Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company
Red Arrow Lines 14

Car 14 leads 24 eastbound at Castle Rock
along West Chester Pike, September 6, 1950
14 proudly making its inaugural photo run
(John Polyak, photo)

 

Car Number 14 Car Builder St. Louis Car Company
Year Built 1949 Year Acquired 1982
Type DE streamlined suburban car Seats 58
Length 50' 5" Width 9'0"
Height 10'0" Weight 49,000 lbs (22 tons)
Motors WH1433B (4) Status In Service, restored 2004

 

Rationing brought prosperity to the Red Arrow Lines (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) during World War II as strategic materials diverted to the armed forces brought record patronage to public transportation.  In the years following the war, the western suburbs of Philadelphia grew at a tremendous rate.  It was this growth and prosperity that prompted the order for this group of 14 multiple-unit streamlined rail cars.

The St. Louis cars were delivered in May and June 1949 and represent what many consider to be the last interurban cars built in America.  Their arrival permitted Red Arrow to retire a group of Jewett-built interurbans dating to 1913, and several two-man center door cars like cars 66 & 73.  While these cars are equipped with the same high-speed running gear as the Brilliners, they also have multiple unit capabilities (can be coupled together in pairs) and two-way radios.  These important features were required to expand service along the rapidly developing West Chester line, which operated on single track over the majority of its 19-mile length.

In 1954, when the widening of Pennsylvania Route 3 brought the decision to abandon the line to West Chester, after which the "Louies" became the mainstay of operation for the remaining rail lines.  Cars 14 and 24 were withdrawn from regular service in September 1982 following acceptance of 29 new LRVs.

Two St. Louis-built cars were selected for preservation here at the museum because they will demonstrate the operation of streetcars in multiple unit. Work on 14 was the most complex trolley restoration undertaken to date by our crew.  Pennsylvania Trolley Museum volunteers began work on this project in the summer of 1997 and returned to car to service at the museum in June 2004.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger photos (will open in new window):

 
 
 24 & 14 in the ready track at 69th Street Terminal, Upper Darby, 1964
(James T. Riedel, photo)
14 passes the signal block at Fife on the return from McClane School Loop
(John R. Polyak, photo)
 

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Last updated August 9, 2012
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