The Garbage Trolley
By PTM Volunteer Bram Bailey
Well, we have the Bunny Trolley, the Pumpkin Trolley and the Santa Trolley, but by far the lesser known of our trolleys is the Garbage Trolley. For the last three years I have come down to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, during the Spring Clean-up, to run what I fondly call “The Garbage Trolley.” Over the winter our right of way collects a lot of trash. Just as we clean up our rolling stock and facilities for the upcoming operating season it is necessary to police the trash along the right of way.
As everyone who knows me can attest, I am an unapologetic PCC fan. Whenever I get the opportunity to operate one, I jump at the chance. One of the best days I ever had at PTM was during the County Fair when we were short of operators, and I got to run 1711 for a full shift all by myself. Of course, I am a firm believer that since the PCC was designed as a one person car, a PCC needs a conductor as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Running the Garbage Trolley gives me an opportunity to operate a PCC all by myself and at the same time do a service for the museum. In years past the dubious distinction of Garbage Trolley, or GT for those who prefer acronyms, has gone to 1711 and 14. This year the honor went to 2711.
When I arrived at PTM the morning of March 21st, I backed 2711 out of the Founders Car House, performed the walk around inspection, then did the line check. I have always enjoyed the line check. Just a leisurely ride over the railway early in the morning looking for any imperfections and enjoying a cup of coffee while you are at it. During the line check I was also scoping out the magnitude of the trash that needed to be collected. It was going to be a busy day for me.
With the line check complete, I got out some trash bags, put on some rubber gloves and headed up the valley towards Arden. There was a lot to collect at the Main Street Crossing and Fairgrounds, but the valley was relatively free of trash. Once I crossed back over Main Street, I cleaned up the section from there to Richfol filling most of the first trash bag. I took a lunch break then headed outbound towards the East Campus. That area was a bit of a challenge, and it took the best part of the afternoon to finish it. Once I was done, I took one last lap around the railway and picked up stuff I missed on the first pass.
To add some fun to Garbage Duty, I decided to pay attention to what I was collecting and make it sort of a “Washington County Litter Bug Survey” on what were the most popular items. Here are the results:
- Coke beat out Pepsi by a ratio of 2:1.
- The beer of choice turned out to be Miller Lite.
- The abundance of Slim Jim wrappers proved them to be the favorite snack in our informal survey.
- McDonalds beat out Burger King by about a quarter pound or so.
- Marlboro was the cigarette of choice.
- The Smokeless Tobacco award went to Skoal Classic Wintergreen (the only entry in that category).
- The most numerous award goes out to the ubiquitous water bottle, proving that the Washington County Litter Bugs are a well hydrated bunch.
Some weird and humorous stuff I encountered:
- What looked, from a distance, like a nasty old Steelers hat and some snow, turned out to be a stuffed Steelers football. It was opened up with the cotton stuffing all over the place. It looked like the local bird population had been using it for nesting material. What they left behind was not pretty.
- Down by the pond, I found an unopened package of Hostess Cupcakes. They had been there for a while. The Sun’s UV rays did a job on them making them appear as toxic waste.
- I also found a Tangerine in pristine condition, that was left behind by a fisherman, recently because it had not yet started to rot.
- The Sun’s UV rays have no effect on Mylar balloons. They may not hold their helium for long, but they will live on forever in the weeds along our right of way.
- People took the “disposable” part of the Disposable Face Mask very seriously disposing of them all over our right of way. An unpleasant part of my job was to remove this lasting tribute to the Corona Virus pandemic.
- At the Main Street crossing, I found a nasty old ripped up work glove with only a thumb and one finger left…you guessed it, that sucker was giving me the finger until I picked it up.
When I got home, I was relating to my wife that I had an enjoyable day on the Garbage Trolley. I certainly got my exercise, according to my smart phone, I got in 12,867 steps that day. Yes, I will volunteer to do it again next year.