The city of Philadelphia once had many trolley routes that started to disappear by the late 1950's. The Route 8 trolley use to pass by the front of my home at 1517 E Susquehanna Ave and return on Norris St by the back of the house. I can remember how the workers seemed to work non-stop into the night tearing down the wires and cutting down the metal poles with their torches. It was a shocking and sad day for me as a kid. It wasn't too long after that the Route 5 trolley that ran on Frankford Ave was gone. I remember watching the trolley make its turn onto Master St as it headed to 2nd St while waiting to meet and walk home my aunt Kate.
Gone was the Route 3 that ran on Front St and turned onto Berks St as it headed into North Philly. Gone was Route 39 on Cumberland St, gone was Route 17 on Market St, Route 6 from Olney Terminal, Route 2 on 15th and 16th Sts. (center city to Girard ave), Route 56 on Erie/Torresdale, Route 60 on Allegheny Ave, Route 50 for 4th and 5th St and its one underground station by the Ben Franklin bridge , Route 53 on Wayne Ave, Route 43 to the Art Museum, Route 54 to Connie Mack Stadium and Route 23 from North to South for miles and miles. These are the routes that I rode when I was a kid.
Like Maurice Chevalier, ahh, "I Remember It Well" or most of it. Today only five trolley lines remain. Four are a part of the subway-surface trolley routes and Route 15 which runs, in part, through Fishtown on Girard Ave.
So where did these trolleys end up? Some were sold and refurbished by other cities, some were scraped and some just sat around awaiting their fate. I had an old 35mm camera some years ago which helped prompt me to find them. This was before the digital age.
I was able to find five locations or graveyards and photograph them. The last photos were from the year 2000 at the Luzerne Depot. This is were we start.
Wissahickon Ave near Hunting Park
South Philly near the old ECW Arena and Forman Mills
It is possible that some of these pictured trolley ghost have been refurbished and are in use in Philly or other cities. The key to proving this would be to match the assigned number found on the front, back and sides of the trolley. The only example that I can give starts from the fifth location which was on Front St near I-95.
#8534 to the right of the picture
#8534 at Island Rd Depot
On Woodland Ave during Trolley Fest
It could be more effective if it were a Presidential or streamliner. You got the point.
Getting ready to go
Be seeing you.
words and photographs by roman blazic_all rights reserved.