I remember in ’37 when trolley cars were so big in New York. It was five cents for a ride… There used to be open-air buses, and you could go up a spiral staircase and sit up on top. Those were great, great days.
~ Tiny Tim
It’s not at all easy to find a good quote about trolleys. Most of them refer to shopping carts (which we call shopping carts here in the U.S., but they call trolleys in the U.K. and elsewhere).
I am procrastinating today. I am even procrastinating my procrastinating by getting distracted from putting together this post. Yesterday I cleared a few things off of my list of things I had been postponing for another day. It felt so good to do that, I was sure I would finish up the list today. Instead, I’m feeling somewhat restless and distracted. Thank goodness there’s nothing pressing that needs to be done. On the other hand, if it did need doing immediately, I’d be doing it, no matter how fidgety I feel.
So, in my Bicycles and trolleys post we left off just as we were getting ready to board the trolley after my private tour of some of the Rockhill Trolley Museum. We were the first there for the first ride of the day and, it turned out, we were the only passengers for that trip. The ride took about 30 minutes, maybe a little longer. It went by pretty fast so I’m not sure.
The trolley that we were told to board is Oporto #172. From the museum website:
Car 172 is our example of a Toonerville trolley, a small two-axle trolley. The nickname comes from a series of silent comedy films by that name, which featured a rickety little trolley bouncing along the countryside as its motorman engaged in a series of comical adventures. Car #172 is based on a design by J. G. Brill Co. of Philadelphia, which is coincidentally where the first Toonerville trolley movies were made, before Hollywood even existed.
It was built in Oporto, Portugal in 1929. It is a semi-convertible design. The windows can be raised into roof pockets on hot days. The windows were, in fact, raised during our trip (because it was a hot day). But it’s best to keep fingers, hands, and arms inside if you don’t want to risk injury. It’s an old car and the windows don’t always stay where they should.
More from the website:
Oporto built a large fleet of these cars in their shops. Car 172 has an attractive interior, with very ornate carved wood trim , fancy brass fittings, and sliding end doors. It also has a unique seating arrangement, with two seats on one side and one seat on the other, made necessary by the narrow twisting streets of Oporto.
The ride was as described on the website (“a rickety little trolley bouncing along the countryside”). We did bounce and sway and almost tumble off our seats. As I mentioned earlier, it was not a very long ride in terms of time. Or distance, for that matter. We traveled just a little way down the track to a dead end where we stopped and the conductors told us a little about the car. On the way back we stopped once again to learn a little about an old (and falling down) coke-fired iron furnace that we passed. There’s a whole complex of ruins there.
Most of the photos I took on the trolley (or around the trolley) were pretty bad. It was midday, for one thing, so the light was one big glare. The movement and reflections on the windows also made it difficult. Some of the better photographs can’t be posted because they include family members who are facing the camera (and they don’t wish to have their faces plastered on the internet).
The main thing is that we had fun and learned a little along the way. Little Wookie seemed to really enjoy the ride once he got used to the bouncing and swaying. Little Peanut, on the other hand, is so young that he probably thought of it as just another ride, similar to being in the car but without a car seat. They both got to ring the trolley bell one (or two or three or four) more times before we left the car.
Thank you for stopping by for the trolley ride. If interested, you can read more about Oporto #172 here (that link takes you to the museum website — no ads or popups). Also, please pardon any typos or mistakes. Looks like there are some storms coming. It suddenly got dark outside. Time to shut the computer down. I’ll proofread later, maybe.
Be good, be kind, be love. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,131) The challenges that help us grow, stretch, evolve. I hope we humans are up to it. 1,132) After Bite, a product made to be applied after an insect bites. It helps. 1,133) The cold front they say is going to get here today. I do hope it arrives soon and washes out some of this heat and humidity. 1,134) Trolley rides and clanging bells and little boys who like to clang the bells. 1,135) My freckles.