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An apocalyptic trolley graveyard sitting out deep in the woods of Pennsylvania

Jack Beckett
Once filled with people, the trains sit decaying on winding tracks. -  Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

Located in Western Pennsylvania in Somerset County, a long row of WWII-era streetcars extends into the woods. It’s like something straight out of an apocalyptic horror movie.

This graveyard houses over 45 Abandoned trolleys/streetcars from Philadelphia PA, Boston Mass, Cincinnati Ohio, and Chicago Illinois.

The cars were trucked by flatbed from Boston to his railcar repair shop in Windber, a small coal mining town in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

These cars are  PCC Streetcars, with years ranging from 1936-1952. PCC stood for Presidents’ Conference Committee, who were part of the design of these trams.

The PCC streetcar design was first built in the United States in the 1930s and at the time stood out as a model in the industry for its performance and looks. It has proved to be a long-lasting icon of streetcar design, as PCC cars are still in service in various places around the world.

The trees that have grown in and around the rusting track – and in some cases, the trolleys themselves – are a testament to how long these abandoned shells have lain here.

Vandalism has also increased, and scrap metal thieves have been stealing parts of the trams.

The trains were collected by a man named Ed Metka, who once fixed them. He purchased a lot of these streetcars in the 1980s, when rail services were auctioning off their out of service PCC fleet.

He also obtained these from other private organizations that had one. But over the years, the man let them fall into disrepair and a lot of them are way beyond repair.

Metka has yet to find a buyer for the vintage trolley cars. He has been in talks with a number of East Coast cities that have started to revisit the idea of streetcars as a valuable form of transportation. While the cars may be a bit worse for wear, they are in no sense, forgotten.

The manufacturer of these trams was St. Louis Car Company and Pullman Standard and they manufactured about 5000 of these all over the world before ending operation.

Long Line of Trolleys.

Long Line of Trolleys. – Author: Amy McGovern CC BY2.0

 

A huge graveyard that hosts over 45 old transportation vehicles.

A huge graveyard that hosts over 45 old transportation vehicles. – Author: Amy McGovern CC BY2.0

 

The PCC streamlined streetcars languishing in the woods are from Philadephia SEPTA and Boston MBTA.

The PCC streamlined streetcars languishing in the woods are from Philadephia SEPTA and Boston MBTA. – Author: Amy McGovern CC BY2.0

 

Mother Nature has been hard on these once-cherished machines.

Mother Nature has been hard on these once-cherished machines. – Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

 

 

Vandalism has increased and theft of copper wires and parts have been taken.

Vandalism has increased, with the theft of copper wires and parts. -Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

 

The trains were collected by a man who once fixed them, but over the years, they fall into disrepair.

The trains were collected by a man who once fixed them, but over the years, they fall into disrepair. – Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

When Metka retired, after a career as a civil engineer in the Army Corp of Engineers, he worried that many of the great trolley models were being sold for scrap or destroyed.

When Metka retired, after a career as a civil engineer in the Army Corp of Engineers, he worried that many of the great trolley models were being sold for scrap or destroyed. – Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

 

He has goals for these streetcars but a lot of them are way beyond repair.

He has goals for these streetcars but a lot of them are way beyond repair. – Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0

 

Ed Metka does occasionally give tours, so that is one way to see the cars.

Ed Metka does occasionally give tours, so that is one way to see the cars. – Author: Forsaken Fotos  CC BY2.0