Philly cream cheese trolley spreads joy in San Francisco

MUNI 1060 (ex-SEPTA 2715) recently returned to service after rebuilding and 1,000 miles of “burn in” operation. (Jeremy Whiteman photo.)

By Roger DuPuis II

One of Philadelphia’s lost transit treasures continues to serve the public nearly 3,000 miles away.

Ex-SEPTA PCC car 2715, now numbered 1060, recently returned to service for the San Francisco Municipal Railway after a 1,000-mile burn-in following complete rebuilding by the Brookville Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania.

Car 2715 was delivered to the Philadelphia Transportation Co. in February 1947, one of 25 Westinghouse-equipped cars (2701-2725) that were among the first 100 postwar all-electric PCCs built for PTC by the St. Louis Car Co.  (Sisters 2726-2800 were GE-equipped vehicles).

The car would make history in 1979, when PTC successor SEPTA chose it to be the pilot vehicle for a new overhaul program. Sporting the new red, white and blue livery applied to SEPTA’s trolleys and buses, 2715 would serve in that guise for only eight years, after which it was retired. In 1992, it was among a group sold to San Francisco for use on the city’s F-Market line.

The F-Market line opened to the public in September 1995, and continues to operate using vintage trolley cars from around the world. Among them are 13 ex-SEPTA PCCs, including car 1060, wearing tribute liveries representing North American cities that operated PCC cars.

SEPTA PCC 2715 is seen at 10th and Erie in 1985 as a Route 56 pull-out car. (Harry Donahue photo).

As the Market Street Railway’s 1060 page explains, the car initially entered service in San Francisco in 1995 wearing former Newark, N.J. colors. Following an accident in 2002, the car was rebuilt and repainted in an interpretation of the silver, cream and blue colors worn by Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.’s first PCC cars in 1938. The resemblance to Kraft’s famous cream cheese boxes earned the car its new nickname.

Initially rehabilitated by Morrison-Knudsen for use in San Francisco, the ex-Philadelphia cars are in the process of undergoing second rehabs by Brookville, located in western Pennsylvania.

Brookville also was the contractor chosen to rebuild 18 PCC car shells with new propulsion, interiors, air conditioning and wheelchair lifts for SEPTA in the early 2000s. Dubbed PCC-II cars, they continue to serve Philadelphians on Route 15-Girard.

The rebuilt San Francisco cars, meanwhile, are being outshopped with fittings and equipment that are much closer in design to their original 1940s configuration.

For more on Philadelphia’s much-travelled postwar PCC cars, see:

2743 returns to service at Rockhill

Car 2743 returned to service at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on June 17, 2017. (Courtesy Harry Donahue.)

After more than a year of painting, seat re-installation and other interior detail work by FPT volunteers, Philadelphia Transportation Co. PCC car 2743 returned to formal passenger service at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

The 1947 streamliner’s inside has been restored to 1960s appearance to complement its exterior, which was repainted in PTC’s green and cream colors in 2015. The interior had remained in SEPTA’s 1980s GOH scheme until last year, when FPT began sending seats out to be reupholstered in PTC-era brown while repainting of the walls, ceilings and seat frames was underway.

FPT is grateful to all of the donors who helped make this project a reality through their generosity — especially through our donate a seat program — and to all of the volunteers who spent many long hours inside the car transforming its appearance. We are looking at ways of recognizing all of you for your efforts. Watch this space for more details in the near future.

In the meanwhile, we hope you will take the opportunity to visit Rockhill in the near future and see the restored car for yourselves.

From left, George Rich, Mike Lawson and Harry Donahue enjoy a laugh as 2743 was being made ready to re-enter museum service. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Alex Campbell helps out with some last-minute details before 2743 returned to service. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Mike Lawson was a virtual one-man band when the time came to install the final seats inside 2743. (Harry Donahue photo.)

PTC car 2743 has just arrived at Blacklog Narrows following an outbound trip on June 17, 2017. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

 

 

 

 

We really get around!

