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.

Painting, Charters and More: What’s New at FPT

If you’re like us, you can never get enough of vintage traction. This year has brought much action on the restoration and charter front, with so much more to come.


Harry Donohue, Rob Masciantonio and Cheau-Erl Lam work inside 2743 at the Rockhill Trolley Museum, Aug. 20, 2016. (Roger DuPuis photos)

Harry Donohue, Rob Masciantonio and Cheau-Erl Lam work inside 2743 at the Rockhill Trolley Museum, Aug. 20, 2016. (Roger DuPuis photos)

Harry Donohue, Bill Monaghan and many friends have been busy working on the restoration of PTC PCC 2743 to its circa-1960 colors at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. You can read about the project’s background, in detail, here, as well as in the current newsletter and in future updates on this site.

As of now, much of the interior has been repainted from the two-tone SEPTA GOH blue of the 1980s into the two-tone green and cream of the PTC years. The photo at left shows some of that work underway recently.

Several seats also have been reupholstered in a rich brown material appropriate for that era. So far, 12 double seats are paid for, and FPT continues to raise money for the rest to be re-covered.

Interested in donating or helping with the work? Contact us via this site, or by emailing FPT2799@comcast.net. The cost of a double seat is $235, for a single seat the price is $195.


FPT founding member Harry Donohue is seen at the controls of SEPTA PCC 2168 at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, July 23, 2016. (Roger DuPuis photo)

FPT founding member Harry Donohue is seen at the controls of SEPTA PCC 2168 at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, July 23, 2016. (Roger DuPuis photo)

In a time-honored tradition, many FPT members and guests rang in 2016 aboard a chartered suburban SEPTA Kawasaki car, setting the tone for a year filled with fun events to bring railfans together and raise funds for FPT’s mission. Summer may be flying by, but there’s still plenty of time to join us for fan trips and more.

As you’ll find on our new upcoming events page, FPT has a charter coming up this September in Pittsburgh, followed by in November by a special FPT gathering at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.

Check back often for information about FPT’s activities, including newsletters, photos, special reports and updates on the progress of our fundraising and restoration projects.