Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pike's Peak Trolleys

I've been on vacation in Denver for the past two weeks, which is why blog traffic has been down.   But we've got several things to share, so stay tuned!

Colorado Springs, at the foot of Pike's Peak, is the home of the Pike's Peak Historical Trolley group.  They have a collection of equipment and displays that was well worth the visit.  It's based in the remaining four stalls of the Rock Island roundhouse, which is now in the middle of an industrial park, so space is limited.  Three cars undergoing restoration are housed inside, and the rest are outside.

The group's eventual goal is to develop a heritage trolley line downtown, as seen below, and so a number of SEPTA PCC's have been acquired, along with a dozen standard-gauge trucks from the CTA.  Only the one seen above is operational, and it can run only over about 500' of track, but that's better than nothing!

Inside the roundhouse, there are displays and models of several sorts.   The price of admission gets you an extended guided tour of the whole facility, which was very interesting.

Most of the preserved cars from the Denver area are basically ex-chicken coops, which need a lot of work.   Two of them are inside the roundhouse and are being restored.  

 This is CS&I car 59, built by LaClede in 1901, and undergoing a complete rebuilding.  Glenn Roberts, an expert woodworker, gave us a thorough explanation of what has been done to make this car almost as good as new.  In the crowded shop, good photography is difficult.

And this is CS&I 48, a 1901 Brill convertible.  It's up next.  (By the way, the tour guide quoted some statistics from "the Bradford streetcar website" to point out how historic this car is.  I didn't bother to mention that I happen to know the guys responsible for that site...)

And this is actually Fort Collins #22, but it was relettered for various reasons in the past.   It's nearing completion; the controllers are on hand, they say, and will be installed as time permits.

 Outside, most of the SEPTA PCC's are in storage, awaiting government funding for restoration and operation on the streets of Colorado Springs.   They all look pretty much like this.

One of the more interesting items is a Los Angeles PCC, still on its 42" gauge trucks.  How it got here is a long story.  

 And here's the interior of the operational Philly PCC.   A ride back and forth is the highlight of the guided tour.


Anonymous said...

I did not know that the Colorado Springs people had a Fort Collins car. I am glad to hear that a third one has bade it back to Colorado.

I hope you are having a fun trip!

Ted Miles

Chris said...

Getting funding for that sounds like a long shot. Half a decade ago there was some rabble rabble in certain media about Colorado Springs residents heavily favoring what I would call a Jeffersonian idea about pretty much everything down to street lights.

Anonymous said...

What is the traction motor shown? At first glance I thought it was a PCC motor but the date and cast frame do not fit.

Randall Hicks said...

That's a WH 506 from the Ft. Collins Birney. 25 HP, dating to 1919. Having said that, I'm now wondering what motors if any are under the car.

Anonymous said...

Is the LA PCC the one that was owned by the bloke who ran it using a bunch of truck batteries?

Matt Austin
NSW, Australia