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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 5700
Municipal Street Railway System

The Municipal Street Railway System was formed in 1919 when the City purchased the rail lines of the Puget Sound Traction, Light and Power Company. The System was administered by the Department of Public Utilities until 1932 when the Department was abolished. The System was then under the authority of the Board of Public Works. By 1938, the System was archaic and bankrupt. It received a loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1939 and began a modernization program. The System was reorganized in 1939, changed its name to the Seattle Transit System, and came under the policy direction of the Seattle Transportation Commission from 1939-1951 and then the Seattle Transit Commission until 1971. The newly formed Department of Transportation operated the System until 1973 when it became part of Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro). These records are part of the Metro records located at the Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch. Annual reports (1919-1936) of the Municipal Street Railway System are located at the Seattle Municipal Archives (see Record Series 1802-H4).


5700-01
Superintendent's Correspondence
1926-1940
2.0 cubic feet

Correspondence of A.W. Pierce, Superintendent of Railway.

RA


5700-02
Reports and Studies
1914-1939
1.0 cubic foot

Miscellaneous reports and studies relating to the Municipal Street Railway System including audits, traffic counts, rider volumes, and the 1939 Beeler report on efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

RA


5700-03
Bulletins
1901-1941
0.4 cubic foot

Instruction memoranda to employees relating to schedule changes, policies and procedures, etc. Includes bulletins of the Seattle Electric Company.

RA


5700-04
Employee Special Investigation Committee Records

1919-1933
0.2 cubic foot

The City Council created the Special Investigation Committee to review department operations and finances and to recommend policies and practices to improve conditions within the agency. The Railway Department was facing a projected loss of nearly one million dollars for 1933 and had a seen a 40 percent decrease in revenues between 1926 and 1933. Records include employee petitions against any change in management, a minority report issued by three of the nine committee members, the Superintendent's response to the majority report, and a handful for background material. The majority report is not included with the records.

SMA
Folder List


5701-01
Chief Engineer's Records
1920-1942
3.0 cubic feet

Correspondence, memoranda, notes, and studies relating to planning, routing, rehabilitation of the system, and trackage and equipment. These are the files of M.D Anderberg.

RA


5702-01
Contracts
1903-1950
3.0 cubic feet

Correspondence and contracts for purchase of equipment, capital improvements, land acquisitions and extension of track. Includes some material from the Seattle Electric Company.

RA


5702-02
Cost Estimates
1925-1940
2.2 cubic feet

Drawings, cost estimates, correspondence, photographs, and copies of ordinances relating to purchases of equipment, laying track, and constructing facilities.

RA


5702-03
Asset Retirement Estimates
1925-1940
0.8 cubic foot

Correspondence, drawings, cost estimates, and photographs relating to the removal of street railway tracks and sale of equipment.

RA


5703-01
Seattle and Rainier Valley Railroad Appraisals
1919-1937
1.0 cubic foot

Property and equipment appraisals for the Seattle and Rainier Valley Railroad which became part of the City's railway system.

RA