Baltimore Streetcar Museum

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Coordinates: 39°18′42″N 76°37′12″W / 39.31167°N 76.62000°W / 39.31167; -76.62000

Baltimore Streetcar Museum
An 1896 open car in operation at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum
Location1911 Falls Road, Baltimore, Maryland, 21211
Key holdings4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
5 ft 4 12 in (1,638 mm) Baltimore streetcar gauge

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum (BSM) is a non-profit museum located at 1911 Falls Road (MD 25) in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] The museum is dedicated to preserving Baltimore's public transportation history, especially the streetcar era.

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum was founded in 1966 by several members of the Baltimore Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society.[2] The original Museum collection consisted of equipment used by the former United Railways and Electric Company and Baltimore Transit Company (BTCO) services, which was held for a short time, the Maryland Historical Society after Baltimore ceased streetcar service. The collection was moved from Robert E. Lee Park near Lake Roland in 1968 to the present Falls Road Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad site and public operations began in July 1970.[2] Before public operations could commence, many hours of volunteer work were necessary to build operating track and install overhead wire which, at first, provided only a short ride for visitors.[2] Over the years, the Museum has incrementally extended its line along Falls Road that includes now turning loops at the north and south ends of its line.[2] Completion of the Museum's entire streetcar line was realized in October 2008 with the completion of its double tracking project, which took many years to complete.[2] The track gauge continues to be the unique 5 ft 4 12 in (1,638 mm) one used by original Baltimore streetcar lines.[3][4][5][6]

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum houses the library collections of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum and the National Railway Historical Society (Baltimore Chapter), formally known as Maryland Rail Heritage Library.[7]

The machine shop at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum is one of the largest and well equipped shops of any streetcar museum in the United States. In many instances, parts for Baltimore Streetcar Museum and other museums are custom fabricated.

Operating streetcars[edit]

During public operations, the Baltimore Streetcar Museum offers rides to visitors the on various Streetcars including, but not limited to:

On many occasions, passengers may ride one of the BSM's latest acquisitions, a Philadelphia SEPTA Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC streetcar), car #2168), unveiled in September 2009. This car was built by the St. Louis Car Co. for The Philadelphia Transportation Co. in 1947, and lasted in SEPTA service until 1992. During the spring, summer and fall (weather permitting), passengers may also ride the BSM's Car #1164, a United Railways and Electric Company 12-Bench Open Brill 22-A model, built in 1902 by J. G. Brill Company. This car is also handbrake only. Even Santa Claus comes to visit the children during the Museum's "Santa's Streetcar" event which operates for two weekends in December. One of the cars is decked out in Christmas finery and Santa welcomes everyone to the Museum. Car 417, built by the Baltimore City Passenger Railway as a horse car, later re-built as a cable car trailer, and finally into an electric car in 1895, is the Museum's newest restoration. This car operates on special occasions and is reported to be the oldest operating electric streetcar in America.

Photos of some of the BSM collection are available at the following links:[2][11][12]

Volunteer operating staff[edit]

The Museum's streetcar operations is handled by an all-volunteer staff, composed exclusively of Museum members. Training is provided by the Museum's Training Department during a formal eleven week educational program. Recruitment is periodically advertised through the Museum's newsletter which all Museum members receive.

Museum rentals[edit]

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum is also available for private parties for children and adults alike.[13]The BSM's Visitor Center facilities feature an auditorium, the "Trolley Theatre," streetcar rides, and tours of the carhouse, where visitors view other historical transit equipment, such as an 1859 horse car, a crane car, and an electric bus, known as a trackless trolley or trolleybus.

Streetcar service[edit]

A track providing service at the museum is identified by the Maryland Transit Administration as Route 25. At one time, the United Railways and Electric Company routes was the Route 25 line on Falls Road, past the current site of the Museum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — Contact". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Blumberg, Andrew. "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — A Brief History of the BSM". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  3. ^ "Railroad Gauge Width". Паровоз ИС. Российский железнодорожный портал. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  4. ^ Hilton, George W.; Due, John Fitzgerald (1 January 2000). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4014-2. Retrieved 10 June 2014. Worst of all, not all city systems were built to the standard American and European gauge of 4'-​8 12". Pittsburgh and most other Pennsylvania cities used 5'-​2 12", which became known as the Pennsylvania trolley gauge. Cincinnati used 5'-​2 12", Philadelphia 5'-​2 14", Columbus 5'-2", Altoona 5'-3", Louisville and Camden 5'-0", Canton and Pueblo 4'-0", Denver, Tacoma, and Los Angeles 3'-6", Toronto an odd 4'-​10 78", and Baltimore a vast 5'-​4 12".
  5. ^ LaCosta, John (2008). "BSM Update November 10, 2007 to April 6, 2008". The Baltimore Streetcar Museum. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-03-22. Each wheel has been moved out 1 1/8 inches to get to the Baltimore gauge of 5' 4 1/2
  6. ^ a b Retrieved 2019-05-20. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Baltimore Chapter, National Railway Historical Society - Maryland Rail Heritage Library". Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  8. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — Collection". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  9. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — Collection". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  10. ^ Specifications on the BSM's Streetcars in service mentioned in this article are taken from pages 26-27 of the souvenir book, A Guide to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, a 36 page volume, edited by Andrew S. Blumberg, available at the BSM's Gift Shop.
  11. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — The Last Streetcar Sites". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  12. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — Restoration of Car 554". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  13. ^ "Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc — Book an Event". Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. Retrieved 2019-05-20.

External links[edit]