The first cars were Stephensons, which arrived by sailing vessel passing Cape Hatteras and the Florida keys. The cars had bright white livery and gold trim, and were the sturdy 7-window 14' PM BR BT standard streetcars so popular with street railways in the U. S. (Cars of this type were even exported to other countries.) Many positive comments were seen in N. O. newspapers in mid 1866. The major promotor and power behind the St. Charles was Mr. J. H. Nicholson.
The road had two carbarns, one at Clio & Magnolia, the other at 8th & Carondelet. Mules were rotated so no animal worked more than five hours at a time. Four animals were allotted to each car on both the Clio and Carondelet lines, while five per car were called for on the Dryades line, which had curves and rough-surfaced streets.
In 1877, the StCRyCo ran 60 cars, all PM BR BT. Poors 1889 gave the road 61 cars, 260 mules, and 15 more miles of track of 40 lb. rail. Funded debt: First mortgage 6%, bonded at $195,000. Directors Alden McClellan, Wm. H. McClellan, A. R. Brousseau, H. C. Boucher, Henry Eilermann, Oscar Isnard, H. T. Vennard. Mr. Alden McClellan was president in 1889, and was still holding that office two years later (TD 2/15/1891).
The city experienced a great surge in visitors for the Centennial Exhibitions of the mid 1880s — after-midnight (“owl”) cars began, fares 10¢ (DP 2/17/1885). Like the New Orleans & Carrollton RR Co., while its cars were Stephensons, it ordered materials from Brill: ON 1621, 14 Feb. 1877 for 50 ash sash, and ON 1622, same date, for “two second hand cars” (no further details).
The St. Charles BLT cars for sale, five PM BR BT cars for Sherman, Texas (SRJ Nov. 1889). One car of the same type sold to Mr. Henry C. Braud in 1890 for the 900' tramway at Burnside, La. connecting the Y&MV RR station with the dock of the Burnside & Donaldson Packet Co. (P in LaSR, vol. 1, p. 141).
The last pre-electric stats were in the 1895 U. S. Dept. of the Interior, showing the St. Charles having 64 cars, all supposedly Stephenson.
This company operated three lines: (1) Common St., later Tulane Ave.; (2) N. Claiborne Ave.; and (3) Girod & Poydras. Investors included J. B. Slawson and Edmund J. Hart. Mr. Hart replaced the C&C's first president, Gen. A. M. Labuzan, who died in 1869. The Hart interests with New Orleans' city transportation began with the omnibus era (see page b2) and extended through the years of animal traction, well into the electric railway age, both accumulator/storage battery and overhead trolley power collection (see Electric Traction & Manufacturing Co., S pp. 21 ff, and Appendix III, page g ff).
The initial cars were 7-window 14' PM BR BT Stephensons (some lost at sea in a storm off Cape Hatteras) — 25 cars in “cadmium” livery, a lemon-yellow color. One was an especially attractive car (DP 6/2/1868). This was number 1, which had “precisely the same dimensions as the other cars.” The car had decorations, like those the Stephenson plant BLT for the N. O. City RR Co. and the N. O. & Carrollton RR Co. on the center waist panels of the cars. In bright colors were steamships in an ocean scene on one side, and on the other a steamship on the Mississippi River. Two mules were appointed to pull this car for C&C officials, stockholders, guests, and chartered trips for the public.
By 1870 the C&C owned 40 cars and 218 mules, and employed 100 men (JCC 1874). Thirteen years later, the road had the same number of cars with 200 mules (SRJ Jan. 1887). The 1889 Poors report still showed the C&C with 40 cars, 220 mules, on 13.5 miles of track, 37 lb. rail. The road carried two million fares in the period reported, and the value of its fixed assets and real estate was $240,000. Receipts were $100,000 and capital stock was worth $240,000, with a debt of $150,000.
In 1891 C&C President E. J. Hart commented on a problem the mule car street railway faced: to load and unload passengers one stop per block, or to make several stops per block. The former method would enhance faster service. However, Mr. Hart stated that cars seldom stopped more than three times per block, and ending this policy would be a hardship on ladies, who in the 1890s had fashions of tight, uncomfortable shoes, corsets, girdles (for the wasp-waist effect), long and heavy dresses, numerous undergarments, in addition to tending children who also were riders. Even half a block was a difficult walk for ladies. Mr. Hart would not end the multi-stop per block rule, considering the comfort and safety of his patrons over sheer speed (TD 2/15/1891).
Mr. Hart added comments to his declaration, mentioning that a streetcar weighed about 3,750 pounds, carried 30 people, was 14' in length, and moved at 5 to 6 mph by city ordinance. This manner of running a streetcar “ok for a short-winded animal like the mule.”
The 1895 U. S. Dept. of the Interior listed 40 cars on the C&C, which supported 32 cars in “regular service.” The mule cars faced retirement from C&C service in 1896, with a few cars which ran on the Girod & Poydras line until it was abandoned, after the NO&C merger with the C&C in 1899. The NO&C petitioned the city government to allow it to remove the Girod & Poydras line, that the NO&C can't be compelled by the city to run the almost-redundant line (TD 6/10/1899). The city gave approval (TD 7/1/1899), and the Times-Democrat reported removal of rails was underway (TD 11/16/1899). There wasn't a firm date for last day of service, thus the question lingers: which was the last mule car line, the Girod & Poydras line of the C&C (NO&C), or the Bayou Bridge & City Park line of the N. O. City RR Co. (second corp.) (which see, page c5)?
Most retired mule cars were sold to become sheds, chicken coops, pigeonaires, vendors' booths, or even dwellings. One C&C mule car is known to have pursued its rail career further, in a railroad in Honduras (P in DP 8/5/1904)!
|Common St. (Tulane Ave.)||10/10/1896|
|Girod & Poydras||Abandoned mid 1899|
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