The Fairmount Park Trolley

The Fairmount Park trolley, just prior to abandonment in 1946.

The Fairmount Park trolley, just prior to abandonment in 1946.

Many years ago, old-time railfans would compile “dossiers” or scrapbooks about their favorite lines. Eventually, some of these dossiers were used to help write books about those same properties.

Over the last three years or so, I have been collecting information about the Fairmount Park trolley operation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today’s post is my “dossier” for your enjoyment. Hopefully, it will give you some of the flavor of what it must have been like to ride that long-gone scenic trolley.

There are today, of course, other scenic trolleys with open cars in service, but these are latter-day recreations such as in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Photos of the Fairmount Park trolley are scarce, so it took quite some time to find this many. Pictures in color are even scarcer, as few people were using color film as early as 1946.

There are some books about this line that do not have as many pictures as we have in this post. Most of the images you see here are taken from the original medium-format negatives.

Some of those dark spots that you see in the sky in some of the pictures are actually birds flying around in the park.

Even finding a decent map of the line was not easy. I purchased one of the “broadsides” used for the 1946 auction, and this fortunately had a nice map in it. Apparently the electric cars were used one last time to give prospective bidders a tour of the line, just days before the end of the half-century long franchise agreement.

Reports indicate that many people refused to get off the cars at the end of the line, having enjoyed it so much they went for multiple rides. This created problems on busy days.

Dr. Harold E. Cox, in his 1970 book The Fairmount Park Trolley: A Unique Philadelphia Experiment, told the fascinating story of this self-contained trolley operation that ran in a very large public park for nearly 50 years, from November 1896 until September 1946. He called it an experiment, because a park trolley line was quite unusual. There was one other example that ran in Europe, but for a much shorter period of time.

The Fairmount Park Transportation Company used the same rolling stock, originally built by Brill in 1896-97, for the entire life of the 8-mile long trolley. This was also quite unusual. Nothing seems to have been updated or replaced with anything newer.

J. G. Brill was an obvious choice for a builder as they were located in Philadelphia, and were at that time the industry leader.

By 1946, Fairmount Park was a virtual rolling museum of vintage equipment. The trolley operated year-round, on a reduced schedule during the winter of course. Open cars were used in the summer and closed cars in the winter.

The line mainly ran on the west side of the park, on a long one-way single track loop entirely on private right-of-way. There was a Junction station if you wanted to take a short cut and not have to ride all the way around the loop.

There were some double-tracked sections too, which you can see on the map below.

The east and west halves of the park were connected by a long bridge, built by the trolley company. It was renovated in the 1990s and is still in use today.

The FPTC built Woodside Amusement Park in 1897 and this provided another reason to use the park trolley. Woodside actually outlasted the trolley and closed in 1955.

Through the years, one of the closed cars was converted to a rather bizarre-looking line car. Various models have been made of this car. It sticks in your mind, just as it does the first time you see Frankenstein’s monster cobbled together from parts of various cadavers.

After World War II, the park trolley was badly in need to new equipment and new track, but it had operated at a loss for many years, and there were no funds available. The Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society drafted a proposal to save the line, suggesting that if fares were increased, additional monies could be used for renovations. Unfortunately, this came to naught, and the trolley was allowed to abandon service as of September 1946, about two months before the end of its 50-year franchise.

The trolley assets were sold at auction in November 1946, an event advertised using a large “broadside” printed brochure. All the cars were scrapped, and the rails, ties, wire, and line poles removed.

Eventually, it became difficult to tell just where the trolley had run through the park. In recent years, efforts have been made to turn the old trolley right-of-way into a trail. You can read about the Trolley Trail Demonstration Project here.

Some remnants of the trolley persist-  read about that here.

In spite of the winters in the northeast, there were a few streetcar lines that used open cars in warm weather for longer than practically anywhere else. Open cars were used in service to shuttle people to the Yale Bowl in Connecticut as late as 1948.

We are also featuring a few additional pictures from the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway, which ran open cars on the Jersey shore until 1945. We thank our resident New Jersey expert Kenneth Gear for helping research this obscure trolley line.

In addition, there is some interesting correspondence with Andre Kristopans and more great restored Chicago Aurora & Elgin pictures, courtesy of Jack Bejna.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- The word “broadside,” meaning a large advertisement such as this, took on an additional meaning during the folk song revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It brings to mind Broadside magazine, which began publishing in 1962 and continued through the 1970s.

Some of the images in today’s post were taken by the Reverend W. Lupher Hay (1905-1984), who lived in Canton, Ohio. According to author George W. Hilton, W. Lupher Hay purchased an interurban car from the Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside in 1934 for use as a summer home; he sold it in 1941.* Interestingly, his wife Fay (nee Siebert) (1910-2010), who survived him, passed away one day short of her 100th birthday.

*From The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway, Bulletin 42 of the Electric Railway Historical Society (1964), page 32.

Our next post will be our 200th, and we have been saving up some great Chicago images for that. Watch this space.

Car 8.

Car 8.

Trailer 55 in the mid-1940s.

Trailer 55 in the mid-1940s.

Car 15.

Car 15.

Car 8. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Car 8. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Car 14.

Car 14.

Car 7.

Car 7.

Car 31 near a tunnel.

Car 31 near a tunnel.

Car 54, a 14-bench open car and two other cars in the same series at the Belmont Avenue car house in July 1934. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 54, a 14-bench open car and two other cars in the same series at the Belmont Avenue car house in July 1934. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 4 leaving the sation, moving away from the photographer in January 1935. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 4 leaving the sation, moving away from the photographer in January 1935. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 1 on October 13, 1935.

Car 1 on October 13, 1935.

Car 8, signed for Dauphin Street, is at 44th and Parkside on October 13, 1935.

Car 8, signed for Dauphin Street, is at 44th and Parkside on October 13, 1935.

