Ever drive past a set of rusty old train tracks on a Portland street where no trains go?

Portland once had a vast inner-city trolley system similar to San Francisco's that went all the way up to St. Johns and Vancouver and as as far south as Oregon City. Each line was run by different private companies so many tracks ran parallel and were eventually abandoned. As cars became more and more prominent, the tracks were paved over and the streetcar became obsolete.

Today the lines are cracking through the surface of the pavement in many spots, including the Pearl on NW 12th and Johnson, an even more distinct set on NW 15th under I-5, and on Thurman and NW 18th under I-405. The Eastside has a few of their own ghost lines, like on SE 26th Ave. and Morrison Street, where tracks flow seemingly from a graveyard sidewalk into a split-level house.

Richard Thompson is a historian and an author working on his fifth book about Portland's streetcar. His home is a monument to the trolley system with photos on every wall, pieces of cars, doors, lines of actual track, and many other artifacts from the cities history. 

Here's Thompson sharing some photos from his recent book and talking about his favorite subject, Portland's streetcar history.