Governing magazine this month profiles Brookville Equipment Corporation, a company based in northcentral Pennsylvania that specializes in refurbishing old trolley cars. They’re the ones that got the $40 million contract to fix up SEPTA’s 18 PCC trolley cars that now run on the 15 line. Or, at least, will start running again after the track work is finished next month.
Not all of those cities want new trams fresh off the assembly line. A small but growing number are using old-fashioned streetcars as part of their fleet. Retrofitting period streetcars may seem like a frivolous idea, especially with local government budgets so tight. But many city planners disagree. In Philadelphia, where a discontinued streetcar line on Girard Avenue is being brought back to life, officials decided to use restored streetcars “at the request of certain advocacy groups,” according to Byron Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority.
You’ve gotta love the “at the request of certain advocacy groups” line. Now who could that be?
Anyway, next time you’re driving along Route 80, get off at Exit 81. Maybe they’ll give you a tour.