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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tentative schedule (subject to change):
Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 7 PM ET
Presented by Matthew Nawn and Harry Donahue
Matt Nawn and Harry Donahue will share their experiences managing and participating in PCC car restoration projects at several museums, with a focus on lessons learned that can be helpful to any restoration project. This presentation will cover many features of the restoration of a PCC car, including the carbody, interior, trucks, control system, and finishing details. Matt and Harry will also discuss tips for upkeep and maintenance of these cars once restoration is completed. This presentation should be a good follow-on to the January Trolleyology presentation on the history of PCC cars.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 7 PM ET
Presented by George Gula
Stories are often told of women serving as motorettes during WWII, but did you know that women entered the transit industry much earlier? Tune into this program from George Gula to hear about some of the earliest accounts of women working on streetcars and learn how the role of women in the industry has evolved over time.
Shoes, Snack Foods, and Streetcars – The Electric Railways of Hanover, PA
Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 7 PM ET
Presented by Matthew Nawn and Andrew Nawn
Details to come!
These programs may be available for outreach presentations. If your club, organization, or group is interested in a digital program, please email email@example.com.
Some previous presenters have given permission for the Museum to share their programs on PTM’s YouTube Account. Click here for the Trolleyology playlist!
Cincinnati and Its Inclined Plane Railways (Plus: A Look at the 2200 Series Cars of the Cincinnati Street Railway)
Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 7 PM ET
Presented by Phil Lind
Recording not yet available
The program from Phil Lind will feature photos and history of the 5 incline planes that were operated in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1872 and 1948. We will examine each one and cover its operations from beginning to end. After the incline program, Phil will show images of Cincinnati Street Railway 2200 class cars, of which PTM has #2227. Lastly, Phil will share images of 2227 from the 1950s.
RESCHEDULED TO Thursday, April 8, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Russ Jackson
Recording unavailable at presenter’s request
Member Russ Jackson will show a video “Pittsburgh To McKeesport By Trolley”. The outbound trip will be shown using slides and the return trip will feature 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.
Following the McKeesport presentation, Russ will show the film “Turnpikes and Trolleys: The Line to West Chester”. The suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, one of the country’s largest cities, for the most part had their county governments situated near major roads, often called turnpikes, or ‘pikes’ (e.g. Baltimore Pike, the Lancaster Pike, the Bethlehem Pike). The roadway featured in this video is the West Chester Pike. The magic of electricity made it possible to enhance the use of these roadways by building trolley routes along them, thus finally superseding the sole use of live horsepower for transportation. The same was true of many country roads. Typically county seats had several trolley routes radiating from them, making them more easily accessible from country villages and towns by the means of the most modern method of local transportation then in existence, the electric trolley. The majority of the turnpike and country road trolley lines operated at speeds of 30 miles per hour or less, but some were designed for 50 to 60 miles per hour speeds. The line to West Chester was among the latter, and had a much longer life than most. Therefore rail system historians were able to capture operations of that line on color film. This video is a 70+ year look back into that era.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Rich Krisak
This program focuses 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.
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 during 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.
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, February 9, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Lisa Maloy
Recording unavailable at presenter’s request
Lisa Maloy from Friends of the Hershey Trolley will present a slideshow featuring the Hershey Transit system, the milk freight operations with the Hershey Company, the passenger operations through town, and the efforts of the Friends to preserve and share this aspect of Chocolate Town, USA’s history.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
Presented by Tony Schill
Recording unavailable at presenter’s request
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.