Monday, February 13, 2017

Visit to Arden

Frank writes...

Work took me to Pittsburgh again this past weekend, and again I took the opportunity drop in on our friends at the Pennsylvania (nee Arden) Trolley Museum. Bruce Wells, his daughter Laura, and others were kind enough to show me some of the progress.

First and foremost is West Penn 832, the only curve-side car preserved complete (though Seashore has restored a curve-sider acquired as a body). The interior of the car has made remarkable progress, as shown above, since my last visit about a year ago. The seats are nearly all installed, as is the headlining, and currently work is focusing on the motorman's consoles at each end as well as creating some replacement seat parts where the originals were too deteriorated. Bruce himself has been working on reinstalling the car's hand brakes.
And alongside the 832 was Pittsburgh Railways derrick car M283. Eagle-eyed viewers will note it is missing its trucks; both trucks were recently sent out for complete rebuilding, and some final adjustments were being made prior to reinstallation under the car. This particular piece of equipment is intriguing to me because, if memory serves, it has an unusual electro-magnetic form of Westinghouse HL control rather than the common electro-pneumatic type.
And a third car in the shop was Red Arrow 78, which suffered an altercation recently with a pickup truck at the grade crossing next to the PTM main campus. Fortunately nobody was severely hurt but the truck was totaled and the 78 took some damage to its front dash and windows. You wouldn't know it now, following quite a bit of work on body repair, repainting, and relettering.
And then over in the display building at the other end of the line, Bruce showed me the interior of the "Toledo," where Bill Fronczek recently got the lights working. The difference is remarkable: the car's interior was totally refurbished by Trolleyville, which owned the car until PTM got it in 2010, and the woodwork is really gorgeous. The car is a body but PTM has enough parts on hand to get it operating at some point. If and when that happens it will be an incredible showpiece.
But the museum's big project this past year has been the Wexford depot from the Pittsburgh Harmony Butler & New Castle interurban line. Restoration of the depot, which has been placed next to the display building, was completed this fall. It was too dark to get a good photo of the outside but the interior is very nice and is decorated with PHB&NC photos. The bench is from the P&LE Pittsburgh station, now known as Station Square.
One of the fascinating artifacts on display in the depot is the interurban line's original dispatching board, shown here mounted over a door. This isn't CTC: cars were tracked by putting little pegs into the holes to show their location! Wexford is towards the right (Pittsburgh) end. As always, many thanks to Bruce and the other PTM volunteers for showing me around!

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