The Toledo & Indiana Railway was incorporated in 1901 to construct an electric interurban rail line from Toledo through Stryker and Bryan. The T. & I. was envisioned as part of an interurban network connecting Toledo, Indianapolis and Chicago. The T. & I. interurban cars were similar to trolleys, with their electric motors powered by an arm or “kite” extending to an overhead power line.
The T. & I.’s route paralleled today’s Norfolk Southern line between Toledo and Bryan, but the interurban railway provided more convenient schedules, more passenger stops, and was less expensive than passenger service on the steam railroad.
In 1905, the T. & I. constructed a power plant near the Tiffin River in Stryker, and rails were extended to Bryan. Later that year, the T. & I. completed a car maintenance and storage facility east of its power plant and erected a combination passenger/freight depot on East Lynn Street in Stryker. The T. & I. power plant helped electrify northwest Ohio, bringing much of the area into the “modern age.”
As highways and secondary roads improved, and automobiles and trucks became more common, interurban railways struggled financially. In July 1939, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved the T. & I’s request to abandon its interurban rail line.
On October 15, 1939, T. & I. Car 115 made the last trip over the rail line piloted by Lendall W. Vernier of Stryker. This circa 1910 image of a T. & I. interurban car crossing Beaver Creek between Bryan and Stryker is from the Williams County Public Library’s Photographic Archives–Courtesy of the Williams County, Ohio, Local History Exchange.
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