- Tucson Modern Streetcar
- BUS DIVISION PROGRESS REPORT for June 2011
- Southern Arizona Transportation Museum Opens
- Lisbon Tram 524
- Lisbon Tram 524 Restoration
- New Yard Track Expansion
- Cars 869, 1511, and PCC under power together
- Contact Us
The restoration of the Southern Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific) Station, on the east end of Tucson’s central business district, was completed during 2004. The original Records Building is now the home of the SOUTHERN ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION MUSEUM (SATM). The museum opened on Sunday, April 20, 2005.
The SATM is the newest division of Old Pueblo Trolley. The Articles of Incorporation of Old Pueblo Trolley of May 9, 1983, created a transportation museum in Tucson. Initially restoring two historic trolleys, building track and overhead, the original museum began operating its trolleys on April 17, 1993. With SATM, there are now three divisions under the IRS 501C3 designated non-profit, volunteer Old Pueblo Trolley Inc. They are (1) the Street Railway Division, (2) the Bus Division and (3) the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum.
In January 2003 Old Pueblo Trolley received Lisbon, Portugal, Tram 524 from the city of Aspen, Colorado. This tram was one of six purchased 28 years ago by a private individual for a proposed vintage trolley line for Aspen. The trams were covered with tarps and stored in a field owned by the City of Aspen. As the years wore on the citizens of Aspen waxed and waned about having a tram line running in the small central business district. After the fourth vote, where the citizens of Aspen voted a resounding "no, we don't want trolleys in Aspen", the city government offered these trams to museums. We were given two, one of which was "bundled up" by volunteers, Eric Sitiko and Dave Johnson and sent on its way to Tucson January, 2003. Click on pictures of the operation to see the activities.
Tram 524 was manufactured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1924 by J. C. Brill. It is a typical Brill six (6) window single truck double ended tram that was manufactured and also copied all over the world. They were designed for a number of track gauges, in the case of Lisbon, the track gauge is 900 millimeters or slightly under three feet between the rails. This tram body is also designed for meter gauge and the standard gauge we have in Tucson. Lisbon had almost 100 similar trams operating up to the 1960's. Their small size is ideal for the narrow streets in the older, historic sections of the capital of Portugal. Today there are 45 of these trams still in daily service. In the 1970's and 80's 35 of these trams were modernized with new electrical and mechanical systems while retaining their original interior classic varnished dark wood work. At the same time the cars were made to be single ended and the routes they ran on were equipped with loops at each end. There are still five tram lines in Lisbon, four of which are served by these 80 year old vehicles. The other tram line also has 10 modern light rail vehicles (LRV) which are mingled with the older cars. The remaining ten 1920's trams have been restored, retaining their double ended configuration and are in daily service on two historic routes which cover the older parts of this historic city.
To the north of Lisbon lies Oporto. This city operates standard gauge Brill tram of the same vintage in daily service. These original Brill built trams are of the seven (7) window variety so are slightly longer with a capacity of three more passengers. A number of the Oporto trams operate in the United States with the largest number found in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Lisbon/Aspen is a typical Brill single truck car. It is very similar to Prescott and Mt. Union No. 1 which ran 80 plus years ago between Prescott, Arizona, and the US Calvary Fort Whipple six miles to the northeast. Noting the similarity, this car is being restored as the Prescott car. The biggest modification will be the re-gauging of the single truck from 900 millimeters (just under one yard) to the standard gauge we use in Tucson.
The motors and air compressor have been remanufactured and the wheels have received new steel tires. With the change of standard gauge the old axles have been replaced. Most recently the body has been jacked up in order to replace the composite steel and wood beams which make up the frame. Both ends will receive new steam bent poplar wood roofs and the early 1960’s modification done by the Lisbon shops to remove the controls from one end will be reversed and the car will once again be doubled ended. This will allow it to be run equally well in both directions. We will be working on the restoration for some time to come and welcome more volunteers to work on this project.
Car 524, thanks to the efforts of a talented and dedicated restoration team, is coming along nicely. Before the car was dismantled by Kurt Astroth, Eric Sitiko, Ed Peel and Dave Johnson, Dave took several hundred digital pictures of the interior and exterior. With these and additional pictures from various sources Nathan Hughes has put together a manual identifying all the restored parts and re-assembly instructions. Nathan, John Singley, Ed Peel, and Dave Hunt have been re-finishing, replicating, or replacing the various parts of the car body for the past eighteen months.
The truck re-gauging and re-assembly has been led by volunteers Chuck Krause and Ib Pedersen. It should be completed by mid-summer.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST OR ARE CURIOUS ABOUT TRACK CONSTRUCTION we invite you to come on down on any Friday, Saturday or Sunday during the day. The latest track construction is about complete but more will be coming soon. In March 2005, the installation of two additional yard tracks was completed. This work began in October 2002. It consisted of the installation of three turnouts on 8th street which were laid in 12” to 14” thick of 3000 psi concrete. We are using the new tracks in conjunction with the rebuilding of the spare Japanese trucks which will be swapped out for those now under car 869. In addition the restoration of the Prescott and Mt. Union No. 1 is using the south end of the middle yard track. It’s truck and frame will be reassembled just to the north of the car body work site.
Contact our volunteer coordinator.
7 February 2005
As part of the New Yard project, Cars 869, 1511 and the Toronto PCC were moved under overhead power up 4th Avenue and University Blvd., in preparation for moving the PCC to the triangle yard.
Click on picture at left to enlarge.
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