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Atlantic City, New Jersey

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For roughly the first half of the twentieth century, Atlantic City, New Jersey, boasted three separate electric rail systems and the three enjoyed varying measures of corporate and operational relationships.

The first that should be mentioned is the electrified service that the Pennsylvania Railroad operated between Camden and Atlantic City. This was an early direct current operation that actually served as a test bed for later PRR electrification efforts and the Pennsy's subsidiary was known as the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad. Electrified service was inaugurated in 1906 and utilized direct current, supplied both by third rail where practical and conventional overhead trolley wire in more congested areas. Electric m.u. cars, including a few built to PRR's MP-54 specification, constituted the line's rolling stock and this electrified service became part of the combined Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines when the Pennsy and the Reading Company consolidated their previously competitive South Jersey operations in 1933. In 1931, prior to the creation of PRSL, electrified service was eliminated into Atlantic City and reduced to a short suburban leg out of Camden. Even this service was de-electrified in 1949.

The second operation was called the Atlantic City and Shore Railroad, or more popularly, the Shore Fast Line. It was a classic interurban operation linking Atlantic City and Ocean City and it began service in 1907 and ended in 1949. Like the West Jersey and Seashore, its cars drew current from both overhead trolley wire and trackside third rail and it enjoyed a corporate and operational relationship with both the Pennsylvania Railroad and the local Atlantic City streetcar system. Indeed for a short stretch just outside Atlantic City, Shore Fast Line cars operated over trackage of the West Jersey and Seashore where the third rail was left in place after the latter's electrified operation into Atlantic city was eliminated in 1931. The line's Atlantic City terminal was at Virginia Avenue and the Boardwalk and to reach its own right-of-way, at least in the years after 1935, cars had to navigate their way along streetcar trackage on Atlantic Avenue, more the province of city streetcars than fast-running interurbans. Shore Fast Line cars terminated in Ocean City at Eighth Street and the Boardwalk, making this unusual interurban surely the only line whose dual end-point terminals were adjacent to Atlantic Ocean boardwalks. The operation was motorized in early 1948.

The third electrified service in Atlantic City lasted longer than the others and it was a streetcar line that made its way from a place called The Inlet at the north end of Atlantic City and operated largely along the city's major thoroughfare, Atlantic Avenue, southward and through the communities of Ventnor, Margate and Longport. Owned and operated by the Atlantic City Transportation Company, this service was distinctive, during its final decade-and-a-half, in that its basic fleet of cars consisted in twenty-five streamlined Brilliners, the Philadelphia-based Brill Company's competitive answer to the PCC car. Other properties purchased small fleets of similar Brilliners, but only in Atlantic City did this unique car serve as the basic rolling stock of a transit system. Until the very end of streetcar service in December of 1955, the Brilliners were supplemented by a small number of conventional Hog Island cars.

Presently, Atlantic City is served by rail from Philadelphia, via New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line.

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