by:  Kevin Nicol

(click on photo to see large size version)

The Saturday tour of the BHA convention concentrated on Pittsburgh and areas east and south. Our charter coach for the day was a J4500 from Coach USA – Lenzner.

Coach USA 65273 - Lenzner - 12JUN10

Our first stop was at the South Hills Village Rail Centre which was only a very short distance from our host hotel. On the front lawn of the rail centre is ex-PAT 4001, a PCC car from 1949 that was originally # 1702. Inside the rail centre, our group was given a tour of the control centre which was very impressive. It was a busy weekend for the controllers as there was a section of the Blue Line that was operating on a single track due to track maintenance. Thus, our group had to be very quiet so the staff could concentrate on the duties at hand.

Port Authority Transit 4001 - 12JUN10

PAT - South Hills Control Centre - 12JUN10

After our tour of the control centre, we had very limited access to the yard where we were able to take a few pictures of the light rail vehicles. PAT has two series of light rail cars. The 4200 series are Siemens SD-400 cars from the mid 1980’s while the 4300 series are made by CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles) of Spain and are from 2003-04. In the shot of PAT 4216, note that PAT uses both high level boarding (at stations) and street level boarding on the street running portions of the light rail system. In the shot of 4253, this car is actually in service on the Blue Line. After servicing South Hills Village station, the Blue Line loops around the rail centre to turn around.

Port Authority Transit 4253 - 12JUN10

Port Authority Transit 4216 - 12JUN10

After a very interesting stop at the light rail centre, it was onto PAT East Liberty division.

PAT has a total of approximately 874 buses that are housed at five divisions (Collier, East Liberty, Harmar, Ross and West Mifflin). The largest division is East Liberty with 195 vehicles and it is conveniently located just off the east busway.

The friendly staff pulled out numerous buses for us including some of the colorful NovaBus Classics. A bright orange Gillig hybrid was also pulled out along with a few cutaways. Also at the garage are a number of AMCAP vehicles.

AMCAP has one of the ex-PAT MAN articulated buses (# 3070) and two GMC new looks (1985 and 1120). Bus 1985 is an S8M-5304A from 1970 (note the underfloor luggage compartments). AMCAP also has a Mack that is ex-Hampton Road Transit (VA) and was stored for a number of years in Allentown. One Flxible Metro (# 2462) was also on the property and I believe that it is being kept for AMCAP. The pride of the AMCAP fleet is # 775, a TDH-3207 that is painted in the original colors of Harmony Shortway Lines. This bus is kept at Harmar division but unfortunately had a few mechanical problems so it could not be brought down to East Liberty for the BHA to see.

Port Authority Transit 8627 - 12JUN10

AMCAP - Ex HRT Mack - 12JUN10

AMCAP - Ex PAT 1985 and 1120 - 12JUN10

AMCAP - Ex PAT 3070 - 12JUN10

Port Authority Transit 2701 - 12JUN10

Port Authority Transit 2717 - 12JUN10

Port Authority Transit 5048 - 12JUN10

Port Authority Transit 5374 - 12JUN10

After departing the East Liberty garage, the BHA ventured to the Westmoreland Transit garage in Delmont, PA.

Westmoreland County took delivery of 15 cutaways earlier this year for local service which resulted in the retirement of their 1997 Gillig Phantom buses. However, the retired Gilligs were still at the yard so we were able to get shots of the buses in between the weeds. Also retired were a couple of 30′ Flxible Metros that were ex-CamTran (Johnstown, PA). These buses had been briefly used by Westmoreland Transit when they were short buses. Westmoreland 232 is an example of one of the older cutaways and it is a 2005 El Dorado Aeroelite.

Westmoreland Transit - Ex Johnstown - 12JUN10

Westmoreland Transit 106 - 12JUN10

Westmoreland Transit 232 - 12JUN10

Westmoreland Transit 238 - 12JUN10

From Delmont, it was onto Donora and the new garage of Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority. MMVTA had buses outside awaiting our arrival including a NovaBus RTS, Gillig Advantage low floor and a cutaway with a GMC Duramax chassis. Inside the garage, we saw one of the older Gillig Phantom buses which had been repainted into the new scheme.

Mid Mon Valley Transit 477 - 12JUN10

Mid Mon Valley Transit 68 - 12JUN10

Mid Mon Valley Transit 469 - Garage - 12JUN10

Mid Mon Valley Transit 475 - Garage - 12JUN10

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA is located approximately one half hour south of Pittsburgh. They have quite the impressive collection of streetcars and interurban cars from Pennsylvania properties. While the majority of the cars are ex-Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, there are plenty of other examples in their collection.

One car was set aside for our group which was ex-Philadelphia and West Chester 78, a Brill streetcar from 1932. It is hard to believe that this car lasted approximately 50 years in service, being withdrawn in the early 1980’s. It is in great shape and is one of the favorite cars in the collection. We used this car to travel to their storage barn where we were able to view other cars in the collection.

PTM - Ex P&WC 78  and PS 66 - 12JUN10

Ex-PAT 4004 is in the most recent PAT scheme and was just withdrawn in early 2000 after use on the 47D – Drake line for a number of years.

PTM - Ex PAT 4004 - 12JUN10

Ex-Pittsburgh Railways # 4398 is a St. Louis Car Company from 1917 which had just undergone an extensive renovation. This car looked brand new and was undergoing operator training prior to reentering service at the museum.

PTM - Ex PR 4398 - 12JUN10

Ex-Philadelphia Suburban 14 is an PCC from 1949 while ex-West Penn Railway 739 was one of the more interesting vehicles in the collection. This car, built in 1925 was acquired by the museum in 1989 after what can only be described as a unique retirement. After it was withdrawn from service in 1952, it was bought by the Smail family in Jeanette, PA and used as their family home for over 35 years. The Smails raised their children in the trolley year round and numerous newspaper articles were done on the family over the years.

PTM - Ex Phil Suburban 14 - 12JUN10

PTM - Ex West Penn Rwy 739 - 12JUN10

After a visit to the gift shop, the BHA group returned to the hotel in Pittsburgh. I hope you have enjoyed this series on the 2010 convention.

Mark the dates of Friday, June 10th and Saturday, June 11th, 2011 on your calendar now. The 2011 BHA convention will be in Regina, Saskatchewan and we hope to visit transit and intercity properties in the Regina, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon area. After a day for travel on Sunday, June 12th, the convention will resume for one additional day in Winnipeg on Monday, June 13th where we will be able to view the very impressive bus collection of the Manitoba Transit Heritage Association.


  1. John Fenlon on 09.23.2016

    To whom it may concern:

    I have two found the pictures.. One for MAN articulated bus and 30ft flexible.. Please let me know ASAP I would get them I need it.

    Thank you for my concern. Cheer, John Fenlon

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