Graveyard of Historic American Trolleys Heads to the Scrapper Later This Year

You have reached the end of the line.

byJames Gilboy|
Historic trolleys rust away in a forest in Pennsylvania
YouTube, JOEY_UNDERGROUND
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Across the United States, countless treasure troves of historic vehicles and old parts hide in plain sight. Some will sell you whole classic cars, others keep farmers around the country in business. Sadly, many are on the ropes or about to go bust—like the eerie trolley graveyard in Pennsylvania that has reportedly been sold for scrap.

The Vintage Electric Streetcar Company in Windber, Pennsylvania, is the largest private collection of trolley cars in the U.S., according to Railfan & Railroad Magazine. It reportedly started 31 years ago when its owner Edward Metka acquired 14 retired PCC streetcars—widely used pre- and post-WWII—from Boston's MBTA. Since then, Metka has accumulated close to 60 units from around the country, hailing from Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Inside a decrepit trolley at the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company. YouTube, JOEY_UNDERGROUND

The trolleys occupy a 20-acre grove of forest and have become a popular destination for abandonment tourism. Over the years, many trolleys have deteriorated, the vast majority being stored outdoors and subject to decades of weather and neglect. Many have suffered from vandalism and been heavily graffitied—though the art arguably dresses up the streetcars beyond hope of salvage.

But soon, the collection will be no more, as it has reportedly been sold for scrap. The trolleys won't be gone overnight because the buyer reportedly won't start hauling them off until the end of the year. That leaves time to sell off as many parts as possible and the handful of cars believed to be in restorable condition.

For most of the cars, their fate was inescapable and their decades-long stay of execution at least allowed them to bring more mystique into the world as they saw out their final days.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

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