There were three companies that had interurban electric railway terminals in Marion. Two of them (Union Traction and Indiana Railways and Light) also had street car service within Marion. There were several propositions to make interurban electric railways through and across Indiana, but most of them were never built.
The interurban electric railways allowed people to ride electric trains between larger towns. The trolley service extended beyond the city limits of Marion, Gas City, and other nearby towns, but these were just local lines that used the same cars as the trolleys within Marion. The interurban trains were much larger and more powerful. they were intended to carry people long distances across a vast network of tracks that covered most of Indiana by the mid 1820s.
When the interurban companies bought out the local trolley companies during the early 1900s, they kept using the same rails and cars to offer local service as the local companies had been using for years. They didn't offer superior service, they merely had more resources with which they could defeat the locals in price wars.
Two Railroads also crossed Marion, the Nickel Plate R.R. and the Pennsylvania R.R. They placed tracks which the interurban companies would later parallel when laying tracks and wire for the electric railroads. They were different from the interurban companies in that they used steam and diesel engines instead of electric and that they didn't transport people within a town.
The interurban railways and the trains were important to the trolleys in Marion because much of the streetcars' business was taking people to and from the train and interurban stations. The interurban electric railroads were more trouble for the Marion-based street cars than they were beneficial. They were the fiercest competitors in the struggle to provide transportation within Marion. They had much more money than the smaller, local companies. They dominated the trolley scene from 1903 to 1933. This thirty year stretch was longer than any of the local companies lasted. Marion-based companies only operated for a total of twenty-eight years--split evenly in half so that the first fourteen years was before the interurban took over, and the other half was after they left.