Rollsigns from Hamilton, OH
Predecessor to Butler County Regional Transit Authority.
Public transportation in Hamilton began with the privately owned Hamilton Street Railway Co. (HSR). It was formed in 1875,
providing the city of about 13,300 residents with its first transit system, using horse drawn railcars and three foot narrow gauge
track. Service began rolling in the Fall of 1875. In April of 1889, the HSR was sold to the Hamilton Street Railway & Electric
Company. The first all electric streetcars began service on Dec. 30, 1890. In 1902, the Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo Traction
Company provided streetcar service within Hamilton as well as interurban service through the area. The company failed financially
and In 1918 it spun off its Cincinnati-Hamilton-Dayton line to the Cincinnati and Dayton Traction company. In 1926, the former
Cincinnati and Dayton Traction Company was reorganised under the new name Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton, running city
service and the connecting interurban lines. It was headed by Dr. Thomas Conway, Jr. He was successful in revitalizing other
Midwest traction and freight companies. In 1930, just as the Great Depression was starting, Conway purchased and merged his
profitable CH&D with two essential connecting interurbans: Indiana, Columbus and Eastern, and the Lima-Toledo Railroad, to form
the Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad. Purchases for modern rolling stock and infrastructure improvements were done and each
year the C&LE shipped more and more freight, however the only year that it was profitable was 1936, The accelerating collapse
of the American economy through the late 1930s led to further C&LE financial losses and a steady decline in operations. In its
final years, the streetcar franchise was owned by the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railway Co. that also ran interurban lines in Ohio.
Hamilton’s last streetcar completed its run from the west end of Millville Avenue to the Lindenwald car barn at the northeast
corner of Pleasant and Williams Avenues shortly after midnight Sunday, July 23, 1933. The streetcars were replaced the same
day, July 23, 1933, by gas-powered buses. They were operated by Hamilton City Lines, a subsidiary of the Cincinnati & Lake
Erie interurban company. In 1946, Hamilton City Lines became an independent operation. In 1959, Hamilton Transit Lines
operated service but it was short lived as, in 1960, transit service was once again discontinued. For about a year, Hamilton had
no transit service. In 1961, a new company with the name Hamilton Transit Lines restarted public transportation in the city.
In 1973, the system was renamed to "The Bus Company". It provided service using modern vehicles until 1996, when transit
service yet again was discontinued. Although there is no dedicated fixed route service in Hamilton today, in 1994, Butler County
Regional Transit Authority was formed to provide connecting service in the county. Their main service area is in Oxford, Ohio
but have connecting routes to Hamilton, and in the Spring of 2014, took over operation of transit services in Middletown, Ohio,
also providing connecting services to Oxford, and Hamilton and areas to the south like Springdale and Forest Park.
This mylar side rollsign was retrieved from ex-Zanesville, Ohio 1981 built
TMC CityCruiser #811, which is interesting because this bus was never
owned by Hamilton, Ohio. Also, its sign tag says this sign was designed
for a Gillig bus. Its print date is April 9, 1991. The sign has 25 exposures.
Retired Zanesville Z-Bus February 1981 built TMC CityCruiser
#811, the bus this rollsign came from, is shown as it was
discovered in a scrap yard in eastern Ohio on October 28, 2019.
"The Bus Company" Hamilton, Ohio January 1982 built Transportation
Manufacturing Corporation (TMC) CityCruiser #403 is seen in service
in April of 1982.
(Photo by Bob Hussey. Used with permission)