The West Penn Trolley Meet will NOT be held in person… but, we’re going virtual!
Nothing can replace the thrill of experiencing the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum’s colorful collection in person, but we are excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a virtual edition of the West Penn Trolley Meet!
PTM had planned to offer a variety of trolley-related programs during the meet, and thanks to the flexibility of our presenters and the surge in popularity of group video conferencing software, we will now broadcast these programs live via Zoom on the original meet dates!
All programs during the Meet are free of charge. To help us continue sharing programs like these in the future, please consider making a donation or becoming a member.
Please note: times are subject to change.
Friday, June 26:
11:30 am – When Bad Things Happen to Good Trolleys
Presented by George Gula
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. Note: back by popular demand, this is a repeat of our recent Trolleyology talk!
1:00 pm – The Pennsylvania Turnpike – America’s First Super Highway
Presented by Andy Blenko
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was an engineering marvel when it opened in 1940. The highway began with a chance opportunity to utilize parts of an abandoned railroad right of way and took many interesting twists and turns through design and construction of the road. Andy Blenko, transportation enthusiast and Director of Engineering and Planning for South Fayette Township, takes us on this journey to explore this iconic highway’s history.
2:30 pm – Lost Trolley Parks of Western Pennsylvania
Presented by Jennifer Sopko
Today’s modern-day amusement parks can trace their roots back to simple picnic groves and recreational parks that were owned and operated by local transportation companies, from steam-powered railroads to electric streetcar lines. Western Pennsylvania was once home to numerous trolley parks that are now lost to memory and newspaper archives. Author Jennifer Sopko will share images and the history of forgotten trolley parks as part of her research for her forthcoming book on lost Western Pennsylvania amusement parks.
3:30 pm – From Boxcars to Buses
Presented by David Wohlwill
With industrial decline in Pittsburgh, growth of other transportation modes and changes in the railroad industry, railroad properties became available for other purposes. Much of Port Authority’s rapid transit system was built in railroad rights-of-way. This presentation from David Wohlwill, Program Manager of Long-Range Planning at the Port Authority of Allegheny County, will describe how East and West Busways and light rail transit system utilized these railroad lines and implications for adjacent development.
6:30 pm – The Kawasaki Car – A 40th Year Retrospective
Presented by Russ Jackson
Long-time PTM member Russ Jackson was a major contributor to making Philadelphia’s Kawasaki trolley project a success. Sensing that the project would be historically significant in that it would be the last time construction of a classic four-axle, single-body type of streetcar would occur in this part of the world, Russ (retired SEPTA Manager of New Rail Car Engineering) took Super 8mm sound films of the production of pilot cars 9000 and 100 at the Kawasaki plant and during the testing in Philly after delivery.
Car 9000 was delivered to a trolley system wholly operated with PCC cars in various color schemes. Much of the 65 minute film is devoted to the PCC operation in which car 9000 became immersed.
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm* – TROLLEY POWER HAPPY HOUR
Informal virtual hang-out
Hang out with friends – old and new – during this interactive, informal meet and greet! Show off your collections, curiosities, scale models, and transit memorabilia. Has anyone ever told you that you have too many streetcar books? Could you build your own museum exhibit with fare boxes or tokens or uniform pieces? Were you triumphant in a recent online auction for that trolley part you’ve been wanting for ages? Can you stump us with your traction trivia?
While we can’t gather in person this year, we hope our West Penn Trolley Meet regulars and a new generation of trolley enthusiasts will stop by virtually during this fun session – it’s sure to be entertaining!
*Note: Come and go as you please, and no worries if you’re late! The meeting will be open until at least 10 PM – longer if the trolley talk is still flowing!
Saturday, June 27:
11:30 am – Who are The Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys?
Presented by Matthew Nawn
Matt Nawn gives us an introduction to The Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys, including the organization’s background, its purpose and methods of supporting preservation of electric transit vehicles from the Philadelphia area in established museums, examples of projects supported, and the future.
1:00 pm – On Track with the Trolley Museum Community
Presented by more than a dozen museums and organizations
Join us for a virtual visit to more than a dozen trolley and transit museums around the region for this informational group session! Volunteers, staff, and familiar faces from each organization will provide updates and news from around the trolley museum community. There’s a lot to look forward to and we’re excited to share.
This session is open to museum members, volunteers, trolley enthusiasts, budding transportation historians, and the public! A Q&A session will follow after all have presented.
3:30 pm – Magee Transportation Museum: A Short Retrospective Visit
Presented by Edward M. Koehler
Everyone knows the big three operating trolley museums in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; but did you know that starting in the mid 1960’s until 1972 there was a fourth? Harry Magee of the Magee Carpet Company created a trolley museum in his hometown of Bloomsburg. Gathering what cars that had been missed by other museums, he even reached beyond the U.S. borders to build up a roster of cars. He hired the well-known Ed Blossom to head his restoration shop. Things were looking good. The National Railway Historical Society visited this museum as a part of their 1971 convention. And then came Hurricane Agnes in June 1972…
Join with Ed Koehler as he leads us on an all too short retrospective tour of this mostly forgotten facility. This presentation also catches up with some of the rolling stock that was there.
4:30 pm – Port Authority: Ties to the Past, Tracks to the Future
Presented by David Wohlwill
This presentation from David Wohlwill, Program Manager of Long-Range Planning at the Port Authority of Allegheny County, will review development of public transportation in Allegheny County since Port Authority began operations on March 1, 1964 and describe plans for the future.
6:00 pm – The Toronto PCC Story
Presented by Bram Bailey
The Toronto Transportation Commission had the largest PCC fleet in North America, at one time consisting of 744 cars. There were 15 different classes, many of which were purchased second hand. Their fleet included cars from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Birmingham and Kansas City. Author and PTM volunteer Bram Bailey’s presentation tracks each class of car defining what it was, when it was built and if second hand, when it was acquired. Many of the TTC cars were sold to other cities, and that aspect is addressed as well. During the presentation we will tour each of the major lines as well as the various car barns that served these routes. The photos cover a span of time from 1964 to about 1996 when the PCCs were retired.
8:00 pm – Share Your Slides – Nostalgia Night!
Presented by YOU
As part of the virtual event, we invite YOU to take us back in time or across the world with 10 to 15 of your photos during this interactive session. Starting off the evening: Bill Monaghan with a special selection of night photography!
This evening event will take place on Zoom, so please have your slides in a digital slideshow format! Narration is welcome – but please limit your slides to 4-5 minutes to give everyone a chance to share.
Viewers are welcome – no need to prepare anything to simply enjoy the slides of others!
Contact Kristen Fredriksen, Events & Programs Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be put on the slide-sharing schedule (sign-up in advance is required – space on Zoom is limited).
If you’d like to get involved, please contact Kristen Fredriksen, Events & Programs Assistant, at email@example.com. Sitting at your screen may not replace sharing a fun weekend with old pals and new friends, but we look forward to this digital gathering!