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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Welcome President Biden

The US is emerging slowly from the agony of a fraught Presidential Election this week (and possibly next) with final demolition of the Trump Family business occupying the White House over the past four years. Whether this happens free from further public trauma and social unrest remains to be seen.

Joe Biden was born and grew up in the Pennsylvania industrial town of Scranton - a blue collar urban centre - one of many in that great state, formerly the centre for shale coal extraction. Scranton was also one of a handful of communities whose transit operations were in ownership of a private combine which moved to upgrade the earlier 'trolleycar' with modern design trams in the late 1920s. Along with Altoona and New Bedford the combine purchased a bulk order for 'Electromobiles' from the New England firm of Osgood-Bradley. The order was split between the three systems with Scranton receiving seven examples painted in the unusual dark blue and white colours adopted by its operator. Numbered 501 to 507 the cars operated until the 1950s with one example just (and barely) escaping the metal merchant and scrapyard. Number 505 is in the process of a long term restoration project to take its place in the excellent Scranton Trolley Museum which is a tourist feature of the town. Below : One of Scranton's 1928 'Electromobiles' in later years ; Note the fenders style a first for the US and copied by English Electric Company, Preston from 1933 on its prototype 'rail coach' for Blackpool.

Scranton was reputedly the very first American city to operate electric trams (trolleycars) from scratch and using the new overhead wire and trolleypole system inaugurated in 1886. Many American (and UK) electric tramways in fact replaced either horse or steam powered lines - but Scranton and Blackpool are examples of wholly new tramways starting with electric power. Scranton was a pioneer of electricity generation for lighting and of course its inaugural tramway - and proud of this 'first'. So much so that it had a large illuminated sign erected on the roof of an office building in the central business district - proclaiming 'Scranton - Electric City'. The signage (still illuminated) remains in place to the present day and 'Electric City' has become the motif for Scranton in recent years.

Scranton, PA

First Electric Tramway



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