Seen here with Lancaster Birney car 236 are: Mike Lawson, Andrew Nawn, Matt Nawn, George Rich and Bill Monaghan Jr. (John Eichelberger photo.)

While FPT’s focus is and always will be on Philadelphia trolleys, our volunteers and friends also share their personal time with other museums that work to preserve our traction heritage, with a focus on cars connected to Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

The Manheim Historical Society in Lancaster County, Pa., operates a restored 1926 Birney car that was built by Brill in Philadelphia, and operated for Lancaster’s Conestoga Traction Co. until 1947. The car is housed in a small purpose-built barn, and runs along a short stretch of track next to the society’s restored 1881 railroad station in the Borough of Manheim.

Birney 236 was rescued by the society in 1990 from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. While its line isn’t long and the traffic isn’t heavy, the 91-year-old trolley does need some care and fine-tuning from time to time. FPT founding member Matt Nawn has lent the society his expertise in recent years.

On May 13, Matt and several other friends visited the society’s carbarn to perform some work on 236 prior to the start of the 2017 season. Together with Matt were Andrew Nawn, Bill Monaghan, Mike Lawson, George Rich and Roger DuPuis. The society’s John Eichelberger was on hand with a rain canopy, tools and supplies this damp Saturday, while Kate Eichelberger made sure everyone had a warm meal inside the beautifully restored station building.

The car’s controllers, motors, brake valves, breaker boxes and doors all received some attention, with the inside windows getting a good cleaning.

The trolley operates from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays, weather permitting, between June and September. For those who would like to come out for a visit, Matt will be operating on June 10, and Roger on June 11, during Manheim Heritage Days.

2743: We’re getting there!

Mike Lawson chats with Rockhill Trolley Museum’s Joel Solomon during work on 2743 at the museum, April 8, 2017.

Work on restoring the interior of PTC 2743 to its 1960s appearance continues, with some significant advances in recent weeks.

All of the car’s seats have now been reupholstered, and volunteers are in the process of re-installing them. The overall appearance is truly gratifying, but two of the most amazing sights are at the front and the back. In the rear of the car, the back bench has been reupholstered in three sections, with the middle cushion easily removable to allow access to a back-up controller, which has yet to be installed. In the front of the car, meanwhile, volunteer Mike Lawson has installed the redone operator’s seat cushions on a cleaned-up frame which works — and looks — much more like the original models than the heavy old seat frame which had been inside the car since its final days of service in Philadelphia.

Mike’s skills and enthusiasm have come as a welcome breath of fresh air as we move toward the final stages of the interior work. His attention to detail really shows through on the primed and repainted cab heaters and other floorboard details. Mike also reinstalled the Pennsylvania PUC notice plate, which, was recently donated to FPT by Chuck Kumpas, and offered some helpful tips about how to clean and polish it. He also removed the plexiglas panel behind the operator’s seat, another 1980s addition. Work is underway to replace the original cloth operator’s curtain which hangs in that space.

In the attached photos, we see Mike, Jerry Evans and Harry Donahue at work inside the car on Saturday, April 8, along with some detail shots. Anyone who might be interested in helping FPT finish this work is welcome to contact us. In particular, we will be looking to do interior paint touch-ups during April and May.

Mike Lawson relaxes in the refurbished operator’s seat.

Harry Donahue checks out the new back bench, with back-up controller access panel.

Looking toward the front of 2743.

The vintage Pennsylvania PUC notice plate has been installed on the front door motor panel.

Here is a closer look at the refurbished rear bench seat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FPT to host May 21 PCC-II charter

PCC-II cars

You, too, can ride one of these! Join FPT for the May 21 PCC-II charter in Philadelphia, details at right. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys will be sponsoring a PCC II charter in conjunction with the East Penn Traction Meet on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

The East Penn meet will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20. The charter will depart SEPTA’s Elmwood Depot at 11 a.m. May 21 and will return around 3 p.m. The fare for the trip is $45.

