The 1970’s

From the time of the first operation, visitors paid a suggested donation. Starting in 1970, the Museum charged a fare for the first time, with adults paying 50 cents per ride and children under 12 paying 25 cents per ride. All-day passes were available for twice the per-trip price. With the new fare, an extensive marketing campaign began to attract more visitors to the Museum. In 1970, ARMCO Steel in Butler donated B-73, a diesel locomotive built by Baldwin Westinghouse in 1930.  Thanksgiving weekend 1970, a group of young and enthusiastic volunteers traveled to Llanerch, PA to load Red Arrow Car 66 onto a heavily worn railroad flat car for shipment to Arden. The car arrived just before New Year’s and entered service in 1974 after extensive backdating. It weighs nearly 30 tons and is the heaviest passenger car in the collection.

In 1972 additional passenger and work cars were acquired from the Port Authority in Pittsburgh as the system there contracted to its current size.  Plans for an extension of the operating line across North Main Street to a point near the village of Arden Mines were developed to regain the rural nature of the ride.  To this end was a major project to remove over 100 tons of rail from Cat’s Run Wye on the Monongahela Railway near Masontown, PA.  Plans were also developed for the construction of additional space for the storage, maintenance and restoration of the cars.  Negotiations with County officials for the land necessary to carry out the plans spanned several years, with approval of the carbarn project coming early in 1975.

Construction of the car shop and car storage building commenced in the fall of 1975, but unlike the founders’ car house, the $29,500 project was erected and framed by commercial contractors, leaving the balance of the work to museum volunteers and what had been a four-year job with the building was cut to just four months this time.  The new building was designated Galbraith Shop, bearing the name of museum co-founder Reynolds Galbraith, whose generous contributions were instrumental in making the facility a reality.  In 1977 right of way for the Arden Valley track extension was acquired by the museum following negotiation with Washington County.  Construction of the first segment started in the spring of 1979, and allowed museum service to the parking lot gate of the Washington County Fair.