The "real" cars and schedule

So far I haven't been able to come up with an official roster of their rolling stock. I made some educated guesses, and contacted the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, which is the repository for what's left of the J. G. Brill Co. records.

Jack Gumbrecht is the director of research services and a real gentleman. He gleaned the order books, as well as their collection of Brill magazines. He's added some information to what I know, and raised questions as well. His input is shown in italic type in the table below. There were no official photos available, other than that for car #10 which is shown elsewhere. The order from 1900 was placed by John Blair MacAffee, who is shown as the "chief financial man" in newspaper articles of the time.  The 1906 order shows only two cars. I have photos of #12 and #13; #13 was shown in the Journal article as well.  Also adding to the confusion is the fact that the car builders measured only the passenger-carrying carbody, rather than the entire length of the car. A 37 foot-long car could be shown as having a 28 foot-long carbody.

The 1918 "McGraw Electric Railway List" indicates 14 motor passenger cars and 2 other cars, 2 elec. locos.

Date Car # Type Builder Length Notes
June1900   ST locomotive GE    
June 1900 10 DT Combine Brill order #10377 37 Eureka #22 trucks, two GE1000 motors and K10 controllers
  11 DT Combine   37  
??   ST Unknown 20? Desc as "20 foot closed car" One of these may be #20
??   ST Unknown 20? Desc as "20 foot closed car" One of these may be #22
June 1900 3? ST Open Brill order #10376   10 bench open cars  21E trucks
  4? ST Open "   10 bench open cars
  5? ST Open "   10 bench open cars  Wrecked 9/17/1908
  6? ST Open "   10 bench open cars
  7? ST Open "   10 bench open cars
  8? ST Open "   10 bench open cars
Jan. 1906 12 DT Combine Brill order # 14936 40' 27-G-1 trucks
  13 DT Combine


Unknown Unknown DT Combine Unknown 40' Possibly 2nd hand with longer platforms.
Circa 1895 20 ST Closed Unknown ?? ST with home-built ends. Probably 2nd hand.
1909 24 ST Closed Kuhlman 20' Possibly a data error?
1912 50 Locomotive American 30' Baldwin trucks
1915 Unknown   ?1 DT Closed Unknown 40' Wood construction, 2 man
1924 21 ST Cincinnati 26' Curve siders
  22       SRJ indicates only 7 cars, 29' and notes 5 cars were 

scraped when this order was received.


If there's a question mark, then I'm just taking a guess! I wonder where the curve siders went since they would have been 5 or 6 years old when the line closed. Reports say Louisville or Buffalo. I'm guessing the rest of the equipment wound up as scrap or chicken coops.

The original page has been split to help with loading speeds. The single truck cars are on one page; the double truckers are on another and the locomotives share a third.

This looks like a good place to put a copy of the timetable. This one is from 1908 (thanks to David Robinette) and appears to be the same as the timetable used when the line started. It doesn't, however, indicate the "owl cars" that ran from Middleport down to the end of the line. This also is a good point to clear up some confusion about the end of the line. Gravel Hill is actually the southerly part of what is now Minersville, and its less than a mile from there to the Hobson railroad station where the line ended. Gravel Hill is actually just a hump in the landscape, but apparently it was high enough, and far enough away from the river, that it was the place where the cars were stashed when a flood was imminent.


The approximate distance from end to end was about 12.7 miles,  and the running time was an hour and 15 minutes. That's about 10mph as I calculate it. It also looks like 5 cars were required for scheduled service. Given the 8 (or 10) cars used initially, that gave them a few spares for maintenance, charters and double headers.