Very much the same as the previous shot, same car and location (44th and Parkside) but two weeks later on October 27, 1935. (William Lichtenstern Photo)

Very much the same as the previous shot, same car and location (44th and Parkside) but two weeks later on October 27, 1935. (William Lichtenstern Photo)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge, which connects the east and west sides of the park.

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge, which connects the east and west sides of the park.

Closed car 5, which was built by Brill in 1896 along with the rest of the fleet.

Closed car 5, which was built by Brill in 1896 along with the rest of the fleet.

Parkside station.

Parkside station.

A stock certificate.

A stock certificate.

A paper transfer.

A paper transfer.

A stock certificate.

A stock certificate.

A 1910 postcard, quite "colorized."

A 1910 postcard, quite “colorized.”

Car 18 at the Junction station. The date is given as December 12, 1935, but the time of the year seems unlikely from the way people are dressed, and the looks of the trees. If the date was 2035, this could possibly be the correct attire, but as of 1935, there hadn't been enough global warming just yet.

Car 18 at the Junction station. The date is given as December 12, 1935, but the time of the year seems unlikely from the way people are dressed, and the looks of the trees. If the date was 2035, this could possibly be the correct attire, but as of 1935, there hadn’t been enough global warming just yet.

Car 3 on January 23, 1937. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 3 on January 23, 1937. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Composite line or utility car 200 was made from closed passenger car 9. Here we see it at the Belmont Avenue car house on June 26, 1936. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Composite line or utility car 200 was made from closed passenger car 9. Here we see it at the Belmont Avenue car house on June 26, 1936. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 16 on April 19, 1937.

Car 16 on April 19, 1937.

Line car 200 on October 16, 1938.

Line car 200 on October 16, 1938.

Car 30 at the car house on September 17, 1939.

Car 30 at the car house on September 17, 1939.

Car 11 in 1939. (Duane Bearse Photo)

Car 11 in 1939. (Duane Bearse Photo)

Car 14 at the terminal near the Philadelphia Transportation Company terminal in 1940. They did not share any tracks.

Car 14 at the terminal near the Philadelphia Transportation Company terminal in 1940. They did not share any tracks.

You can tell this picture was taken at the same time and place as the last one in 1940. That's the same girl in both pictures.

You can tell this picture was taken at the same time and place as the last one in 1940. That’s the same girl in both pictures.

An open car at 44th Street in 1941.

An open car at 44th Street in 1941.

Car 18 in May 1941.

Car 18 in May 1941.

Car 32 "at speed" in May 1941.

Car 32 “at speed” in May 1941.

May 1941.

May 1941.

The interior of an open car in May 1941. This charming photo also appeared in Harold Cox's book, but here we see it scanned from the original negative.

The interior of an open car in May 1941. This charming photo also appeared in Harold Cox’s book, but here we see it scanned from the original negative.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

#31 in May 1941, as seen from another car.

#31 in May 1941, as seen from another car.

#46 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

#23, as seen from a passing car in May 1941.

#23, as seen from a passing car in May 1941.

#18 in May 1941.

#18 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#19 in May 1941.

#19 in May 1941.

#28 in May 1941.

#28 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

Car #21 in May 1941.

Car #21 in May 1941.

#18 at the car house in September 1941.

#18 at the car house in September 1941.

Car 10, shown here at Woodside in September 1941, is signed for the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, so perhaps this is a fantrip. Trailer #50 is at the rear out of view.

Car 10, shown here at Woodside in September 1941, is signed for the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, so perhaps this is a fantrip. Trailer #50 is at the rear out of view.

#49, a trailer, seen here as the rear car of a two-car train at the Park Junction station in 1942.

#49, a trailer, seen here as the rear car of a two-car train at the Park Junction station in 1942.

#26 in the car house in 1944.

#26 in the car house in 1944.

Car 18 at the station in June 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 18 at the station in June 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Cars 19 and 36 on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuykill River near Woodford Station on July 9, 1944. The bridge, built in 1896-97 for the trolley company, is still in use, but the section used by the streetcars has only recently been repurposed with a "pedestrian promenade."

Cars 19 and 36 on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuykill River near Woodford Station on July 9, 1944. The bridge, built in 1896-97 for the trolley company, is still in use, but the section used by the streetcars has only recently been repurposed with a “pedestrian promenade.”

#7 inside the car house in June 1946.

#7 inside the car house in June 1946.

Car 25 at the Junction station on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 25 at the Junction station on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 11 at the 44th and Parkside terminal on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 11 at the 44th and Parkside terminal on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 3 on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 3 on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 20 on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 20 on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 5 at the car house.

Car 5 at the car house.

The November 6, 1946 auction.

The November 6, 1946 auction.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

1946 Color Film by Gerhard Salomon:

Bill Volkmer Writes:

Might be of interest to you. I believe the Strawberry Mansion Bridge photos came in an estate collection I bought from Syd Walker who was a bus driver for Southern Penn. Bought them ca. 1960.

Thanks very much!

Car 15 on July 7, 1946. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 15 on July 7, 1946. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 at Woodside in 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 at Woodside in 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 31. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 31. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway

Me, to Kenneth Gear:

I have collected a few photos of the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, NJ. As a New Jersey-ite, I was wondering if you can tell me anything about it. There hardly seems to be any info about it online.

I get the impression that the trolleys ran until the mid-1940s. It seems the company is still in business, and runs tourist trolleys that are gas powered. They claim to be an “interurban” on their web site but offer no history.

Thanks.

Wow, “New Jersey-ite”! That’s probably the nicest thing we’ve been called in a long time!

As for the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway, I personally know very little but my “go to” reference book on NJ streetcar lines has 6 pages of information. The book is STREETCARS OF NEW JERSEY by Joseph F. Eid, Jr. & Barker Gummere.

I’ve scanned the pages and attached them. Hope this tells you all you want to know.

