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The Danbury and Bethel Street Railway was a streetcar operator in Danbury and Bethel, Connecticut. Service began in 1887, and at the greatest extent the company operated 15 miles of trackage. The primary coverage area was the old and historic central area of Danbury.

In Connecticut, most local trolley lines were interconnected and operated by the Connecticut Company or the Connecticut Railway and Lighting Company. Danbury's system, isolated from these, was atypical.

The company's main line was on Main Street from City Hall to Wooster Square. At Wooster Square, the line branched. One line went north on Main Street to North Street, ending at the intersection of North Street and Padanaram Road. Another line left Wooster Square and went east to White Street, to the edge of Beaver Brook at the intersection of Triangle Street and White Street. The line went west from City Hall up to the West Street park. At the West Street park, the track divided again, one line going farther out on West Street to Lake Avenue. The other branch at the West Street park went out Division Street to West Wooster Street, along West Wooster to Frye’s Corner, west on Park Avenue to the Fairgrounds, down Backus Avenue to Kenosia Avenue and on to Lake Kenosia.

From the City Hall the tracks went down South Main Street to the car barns and then south to Bethel, continuing down to its Main Street, ending at Fountain Place.

Around 1914, the Danbury and Bethel Street Railway ran into financial difficulty, with decreasing ridership resulting from the decline of the local hat factories. The company attempted to construct a trolley route between Bridgeport and Danbury, but could only build as far north as Trumbull, and this caused a severe loss of funds.

As roadways were improved and mass production made cars more affordable, passenger ridership further declined as they swiched from riding the streetcars to driving private automobiles. Further financial losses resulted from a fire in the barns in the early 1920’s which destroyed 19 trolley cars.

In the 1920s a new form of competition developed. Small privately operated buses operating flexible routes dubbed “jitneys” began operation in Danbury in the 1920’s. Jitney was slang for a nickel at that time, and jitneys got that name because they had a 5 cent fare. But service was not permitted on the trolley routes.

In 1918, after the company went into bankruptcy, J. Moss Ives, the brother of famous Danbury composer Charles Ives, took charge. He purchased the first buses by 1921 to operate a route between West Street and Lake Avenue in Danbury, rather than expending the capital to extend the trolley line. Ives reorganized the trolley company as the Danbury and Bethel Traction Company in 1925, now operating on 13 miles of track.

Defunct Transit Operators in Connecticut
Horsecar systems Bridgeport Horse Railway CompanyEast Hartford & Glastonbury Horse RailroadHartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad CompanyMeriden Horse Railroad CompanyNew Haven & West Haven Horse RailroadNew London Horse Railway CompanyNorwalk Horse Railroad CompanyStamford Horse Railroad CompanyState Street Horse Railroad CompanyWaterbury Horse Railroad Company
Streetcar systems Branford Lighting & Water CompanyBridgeport Railway CompanyBridgeport Traction CompanyCentral Railway & Electric Co.Cheshire Street RailwayConnecticut Electric CompanyConnecticut Light & Power CompanyConsolidated Railway CompanyDerby & Ansonia Street Railroad CompanyDerby Street RailwayEast End Railway CompanyEdgewood Avenue Electric CompanyEdgewood Street Railroad CompanyFair Haven & Westville RailroadFarmington Street RailwayGreenwich Tramway CompanyGroton & Stonington Street RailwayGroton & Stonington Traction CompanyHartford & West Hartford RailroadHartford Manchester & Rockville Tramway CompanyHartford Street RailwayLake Saltonstall Railroad CompanyMeriden Electric RailroadMeriden Southington & Compounce Tramway CompanyMiddletown Street RailwayMilford Street RailwayMontville Street RailwayNew Haven & Centreville Street RailwayNew Haven & Morris Cove Railway CompanyNew Haven & Shore Line Railway, IncorporatedNew Haven Street RailwayNew London Street RailwayNorwalk Street RailwayNorwalk Tramway CompanyNorwich Street RailwayPeoples Tramway CompanyPortland Street Railway CompanyPutnam & Thompson Street Railway CompanyShelton Street RailwayShore Line Electric Railway CompanySouth Manchester Light Power & Tramway CompanyStamford Street RailroadSuffield Street RailwayThompson Tramway Co.Torrington & Winchester Street RailwayWaterbury Traction CompanyWestport & Saugatuck Street RailwayWest Shore Railway Co.Whitney Avenue Railroad CompanyWillimantic Traction CompanyWinchester Avenue RailroadWorcester & Connecticut Eastern Railway Company
Bus systems Bridgeport Auto Transit CompanyCandlewood Bus CompanyChestnut Hill Bus CorporationChieppo Bus CompanyCity Bus LineCross Country Coach, Inc.Danbury Power & Transportation CompanyGray Line Bus CompanyH & W Transit CompanyJoseph H. McMahon CompanyOrange Street Bus LineSavin Transit CompanyStratford Bus Line CompanyThames Valley Transit, IncorporatedValley Transportation Company
Streetcar/Bus systems The Connecticut CompanyConnecticut Railway & Lighting CompanyDanbury and Bethel Street RailwayDanbury and Bethel Traction Company

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