Piedmont and Western Railroad Club


Traction in

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Railways Company obtained a sizeable fleet of PCC cars from the St. Louis Car Co. after World War II. Many of these cars operated in Pittsburgh for 50 or more years. They were affectionately know to many Pittsburgers as "Big Red" for their original red color scheme. Depicted below are Car 1711 at Arden Trolley Museum in its traditional red livery and refurbished Car 4011 equipped with a pantograph for operation on the Allegheny County Port Authority Transit light rail system.

PCC 1711 at Arden Trolley Museum. This car was built in 1949 and was acquired by Arden in 1990.

PCC 4011 June 1987 wearing new white livery and sporting a pantograph.

Car 3756 was the first car in the collection of the Arden Trolley Museum in Washington, PA when the museum was founded in 1954. 3756 was built in 1925 by the Osgood Bradley Car Co. for Pittsburgh Railways Co. It is a low floor Jones Car similar in style to the well known Peter Witt low floor cars. The Jones appelation comes from the name of the then President of Pittsburgh Railways. Your webmaster also motored this car for a number of years. It is a single pole car which required it to be "back-poled" when driven in reverse, a task on every run at Arden as there were no turning loops in those days. Generally this is a hazardous thing to do with trolleys because of the possibility of the pole coming off of the wire, snagging the cross wires, and pulling the powered wires down onto the car. Back-poling generally must be done very slowly and carefully. This was not a big problem with car 3756 because the spring mechanism which holds the pole to the wire was very strong and the car can literally be driven in reverse at rather high speed without difficulty. The car has an auxiliary set of controls in the rear under a seat cushion. It can be motored from the rear but the motorman must lean out of the rear window to observe the pole and to be sure it does not come loose from the wire. When Pittsburgh began use of light rail transit in 1987, the Allegheny County Port Authority (PAT), successor to Pittsburgh Railways Company, borrowed Car 3756 from the Arden Trolley Museum to run it ceremoniously in front of the first light rail car. Subsequently, in June of 1987 the members of Arden took a fan trip on the Pittsburgh system in Car 3756. The following photos were taken on that fan trip. Note that the car was temporarily equipped with a pantograph to permit it to operate on the upgraded PAT system.

Motoring on the Library line of Allegheny County Port Authority Transit

Stopped at the South Park Mall light rail station

Photo stop on the Library line

Awaiting clearance to proceed

Back at the museum ready to enter the car barn.
The pantograph has been removed and the trolley pole is back in place.

Pittsburgh is also noted for the many inclined planes (funiculars) which once climbed to the top of Mt. Washington from the Monongahela River valley far below. The Duquesne Incline continues to operate today. Depicted below is photographic postcard of the Duquesne Incline ascending the mountain at night.

Post card from the Ken Humphreys collection
The scene is from a Christmas photograph taken by Ken Balzer and Dave Stockdale and
reproduced through the courtesy of the United States Steel Corporation.
The post card was published by Modern-Ad, Butler, PA. Date is unknown.

©1996-2008 Piedmont and Western Railroad Club