Posts Tagged ‘Trolley cars’

SEPTA Takes Step to Buy New Trolley Cars

May 16, 2022

Philadelphia’s trolley cars are being set to be replaced.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority last week issued a request for proposals to replace the trolley fleet.

The RFP is a step toward acquiring new cars and a major step of the agency’s trolley modernization plan, SEPTA said in news release.

One goal of the program is make the trolleys more accessible with higher capacity, wider pathways, improved messaging systems and open space for those with wheelchairs and strollers.

Most existing trolleys were constructed in the 1980s.

The project also will seek to build new on-street stations and rebuild underground stations to make them more accessible.

SEPTA has eight trolley routes operating over 68 miles of track to connect Philadelphia and Delaware County with the region’s two largest employment and health care centers.

SEPTA to Temporarily Replace Trolleys With Buses

January 23, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will begin replacing its ancient fleet of Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars this weekend, but the transit agency said that doesn’t mean the trolleys are being permanently idled.

A SEPTA spokeswoman told Trains magazine that the cars are being replaced by buses in order to accommodate road construction projects.

Carla Showell-Lee said the changes will be in effect for two years.

She said the work on Girard Avenue requires adjustments to trolley service.

The trolley cars will complete their last trips on Route 15 on Saturday.

The eastern segment of Route 15 has been operating with buses on Girard Avenue and Richmond Street has been using buses for a few years due to construction on nearby Interstate 95.

Showell-Lee said buses will be used on Route 15 through 2021.

SEPTA’s streetcar fleet has 18 PCCs that date to the 1940s. Although these cars were rebuilt in the early 2000s by Brookville Equipment Company, they have suffered from such issues as rusted chassis.

“SEPTA’s loves its trolleys,” Showell-Lee said. “SEPTA will utilize this time to perform extensive maintenance and rehabilitation work on the fleet of 18 PCC trolleys that serve the Route 15. The goal of this work is to extend the life of the vehicles, and improve their reliability once they are placed back into service.”

Nine Years Ago Today, a Most Memorable Outing

June 6, 2019

The late Frank Kellogg boards car 4398 at the beginning of the tour of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. The outing there was held June 6, 2010.

I ran across the other day a computer folder with scans labeled “Pennsylvania Trolley Museum” that contained images I made during an Akron Railroad Club outing there nine years ago today (June 6, 2010).

Seeing those images brought back a flood of memories about one of the ARRC’s most successful endeavors during my time as president.

The idea to make a trip to the museum came from Alex Bruchac in response to my call for ideas of activities the club could pursue that year.

That was during the winter and sometime that spring the members voted in favor of making the trip.

Alex, who is a long-time volunteer at the museum, made all of the arrangements, including chartering a Southeastern Trailways motor coach.

The outing got off to a less than promising start when thunderstorms rolled through Northeast Ohio that morning.

A few of us met for breakfast at the Bob Evans restaurant on Rockside Road in Independence, which was located adjacent to the hotel where the bus would stop and pick up those from the Cleveland area.

From there the bus proceeded to the club’s meeting site, the New Horizons Christian Church, to pick up the Akron area contingent.

All told there were 37 ARRC members and guests on the trip, which was a good turnout for an ARRC outing.

We stopped at a rest area on the Ohio Turnpike en route to enable those who wished to do to get breakfast at a McDonald’s.

From there we headed for Washington, Pennsylvania, the location of the museum, which was once known as the Arden Trolley Museum.

We were greeted by museum CEO Scott Becker, who would be our host and tour guide for the day.

Becker showed us a short video about the museum, talked about the collection and answered questions.

The classroom session out of the way, we walked out the door and boarded car 4398, an orange-colored former Pittsburgh Railways car that had been built in 1917 by St. Louis Car Company.

The 4398 had recently been restored and ferried us around the museum grounds. We were the first group to ride in the car since it had returned to revenue service.

It was one of three cars we rode that day. The others were the red and cream No. 1711, a PCC built in 1949 by St. Louis Car for Pittsburgh Railways; and the maroon-colored No. 78, built by Brill in 1931 for the Red Arrow Lines of Philadelphia.

Between trips aboard these three cars, which covered all of the museum’s trackage, we toured the car barns and heard about the history of the other cars in the museum’s collection.

