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Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Monongahela

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

A Streetcar Named DesireInside a trolley

Location Details

PHONE: 724-228-9256
ADDRESS: 1 Museum Rd.
Washington, PA 15301
HOURS: Open April-May, Sept-Mid Dec: Friday 10-4, Saturday & Sunday 10-5 Memorial Day-Labor Day: Monday-Friday 10-4, Saturday & Sunday 10-5
COST: Adults: $9; Seniors (62+): $8; Children (3-15) $6; 2 and under Free Note: Special events prices may differ

Event Details

Trolleys and Toy Trains

Description

A trolley by any other name (such as streetcar or cable car) would still take us places — places as routine as the office, as imaginative as Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe or as provocative as our own desires. From the very first clinking clanking trolley of the late 1880s to the high-speed, high-tech systems of the turn of the millenium, this mode of transportation enabled us to travel beyond our own backyards. With the dawn of the Electric Age, it seemed that the sky was the limit. By 1918, the Pittsburgh Railways Company operated some 2,000 trolley cars, 65 different lines, and more than 600 miles of track. (That same year, 18,000 miles of trolley tracks lined the country.) Back then, a nickel got you where you wanted to go. The Great Depression hit the lines hard. But during World War II, when the civilian front was facing severe fuel and rubber rationing, streetcars were returned to service. Once victory was declared and the soldiers started marching home, however, the trolley found itself on a collision course with the automobile. As families began moving to the suburbs, more and more highways, shopping malls, and fast-food restaurants were being constructed to accommodate this dramatic shift in lifestyle. The trolley was fast becoming obsolete.

But thanks to three forward-thinking local streetcar enthusiasts, it was never completely forgotten. In 1949, recognizing the importance of preserving history as well as of restoring actual cars to their former glory, these individuals joined to create the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. By 1953, the group formally organized the museum into a nonprofit corporation, purchased a 2,000-foot section of abandoned railroad track in Washington County, and counted three discarded trolleys as their entire collection.

Opened to the public in 1963, the museum has never slowed down. Now encompassing 30 acres, the facility features a 3-mile track, gift shop, restoration and repair garage, trolley-car barn, and education center complete with photo displays and diorama.

But at the end of the line, the main attraction remains the trolleys. The museum’s collection now numbers 45 (12 in running condition, the rest in various stages of restoration). Standouts include Pittsburgh’s own 77/54 (dubbed the “Flying Fraction,” it ran from the North Side to Carrick to Bloomfield); 1711 (retired in 1953, it was the last car to make the trek from Washington, Pa., to Pittsburgh); and the “Fred Rogers” trolley (Philadelphia Transit Car 5326 was the star of an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood).

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