$25 Day at Pa. Trolley Museum a success

Red Arrow St. Louis cars 24 and 14 pose for photographers at twilight opposite Richfol shelter. Roger DuPuis photo.

By Roger DuPuis and Bill Monaghan
Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Over 50 guests enjoyed an opportunity to operate vintage Philadelphia-area streetcars when The Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys (FPT) and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (PTM) jointly hosted “Twenty-Five Dollar Day” on Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12, 2021 in conjunction with “Philadelphia Days” at the museum.

Their support enabled FPT to donate $2,000 toward restoration of Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (Red Arrow) center door car 76, a 1926 Brill product that was acquired by PTM in 1990.

On Friday night, guests were treated to rides and photos with Red Arrow St. Louis streamliner cars 14 and 24, including multiple-unit operation of these vehicles in contrasting 1940s (14) and 1970s (24) paint schemes.

Saturday featured four Philadelphia cars from PTM’s collection out on the line for the event:

• Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co. 5326, a double-ended city car (Brill, 1926)

• Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. 78, a double-ended suburban car (Brill, 1932)

• Philadelphia Transportation Co. single-ended city PCC 2711 (St. Louis Car Co., 1947)

• Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. double-ended streamliner 14 (St. Louis Car Co. 1949)

Remarkably, three of the four cars (78, 2711, 14) continued to serve Philadelphia-area commuters well into the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority era.

For their $25 donation, participants had the chance to ride, photograph, and operate these vintage streetcars under the guidance of PTM instructors. Scheduling and coordination ran smoothly, with participants having the opportunity to have at least two turns at the controls of a trolley along PTM’s scenic right-of-way through the Washington County countryside in western Pennsylvania. It is notable that many guests made the journey to PTM not just from the Philadelphia area, but also from New Jersey, Maryland and other parts of Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre and — of course — greater Pittsburgh.

FPT would like to thank the volunteers at PTM for a wonderful weekend, as well as everyone that attended, Steve Barry for providing the flash lighting for night photos on Saturday night and Tom Pawlesh for arranging antique autos to pose alongside the trolleys.

Restoration of center door car 73 is progressing at PTM’s shop. Many of its rattan seats are badly worn or water-damaged. The restoration plan calls for the seats to be rebuilt and reupholstered with Naugahyde to match sister car 66 at the museum. The estimate for this work is $7,000, or approximately $250 per seat. The work will be done by a local contractor who specializes in antique auto upholstery.

For those who would like to help, donations of any amount are appreciated. Please make checks payable to:

Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys Inc.
P.O. Box 33397
Philadelphia, PA 19142-0397

Donations may also be made via PayPal by visiting our JOIN FPT! page, where visitors will find a donation button.

 

SEPTA PCC rebuild project continues

The talented staff at SEPTA’s Woodland Shops is in the process of giving the Girard Avenue cars a new lease on life, as documented in this post.

Bill Monaghan and Roger DuPuis visited the shops this week to see several of the current projects up close. This selection of photos from their visit should give you a sense of how much work is going into the cars.

SEPTA PCC III 2332 came out of the paint booth on March 9 at Woodland and can be seen in some of these photos. While there is still work to be done to complete the car (wiring, reinstallation of overhauled trucks, interior finishing), the body work and paint job are stunning.

We included the outdoor shot of 2326 to help convey the condition of some cars on arrival. The ghostly white car, meanwhile is 2328 (that’s its stripped interior you also see), while the green car with no number and disassembled side panels is 2322. Another car, 2337, can be seen up on jacks. Other items of interest seen here are a pair of shiny anti-climbers waiting to be installed and air conditioning roof pods undergoing refurbishment.

We’ve rounded out the album with LRV 9074 glistening in a flawless coat of white paint as it awaited reinstallation of various fittings — testament to the quality of work being done at Woodland.

We hope you will enjoy these photos as a glimpse behind the scenes at a critical part of maintaining trolley service in Philadelphia.

FPT members discuss PCC restoration for Pennsylvania Trolley Museum Zoom series

They don’t call some of us “PCC Guys” for nothing.

While FPT’s members and volunteers are knowledgeable about the history and workings of many trolley car types, it’s no secret that many of us have a special passion for PCC cars, given how important they have been to the history of public transit in Philadelphia.

This week, members Matt Nawn and Harry Donahue shared their experiences managing and participating in PCC car restoration projects at several museums for a special Zoom presentation hosted by our friends at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

Part of PTM’s Trolleyology series, the presentation by Matt and Harry focuses on lessons they learned that can be helpful to any restoration project.

The presentation, which is available on YouTube, covers features of the restoration of a PCC car including the carbody, interior, trucks, control system, and finishing details. Matt and Harry also discuss tips for upkeep and maintenance of these cars once restoration is completed.

We think anyone involved in trolley preservation will find this video, and PTM’s Trolleyology series, informative and helpful.