Hey, thanks very much!

So, what nicknames do people from NJ go by? Here, I guess we have Chicagoans, or Illinoisans.

We prefer “Jerseyian” or for us men, “Jersey Guys”.

OK, thanks… FYI, I organized your scans into a PDF.

So, the trolley quit in 1945 but the bus operation that succeeded it is still going. Apparently, the character of life on the Jersey Shore changed during World War II, as there were German U-Boats preying on shipping just off the coast. They used the lights from the boardwalks to outline ships they were hunting, so a nighttime blackout was instituted.

Incredibly, there are reports that sometimes sailors from the U-Boats would row ashore and buy food locally to take back to their submarines.

Unlike the Fairmount Park trolley, at least one car from Five Mile Beach was saved. Car 36 is now at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Read more about it here.

In Wildwood. Not sure which car this is.

In Wildwood. Not sure which car this is.

Car 20, signed for "Crest."

Car 20, signed for “Crest.”

Car 36 in Wildwood.

Car 36 in Wildwood.

Car 30 at Anglesea in July 1935.

Car 30 at Anglesea in July 1935.

Car 25 at Wildwood in the mid-1940s.

Car 25 at Wildwood in the mid-1940s.

Five Mile Beach car 26 at Wildwood, NJ in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach car 26 at Wildwood, NJ in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood car house on May 30, 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood car house on May 30, 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 at the Wildwood car house in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 at the Wildwood car house in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 on its way to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1945.

Car 36 on its way to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1945.

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

The Five Mile Beach Electric Railway line truck on May 30, 1945, at the Wildwood car house around the time of abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The Five Mile Beach Electric Railway line truck on May 30, 1945, at the Wildwood car house around the time of abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

A former Five Mile Beach Electric Railway streetcar at Wildwood, New Jersey in the late 1940s. The sign at left says, "Barbecued chicken our specialty." (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

A former Five Mile Beach Electric Railway streetcar at Wildwood, New Jersey in the late 1940s. The sign at left says, “Barbecued chicken our specialty.” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Videos

Wildwood: The History of An American Resort

NJN Documentary Our Vanishing Past – Wildwood

Wildwoods by the Sea:

CA&E 1923 Pullman Cars

Here are more great Chicago Aurora & Elgin photo restorations, courtesy of Jack Bejna:

I recently received my copy of “Images of Rail: Chicago Trolleys”, just in time to take with on a flight from Florida to Los Angeles. I read it from cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely!

Glad you like it. Thanks!

In 1923 CA&E ordered 20 new cars (400­419) from Pullman. These cars were all steel and were state of the art when purchased. They were equipped with Tomlinson couplers and were not capable of training with any of the wood cars in the fleet. The new cars were put into limited service initially, but they eventually were used for all types of service.

Of these, the 409 at the Illinois Railway Museum is the lone survivor.

Recent Correspondence

The Last of the Red-Hot Pullmans

CTA 225 on October 12, 1956.

CTA 225 on October 12, 1956.

Me, to Andre Kristopans:

After the last of the red streetcars were taken out of service in May 1954, I read that the CTA planned to keep “about 10 or so” cars for emergency use.

It seems like the figure was actually nine cars. Looks like six were burned in March 1956, an event that was covered in the CTA Transit News. There is some film footage too:

From photos taken at that time, I see that some of the cars burned were 362, 453 (or is it 153), and 542. The three saved cars, of course, are 144, 225, and 460.

Any idea what numbers the other three cars might have been?

Thanks.

Actually, there seem to have been eight. There are 8 cars listed as off the books on 2/23/56:

144,225,288,362,453,460,507,542

They were part of a large group of 55 cars retired on AFR 16455R, comprising all remaining red cars. Rest were scrapped in 1955.

Thanks very much… but that CTA video sure seems to show six cars being torched.

This is somewhat strange, isn’t it? LOOKS like it might be six cars, but the scrap lists (which are contemporary records!) show only 8 cars with a 2/23/56 disposal date. Also, why do 144, 225, 460 show a “scrap date”? In fact 144 didn’t go to IRM until 1959, 460 sat around until 1985!. Only other departure was 225, supposedly in 1956 (but see below!). Apparently these are “removed from the books” dates. Another strange observation: Why are these cars so badly banged up? Especially the one at the north end of the lineup. Looks like it was chewed up by something. Were they pushing them around with forklifts? Even a forklift wouldn’t do THAT much damage. Looks like it was hit by a train!

Another tidbit – 2/1/56 roster on the IRM-CTA website has these same 8 cars listed as authorized for retirement but still around. 3/1/55 roster at same shows 60 cars in storage – scrap lists for 52 all come up April-May 1955. So unless there were some shenanigans – such as the 225 at Seashore isn’t the real 225, but another car sent to Seashore renumbered 225 and stricken off the books in 1955 under it’s real number and the real 225 was actually burned 2/56??? I can’t come up with another explanation. Can you?

I’ve been to Seashore, and that car is largely in original condition, more so than 144. There’s nothing to indicate any changes in numbering.

I think 225 might have left Chicago in 1957.

144 may have belonged to IERM while still being used in fantrip service.

I posted this on the chicagobus.org forum. This is the only thing that makes sense. If there are indeed six being burned in the video, I can’t come up with a better explanation.

Andre

You guys want to hear an interesting conspiracy theory? Well, I have one for you. First, a bit of background: I have in my possession a CTA list, hand-written and added-on to over they years, of scrapping dates for all streetcars. This can be considered a “contemporary record”. I also have in my possession a listing of which streetcars were retired under which Authorization for Retirement. Finally, the IRM-CTA website has on it various CTA rosters, with the pertinent dates being for 3/1/54 and 2/1/56.

According to the 3/1/54 roster, there were still 60 red streetcars sitting in storage. The 2/1/56 roster lists 8 left (144,225,288,362,453,460,507,542). The scrap list gives dates for the other 52 as in April and May of 1955, so this all comes out correct.

