Trolleys to the Casino: Operations

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As in the days when the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury and the Amesbury & Hampton constituted a unit system in themselves, operations of the Eastern Division were conducted on a seasonal basis, the most frequent service being given during the summer when large crowds flocked to Hampton Beach. Summer schedules called for through cars between Haverhill and Hampton Beach via Seabrook Beach and between Exeter and Hampton Beach. A 30-minute headway was maintained on both lines, the running time for the 25.6 mile trip from Haverhill to the resort being 1 hr. 45 min.

During the fall, winter and spring, through cars were run between Haverhill and Amesbury (15.2 miles) on an hourly headway, some additional service being given between Haverhill and Plaistow, and between Amesbury and Exeter. The running time between Haverhill and Amesbury was one hour and that between Amesbury and Exeter, 1 hr. 30 min., including a 10 minute layover at Smithtown to connect with Haverhill & Amesbury cars on the Newburyport-Smithtown run. Only the mail car ran between Exeter and Amesbury the year round, the original schedule of three round trips on weekdays and one round trip on holidays being continued.

The original Haverhill terminal of the Eastern Division was at White's Corner, the junction of Main, Merrimack and Water Streets, with cars running up Main Street and over Haverhill & Southern New Hampshire trackage to Primrose Street, where the Haverhill &, Plaistow branched from the H&SoNH. On August 6, 1903, after the completion of a branch of the Haverhill & Southern New Hampshire from Winter Street through Locust and Granite Streets to Railroad Square, at the Boston & Maine depot, Eastern Division cars began leaving from that point, in the heart of the city's manufacturing district.

Other summer routes of the Eastern Division included that between Smithtown Square and Whittier's, Hampton, 5.09 miles, and the joint service with the Portsmouth Electric Railway between Portsmouth and Hampton Beach. Both were operated on 30-minute headways, with a 30-minute running time being allowed for the former. As before, the running time between Portsmouth and Hampton Beach was 1 hr. 15 min., of which 20 minutes were spent between Portsmouth junction and the casino.

For a time, in conjunction with the Haverhill & Amesbury Street Railway, through summer service was operated between Salisbury and Hampton Beaches, the 4.6 mile trip having a running time of 30 minutes, but this appears to have been discontinued at an early date. Thereafter - until the summer of 1909 - the Haverhill & Amesbury ran its cars only as far as Salisbury junction, through passengers being obliged to change there to and from cars on the Haverhill-Hampton Beach run.

The change from summer to fall schedules usually was made in mid September and from that time until November 30, some local service was provided between Smithtown and Hampton Beach via South Seabrook and Seabrook Beach. Operation of the entire Seabrook & Hampton Beach Street Railway annually was suspended front December1 through March 31, the local service being resumed on April 1 and continuing until Haverhill-Hampton Beach through cars resumed running around Memorial Day. Unfortunately, the lack of timetables makes it impossible to state the frequency of service provided on the local run but it is probable that an hourly headway was maintained in the early fall and through most of May, only a few daily trips being made at other times and some of these running only to South Seabrook - or possibly as far as Salisbury junction.

Hourly service also was given from Hampton Village to Hampton Beach and Portsmouth junction until December1 and from March 1 until Exeter-Hampton Beach runs were resumed. Between December 1 and March 1, the service was maintained on an irregular schedule: a timetable for the winter of 1903-04 notes that cars left Whittier's for Hampton Beach and the junction at 7:40 a.m. and 12:40, 1:40, 2:40, 3:40, 4:40 and 5:40 p.m. As before, connections were made at Portsmouth junction with trips on the Portsmouth Electric Railway.

Initial schedules on the Portsmouth & Exeter called for the operation of half hourly service in summer and an hourly headway in the fall, winter and spring. Through cars ran between the Exeter depot and Market Square, Portsmouth, a distance of 15 miles. The running time was one hour, crews being changed at Portsmouth Plains. By 1904, cars were running hourly throughout the year and in the fall of 1905, a two-hour headway was placed in effect and the through service to downtown Portsmouth was discontinued. Schedules thereafter called for hourly service from June until September and a two-hour headway at other times, with cars running between the Exeter depot and Portsmouth Plains only.

P&E cars ran from Court Square, Exeter, to the depot via Water and Main Streets, returning to the square via Front Street, while cars entering Exeter from Amesbury during the fall, winter and spring negotiated the loop in the opposite direction. This resulted in the permanent discontinuance of the Exeter loop car, which had been operated during those seasons since 1898.

Large 14-bench opens provided all regular service on the Haverhill-Hampton Beach run during the summer and they also made most of the trips on the Exeter- Hampton Beach line. Three of these cars were waiting at the Hampton depot on the morning of Thursday, September 4, 1902 when the New England Street Railway Club held its monthly outing at the Hampton Beach Casino. The group arrived on a special train from Boston and when it reached the beach, the first order of business appears to have been a baseball game. This was followed by a seafood dinner and then President H. E. Farrington conducted a brief business session. More sports were next on the program and at 4:45, the club members headed for home. Special cars carried the party to Haverhill, where the group boarded a train for Boston. Superintendent Hayden of the Eastern Division was host for the occasion.

The New Hampshire Traction Company actively promoted Hampton Beach and its attractions during the summer months and in the railway advertising, it was boasted that the casino contained everything that a day's or a season's enjoyment might demand. Band concerts were numerous, dances were frequent and a wide variety of fine shows was presented in the theatre. Beginning in the 1903 season, many of the productions were offered by the New England-famous J. W. Gorman Empire Specialty Company, and in that same season, the active management of the casino, the Ocean House, the Hampton Inn and the various cottages owned by the railway was assumed by one Col. W. H. Phinney, under contract to the EH&A.

During the 1904 season, concerts by the J. E. Goodrich band were presented daily at 1:30, 4:30 and 6:30 p. m., while vaudeville shows were given in the theatre weekday and Saturday afternoons and evenings at 3 and 8. (No Sunday performances in those less sophisticated years!) Six-course shore dinners were available for 50 cents in the casino dining room, an orchestra providing music during meal hours, and there was dancing in the convention hall ballroom every night Monday through Saturday.

Similar attractions were offered in 1905 and again in 1906.

The trolley terminal in front of the casino was a busy place in summer, with regular cars arriving and departing every 15 minutes and numerous specials pulling in to disgorge their outing and picnic parties, During the 1902-06 period, schedules called for Portsmouth and Haverhill cars to depart at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour while cars for Exeter left on the hour and half hour. While Hampton Beach-Salisbury Beach through service was offered, Salisbury Beach cars also left the casino on the hour and half hour. As before, a starter was stationed at Hampton Beach daily during the summer months, a starter's shanty, complete with telephone being located next to the band stand.

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