Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

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Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Car 78 waits to pick up passengers at the museum
Location1 Museum Road, Washington, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°12′29″N 80°15′19″W / 40.20802°N 80.25532°W / 40.20802; -80.25532
TypeRailway museum
Trolley Museum
McClane School loop
Trolley display building
Arden Mines loop
Arden Fairgrounds
Car shop
Richfol Stop
Car house #1

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, located at 1 Museum Road, Washington, Pennsylvania, is a museum dedicated to trolleys and includes several restored examples.


The origin of the museum can be traced to a group of electric railway enthusiasts who acquired Pittsburgh Railways Company M-1, a small four wheel Pittsburgh trolley in 1949. It and Pittsburgh Railways Company 3756, a single end lowfloor and West Penn Curveside 832 were stored for them in Ingram Carhouse by Pittsburgh Railways until 1954. In 1953 the Pittsburgh Railways Interurban line from Pittsburgh to Washington was abandoned and the newly formed Pittsburgh Electric Railway Club bought 2,000 feet (610 m) of the line next to the old County Home trolley stop north of Washington in Chartiers Township, Pennsylvania. On February 7, 1954 the three trolleys stored in Pittsburgh were run to the museum site from Pittsburgh under their own power shortly before the line was removed. They were followed by Pittsburgh Railways Company 4398, a double ended lowfloor car which then returned the museum members back to Pittsburgh, forming the last passenger service on the line.

Following a period of restoration and rebuilding the Arden Trolley Museum opened to the public in June 1963.

In 2012, the museum adopted a cat, called Frank the Trolley Cat, after Frank J. Sprague, the inventor of the trolley wheel.[1]


According to their web site, the museum's mission is "to communicate the story of Pennsylvania's Trolley Era to a diverse audience through the preservation, interpretation, and use of its collection of electric railway and railroad equipment." To that end, the museum includes a collection of 45 refurbished trolleys. The museum owns a New Orleans streetcar, Perley A. Thomas car #832, formerly used on various lines in New Orleans including the Desire line which is mentioned in the film A Streetcar Named Desire[2][3] based on the play by Tennessee Williams, although it is not the streetcar actually in the film (#922, still in service in New Orleans).[4][5] Much of the museum's collection is housed in a $2 million "Trolley Display Building" which opened May 6, 2005.[6] Visitors can take a short ride on a restored functioning trolley. A special ride during the Christmas season includes a visit from Santa Claus. In September 2004, the area surrounding the museum flooded in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. The floodwaters caused substantial damage to the museum which has since been repaired.[7]

The line was extended north along the track bed of the old Arden Mines Railroad Branch between 1979 and 1995, adding 1 mile (1.6 km) to the track and allowing stations to be opened at the Arden Mines loop and the passing loop at the County Fairground.[8]

The shelter at car house #1 came from the Richfol Stop, one stop north of Canonsburg on the Pittsburgh Railways Interurban line from Pittsburgh to Washington.


The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum participates in the annual Washington County Fair by providing trolley rides from nearby parking lots to the fairgrounds.[9]

The museum hosted the 2007 conference for the Association of Railway Museums. The conference was held on October 3–7, 2007, and was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.[10]


  1. ^ Miller, Barbara S. (September 24, 2012). "Feline Frank top cat at trolley museum". Observer-Reporter. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  2. ^ PA Pennsylvania Trolley Museum web site
  3. ^ Letter from Tom E. Parkinson, President of the Pennsylvania Railway Museum Association to Time Magazine
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Templeton, David. "Old trolleys get new home" from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 15, 2005.
  7. ^ Trolley Fare Nov-Dec 2005
  8. ^ "A brief history of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum". December 1, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  9. ^ Warco, Kathie O. "County fair planners promising 'Bushels of Fun' for eight days" from the Observer-Reporter. July 24, 2007
  10. ^ The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

External links[edit]