Now it gets interesting. CTA Connections has a video showing the burning of what is said to be the last red streetcars at 77th in the winter of 1956. The scrap list shows a 2/23/56 date for all eight cars listed above. HOWEVER — there is a problem. The video shows what appears to be six cars being burned. There should only have been five! Note of the above eight cars listed, three supposedly still exist – 144, 225, and 460. So what gives???

144 went to IRM in 1959. 460 sat at CTA for decades at Lincoln, Lawndale, etc. until it was finally shipped to IRM in 1985. 225 is at Seashore, and has been there since 1956, according to their website. It appears the dates in the scrap lists are actually the date a car was removed from inventory, not necessarily the actual date burned, though that date was probably soon after. So what would the sixth car scrapped in March of 1956 have been?

Here is a thought: Is it possible CTA did a number swap in 1955, and another car was actually shipped off to Seashore, lettered as 225? At this point, 61 years later, it would probably not be possible to determine if this is true, except maybe by a VERY detailed examination of the car at Seashore. However, if this is what happened, then the real 225 was the sixth car burned in 1956. Of the six cars being burned, you can only make out numbers on a couple, and in fact at least one has its number painted out. Maybe this swap was made because the real 225 had a major problem, and somebody at South Shops took it upon themselves to “send a better car?” CTA list does not note anything about 144 or 460 except a date, so if a car shown as off the inventory in 1955 was in fact shipped out, there would not likely be any note attached to it either.

Any better explanations??

Very interesting!

On the other hand, how about this scenario:

  1. The three saved cars 144, 225, and 460 have their original numbers.

2. Five other red cars were burned early in 1956.

3. One other car, not on the list of eight, was also burned at that time. This had been involved in a major wreck at some time previous, and therefore had an earlier retirement date, since there was no intention of fixing it.

This car sat around for some time until they got around to torching it with the others.

CTA was very good at scrapping what the paper said was scrapped. So definitely something marked 225 was burned that day in all likelihood, while whatever car went to Seashore while it might have been marked 225 on the car itself as it sat on the flatcar was written off as it’s “real” number, whatever it might have been. Or alternatively, the 225 burned wasn’t “really” 225 but something else in reality. No way to tell at this point, except that most likely the car at Seashore is most likely not really 225???

On the car at Seashore, I did not notice anything inside the car that would look as though the number got changed. Pretty sure I took some pictures of that too.

OK – this is what we know for sure: There are six cars burning. CTA 3/1/56 roster lists 8 cars. Scrap list corroborates these 8. 1954 roster lists 60. Scrap list corroborates that 52 scrapped 1955. So what conclusion can be drawn? A car that is listed as scrapped in 1955 at least on paper was renumbered 225 and burned 1956. Note we can make out 362, 542, 288, 507, 453 at various points, but not the sixth number. East lineup seems to be 362 (north), 453, unknown. West lineup is unknown, 288, 507?. 542 seems to be at the end of one of the rows. 542 is a smooth-side, the south car on the east row is not, but south car on west row is. Note south car on east row seems to have no visible numbers??? Only thing I can say is some number was retired in 1955 was actually 225 shipped out, while that number off the 1955 scrap list was actually burned in 1956. CTA was known to do number swapping to make reality match paperwork.

Got it, thanks.

225 was still on the property as of October 21, 1956. (It was used on a fantrip that date.)

Only thing I can say is somebody was fudging the paperwork. Were only 51 cars were burned in 1955 and the 52nd (number unknown) was actually burned in 1956? In that case somebody made a paperwork error, in multiple places, or was some other car previously written off as scrapped actually burned in 1956? This might be the case, if there is indeed a car with number painted out sitting in the fire line. Maybe another car was to go to Seashore and had been written off earlier, but then 225 was chosen instead and the original candidate burned? Like I said, it appears the dates are the day car was turned over to Materials Management for disposal, not the day something was actually burned. If somebody could come up with a specific date a specific car was burned, it might be possible to confirm this, but this is what it appears to be.

One car did seem to have the number painted out…

225 and 144 were both used for competing fantrips on February 10, 1957. Of the two, photos show 225’s number looking newer than 144. But of course that just may mean it had received a new paint job more recently than the other car. That does not necessarily indicate a renumbering of 225.

At least, that does confirm a 1957 date for 225 being moved to the Seashore Trolley Museum instead of 1956.

These car numbers only took on any significance when they were practically the only cars left. Before that, there were so many cars, one or two did not have particular importance. The May 16, 1954 “Farewell to the Red Cars” fantrip used 473 and 479, not 144 or 225.

Maybe the late Maury Klebolt was on to something when he “renumbered” the 144 into 225 for a December 1956 fantrip, eh?

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

-David Sadowski

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The “Other” Penn Central

Photo caption: "Penn Central Railway #2 at the end of line (in) South Fork. Note motorman raising trolley to wire from window. These were center door cars. 1918."

Photo caption: “Penn Central Railway #2 at the end of line (in) South Fork. Note motorman raising trolley to wire from window. These were center door cars. 1918.”

Railfans are probably familiar with the ill-fated Penn Central railroad, described by the Wikipedia as follows:

The Penn Central Transportation Company, commonly abbreviated to Penn Central, was an American Class I railroad headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that operated from 1968 until 1976. It was created by the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was added to the merger in 1969; by 1970, the company had filed for what was, at that time, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

However, you might not be aware there was another ill-fated Penn Central, a short trolley line that briefly operated about 50 years before the more famous one. I certainly knew nothing about it until recently, when a few mysterious snapshots from 1918 surfaced:

Photo caption: "Penn Central Railway #2 leaving South Fork, 1918. After several runaways, (the) borough put (a) bumping block across tracks where car is pictured."

