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Sunday, November 3, 2013

13-11-03 PHOTOS: BSM Antiversary

While most railfans in the Northeast were enjoying themselves on a rare millage excursion courtesy of Amtrak on the first weekend in November, 2013, a small group of non-conformists decided to sit out the festivities in Baltimore and celebrate what they considered to be a somewhat more important milestone. The Baltimore Streetcar Museum was founded in 1966, got its stuff in 1968 and started operating in 1970, so one might wonder what they would be celebrating in 2013. Well this is the 50th anniversary of the cessation of streetcar operations in Baltimore City by the Baltimore Transit Company in 1963. While celebrate might not be the right word for this unfortunate, but by no means unique event, the BSM was not going to miss the opportunity for a special shindig.

I believe that the date of the last run was on Nov 3rd, 1963, but the interesting things was that it took place around 6:30am instead of something like midnight and that was because while official scheduled service ended at the time you would expect, trolley enthusiasts had chartered a special last run car which stayed out until just before sunrise. Now I am not sure that I would count a charter as "service", but the BSM seems to and 50 years later they reenacted the event by having a simulated last run at the appointed time before continuing on with a full day of Streetcar Museuming in conjunction with a Maryland Classic Car enthusiasts group to provide additional "atmosphere".

You can find all the roadcar and streetcar photos here.

I am going to start off with this photo of a classic Baltimore Transit Company GM bus #1426 because I think the BSM missed a wonderful opportunity to have a little fun. Instead or commemorating the last run then having a normal museum day they should have converted the Baltimore Streetcar Museum into the Baltimore Bus Museum, declaring that the trolleys had been retired from service because they were too "old fashioned" or something. They then could have kept up the charade for the remainder of the day giving rides in this and other buses until some pretext brought the trolleys back.

Anyway, the coolest piece of equipment on display was this yellow 1970 Pontiac GTO. This is one of the first road cars to be outfitted with a modern solid state AC propulsion package...or at least that's that Wikipedia's disambiguation page seemed to imply. It would take over two decades before this technology made it to rail vehicles.

Here is Baltimore's very own PCC #7404 sitting out on the loop under the fall leaves and sun.

 One special treat was the car #417 was finished its restoration work and ready for limited service. #417 is the oldest operable electric streetcar in the world having been built around 1880 as a pre-electric horse car then later fitted with electric traction. Unfortunately while riding #417 I missed my chance to ride in the GM Bus :-(

Business end of #417.

1959 VW Bug.

I should know what this is, but I don't. Perhaps one of the folks who had one of these as a kid could help me.

BSM workhorse #4553 with a 1980's Corvette in the foreground.

1970's flame painted GMC van that did not happen to be a-rockin.

It was warm enough for open car #1164 to be out, seen here at the 28th St loop.

Full house on #1164.

While I didn't get to ride the evil GM Bus #1426, I did snag a few photos inside it.

One wouldn't think that a streetcar rail designed to be used in the street would present a hazard to road vehicles, but while exiting the event this Ford Falcon ripped off its oil pan and exhaust system. One of the major disadvantages to low riding.

The BSM did have two work cars on hand to tow the hapless Falcon, but there was no room in the carbarn to perform the needed repairs.

Well that's it. Next time tune in for some Thanksgiving stuff.

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