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Philadelphia Trolleys - 1955

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[float=right]P00045_L.jpg[/float]During the mid 1950's, the City of Philadelphia featured a streetcar system which offered more trolleys running to more destinations with greater frequency than any other city in the United States. The city was blanketed with dozens of lines radiating in all directions. Connections were plentiful, offering the riding public an impressive selection of travel options. Operated by the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC), the system represented the finest in American urban street railway development.


"Philadelphia Trolleys - 1955" was filmed during the heyday of PTC operations. The program presents a comprehensive look at a number of PTC's more heavily traveled routes. While many cars of other lines are seen, the video focuses primarily on the following routes:


6 - Olney Terminal to Willow Grove

9 - Center City to South Philly

17/32 - Center City to South Philly

20 - Olney Terminal to the Delaware River/Naval Base in South Philly

26 - Germantown to Fox Chase

33 - Center City to North Philly

37 - Filmed in operation on joint trolley/subway trackage

42 - Delaware River to 60th Street

52 - Chelten Road Line


Equipment seen includes PCC and double ended Peter Witt cars as some lines did not have loops for turning equipment so operation of single ended cars was not practical. Locations are varied, providing the viewer with a nice contrast of images ranging from bustling Center City to bucolic rural locations. In some scenes, the cars appear to be running through the middle of nowhere with tracks literally cutting a path through trees and heavy brush. Given its age of over 50 years, the clarity of the color film is remarkable with razor sharp images. Images are rock solid and devoid of the unsteadiness often observed on vintage film. The soundtrack is a mix of appropriate period music and dubbed trolley sounds accompanied by informative narration.


The 48 minute program is produced by Sunday River Productions and is a splendid survey of a once great streetcar system. It is currently available in VHS format at $39.95. The sleeve's cover photograph and other information relating to the program may be found at the following link:




Happy transit,



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