Photo caption: “Penn Central Railway #2 leaving South Fork, 1918. After several runaways, (the) borough put (a) bumping block across tracks where car is pictured.”

Photo caption: "Penn Central Railway #2 at Old Portage RR cut between Summerhill and Wilmore, 1918. Motorman on front. Line never ran long enough for crews to have uniforms. This also was a 1200 volt line getting power from Southern Cambria."

Photo caption: “Penn Central Railway #2 at Old Portage RR cut between Summerhill and Wilmore, 1918. Motorman on front. Line never ran long enough for crews to have uniforms. This also was a 1200 volt line getting power from Southern Cambria.”

Photo caption: "Penn Central Railway #2 at Old Portage RR Cut, 1918. Motorman and Conductor on front."

Photo caption: “Penn Central Railway #2 at Old Portage RR Cut, 1918. Motorman and Conductor on front.”

I decided to do a bit of research. Turns out it’s an interesting story.

The web site of CamTran, a Pennsylvania bus operator, gives the following information:

Southern Cambria Railway Co. 1908-1928

The “fabulous Southern Cambria, dread of the timid traveler,” is a story of a transit line that tried to conquer the tortuous terrain of the Alleghanies. Extending from Johnstown to Nanty Glo, South Fork, and Ebensburg, the line was plagued by numerous accidents, the most tragic of which was the head-on crash of two trolleys on August 12, 1916. Twenty-seven lives were lost and 80 injured. The Southern Cambria continued operating until December 17, 1928.

South Fork-Portage Railway Co. 1912-1928

The South Fork-Portage Company was originally chartered as the Johnstown & Altoona Railway Co. with the intention of connecting the two cities by rail. But money problems narrowed the vision to a three mile trolley line between South Fork and Summerhill. In 1918, the company failed and reorganized as the Penn Central Railway Co. with the goal of extending the line to Portage. Numerous derailments resulted in the termination of the company in 1928.

Even these few facts may be subject to correction. According to Department Reports of Pennsylvania, Volume 3, Part 4, the date of reorganization was 1917, not 1918:

Screen Shot 05-29-16 at 05.28 AM.PNG

The captions on the 1918 snapshots make me wonder if the 1928 termination date is accurate. They indicate that the line did not run long enough for the crews to get uniforms. They also allude to the short operation being accident prone, with several runaway trains leading the local government to place a barrier across the tracks. Since there the entire fleet seems to have been two cars built in 1913 by Niles, it wouldn’t have taken much to finish it off.

There seems to have been a cozy relationship between the Penn Central and the Southern Cambria. There may have been perfectly good reasons for forming a separate entity in this case, but perhaps the Penn Central operated only briefly in 1918 and existed on paper until the demise of the Southern Cambria ten years later.

It should be remembered that interurbans were the hi-tech enterprises of their time, chronically underfunded and overextended, with a very short peak coming around the time of the first World War– just the time we are dealing with here. From all accounts, the first Penn Central was a marginal operation at best, with a quick demise.

George W. Hilton and John Fitzgerald Due, in their classic The Electric Interurban Railways in America (1960), speculated that if highways had been developed a few years earlier, there might not have been an “Interurban Era” at all.

However, I for one think America is better off today for having had such marvelous electric interurban railways as the North Shore Line, South Shore Line, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, Pacific Electric, and Lehigh Valley Transit, among others too numerous to mention. These were giants in their field, and long stood the test of time. With a bit more help, we could have saved a great deal more of this heritage than was actually done. Still, we are undergoing a true “trolley renaissance” today, and if transported into the past, some of today’s light rail surely has much in common with the earlier interurbans.

In that sense, the word “interurban” itself has a sociological meaning that ties it to an earlier era, mainly the first half of the 20th century. Nowadays, most people who ride the South Shore Line (the last classic passenger interurban) probably think of it as commuter rail.

Perhaps the second Penn Central would have been better off choosing a different name. It seems that 50 years before the New York Central merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad, this name was already jinxed.


Electric Traction magazine reported on page 513 of their August 1918 issue:

NEW ELECTRIC LINE OPENED

The formal opening of the new line of the Penn Central Railway Company, of South Fork, Pa., from South Fork to a point beyond Summerhill, took place recently when a car traversed the line bearing officials of the company, and others who had been invited to attend the event. Without the slightest hitch the car moved over the line from South Fork to the eastern terminus, where a stop of an hour was made before the return.

The roadbed over the entire 3 1/2 miles was found to be in splendid condition and the car negotiated the distance with all the ease and comfort of a Pullman coach. Secretary and Manager O. P. Thomas was congratulated over the achievement of the company in pushing its line through as far as it has gone, and the brilliant prospects for completing the line to Portage at no very distant date.

The car is of the heavy side entrance type and ideal for suburban traffic. Practically the only heavy grade on the line is encountered immediately after leaving the South Fork terminal. From the end of the eastern terminal on to Portage the trolley company will use the old roadbed of the Pennsylvania Railroad the greater part of the distance. Grading for the balance of the lines is 90% completed and the only factors that may handicap its early completion are lack of rails and labor.

The new line will draw on a rather thickly populated territory, including South Fork, Ehrenfeld, Summerhill, Wilmore, Portage, Beaverdale, St. Michael and other places. The original charter has been extended to Gallitzin, still further paralleling the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The latter has aided the trolley company in the development of it project in every way.

One car is now running regularly on the completed line; the fare is 10 cents.

Officers of the Penn Central Railway Company are: Robert Pearce, of Portage, president; Henry J. Raab, of Johnstown, vice-president; Andrew Strayer, of Johnstown, treasurer; and O. P. Thomas, of Johnstown, secretary and manager.


Forgive me if the above seems imbued with a sense of rosy, unwarranted optimism, trying to mask a sense of imminent dread and desperation. Ten cents seems to be a lot to charge for a 3 1/2 mile ride in 1918. There were many operators of the time charging a fraction of that for much longer journeys.

