No. 7 Wylam-Bush Hills streetcar line

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The No. 7 Wylam-Bush Hills streetcar line (formerly the Owenton-Wylam line, Owenton-Ensley line and Owenton line) was a streetcar line operated by the Birmingham Railway, Light & Power Company.

The line had its beginnings as a line running from downtown Birmingham to Birmingham-Southern College with its terminus at Owenton, within sight of the college gates. Service began on March 1, 1900. Meanwhile a streetcar shuttle between Wylam and Ensley, operating since 1902, was extended to Tuxedo Junction on September 29, 1905.

The HIghland Land Company secured a franchise for connecting these lines in the summer of 1912 and turned it over to BRyL&PCo., which initiated service on August 3, 1913. The newly-linked route paralleled another passenger line to Ensley, operated by the competing Birmingham Tidewater Railway. The company added a loop in Wylam in 1915.

From 1927 until the height of the Great Depression a line designated No. 7A Owenton was operated on the same route, but terminating at Owenton. Another line, the No. 31 Ensley-Wylam shuttle, met the No. 7 in Ensley, doubling service to Wylam.

In 1938 the route into Birmingham was shifted onto the track used by the No. 27 Ensley No. 38 South East Lake streetcar line. Trackless trolleys took over for the railcars on August 15, 1948, following a quite-different route.

Route

The original Owenton route began at 1st Avenue North and 19th Street downtown, proceeding west to 17th Street, then turning north to 8th Avenue North before heading west. The line continued on 8th Avenue to the intersection of 8th Street West (now Arkadelphia Road) at the gates of Birmingham-Southern College in Owenton. The return trip followed the same route as far as 4th Avenue North in Birmingham, then turned down 19th Street to begin the trip again at 1st Avenue.

The original Wylam-Ensley line began at Indiana Street and proceeded east on 7th Avenue Wylam to Detroit Street where it turned toward Ensley on 34th Street to Avenue C, then east to 19th Street in the heart of Ensley's downtown. That line was later extended by following 19th down to Tuxedo Junction and proceeding along Ensley Avenue to Avenue W.

In 1913 the two routes were linked with track extending past 8th Street to 15th Street in Owenton, then along Bush Boulevard to meet the Ensley-Wylam section at Avenue W.

In 1927 the downtown Birmingham loop was shortened, turning back at 3rd Avenue North instead of 1st.

In 1938 the eastern portion of the route was abandoned and the No. 7 followed the route taken by the No. 27 Ensley No. 38 South East Lake streetcar line (5th Avenue North to Graymont Avenue, which rejoined the former route just west of the College.

The trackless trolleys designated as the No. 7 line followed a different route beginning in 1948. These departed Birmingham on 3rd Avenue North and proceeded to 15th Street West before turning north to Bush Boulevard. They then veered back to the west on Pike Road to 35th Street Ensley, bypassing Ensley's downtown.

References