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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Shade Gap - The Electrics

This excellent museum operation is much enhanced with the running line extended since my visits up to the '90s. All images : John Woodman

Shade Gap was the first US trolley museum to take delivery of working examples from the Oporto system. Its two Brill cars (one bogie and the other a two axle version) are classics from the early part of the 19th Century. They were joined by one of the former 'coal cars' used as a maid of all work car 64 seen below on track replacement duties.

Johnstown PA was the last small town tram system to operate in the US purchasing a batch of postwar PCC cars as a final flourish. Their equipment went on to provide running gear and controls for a new series of Brussels PCC cars after Johnstown finally closed its lines in the 1960s. One of the typical Johnstown 'trolleys' stands next to a curve side example from Wheeling West Virginia in its restored and newly painted condition.

When the two Libertyliners operating on the Red Arrow line to Norristown (third rail) were finally withdrawn one example was secured for the Orbisonia operation and is seen here below together with a rather battered car from the Red Arrow services out to Sharon Hill and Media. Number 13 had arrived in its final SEPTA fleet colours - hopefully it has been given a makeover and resplendent in the Red Arrow distinctive branding prior to takeover by SEPTA. A good friend of mine at SEPTA - Ron DeGraw authored the definitive book on the Red Arrow system. We both collaborated on bringing Boat Car 603 to Philadelphia for the US Bicentennial with Ron's management role at SEPTA HQ being especially valuable - along with master mechanic Bruce Thain who carried out the regauging and bodywork adjustments before 603 finally made it to the city for special tourist service.

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