Why did it take five years to build a 3 1/2 mile line? Perhaps we will never know, but for part of that time, there was a war going on.

The first Penn Central turned out to be a trolley so obscure that there is nothing to be found about it on Don Ross‘ excellent and voluminous web site.

As for the rolling stock, the Electric Railway Journal reported as follows on page 768 of their April 26, 1913 issue:

NEW CENTER-ENTRANCE COMBINATION CARS

Two cars designed by W. A. Haller, of the Federal Light & Traction Company, have just been built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company for the South Fork-Portage Railway. This road is now under construction between South Fork and Portage by the Portage Construction Comapny, of which G. U. G. Holman is president. An extension of the line will be made as rapidly as possible so as to operate through cars crossing the mountain range between Johnstown and Altoona. Between South Fork and Johnstown the cars will run over the tracks of the Southern Cambria Railway Company.

Owing to the almost continuous climb from both Johnstown and Altoona to the summit, it was considered necessary to have cars as light as possible yet with great seating capacity to accommodate the mining population in the small coal towns though which the road runs. In fact, for a considerable portion of the distance, these mining towns are at close intervals, and the traffic at present will be primarily local. Larger cars of the same type are contemplated for through service when the road is extended. while the extreme length of the present car is only 45 ft. 7 in. and 44 ft. 7 in. over vestibules, the seating capacity is fifty-six persons. There is also a baggage compartment 8 ft. long which also can be occupied by passengers.

One of the novel features is the folding motorman’s cab, which isolates the motorman at the front end and which, when at the rear end, swings transversely with the car and supports two folding seats, increasing the seating capacity by four persons. The left sides of the center vestibule and of the baggage room also are fitted with folding slat seats as it is intended to open only the right-hand side.

Each side of the center vestibule is fitted with four pairs of two-panel folding doors glazed with clear glass from top to bottom, so that the conductor can observe the pavement from his station. These doors are operated by handles from the conductor’s station only. The step openings are covered by Edwards automatic steel trap doors.

The entire underframe, side frame and outside sheathing are of steel– the interior finish being of agasote and mahogany. Each car is equipped with four Westinghouse 1200-volt, 75-hp motors with HL double-end control and geared for a speed of 45 m.p.h.

On account of local clearances, the car is mounted with the bottoms of side sills 7 in. above the rails, the first step being 15 in. high. This may, however, be lowered to 11 in. if obstructions permit.

There were two South Fork-Portage cars, built by the Nile Car & Manufacturing company in 1913.

There were two South Fork-Portage cars, built by the Nile Car & Manufacturing company in 1913.

Screen Shot 05-29-16 at 03.44 AM 001.PNG

South Fork-Portage Railway stock, issued in 1912.

South Fork-Portage Railway stock, issued in 1912.

This summary, from a World War I-era McGraw Transit Directory, shows that the principals of the South Fork-Portage Railway were the same as those of the Penn Central, which is was reorganized into in 1917:

Screen Shot 05-29-16 at 05.13 AM.PNG

Screen Shot 05-29-16 at 05.13 AM 001.PNG


Correspondence

Daria Phoebe Brashear
writes:

I have some clippings for you regarding the line.

Also of note, the line had no passing siding, so apparently (I recall, probably from a Ben Rohrbeck book) that one of the 2 cars was sold off at some point, having otherwise been stuck at the end of the line.

That 1915 “subway” trackage dispute probably killed the line, given they would then have had no good way to pass the PRR line’s embankment what with the old Portage Railroad right of way consumed by what became route 53.

Altoona Mirror, 24 May 13:
SOUTH FORK PORTAGE RY. ON PENNSY TRACK

Valuable concessions. which will hasten the completion of the trolley line from this city to Johnstown, have been granted to the South Fork • Portage Railway Company by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The concessions have been secured by Mr. George Holeman, who is promoting the new railway. The line between South Fork and Portage is nearing completion, and cars will be operated there before many days, be(sic) those two points. Following is a summary of the agreement which has been secured from the Pennsy by Mr. Holman : “The exclusive use of the Old Portage and New Portage roadbeds between SummerhiII and Gallitzin. The use of the Pennsylvania’s own right of way and property at six places—through Cassandra borough ; a piece of land, east of Cassandra upon the main line right of way at the deep cut. between Cassandra and Lilly; a plot of land in Cresson borough, and a plot of ground between Cresson and Gallitzin.” The right is also granted to cross the P. R. R. main line at eight under-grade and five overhead crossings. together with the right to cross branch tracks at grade. Mr. Holman is to be congratulated upon the successful negotiation of this valuable right to the trolley company. He expects to be able to announce the date of the opening of the line within the next few weeks.

Altoona Times, 27 May 13:
BURY CORPSE ON RIGHT OF WAY OF S. F.-P. RAILWAY

Effort Is Made To Prevent Trolley Line From Crossing Cemetery

SOUTH FORK, May 26.—In an effort to check work of the South Fork•Portage Railway company upon the property of St. James Cemetery Association for the reason, it is understood, that the right-of-way has not been paid for, interested persons are alleged to have disinterred a body from the burial ground near Summerhill last evening and buried it again just in front of the steam shovel used in constructing the trolley line. This was not accomplished however, until two foreigners, laborers for the trolley company, had been arrested for trespass.

About 9 o’clock last evening people who are protesting against the progress of the traction line over cemetery property before legal matters are adjusted went to the right-of-way and dug a grave in front of the steam shovel. They then went to that section of the burial ground known as the “potters’ field,” it is said, and disinterred the body of an unknown man, killed on the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks several months ago. Before they removed the body to the prepared grave, officials of the traction company learned of the move, and sent two foreigners to the shovel to till the grave. This was done, large stones being dropped into the hole. Undaunted, however, the other party dug a new grave close to the shovel and placed the body in it, it is said.

