Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum--Washington, PA

Follansbee, West Virginia
Meadowbrook RV Park

I can't believe we were out after dark last night attending Levani's baseball game.  Cataract surgery was a success!  Even though it was a very long day yesterday, we were having breakfast this morning deciding what we wanted to do today.  Our choices were cleaning the rig, half price day at the golf course or something different.  

We both picked something different.  I noticed the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum was an attraction in Washington, PA.  It was about a 30 mile drive to Washington which is halfway between Pittsburgh and Wheeling, WV.  

Bill wasn't excited about going to this museum but we thought on the way back we'd stop at Cabela's in Wheeling to get Bill's fix.  

As we arrived at the museum the lady at the admission desk said the trolley was just leaving if we wanted to ride it first.  Bill paid the $8.00 each old foggy's admission for the ride and museum and we headed to the platform to await our ride.   
The Richfol shelter was built in 1909 to serve the Standard Tin Plate factory in Canonsburg.  Trolley service ended in 1953 and the shelter became a school bus waiting shelter. 30 years later, in 1983, a businessman donated the deteriorated building to the museum and the volunteers restored it to it's presents beautiful condition.  

The trolley picked us up and we were on our way for our 4 mile round trip ride.  There was another couple in the rear of the trolley.  Our trolley conductor, Mary,  was motoring the car along the tracks and all of a sudden we heard a strange noise from the rear and the people in the back seemed alarmed.  Bob, the other conductor, jumped up and out the door.  Now we're really wondering what's going on.  
It's seems that the trolley wheel which is attached to the trolley pole, came off the wire track.  Bob went out and pulled on a rope and the springs raised the trolley pole back up.  The next thing we knew the electric was restored and we were running again.  It really wasn't planned but gave you an understanding of how it worked or didn't work.  
As we approached one of the big buildings, Bob was answering all kinds of questions we were throwing at him.  

This building is 28,000 square feet and it is packed with trolleys.  The museum opened in December of 1962 and has over 50 trolleys.

Bob and Mary showed us around and all of the trolleys each had their own unique character.  
This was called the picnic trolley and came from Brazil. The wooden seats are made out of mahogany wood and are beautiful. They run it at the museum on sunny hot days.  
There were very elaborate cars and some just functional cars.  
 This was called the almond joy and was stainless steel.  

The cars were all in different forms of restoration. 
This car was a snow pusher.  
This was the actual trolley that ran the last trip on the Washington rails.
Many of the trolleys in this building are in running condition.  
We learned about the differences in the cars.  It is amazing how heavy most of them are.
In order to go backwards, Bob puts the trolley wheel from the front of the trolley where we were sitting up on the electric line which now becomes the back of the trolley.  

The other end of the trolley is exactly like the front.  The seats flip over and the conductor goes to the other end and away we go.  
I get very disgusted with advertising being everywhere in today's world, but today was an exception.

We returned to the platform where the other couple left the trolley.  

We had Bob and Mary to ourselves!  Mary told us that she dated someone who took her to the museum for the first date.  That must have been some date because she and Bob celebrated their 39th anniversary last week!  

Mary and Bob volunteer on Tuesdays and they made the adventure very real.  They told us there are 150 volunteers and there is one volunteer who mans the ticket booth who is in his 90's and is volunteer #5.  Not bad since the organization has been around since 1949.  These 150 volunteers have given over 30,000 hours of service in one year.

After the trolley ride, Bob and Mary led us to the museum's first building and there were more trolley's.   All of these were unique and held a place in history.  And they lovingly knew all the details and history of them.  

This is the Streetcar Named Desire and was used in the movie.  The seats are basket weave.  
One couple is planning a wedding in this car.  How romantic!

After we finished viewing the trolleys in the second building, we returned to the museum to watch the 
video.  The video was very interesting and Mary watched it with us, to add comments.  

When the video was over, Mary took us to the restoration building with even more trolleys which were all in some stage of restoration.  This building had two rows of tracks and below the tracks were pits to work on the undercarriage of the trolleys.  

She told me that the bars were on the windows to keep heads and hands inside but some people discovered they could use the bars to hang on the outside for a free ride. 

I have no idea how long we spent at this museum but Bill did admit that he was wrong.  Mark this day on your calendar!  It was a wonderful experience.  

Just a note to any veterans that want to visit this museum as they have free admission for veterans.

Since we were near the outlet mall, I wanted to stop and see if we could find some much needed new slippers for Bill.  That was a waste of time, and we both know better, we never find any bargains at these so called factory outlets.  

It was way too late to stop at Cabela's as we have another adventure tonight.

Tomorrow, maybe a clean rig?

Turtle Safely.......


  1. I think that museum and trolley ride would be so much fun. The museum looks great.

    What a cute story about Bob and Mary. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I bet it's not often you're on a trolley and not have to worry about where to sit. That one looked like you had plenty of choices.

  3. It's funny as I remember riding those electric trolley's (we called them street cars) as a kid in Winnipeg and it seemed that whenever I rode on one we had to stop so the conductor could get the trolley wires back on track just like you showed. I think the fare for a ride then was 5 cents!!


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