Join PTM staff, volunteers, and members for our new Zoom series, Trolleyology! These programs will feature Pennsylvania transit history topics and tales of our collection that you can experience from home. Registration is required but free of charge. Donations are welcome and encouraged. Limited space is available!
For the best experience, we recommend downloading Zoom in advance.
Beginning in 2021, Trolleyology presentations will be shared about once every two weeks through spring. Interested in presenting? Email email@example.com!
Tentative schedule (subject to change):
PCC: The Amazing Streamlined Streetcar
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Tony Schill
*This program will be longer than our typical Trolleyology presentation!
“A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.” So proclaimed a mid-1930’s Westinghouse ad featuring the new PCCs then arriving at transit systems all over North America. Back when the poet Keats penned those words in the early 1800s, he obviously did not have the PCC car in mind. But the words nevertheless remain appropriate in reference to the PCC, even today. The PCC car was a technological and aesthetic triumph that was intended to assure the long future of the traditional electric street railway industry. That goal was successfully achieved, but only for a while.
Just 20 years after the debut of the PCC it had become apparent that the traditional streetcar systems in North America were slowly rolling toward eventual extinction. Happily, that extinction never occurred, though it came all too close. Indeed, the PCC car was a major factor in keeping the streetcar industry alive just long enough to reach the light at the end of the tunnel—light rail and modern streetcar. Let’s go back and take a ride through PCC history!
Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Lisa Maloy
Red Arrow Lines
Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by John Nicholson
That the Red Arrow has been one of the country’s most successful traction companies is borne out by the fact that much of it continues to operate today under the auspices of SEPTA. CERA’s John Nicholson will present a PowerPoint program taking you back on a journey over the Red Arrow lines with color images dating from the early 1940s to the present.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Philip Sauerlender
Philip Sauerlender will talk about specialized pocket watches made for interurban electric railway employees. These watches were made specifically to meet the requirements of the interurban railway industry which flourished briefly the first third of the twentieth century. This program will explain the need for these watches, describe their characteristics, show their advertising, and illustrate many examples.
Cleveland Transit – Years of Transition
Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Rich Krisak
This program will focus on the early 50s when the last streetcars ran, the new rapid transit opened and the wires came down on the Cleveland Union Terminal electrification.
Pittsburgh to McKeesport by Trolley
Wednesday, April 7, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Russ Jackson
Member Russ Jackson will show a one-hour video “Pittsburgh To McKeesport By Trolley”. The outbound trip will be shown using slides and the return trip will be 30 minutes of digitized 8mm film taken with a tripod-mounted camera adjacent to the trolley motorman. With its cross-country running, Russ always liked to consider the route 56 as an interurban line, taking one to a small city that once hosted 5 or 6 separate trolley lines. That such a trolley line existed as long as it did is quite remarkable. If time permits some additional shorter video will be shown.
These programs may be available for outreach presentations. If your club, organization, or group is interested in a digital program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some previous presenters have given permission for the Museum to share their programs on PTM’s YouTube Account. Click here for the Trolleyology playlist!
Keeping up with the Joneses: The Life and Career of Mr. P.N. Jones of the Pittsburgh Railways Co.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Father Jack Demnyan
Most Pittsburgh transit fans are familiar with the Jones’ Low Floor Car, that ubiquitous “yellow car” trolley which was the mainstay vehicle for Pittsburgh Railways Co. from the WWI era until the arrival of the PCC streamlined cars. Few, however, know much about the man behind the machine – Mr. P.N. Jones. This presentation will focus on his life and career with the Railways while uncovering a few surprises along the way.
Johnstown – Last of the Small-Town Trolleys: 60th Anniversary of the Last Day
+ Bonus: Last Day of Service on the Munhall Line in Pittsburgh
Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 7:00 PM
Were it not for the sharp climb of the Pittsburgh Railways Company’s Fineview line, the Johnstown Traction Company’s Morrellville line’s steep grade at its outer end would certainly have been more well-known. As it is, the system is fondly remembered as the “last of the small-town trolleys” and will be the subject of this October Trolleyology presentation by Jim Graebner.
Small Town Trolley Along the Allegheny River
Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 7:00 PM
Armstrong County, Pennsylvania was home to 2 separate trolley lines during the first third of the twentieth century. This program will focus on one of them. The Kittanning & Leechburg Railways Company, a small rural line ran for 10 miles in the middle of Armstrong County from 1899 to 1936 that became part of the West Penn Railways System in 1911. The focus of this presentation by Dennis Cramer will be on the communities of Kittanning and Ford City along with a look at Lenape Park, an amusement park owned by the railways company.
A Ride to Charleroi
Tuesday, September 29, 2020, 7:00 PM
Join PTM Volunteer George Gula for a virtual interurban ride from Pittsburgh through Charleroi south to Roscoe. The scenic Charleroi line featured a number of bridges, followed today’s Routes 51, 88, and 837, and connected the big city with small towns in Allegheny and Washington County until its abandonment in 1953.
A Look Back at the Trolleys of Irwin
Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 7:00 PM
In the first half of the 20th century, trolleys brought tremendous growth and change to the Borough of Irwin and its surrounding towns in Westmoreland County. This program from Andy Blenko looks at how the town was served by trolleys and rise and fall of those trolley companies.
On the Warpath! Pennsylvania’s Trolleys during WWII
Tuesday, June 16, 6:30 pm
Transit systems were considered vital war industries, yet it was difficult to keep the trolleys running during the war.
Labor shortages, equipment shortages, and a strike involving an army takeover of at least one Pennsylvania property were only some of the issues faced by those running public transit in Pennsylvania. Join volunteer George Gula to see how it was accomplished during WWII.
Allegheny Valley Route
Tuesday, June 9, 2:30 pm
The lower Allegheny Valley, just north of Pittsburgh, hosted three streetcar lines in the early 20th Century, each of them part of a different corporate structure. The Allegheny Valley (West Penn), Tarentum, Breckenridge & Butler and Route 78 of Pittsburgh Railways served the heavily industrialized area along the lower Allegheny River valley.
This presentation, based upon the book Allegheny Valley Trolleys, will be presented by Dennis Cramer, one of the authors and former Chief Instructor of Operator Training at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
When Bad Things Happen to Good Trolleys
Wednesday, June 3, 6:30 pm
Whenever a trolley left the car barn for its day’s work, trouble was never far behind. In this presentation, volunteer George Gula shares a collection of derailments, collisions, floods, snow and ice incidents and all the other things that made the motorman wish he had stayed home and the trolley wish it had stayed in the depot.
Wexford: Station, Post Office, Deli, and Back Again
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 2:00 pm
The Wexford Station served the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler & New Castle Railway (“The Harmony Route”) from 1908 until the last trolley ran in 1931. After its life as a passenger and freight station, the building was purchased, moved, and used as a post office, antique shop, and most recently, a deli.
Join Executive Director Scott Becker for a Trolleyology talk about Wexford Station, the route it served, its relocation to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, and its reopening in 2016.