Birmingham Railway & Electric Company

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The Birmingham Railway and Electric Company was incorporated on May 5, 1890 as a consolidation of the Birmingham Union Street Railway Company and the Ensley Railway with the newly-incorporated Birmingham Electric Company, which had secured state charters to operate electrically-powered streetcars in the city.

On February 12, 1891 the company absorbed the Bessemer and Birmingham Railroad. That spring and summer the first electric lines were strung along the lines from North Highlands to South Highlands and from Elyton to Avondale. 24 small two-ended covered cars were ordered from the J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with the first car put into service on the Highlands line on October 10.

The Panic of 1893 put the company in financial difficulties. Voting control of the company fell to a group of Nashville investors, who gradually expanded service to East Lake and acquired the Birmingham, Powderly & Bessemer Railway. Meanwhile a rival, the Birmingham Traction Company, emerged from the consolidation of several other lines.

Nat Baxter Jr, president of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, assumed control of the company from the other investors and began planning to fold it into a single utility company for the city. He arranged with shareholders of the Consolidated Electric Light Company and the Birmingham Gas Company to become part of the newly-incorporated Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Company, which was incorporated on February 23, 1898.