Trolleys to the Casino: Municipal Operation

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Chapter 7


The takeover of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway was a bold venture for the town of Hampton but it accepted the challenge with high optimism and a number of its prominent citizens were named to the municipal board of directors, members of which included Charles E. Greenman, Joseph B. Brown, Irvin E. Leavitt, Herbert L. Tobey, Howard G. Lane, George Ashworth and Harry D. Munsey. Also on the board until his death in 1923 was Albert E. McReel of Exeter, who had served as superintendent and general manager of the railway from 1898 until early 1902.

Mr. Greenman was elected president; Mr. Brown, vice president; Mr. Tobey, secretary and clerk; Mr. Lane, treasurer, and Dean B. Merrill, assistant treasurer. Walter A. Scott, formerly assistant manager of the EH&A, served as the railway's superintendent for a few months, being succeeded late in the year by L. Frank Stevens of Hampton, a veteran conductor. Stevens was appointed in an acting capacity but remained in the post through 1925. Llewellyn H. McLain of Melrose, Mass., an inspector for the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, was listed as general manager in 1923-25 but he served largely in an advisory capacity.

Mr. Leavitt became vice president and Mr. Merrill became a director in 1922. Also named to the directorate in 1922 were Bertram T. janvrin of Hampton Falls and Elihu T. Adams of Seabrook, the two towns having voted to contribute to the cost of railway service that year. Mr. Adams served for only a year as Seabrook declined to give any further assistance after 1922, but Mr. Janvrin remained on the board through 1925. Exeter was not represented after Mr. McReel's passing although it continued its financial aid.

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One of the first projects undertaken after the town assumed control of the EH&A was the rehabilitation of the railway's track, roadbed, overhead and rolling stock, some $12,000 being expended for this purpose during 1921 and 1922. By 1923, according to the directors' report, the railway was in the best condition it had been for several years and the board expressed the belief that no further large outlays would be necessary for some time provided a reasonably active maintenance program was carried on. Incidentally, one-man operation was adopted by the EH&A in the fall of 1921 in order to reduce platform expenses during the fall, winter and spring.

(As early as 1917, the EH&A had considered the operation of one-man cars but the railway felt it could not afford the necessary alterations to its closed cars and continued using two-man crews throughout the year).

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