I spotted this week's auction item not long after running an that once crisscrossed this region of the state. I was a little disappointed to find that the ticket doesn't come from the era of those clanging contraptions but rather from a brief period in the 1960s when a bus company was in operation. However, this company does have its routes in a popular trolley line between Norwich and New London.
This ticket is for a round trip journey from Norwich to , with admission to the beach included, on a service offered by Thames Valley Transit Inc. It is offered by John A. Nagy, who goes by the name of antiquepapers on eBay. Nagy has also written three nonfiction books on espionage during the American Revolution and is currently looking into the "significant amount" of this activity in the New London area.
Though the electric trolley system first appeared in Connecticut in 1888, it went through a rapid expansion over the next decade. The line in New London extended to Ocean Beach in 1892, helping to increase visits to the seaside community. The connection with Norwich came a little later. E.P. Shaw Jr., who oversaw several trolley systems in the region, declared that a new line between the cities would "take people from Franklin Square to Ocean Beach for 20 cents, or half the price now charged by the steam railroad."
Ocean Beach proved a popular destination for Norwich residents, as businessmen sought to improve the Connecticut Company trolley access to the resort. Perhaps the most significant development toward this goal was the establishment in 1923 of direct trolleys from both Norwich and Taftville to the beach. This eliminated the need for riders to switch trains at the .
The decision by the Connecticut Company to scrap the trolley system came eight years later. The company said that the same service could be provided, sometimes at a swifter pace, by buses. The trolley line to Norwich was the only one not abandoned under this 1931 decision, but residents could no longer take a ride straight to Ocean Beach. Road improvements to Montauk Ave. were underway, and the company said these would include the extraction of the tracks and ties.
The conversion to bus officially occurred in 1932. The trolley line to Norwich ran for only two more years before it was also abandoned in favor of a bus line. Thames Valley Transit Inc. entered the picture in 1961 when it purchased the bus system. Seven years later, the operation was taken over by the current bus system, Southeastern Area Transit or SEAT.
This ticket measures two and a quarter by five and a quarter inches. The auction ends at about 7:23 p.m. this evening.