The Many Faces of PCC 2168

Philadelphia Transportation Co. 2168 is seen working southbound along Route 47 on 6th Street in June 1967 (Jim Golhopher photo).

Today she’s a gleaming museum exhibit in Baltimore, resplendent in a beautiful recreation of SEPTA’s 1970s “Gulf Oil” paint scheme. But Philadelphia PCC car 2168 has had a long and colorful history — and more than one distinctive livery over the years.

Step aboard for a photographic trip through time on one of our favorite machines:

Less than a decade old, 2168 is seen at 17th & Lehigh, on Route 21 in 1956. This is the oldest photo we have seen of the car so far (ECTM collection).











It’s the banana car! 2168 is seen at Luzerne in March 1973, fresh from Courtland Shops in the short-lived yellow livery (Harry Donahue









We know not everyone loves the GOH scheme (though some of us do!) but we would be remiss if we didn’t show you a photo of 2168 wearing it. Harry Donahue captured the car northbound at 11th and Market in April 1987.

Yet another paint scheme! Here is Harry Donahue with the car in May 1995 when SEPTA’s Welcome Line service debuted.

















That Welcome Line paint scheme didn’t take long to fade, unfortunately. Here we see Matt Nawn with the car at Elmwood on the occasion of a 50th anniversary charter in July 1998.















Ten years later, a much different scene. Here is 2168 at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum during Crab Fest in July 2008. The exterior restoration had only just begun, but this marked the car’s first operation at BSM after re-gauging (Harry Donahue).










And here is 2168 as we know her today. Donations from FPT members, together with the time and expertise, have transformed the car into a gorgeous museum piece that will help tell the story of Philadelphia trolleys for generations to come (Roger DuPuis).

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.)





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.