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.