Vintage Electric Streetcars

I’ve been sworn to secrecy about the location of these vintage electric streetcars. But I cannot resist my excitement about these old trolleys that were once transportation staples in the United States and elsewhere. Located in rural Pennsylvania, these mothballed streetcars comprise a collection of over fifty, some in stages of rehabilitation, others in a state of decay. The owner began salvaging old trolleys years ago with the eventual goal of restoring and reusing these relics as tourist attractions and for public transportation.


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After a little research with little to no info on this place I finally found it on google maps & heading off to see it. I understand keeping places secret but most people will not budge so do what I did & get out there & explore!

I would love to see these up close and take pictures.. I would not reveal the location to anyone..Fascinating!!

These old time trolleys are a gateway to a simpler , more elegant era . We lost a great deal when we switched to the bus for our urban transportation needs .

The first two photos are the 1700 series of Streetcars of Pittsburgh. These were the last Streetcars purchased by Pittsburgh in the late 1940s, these were all electric, unlike the 1600s series, purchased in the late 1930s that had use air pressure for certain features (and had roll up windows unlike the seal windows of the 1700 series). I have read people complain of the sealed windows of the 1700s getting to hot in summer but I never had that problem as long as the massive fans the operated on those cars were working (when the fans were NOT working, those cars got hot in a hurry). I suspect this is in Windber PA, I even believed I know where it is. You can find it on google earth if you know where to look. Since I live in Johnstown and Winber is a suburb I know where to look. It is a very isolated location so hard to get to. Yes, I road the 1700 series in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1600s were used only during rush hour at that time period or when they ran out of 1700s for any other reason. You could tell they were older and not as while built as the 1700s. My only question is how did they get those streetcars to that location? The rails in that location are Standard Gauge (4 Foot 8 1/2 inch) , while the Pittsburgh Streetcars are Pennsylvania Gauge (5 foot 2 inch). Thus these cars had to be hauled to this location on a flatbed, with a truck or rail flatbed and then dropped off. They can NOT have all of their wheels on the track, the wheels are to far apart to do that on that track.

The rest appears to be Boston Streetcars, those were Standard Gauge and would fit on the tracks. You can see the difference in the fourth row of photos. The streetcars on the right appear to be solidly on the tracks, while the red and yellow cars on the left appear to be tilting, like they were off the tracks (and being to wide a gauge they would be off at least one set of rails).

I rode those Pittsburgh streetcars for over seven years. Three years in high school, I had to take the streetcar to school, it as the fastest way to and from school (faster then driving given the location of the School, the Streetcar line and my home), then four years of collage. After I graduated Collage in 1981, the closed down the streetcar system and converted it to a modern LRV system.

Please note as part of the conversion to the LRV system in Pittsburgh 40 of the old 1700 series were to be rebuilt and upgraded to what was to be called the 4000 series. Only 12 were upgraded and these were sold when the valley line of the Streetcar line was shut down in 1993 (and not reopened till 2010). The upgraded PCCs were to operate on the valley line for the new LRVs could not travel over the 120 old bridges of the Valley Line, but went through Beechview and rebuilt 1905 Beechview line. I mention this for the reason the upgrade was cancelled as the cost to do so became to high. I suspect that may be true of these streetcars, the cost to save them may be more then buying new. Brookville Equipment Corporation is big into building both new and upgrading older streetcars and before upgrading these, I would look into new from Brookville. Brookville to the leading PCC streetcar restorer today.

The Valley line had been built in 1867 as a narrow gauge railway, in 1905 it was converted to interurban streetcar use and connected to the Beechview line which by then had connected to both the then (1905) new Donora/Charoloi PA Line and the Washington PA Line. The valleyline had Civil War Era Log Bridges till finally torn down in the 1990s. I remember taking the Valley line in the 1970s, Bridges over 110 years old, tracks 75 years old (The rails may be newer, but they kept the old narrow gauge rails on the bridges after they no longer ran narrow gauge trains), and we teens enter the empty streetcar (it was rush hour, almost everyone was going the other direction) and skipping all of the empty seats between the front the back, headed for the back seat. I swear the drivers knew what we wanted for they speed up and hit the bumps turns and other irregularities on that line because in the rear seat you felt those the most and the drivers knew that is why we sat back there. We joked it was almost like a roller coaster in Kennywood. Those were the days.

I remember riding the 1700 series of Streetcars, I do miss them.

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