Preserving A Street Railway Survivor:
Baltimore Traction Co. Car 554, A story in pictures.
Text Credit: Dave Wilson
The Baltimore Streetcar Museum has a goal of preserving a collection of historic Baltimore transit vehicles for the future. These street railway cars were designated for preservation in the late 1920s by the United Railways and Electric Company of Baltimore. Although the scope of the collection has grown to include non-Baltimore vehicles, the mission remains the same: preservation.
554 is one of 135 cars purchased in 1896 from the Brownell Car Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Upon delivery, it provided summer service on the lines of the Baltimore Traction Company, and later provided the same service for the Baltimore Consolidated Railway and the United Railways and Electric Co. It is one of the few surviving open cars in the United States, and the only surviving open car built by the Brownell Car Co.
554 saw previous service at The Baltimore Streetcar Museum after a 1970's era cosmetic restoration, but even with limited use, its age began showing, and the museum was forced to withdraw it from service several years ago pending a structural rebuild. That rebuild is now completed, as of June 2018, insuring the car's survival for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The following photographs provide an overview of the work completed and provide a sense of what it takes to restore a streetcar.
The completed project is the result of the combined efforts of many BSM volunteers. We thank them all for their hard work.
This restoration was funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Baltimore National Heritage Area. We thank them for their support of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.
the dedication of car 554 on july 7-8th 2018
Image Credits: Dave Wilson, Bill Monaghan and Jacob Seabolt