Monday, July 8, 2024

Answers and More Questions

A few years ago, in this post, I asked for information on a streetcar that had gone "missing" in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Today, thanks to Bill Wall, who alerted me to this video, I've got one answer - but a few more questions.
The images here are screen grabs from that video. At about the 11:00 mark, the streetcar pictured above shows up. This appears to be car 15 from my previous post, the single-trucker owned by the Negaunee Historical Society and said to have been moved from a site in town out to the Tracy Mine back in 2014. These are the best images I've seen of the car, and show that it appears largely solid but has doors cut into the centers of both ends. It looks a lot like a Brill-design car; one clue is the "barrel" shaped interior posts shown below. Single-truckers of this design (often built by American Car Company) were extremely common on small-town street railway systems in the Midwest. Very few are left, with Grand Forks 102 being a rare surviving example.
The Negaunee Historical Society claims that this car ran in Negaunee on the Marquette County Gas Light & Traction line to Ishpeming. However, having looked into it a bit, I'm dubious. The only information I have on MCGL&T comes from CERA Bulletin 103, and that says that the line "graduated to double-truckers" in 1907, buying two Jewetts and a Niles. That suggests that the line's earlier single-truckers may not have lasted too late, though it's not really clear.

On the other hand, the same book shows images of Brill-design deck-roof single-truckers running in nearby Marquette that match car 15 exactly. Spotting features include seven windows per side plus a narrow window next to each bulkhead; blocked-off left side doors; and, perhaps most unusually, a very odd rub rail arrangement where the rub rail only extends a couple of feet in from each end of the body before ending. Furthermore, American Car Company records show five cars numbered 16-21 built in 1903 for the Marquette City & Presque Isle, the system in Marquette. This doesn't tell me who built car 15, which doesn't show up in any builder order lists I have, but it matches the number series.

As such, I've decided that car 15 in Negaunee is almost certainly from the Marquette & Presque Isle. It's annoying that it doesn't show up in any of my builder order lists; my best guess is that it was bought secondhand or sold to a broker who then sold it to the MC&PI. Perhaps it was built by Stephenson, for which I don't have an order list, though they weren't bought by Brill until 1904. If anyone happens upon a MC&PI roster, please let me know! In the meantime, I've added the car to the PNAERC list here. It's not the only car on the list whose builder is unknown, but I hope to gather more information on this intriguing car as time goes on.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

PCCs Return to Philadelphia

I'm a couple of weeks late on this, but SEPTA has put its heavily rebuilt PCC-II cars back into regular service on Route 15 for the first time since the line was bustituted at the start of 2020. Some, maybe most - but I don't think all - of the 2300-series cars have undergone a major in-kind overhaul and are now back in service. The trouble is, I'm not sure which cars are still being rebuilt or have yet to be rebuilt. Anyone have an updated fleet status report? Here's what I know, or at least think I know:

2322, 2324, 2327, 2328, 2332, 2333, 2337 - overhauled, in service

2320, 2321, 2325, 2329, 2330, 2331, 2334, 2335 - not sure whether these have been overhauled or whether they are in service

2323, 2326, 2336 - currently undergoing overhaul?

Photo above by Marc Glucksman

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Windsor Streetcar

It's been nearly five years since the frame-up restoration of Sandwich Windsor & Amherstburg 351 was completed. The work was done by an automobile restoration contractor retained by the City of Windsor with the goal of putting the car on display on the Detroit River waterfront. That hasn't happened yet, but I believe progress is being made toward constructing a shelter at Legacy Park.

In the meantime, car 351 has remained in storage, and very few photos of it have appeared online since restoration was completed. Until now! Thanks to Jon Fenlaciki, who visited the car today and sent in the below pictures.

The car originally had Standard O-50 trucks, but from other photos I believe these are Brill 27MCB trucks salvaged from an unknown rapid transit car.

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Penn Ohio PCCs

It was brought to my attention that a post made yesterday on Reddit, of all places, includes photos of the rarely seen Pittsburgh PCCs at Penn Ohio Electric Railway in Ashley, Ohio. That may be a misnomer at this point; the person who posted the photos says they recently purchased the property the cars sit on, and the two remaining PCCs just came with the purchase. There used to be a third PCC, Pittsburgh 1713, which was conveyed to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum last year. That leaves two: air-electric 1639 and 1949 sealed-window postwar car 1728.

These two cars have been listed as being "for sale" since 2017, but the post makes a couple of things pretty clear. First, when PTM acquired car 1713 last year, the owners of the three cars made these two available to the museum as parts sources. As such, at least some of the more valuable parts and components have been scavenged to help keep cars in the PTM fleet operating. Second, the current owners have no particular interest in these cars being moved somewhere else to rot away. Their current intention is to scrap both, and the PNAERC listings for both cars have been updated to reflect that.

