ULT – Unidentified Little Trolley

Birney trolley

I just received this very nice solid N Scale Birney trolley, but unfortunately I know nothing about it. It is a heavy metal molding and artfully done. I wish I knew where and when it was originally made and if it was designed with any particular power source in mind. I really would like to see it on the layout running because it is much to high quality to be relegated to becoming a diner in the town.

If you know anything about this guy, I would love to hear it. And if you click on the picture, you will be taken to my gallery with more pictures and some measurements and comparisons to other N Scale trolleys.

A New Book

Trolley To The PastI got a new book! Well, I am excited about that and I am also trying out my new blogging app on my iPad. It integrates with WordPress blogs and also photo services like Flickr and Picasa.

I should really write more about Blogsy on my regular blog, but I thought I would try it out here first. And now that I know it works, I can go off to read my new book.

Rolling Down Memory Lane

I came across this video on YouTube, and I absolutely love it. It captures my wistful feelings towards streetcars while showing some of the great machines on exhibit at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. Just watch the way it transitions from videos from the past to the present along with a subtle change in the music. And if anyone can tell me what the music is, I would really appreciate it.

So think back to the early part of the last century. Ok, you probably can’t think back to then, but you can imagine. Imagine the change from an agrarian to an industrial nation. Imagine the first world war, a war that for the first time truly had machines of war. A time when automated personal transportation was becoming a reality as automobiles reached the masses. Electricity, radios and mass transit were moving the population closer together and making the world smaller.

This was the world of the streetcar. I am not going to imply that it was a simpler or better time, but it was certainly different. Actually, for many people it was a more complex time of change, and many were far worse off than people are today. It was a time of segregation and injustice in voting rights. A time of extreme poverty and massive political corruption. It was, overall, a time we can learn from. A time of lessons that can be learned from today and applied to our current world.

All in all, a fascinating time. And a time that is now fading from memory as the last of those who lived in that time are passing away.

Oh, and if anyone would like to give me a late Christmas present or early Valentine’s or birthday present, take a look at this beautiful little model of a Peter Witt streetcar.

A Token From Charleston's Past

From the late 1800s until 1938, trolleys ran in Charleston. Not many people know that and even fewer remember them. There are a few artifacts of that period left around, and I have talked about some of those before. But today, courtesy of eBay, I received a bit of that history into my hands.

What you see here is a trolley token. Anyone who has travelled on modern mass transit should be familiar with such things. This one is obviously from late in the trolley lines’ life because it bears the name of the SC Power Company. Early on the trolley’s were run under the Charleston City Railway then Charleston Consolidated Railway. The company continued to get bought, swallowed up and reformed until it became part of the SC Power Company. That is the same company we know as South Carolina Electric and Gas, SCE&G, today.

If you think about it, the transformation of trolley companies into the power companies of today makes sense. It was the trolley companies that needed the most electrical power in the early days and so they built much of the infrastructure that became the modern utilities today. In many cases, such as in Charleston, the power companies still own much of the trolley properties and right-of-ways.

So there you have it, just thought I would share! And if you have access to any other information about the trolley lines that served Charleston and the surrounding area, please let me know.