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Learning about the Lightning Route


With a growing city in desperate need of a better form of transportation, Montgomery, Alabama set out to develop a system for people in the downtown area. They created what is known as the first citywide electric trolley system. Using cars similar as the one shown above, the trolleys were called the “Lightning Route”.

The Lightning Route was opened in 1886, and officially named the Capital City Street Railway. By encouraging fast transit the city was able to sprawl populations to suburban areas since travel times decreased.

For several decades Montgomery residents and visitors relied on the simplicity of travel via the electric rail cars. As years went by other modes of transportation became available. Automobiles were a major source of transit as they became affordable for the common person. Soon city buses also began roaming the streets of the city and the need for the electric rail cars soon decreased.

In 1936, the Lightning Route was replaced by municipal buses and the electric cars were removed. Today you can still catch a glimpse of the one remaining Brill car that stands in a park downtown.

Violet Sky’s Visit

This is a very interesting piece of transportation history. With a lot of exciting things to do in downtown Montgomery, I found this site to be exciting to explore. These cars were an important advancement in the development of the city.

How to Visit 

The old car is behind the ticket booth for the Harriet II. The site is free to visit in downtown Montgomery.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’.

-Violet Sky

Violet Sky with a “Lightning Route” Electric Railcar
Violet Sky with a “Lightning Route” Electric Railcar

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