Scranton Stroller History and City Electric Stroller Museum

1. A horse-drawn trolley:

Although the development of the steam locomotive and the progressive laying of the track allowed the distances between the emerging cities to be covered continuously by decreasing time and to increase their growth through funnels of families, workers and materials during the period from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, there was small domestic public transport, except, of course, for the horse and the various carts and buggies he was pulling. It needed some type of small-capacity, low-range vehicle that could fit a few dozen, with a bright speed to cover distances between several blocks and several miles. But unlike trains, coal proved to be soot and inappropriate for such street talks.

To this end, while still using horsepower, the respected AB Dunning, David R. Randall, George Tracy, A. Bennett and Samuel Raub received a charter on March 23, 1865 for the creation of the People's Railroad, which connected to downtown Scranton by the Hyde Park surrounding area with hourly service in each direction.

The passenger railway company Scranton and Providence, which runs its own route from March 27 of the following year, imitates its activity but is subsequently acquired by its previous competitor and merged into one company. Daily service from Scanton to Providence was provided at an hourly rate of 10 percent, although Sunday operations were dependent on demand created by those wishing to travel to church.

Despite shortened travel times, the schedules are hardly carved in stone. In fact, the carts were small, with two opposite benches, heat did not exist in the winter, weathering operation and designated stops were never established, leaving the flag and board method for determining ride breaks.

Reversing requires the mule to be unhooked, pushing the man into the car after it has been secured to the turntable, and then re-driving it before the track returns to its origin.

Growth required order. The drivers soon wore uniforms, the heavily traveled lines required wires to collect fares and signage for drivers, established stops and an expanded car fleet.

However, the method was less effective as the horses were tired and had to feed and contaminate the streets after they had been, and the mullet to car ratio was something like seven or eight to one.

Adding to this puzzle was a disease. What could be considered black plague for animals happened in 1872, when the Great epizootic spread from Canada to Louisiana, claiming that the lives of about 2,300 horses over a three-week period in New York alone , greatly affecting the Scranton street car system that depended on them.

2. Electric trolley:

Traveling to major US and European cities, where electric cart operations were experimentally but unsuccessfully tried, Edward B. Sturgus, who believed that this source would replace the four-legged type, formed the suburban Scranton Railway Company, contracted by Van Depoele Electric Manufacturing Company from Chicago will build the Green Ridge suburban line and sign an agreement with Pullman Car Company for its carts.

Because electric cars have never been designed, they closely resemble those suitable for horses with four wheels and opposite and open platforms, although their plush bench seats, polished mahogany walls, glass windows with blind and reflective lamps provide a decisive degree of comfort.

Construction was the first step. The conversion was the second one – at the Van Depoele Electrical Installation Factory, which required enclosing the front platform with doors housing the motor and control equipment. Gears and chains connected the motor shaft to the front axle, and six incandescent bulbs moved inward.

Electricity is drawn from above ground contact wire.

The implementation of the system required the classification of the central street, the connection of the power line and the construction of power plants, all of which began on July 6, 1886.

Like the nucleus of an atom, the innovative trolleybus company chose the intersection of Franklin and Lackawanna streets as the origin of its route, as it served as a transport hub for Scranton, with all horse lines approaching there and its proximity. to long-haul railways, including Delaware, Lacauana, and Western, New York and New Jersey, Ontario, and Western Central. In addition, it was the heart of urban business and theater districts.

The two-and-a-half-mile line closed on Delaware Avenue, where the turntable facilitated reverse traffic.

Following the construction, which was completed on November 29, 1886, the carts were delivered by Delaware, Lacauana and the Western Railroad, which transported them in flat cars, and then, in tribute to the power they were replacing, were drawn an extreme distance from horses on rails that were laid out on purpose before being transferred to the Franklin Avenue route.

Initiated by the movement of the steering lever by Charles van Depoele, trolley car number four, the country was first electrically driven, inches at 2:30 pm local time, traveling down Franklin and Smurch streets and earning Scranton the title of "first electric city. "

Compared to its equine counterparts, it accelerated smoothly without causing animals, and its interior was for the first time illuminated by the same energy source that propelled it.

Automobile number two soon became involved in the first operation after a nail attracted by magnetic current was attached to the armature and rendered unusable until repairs had been completed.

The full 2.5 mile route was successfully covered the next day by car number four.

"After running through the snow, ice and rain, up the steep walls and about 45-degree turns and left and right," according to David W. Beals in his book, "From Horse Cars to Buses: Looking Back at Scranton" s Urban Transit History "(Electric Urban Trolley Association, p. 21)," car number four reached the Green Ridge turntable. After turning the car, it was back to Franklin Avenue on Lackawanna Avenue. The operation over the entire line was considered a complete success. "

This success, needless to say, has served as a catalyst for many other lines, including Valley Passenger Railway Company, Scranton Passenger Railway Company, Nay-Aug Cross Town Railway Company, Scranton and Carbondale Traction Company, Tracking Scranton and Pittston Company and towing company Lackawanna Valley.

Connected and operated under the sole banner of the Scranton Railway Company until 1900, they leave no inch of the track electrified, turning every technology used by its equestrian precursors.

As the spread of such a runway connected all areas of the city, including many small coal towns, demand necessitated larger cars, leading to the order from 1897 to 1904 for 35 40-foot dual control trucks that could operate in each direction without requiring a turntable reorientation. They were equipped by both motorcyclists and conductors.

