Portland light rail system map, 1923
Modern Portland and the Willamette Valley have a large, successful light rail system built in the late 20th century. But it was even bigger in the 1920s, when it was owned by five competing railway operators. (The system went all the way to Corvallis and Eugene, 100 miles away.) This was only feasible before modern roads. As buses, paved roads and cars got better, there was simply less need to have a 100-mile-long interurban rail system. The system had begun to shut down even before the Great Depression, with the Red Electric closing two weeks before the stock market crash of 1929.
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