By Louie Mariano, Next Generation Committee Chair

Younger people are not usually the demographic that comes to mind when one thinks of rail preservation.  However, here at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, we are lucky to have such a large group of volunteers and staff between the ages of 14 and 30.  At the time of writing, 25 active members fall within these guidelines.  This January, we introduced our Next Generation Committee with the goals to recruit younger members, engage them in preservation and museum administration, and provide a voice to the people who will make up the next generation of museum leaders. 

Each month, we host a meeting that anyone in the age range is welcome to attend.  We discuss current and future projects, event ideas, and anything else of interest to the people in attendance.  Members are encouraged to share their ideas to the group.  The key points are compiled into a report which is then submitted to the Board of Trustees. 

The Restored Fare Register And Trustee Plate Inside 4145

Most of our efforts are focused on small projects around the museum. One of the first projects we undertook involved installing some missing detail pieces on Pittsburgh Railways #4145. With the help of Bruce Wells, we were able to locate some of the missing items for the interior of the car. We were able to locate an appropriate fare register and trustee plate as well as a conductor bell and various pieces of wooden trim for the inside of the car.

Jack Jost and Michael Buchta did a fantastic job restoring and installing these items. The photo on the left shows the fare register and trustee plate in their new home. Currently, we are still in search of pulleys to attach the cords to the fare register. 

One of the most involved parts of the project was installing couplers to the car.  It seems they were removed at some point during the car’s preservation.  We were able to locate appropriate couplers; one from our parts supply and the other from another car.  Both couplers were cleaned, inspected, and painted before being installed on the car. 

Luckily for us, most of the mounting hardware was still intact and the installation went smoothly (see the photo on the right).  With the help of Jack Jost, Dom Bodek, Dom Frizzi, Michael Buchta, and Stephen Semerod, we were able to successfully complete this project.

The Finished Front Coupler Installed On 4145
Ayden Kendlick And Dom Bodek Prepare The Sweeper For Paint

Our next major undertaking was our cosmetic refresh on SEPTA Snow Sweeper #04.  Most of our efforts were concentrated on repainting the car’s extremely faded exterior.  We also located some of the missing decorative pieces.  After a bit of searching, we were able to locate headlights, marker lights, and catchers.  These items were installed and wired where it was necessary.

The car looks considerably better since receiving this paint job.  The photo here that shows Ayden Kendlick and Dom Bodek preparing the car for paint and the photo of Jack Jost, Dom Frizzi, and I at the top of this post demonstrates the big difference that this project made.  Thank you to these volunteers as well as Bear Kendlick, Jeff King, CJ Bick, Aaron Shaeffer, and Sean Kenney for their help.  We still need to apply decals and complete a few small punch list items, but the project is mostly complete.  The end goal is to showcase the car in our Trolley Display Building.

While all these other projects were underway, we also spent time keeping our fleet of operating streetcars clean.  Several cars have already received an exterior wash, interior sweeping, and window cleaning. We even hosted a small group of students from Washington & Jefferson College to help us out. 

If any of that sounds interesting to you, why not join us?  We are always looking for more volunteers.  There is always a variety of projects to work on, no matter your age or interest.  Visit or email to get started!

Also, check out our newest video spotlight and the photos below to see what our other youth volunteers have been working on.