The extension of this transportation phenomenon can be gleaned from its statistics: operating over 100 miles of route with a 183-strong fleet, the Scranton trolley carries 33 million passengers in 1917. Established in 1923, a subsidiary, Scranton, a service company an extension to the trolley line on Washburn Street.

Representing the pinnacle of the trolley design, the ten cars commissioned by the Osgood-Bradley car company in Wooster, Massachusetts, in 1929 have leather seats and are called "electric vehicles".

Reorganized as the Scranton Transit Company in 1934, after the Insull Empire of Electric Railways and Electricity Companies, which had taken it more than nine years earlier, announces bankruptcy, originally called the Scranton Railway Company, but the sun is already approaching the western horizon for him.

Ridership had begun to decline and trouble-free buses that did not require external energy sources were gaining in popularity. The progressive conversion of lines into bus routes left little more than 50 miles of track and a fleet of 100 cars by 1936. Twelve years later, those numbers dropped to 20 and 48, respectively.

History, as often happens, comes with a full cycle. The way the electric cart replaced the towed horse, too, if it was replaced by a gasoline engine. The Greenbridge suburban line, the first to see the new service then, was the last to give it up on December 18, 1954.

3. The Museum of Electric City Strollers:

Located in downtown Scranton, sharing both the vast parking lot and, in some cases, tracking as the Steamtown National Historic Site, the city's Electric Trolley Museum offers visitors the opportunity to interpret the city's rich history and personally inspect many of its vehicles.

The 50-seat theater, according to the museum, and other captivating screens bring to life the history of the vast network that allowed northeast Pennsylvania residents to travel 75 miles by car. "

A good introduction to it is the ten-minute movie "The Trolley: The Cars That Changed Our Cities", continuously screened at the Transit Theater, which serves as a doorstep to museum exhibits. These include a substation model that demonstrates how electricity is fed to troll engines to activate them, and handles a car whose cutting off the floor allows it to check its 600-volt, DC motor.

Several cars have either been restored or are in the process of being restored.

Automobile number 46, for example, is a closed-type truck with a double truck and is one of 22 built in 1907 by St. John's Church for the vehicles of the Philadelphia and Western Railroad car company that manages them. between the 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby and Stratford.

Powered by four General Electric 73C engines and traveling on 34-inch-diameter rolled steel wheels, it was 51.4 feet long, 9.3 feet wide and weighed 82,000 pounds. Built predominantly of wood but using a steel pallet frame, it is an example of the classic, 54 passenger intercity carts popular in the early 20th century.

Car 8534, another museum exhibit, was the last of the 535 steel, one-way, one-way types built by the JG Brill Company for the Philadelphia Express Transit Company. It could be considered an updated version of 1500 Near-Side cars built between 1911 and 1913. Both provide the bulk of the carriages in Philadelphia after World War II.

The last such car, of which only three remain today, was decommissioned in 1957.

Another museum example is the 801 car. One of the five commissioned by the LVT Company in February 1912 to open its new branch line from Whales Junction to Norristown, Pennsylvania, it was built by Jewett Car Company in Newark, Ohio.

Its three-section interior, mimicking the elegance of the Pullman era passenger cars, consisted of a moped, luggage and brass cabinet, delivered only for men; the main passenger seating section; and toilet with outside drinking fountain, complete with cup dispenser, on the right-hand side.

A visitor experience with a trolley can be enhanced by a one-mile, one-lap tour, departing from a station on the Steamtown platform, where its return to the era is enhanced by views of the rail yard. numerous steam locomotives, coaches and trucks from before. Smoke from smoke, the smell of soot, the sound of bells, the sound of whistles and the sound of traces are likely to occur.

Of the two work carts, both of which were painted in burgundy to reflect the color worn by Scranton's first car when commissioned in 1886, the No. 76, operated in Philadelphia, was built in 1926 and remains in service for half a century.

Connected to a pole to the power line above it, it runs on a 650-volt DC motor. The crew was both a motorist and a conductor. The price of nickel allows travel throughout the day. Entering was and is through the middle-car door.

Its originally refurbished interior includes wicker seats, strap hangers, brass, a rate log box and vintage advertising, such as Ubiseda Nabisco cookies. The air conditioning is to open the windows in the summer.

Starting at Steamtown and reaching 30mph in some sections, the Electric City trolley follows the 19-mile Laurel Line once, passing the Radisson Hotel, which until 1970 was the magnificent Lackawanna Railway Station, the entrance to the Dumore Mine, and the Roaring Brook gorge area, where there is a small waterfall.

He then enters the Laurel Tunnel, built between 1904 and 1905, for the Lackawanna Railroad and Wyoming Railway, a high-speed, third rail line that operated between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Stretching at 4747 feet in length, it offers a progressive slope, from 180 feet underground at its entrance to 90 feet at its exit.

Making his way through an upper two-mile zone and a passing side path, the cart stops traveling to a cart repair shop where drivers can see that some of the 23 vehicles in its collection are being serviced and repaired.

There are also scheduled trips to Montage Mountain PNC Field throughout the season.

As they re-embark the trolley, passengers travel along the route, returning to Steamtown Station, during which they may have experienced a return to the centuries-old mode of transportation that is an integral part of Scranton's development as a city.


Bill, David. W. "From Horse-Car to Bus: A Look Back at Scranton's Urban Transit History." Scranton: Association of Electric City Cart Museums.

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