This isn't a huge historical loss, as there are other examples of both 1600- and 1700-series Pittsburgh cars preserved, most notably at PTM. But there aren't as many as you might think. If you discount the cars remanufactured as 4000s and the six soon-to-be-cut-up 1700s in Windber, car 1728 is one of just seven 1700-series cars still in existence. Of the other six, two are at PTM, two are plinthed outdoors, one is in private hands and one is nicely stuffed and mounted at the Heinz Museum in Pittsburgh. It's unlikely any besides the two at PTM will ever run again. As for 1600s, car 1639 is one of four cars from that 1945 order still around; the other three include car 1644 at Northern Ohio Railway Museum, modernized car 1799 at PTM, and the heavily rebuilt car with the LRV front end at Buckeye Lake.

Monday, May 27, 2024

AEM7 Arrives in Danbury

It seems the Danbury Railway Museum's collection of mainline electric collection is growing again. According to this video (source of the screen shot above), Amtrak 917, an AEM7 built by Electro-Motive in 1981, has been moved to the DRM property from its former storage location at a shipping terminal in Rhode Island.* This makes 917 the third AEM7 preserved, after 915 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and 945 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Of the three, it is the only example that was upgraded to AC traction around 2000 or so; the other two retain their original DC motors. This addition puts the list at 2,089 pieces of equipment.

As I wrote here, DRM is now in the same league as IRM and RRMofPA - not coincidentally, the other two owners of AEM7s - when it comes to its mainline electric collection. DRM now has 11 pieces of mainline electric equipment, compared with nine at RRMofPA and 11 at IRM. DRM might not have a locomotive of such national significance as Strasburg's DD1, or a crowd pleaser quite like the operable South Shore 803 in Union, but Danbury's collection includes unique pieces like the Grand Central Terminal wrecker, the last NYC T-Motor, and all three surviving New Haven "washboard" MU cars. Now, all they need is a GG1!

*EDIT: It appears that the AEM7 actually arrived in Danbury on June 7th.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

North Shore 228 Restored

Hot on the heels of Illinois Terminal line car 1702 being outshopped by IRM, another Midwestern organization has restored and operated a piece of non-revenue equipment that hadn't run since retirement. This is Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 228, a box motor (known as an "MD car," or merchandise despatch car, on the North Shore) built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922 and just completed at the East Troy Electric Railroad. It's shown above in a photo from this Facebook group depicting a test run a few weeks ago; its official debut was this weekend, like IT 1702 during a private event.

Car 228 was one of an ill-fated trio of electric cars that made their way to the Indiana Railway Museum in Westport, Indiana, around 1963. The three cars - 228, North Shore combine 250, and Chicago Aurora & Elgin steel-sheathed wood coach 318 - were purchased from the Westport group by The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society (TWERHS), which at the time operated over the East Troy line, around 1971. The two North Shore cars made it to TWERHS intact, but car 318 had its ends crushed during a Penn Central switching accident and was later scrapped for parts in Mukwonago.

The two North Shore cars were in rough shape, though. Combine 250 was acquired by IRM when TWERHS folded in 1988 and later scrapped; MD car 228 stayed in East Troy and work on rebuilding it began but was suspended for some 25 or 30 years. In 2022, though, the MD car went into ETER's new shop building in Mukwonago to complete the job. Of the five North Shore MD cars preserved, this is one of two that is operational and is the only one to have undergone a complete restoration.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Whiskey Island Car Pusher Finds New Home

A few weeks ago, we posted a story here about the last Hulett ore unloaders in existence - a pair of disassembled Huletts stored at Whiskey Island in Cleveland - being threatened, along with a trio of diminutive narrow-gauge electric car pushers, or shunters, that sat with them. While I don't believe any hopeful news has emerged on the Huletts themselves, one of the three car pushers has found a new home. The Port of Cleveland has posted here that Pennsylvania Railroad 1, one of the three car pushers at Whiskey Island, was loaded onto a truck and removed from the site for preservation. The locomotive is a 1912 Baldwin-Westinghouse, identical (I believe) to this one, which is preserved in Youngstown. The photo above is from the Port of Cleveland's Facebook post.

Its destination is apparently Buckeye Lake, Ohio, but it's not owned by Buckeye Lake Trolley. It's the first piece of equipment on the PNAERC list under the ownership of the American Industrial Mining Company Museum, or AIMCM, which is a geographically dispersed organization focused on mining and industrial equipment preservation. The group has its main workshop site at Buckeye Lake, on the same property as Buckeye Lake Trolley, and has a public exhibition site in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. AIMCM also owns a pair of Toronto CLRVs, 4024 and 4170, but those two cars are stored at the Halton County Radial Railway in Ontario and are currently listed with that organization's collection on PNAERC.

Two more PRR car pushers are still in the weeds at Whiskey Island awaiting possible salvation. One is reputedly numbered 2, but the third isn't on PNAERC because I don't have a fleet number or any other information on it. Interested in a very large and ungainly-looking lawn ornament?