The two foreigners were then arrested on charges of trespass. The body was placed close to the winding roadway that leads from the township highway up through the cemetery.

Attorney Arthur C. Simler, an official of the South Fork – Portage line, said today that permission to construct the line hail been given by Bishop Eugene A. Garvey, pending the granting of a petition by the court.

“The title to all church property in the diocese is vested in the Bishop,” said Mr. Simler. He was willing that we build the line through the St.James cemetery, as the tracks are beside the township road, on a strip separated from the cemetery proper by a fence. “We have the option on the property, but can’t close up the right-of-way til we get an order from the Court for the transfer. Our petition for that must be presented during a session of a court, and it it will be presented the first Monday in June. Pending the granting of the order Bishop Garvey indicated his willingness that we proceed with the grading.”

The body will not be moved, at least not for a short time, said Mr. Simler. The steam shovel will be moved to the other end of the cemetery strip, from where work will be done toward the grave. Squire Schofield has not given the two foreigners a hearing, as an attempt is being made to settle the case.

Thomas McGuire. who made the informations against the foreigners, could not be reached today, and an effort to communicate with Father Quinn, pastor of St James Church this afternoon elicited the information that he was at the cemetery.

The body that was placed in the right-of-way was never identified, it is said. The man was thought to have been from Sharon. He was killed near South Fork by a freight train.

Harrisburg Telegraph, 17 Aug 15:
Cunningham Insists on Public Utilities Co. Complying With Law

Highway Commissioner Cunningham and Chief Engineer Uhler served notice to-day by a ruling that public utilities corporations must conform with the law when dealing with the State Highway Department. The South Fork – Portage Railway Company, in Cambria county, has been endeavoring for some time past to secure right of way along a State highway route. Permission to pass beneath a subway, now occupied by the State highway, had been denied, but, through a misunderstanding, the railway company proceeded to lay tracks without a permit along this road.

Chief Engineer Uhler ordered the tracks removed and, on the failure of the company to do so, the State highway employees tore them up. Notwithstanding this, the railway company relaid the tracks and then secured a preliminary injunction in the Cambria county courts preventing the State Highway Department from removing the tracks. Officers said the work had been done without orders. Commissioner Cunningham observed that the officers of the company were responsible for the acts of subordinates.

The representatives of the company were told that unless the tracks were voluntarily removed and the preliminary injunction not acted upon, the department would be perfectly willing to take the subject into the courts for a ruling. After some argument the railway officials acceded to this demand and the tracks in dispute will be removed.

Also, The Johnstown and Altoona Railway was apparently a competitor. See page 32:
https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/TheOffice/OfficialAttorneyGeneralOpinions/1911_1912_AG_Bell_opinions.pdf

We are grateful to Daria Phoebe Brashear for sharing this information.

Editor’s Note: Benson W. Rohrbeck (1933-2015), mentioned above, authored about a dozen books on various Pennsylvania trolley lines, starting in 1964. These were self-published (by Ben Rohrbeck Traction Publications) and spiral-bound. They are an excellent resource.

Again, from Daria Phoebe Brashear:

Stephen Titchenal (Stephen@Titchenal.com)’s guess at the line (heavy yellow line). Mostly matches what I had but I’m unsure what the situation was with the first two underpasses east of Summerhill, why those were okay but the third wasn’t. My guess was that it followed the route of what’s now route 53 (thin yellow line) but the aerials from 1939 don’t obviously show such. Also a small fragment of a 1918 PRR valuation map which I don’t have publication permission for, which confirms the line ran (there) on the north side of the portage railroad, and made it to what would be the 3rd subway east of Summerhill, which is presumably the one the court case was about, which makes sense given that was the “deep” Portage Railroad cut, square in the middle of that fragment.

Given this, it seems pretty likely that that case, making the line unable to use that subway, was what did it in so early (and why it never made it to Portage.)

Of course, looking carefully, the fragment shows the trolley in the 2nd of 3 tunnels at the left. So. Yeah. I guess his map is right!

Last little bits: Since you still wonder about it on the page, I can identify the locations of all 4 pictures.

The two in the portage cut are one end of the line. The other two are in the same spot on Maple Avenue, at the other end of the line, what appears to be at Grant St.

Of note:
http://data.cei.psu.edu/pennpilot/era1970/cambria_1967/cambria_1967_photos_jpg_800/cambria_090367_apy_9hh_184.jpg

We’re looking up the hill, northeastward out of South Fork. The Line would have logically started where the Southern Cambria connected, which was via the bridge over the PRR, now gone, but shown in this aerial, and still standing when I was in high school, complete with what were probably the bents that held the trolley wire spanning the bridge still standing 60+ years after the Southern Cambria ceased service. On the right side of the street there’s a tailor, and another building behind it, further from us, right out against the street, but on the corner we can see in one of the pictures that the building is set a bit back. It matches Maple and Grant on this image which is 50 years later… but it’s not like there was a lot of reason for South Fork to turn over heavily.

Also, if you look at the image which shows the top of the hill, note that the track appears to move from the center, toward the left, but at the same time the street is narrower and on a shelf? The grade separation is visible in the aerial.

I’ll attach Sanborn 1916s for South Fork which came from sanborn.umi.com and thus can’t be distributed today; alas the Penn State library’s scans of originals only include 1910, and Library of Congress’s aren’t online, or those would be publishable.

The other end was taken looking basically east, from a point slightly west of this:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Summerhill,+PA/@40.376462,-78.7443303,241m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89cb0a5b6dd618af:0xd4cc84b70057a7e4!8m2!3d40.3781296!4d-78.7605764

The trolley line ran on the north of the Portage Railroad (which is now Portage St, route 53) through the cut which is mostly still there just to the west of this point. The railroad cars were on the track to the right — that is, south — of the line outbound from South Fork, and basically just behind the car from our vantage was the other car that never ran, and then the line would have turned slightly left, northeastward, to go through the subway that Cunningham and Uhler scolded them over.

