade career, Sprague distinguished himself as an inventor for his accomplishments in the development of the electric railway, early electric elevators and the commercial electric motor.

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