July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cleveland transit to donate last trolley car to railway museum

The Northern Ohio Railway Museum is bringing the last Cleveland trolley car to Medina County.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority board of trustees passed a resolution July 13 to donate that car, along with two others, to the museum, 5515 Buffham Road, halfway between Gloria Glens Village and Seville, in Westfield Township.

Car 12, the last Cleveland street trolley, is arriving this week to the Northern Ohio Railway Museum in Westfield Township. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Museum Director Steve Heister said some out-of-state museums had shown interest, but the RTA board wanted to keep the cars close to home.

“We’d rather bring them here to Medina County, where they’ll be in Northeast Ohio, instead of letting them go to, say, Illinois,” Heister said.

Although the RTA is donating the cars, the museum paid $13,000 to cover the cost of moving them from Cleveland. The museum paid for the transfer by borrowing the money. So far, about half that amount has been donated or pledged.

The first car — Cleveland Transit System single rapid transit Car 109 — was expected to arrive at the museum by truck today and Line Car 024 on Wednesday.

The most famous of the trio — Car 12 — is coming Thursday.

Car 12 is Cleveland’s most recognized trolley. It was built in 1914 in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood by the G.C. Kuhlman Car Co. and served on a fleet of 201 identical cars for the Cleveland Railway, the city’s trolley operator.

In 1929, Car 12 was converted into a rapid transit car for the Shaker Heights Rapid line. In 1960, it was retired from regular service but was converted back into a trolley and ran hundreds of charters up through the 1980s.

Car 109 was built in 1955 by the St. Louis Car Co. and was among the inaugural cars on the CTS Rapid line. The car served that route until 1984. It was restored by RTA in 1990.

Car 024 is a double-ended line car that was built by CTS in 1960 from two different cars. A line car is specially equipped with insulated roof platforms to allow repair crews safe access to the 600-volt DC wire that supplies power for the cars, and has equipment and tools for deploying or reeling in overhead wire during repairs.

Car 024 was semi-retired in 1980 when RTA acquired a new diesel-powered line car. The museum will put it back to work as a line car building and maintaining overhead lines and upgrading its track for a demonstration trolley ride that will use the three cars.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26. Admission is free.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.