I get it, I suppose. All 3 such subways look like this.

And the problem wasn’t even just that: staying along route 53 would have involved 3 such tunnels between here and Wilmore, and staying on the south side of the PRR here would have bypassed only two of those, leaving the line to need to still somehow get under the PRR and into the middle of Wilmore. Doable, but not cheap. Or they could have bypassed all 3, missed the center of Wilmore and showed up on the south side of the PRR in Portage, but presumably they hadn’t secured usage of any right of way to have let them do that, and they apparently had already used up all their funds getting done only what they did. So that story from 1915 was, realistically, the death of the line, in spite of the opening 2 years later. All I can guess is they hoped to make a good show of opening in the hopes they’d get more funds somehow, but the era of that was over.

Looks like you have solved the mystery for sure… kudos to you, thanks!

More Mystery Photos

If you can help us identify some of these pictures, we would greatly appreciate it. You can either leave a comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski

Editor’s Note: Our readers (see the Comments to this post) have helped us reach a general consensus about most of these pictures.

1. The picture of Met “L” cars was taken at the Laramie shops on the Garfield Park line.

2. The Douglas picture may show the Kenton Yard.

3. We have a difference of opinion about the gate cars in the yard, but this could very well be Linden Yard in Wilmette looking north from Maple Avenue. The contemporary view lines up well with the older photo, and this is a place where you would have expected to see gate cars. They were, of course, used throughout the CTA system but in the 1940s and 50s you would have been more likely to see Met cars in the Laramie Yard.

4. and 5. Theses two pictures likely show the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago operation which ran until 1940. You can read more about that here. This had common ownership with the South Chicago City Railway Company, which explains why these cars look so much like Chicago’s.

6. We are now certain that the picture of car 242 shows the Chicago and Joliet Electric.

Thanks to all who contributed information.

These are Chicago Metropolitan "L" cars, but where was this picture taken? There seems to be dirt beneath the tracks, indicating we are at ground level.

These are Chicago Metropolitan “L” cars, but where was this picture taken? There seems to be dirt beneath the tracks, indicating we are at ground level.

That this is a CTA wooden "L" car (#2338) signed for the Douglas Park line is clear, but not the location. Where could this picture have been taken?

That this is a CTA wooden “L” car (#2338) signed for the Douglas Park line is clear, but not the location. Where could this picture have been taken?

CRT/CTA gate cars-- but where was this picture taken?

CRT/CTA gate cars– but where was this picture taken?

CTA's Linden Yard as it looks today, looking north from Maple. The track layout looks much the same as in the mystery picture, with three cars side-by-side. It would make sense to see gate cars there in the 1940s and 50s when the older picture was taken.

CTA’s Linden Yard as it looks today, looking north from Maple. The track layout looks much the same as in the mystery picture, with three cars side-by-side. It would make sense to see gate cars there in the 1940s and 50s when the older picture was taken.

Is this a Chicago streetcar, and if so, where was this picture taken? (Sorry for the lo-res image.)

Is this a Chicago streetcar, and if so, where was this picture taken? (Sorry for the lo-res image.)

Is this a Chicago streetcar, and if so, where was this picture taken? (Sorry for the lo-res image.)

Is this a Chicago streetcar, and if so, where was this picture taken? (Sorry for the lo-res image.)

This is car number 242 of a 1920s side of the road interurban, but which one? Could it possibly be the Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway, which connected the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria? They did have a car 242, but I'm not sure this is the same car. Don's Rail Photos says, "242 was built by Cummings Car & Coach Co. in 1927." They have another picture of C&JE car 242 here for comparison. If this is that car, it would narrow down the time when this picture could have been taken to between 1927 and 1933. (We previously ran a picture of car 242 in a previous post.)

This is car number 242 of a 1920s side of the road interurban, but which one? Could it possibly be the Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway, which connected the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria? They did have a car 242, but I’m not sure this is the same car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “242 was built by Cummings Car & Coach Co. in 1927.” They have another picture of C&JE car 242 here for comparison. If this is that car, it would narrow down the time when this picture could have been taken to between 1927 and 1933. (We also ran a picture of car 242 in a previous post.)

A close-up of the logo on the side of car 242.

A close-up of the logo on the side of car 242.


To round out today’s post, here are a few more interesting shots. No mysteries, however:

This circa 1952 photo gives a "bird's eye view" from one of Montreal's four open-air sightseeing trams. Car #2 is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum, in operable condition. I was fortunate enough to ride that car in 2014. You can see pictures I took of it here.

This circa 1952 photo gives a “bird’s eye view” from one of Montreal’s four open-air sightseeing trams. Car #2 is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum, in operable condition. I was fortunate enough to ride that car in 2014. You can see pictures I took of it here.

montreal1

Montreal Tramways had four of these unique observation cars in their fleet, which were used for sightseeing tours. Here, car #3 is at St. Joseph's Shrine on August 14, 1948. All four cars have been preserved, and car 3 is now at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. A few years ago, I rode the very similar car #2 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.

Montreal Tramways had four of these unique observation cars in their fleet, which were used for sightseeing tours. Here, car #3 is at St. Joseph’s Shrine on August 14, 1948. All four cars have been preserved, and car 3 is now at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. A few years ago, I rode the very similar car #2 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.

On the back of this photo, which shows Chicago Surface Lines 4003 at the Madison-Austin loop, it was misidentified as Brooklyn. See? You can't always trust what is written on the back of the photograph. As the man said, "trust, but verify."

On the back of this photo, which shows Chicago Surface Lines 4003 at the Madison-Austin loop, it was misidentified as Brooklyn. See? You can’t always trust what is written on the back of the photograph. As the man said, “trust, but verify.”

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