Much of the time our motorman for the day was Dave Carpenter, the lead car operator instructor.

The storms that had struck earlier in the day stayed away and we remained dry.

As evening began approaching, we re-boarded our bus and stopped for dinner at a nearby Eat ‘n Park restaurant.

Then it was back to Akron and Independence. During the trip home four of the officers came up with the plan to name J. Gary Dillon as an ARRC life member at the July meeting.

My recollection is that we didn’t lose money on this outing and the high number of participants raised the prospect of doing another bus tour.

We discussed doing the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, but that idea never came close to coming about. There was some complication in doing it and I no longer recall those details.

There was also a concern that if a trip was poorly attended the club could lose a lot of money.

As enjoyable as the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum trip had been I wasn’t sure we could duplicate that success on another trip.

Some events just seem to have everything going for them and the same level of enthusiasm for an encore performance just isn’t there.

That trip to Pennsylvania would be the last time that the ARRC took a bus trip to a museum or event. In fact it was the only such outing the club has had since I joined the group in 2003.

When I look back on that trip today I can’t help but think about some of the ARRC members and friends who were there that day who have since passed away.

It was just one of those days when it seemed that everything just worked out very well and everyone who was there had a good, if not great, time.

I’m reminded of a couple of lines from the Bryan Adams song Summer of ’69: “And if I had the choice, yeah I always wanna be there.”

I haven’t been back to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum since that 2010 trip. It always seemed to be far away and I wasn’t familiar with how to get there.

Unless you are really passionate about streetcars and trolleys there is the element of seeing it once is enough.

Nonetheless, enough time has passed that it might be worthwhile to visit again.

Trolley Museum to Celebrate 3 Generations

July 20, 2015

The Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania will operate on Aug. 22 a “Three Car Celebration” to welcome the return of trolleys from three different generations.

As part of the festivities there will be dedication ceremonies for restored Johnstown Traction Co. No. 311, Philadelphia PCC No. 2743 and San Diego light rail vehicle No. 1019.

The event will begin begin at 10 a.m. and feature the first day of public operations for the three cars. Tickets are $8 for adults for an all-day ticket and $4 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and younger are free.

For more information, go to

PTM Rolls Out Cincy Car For 50th Anniversary

May 15, 2013


The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum had a celebration on May 7 to kickoff its 50th anniversary of operation. It also rolled out Cincinnati Street Railways car No. 2227.

Built by the Cincinnati Car Co. for the ‘Queen City’ in 1919, it served in passenger and work service until 1951 when trolley service ended.

A group of trolley fans purchased the car for use as a club house. Over the years the car was moved around southwestern Ohio as supporters disappeared and attempts to send it to a museum failed.

During those tough times the 2227 lost such important hardware as its trucks and the like. Finally, sometime in the early 1970s, Gerald Brookins of Trolleyville fame was able to acquire the car and brought it to Olmsted Township.

Jerry also located the forlorn electric locomotive No. S-92 that the street railway had built to serve a coal-fired power station.

The railway in Cincinnati was a broad gauge system but this locomotive was built standard gauge. This made it a perfect donor to make the 2227 whole.

I’m sure many Akron Railroad Club members had an opportunity to see and ride the fine restoration that Trolleyville did to the car over years of service on the CP&SW.

In recent years, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum acquired the 2227 from Cleveland’s attempt to create a new museum.

In another strange happenstance that occurred years before, PTM members had located the original trucks of the 2227 and saved them for a future project. It is amazing how fate works.

For the past several months the car had resided in the shop up on jacks while the motor trucks and the trucks that had been saved were sent out for rebuilding and regauging.

While the body was hanging around, workers did some fine tuning to the air brake system and a resolved a couple of minor structural issues.

The shop forces felt it would best to fix it now and have a reliable service from the trolley for many years to come rather than wait for something to break.

So on a drizzly Tuesday about 60 plus folks, including volunteers such as myself and Alex Mahoney who have some sweat equity in the car, gathered for the roll out and first official ride on 2277. Among those present were donors and vendors.

The car made all of the classic noises as it went grinding and bumping along the track. The car made several trips and preformed better with each trip.

If you haven’t had an excuse to visit the PTM lately now you can come down to visit an old friend for some and a new one for others.

Article and Photographs by Alex Bruchac