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History of Streetcars in Washington, D.C.
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The Bethesda Trolley Trail is a trail that stretches 5.9 miles from Downtown Bethesda to North Bethesda. The trail is built off the former right of a way of the Tennallytown and Rockville Railroad, a streetcar line that went from current day Tenleytown to Rockville. The trail connects Rockville to Bethesda by two key bridges, one over I-495, and over I-270, making it possible for cyclists and pedestrians to get from Bethesda to Rockville.

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The Bethesda Trolley Trail is built of the abandoned right of way of the Tenallytown and Rockville railroad, which first built a rail line to Bethesda in 1891. The line stopped at the current divergence point between the right of way and Old Georgetown Road, at Alta Vista Road.

At the northern terminus of the line, there was a small amusement park named Bethesda Park which drew visitors to the line. The park was located in the current neighborhoods of Oakmont and Sonoma, and the main entrance was located near Sonoma Rd and Old Georgetown Road. A hurricane destroyed the park in 1896 and nothing remains of it today. In 1900, the line was further extended all the way to Rockville.

In the south, the Tenallytown and Rockville connected with the Georgetown and Tenallytown Railroad. Logically, in 1897 the two companies merged and became the Washington and Rockville Railroad. In 1902, this railroad was acquired by the Washington Railway and Electric Company (WRECO), which had purchased most other streetcar lines in the DC area, save for those operated by the Capital Traction Company.

When the Capital Traction Company and WRECO merged in 1933, and in 1935, the line to Rockville was shut down, leaving the right of way from Alta Vista to North Bethesda abandoned until the 2000s, when Montgomery County built the Bethesda Trolley Trail on top of the right of way.

Bethesda Trolley Trail, Wikipedia. December 25th 2020. Accessed January 3rd 2021.

Ellenberger, William J. History of the Street car Lines of Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Story, vol. 17, no. 2. Published July 1974.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Montgomery County Historical Society