Philadelphia’s Streetcar Heritage is a photographic essay of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, streetcar system. The first electric streetcar line in Philadelphia opened in 1892 and quickly replaced horsecar service by 1897.
Streetcar lines were merged into the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company (PRT) in 1902 to achieve a unified system. There were 1,500 new streetcars purchased by 1913, which was the largest fleet of standardized streetcars ever purchased by one transit company.
Ridership dropped during the Depression, and PRT reorganized as the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) in 1940. After National City Lines (NCL) obtained control of PTC in 1955, many streetcar lines became bus operated. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) acquired PTC in 1968. The overhaul of 112 Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) cars began in 1979. Kawasaki Heavy Industries built 112 streetcars (light rail vehicles) for the subway surface lines. With buses taking over Route 15 (Girard Avenue) in 1992, only five subway surface lines remained. SEPTA restored Route 15 streetcar service in 2005 using Brookville Equipment Corporation rebuilt PCCII cars.
Philadelphia’s Streetcar Heritage documents the city’s streetcars, including Fairmount Park Trolleys and trackless trolleys.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Kenneth C. Springirth, with a lifelong interest in rail transportation. Born and raised in the United States, he commuted to Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia by trolley car, subway, and sometimes commuter train. His father was a trolley car motorman in Philadelphia, and his grandfather was a trolley car motorman in Washington D.C. A detailed researcher, Ken's interest in rail transportation by 2013 has culminated in writing 20 books on trolley car systems and railroads covering a variety of locations.
PUBLISHER: America Through Time
DIMENSIONS: 8 (w) x 11 (h)