To reserve a seat, please send a check for $45.00 made out to FPT, Inc., and mail to: FPT c/o Harry Donahue, 103 Mulberry Court, Morgantown, PA 19543. For more information, email Bill Monaghan at FPT2799@comcast.net.

Want a printable flier to mail? You can download that here.

 

Help FPT support the restoration of 8042!

8042

Philadelphia Peter Witt 8042, which was built by Brill in 1923, came to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in 2005. It is seen inside the Trolley Display Building in 2012. (Roger DuPuis photo.)

Here is what you need to know about contributing to FPT’s efforts to raise funds for the restoration of Philadelphia Peter Witt car 8042, which is preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum:

8042 FUND RAISING FLYER

 

FPT Hosts the 2017 Winter Trolleyfest

Members of the “safety vest convention,” aka attendees of the 2017 Winterfest event, gather at the 69th Street trolley platform to await their two-car Kawasaki LRV charter over the former Red Arrow lines, Friday, Feb.17, 2017. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

In the late 1990s, several of the Trolley Museums in the Northeast began to hold an annual winter get-together for the people who volunteer at the various museums. The event has been held on a Friday-Saturday in February when the museums are normally closed to the public. The host museum would usually have a pizza party on Friday night along with guest operations. On Saturday, there would be more guest operations along with a formal lunch or dinner with a slide or power point informative program.

The idea was to foster a spirit of fellowship and cooperation among the different museums. One of the benefits of these informal communications was that parts and various equipment could be located and traded between the various museum shops.

This year, due to a variety of factors, none of the museums was able to host the event.

By early December it looked as if there would be no Winterfest for 2017.

The Feb. 17 suburban charter pauses for a photo stop at the Springfield Mall stop. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Guests admire a PCC-II car during their tour of Woodland Heavy Repair Shops on Feb. 18, 2017. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Then, one day in December, Bruce Wells of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (PTM) called Bill Monaghan with an idea: Could FPT put a Winterfest program together in the city of Philadelphia? Bill immediately contacted Harry Donahue and Matt Nawn. Could a program be put together on such short notice? Obviously, there could be no “guest operations” and the program would need the cooperation of SEPTA.

It was decided to build the event around SEPTA’s eight broad gauge trolley lines, six in the City Division and two in the Suburban Division. With the help of Ed Springer of SEPTA, FPT was able to arrange a Friday night charter on the suburban Media and Sharon Hill lines (former Red Arrow routes) using an MU Kawasaki train. On Saturday there was a five-hour charter on the City side using a two-car MU Kawasaki train. The city cars are very rarely used in MU service. Tours of both Elmwood Depot and Woodland Heavy Repair Shops were included with the charter.

The two-car City Division charter and a Route 15 PCC-II car are held up by traffic outside the Philadelphia Zoo, Feb. 18, 2017. (Bill Monaghan photo.)

Following the charter, there was a tour of the Newtown Square Railroad Museum where former Red Arrow “St. Louie” Streamliner #23 will be restored as a static display just about one hundred feet from West Chester Pike where it once ran on the West Chester Line. On Saturday evening, FPT hosted a pizza dinner at the Newtown Square Municipal Building (thanks to the efforts of John Nawn). Matt Nawn gave a presentation about Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys and retried SEPTA engineer Russ Jackson presented a program on the development of SEPTA’s Kawasaki light rail cars.

Although the event was put together on very short notice, we had a total of 89 people registered and everyone appeared to have a great time. A committee was formed to look into which museum will host Winter Trolleyfest for 2018.

FPT wishes to thank SEPTA for their assistance in making this a successful event.

Come see FPT at Stratford KofC train show!

FRIENDS OF PHILADELPHIA TROLLEYS will have a sales table at the Stratford Knights of Columbus Toy and Train Collectible Show on Saturday, March 4th, 2017.

santafeThe show will be held at St. John Paul II Regional Catholic School, 55 Warwick Road, Stratford NJ 08084. If you are in the area, please stop by.  100% of the value of items sold by FPT supports our ongoing restoration grants to organizations preserving trolley cars formerly used in the Philadelphia area.