Washington Railway & Electric 650

Dave's Electric Railroads

Built in:1912 by J.G. Brill Company (ord#19232)
Out-of-service/Retired:1945 (1944)
Type of car:streetcar (center entrance semiconvertible)
Current Owner:National Capital Trolley Museum(Wheaton, Maryland)

Car History by Frank Hicks & Wesley Paulson

The only center-entrance car from the Washington streetcar system is this 1912 prototype, designed by WR&E Master Mechanic W.A. Wenner. Its design was unusual in more ways than just its door arrangement; it had an arched roof, semi-convertible body and forced-air ventilation. Three years after it was built 50 more cars of approximately the same design were constructed. At that time 650 was rebuilt with different doors, standard ventilation and other changes, but remained purely a center-entrance car. It operated in Washington for over three decades, primarily on the Cabin John and Georgia Avenue lines.

In September 1944 car 650 (by then 884) was retired and replaced by new PCC cars. Capital Transit then decided that the car should be preserved and donated it to the Electric Railroaders' Association, a fan group based in New York City. In April 1945 the car was moved to a Central Railroad New Jersey yard in South Bronx, where it was stored; unfortunately within months the car was heavily vandalized and it became obvious that long-term storage at the railroad yard would not be feasible. In May 1947 the car was acquired by the fledgling BERA, and later in the year it arrived at the museum's property. It was in worse shape than any other cars at BERA and after several years of indecision it was actually sold to a scrap dealer in 1952. It never left the property, however, and was bought back in 1954 by two members who later paid for it to be stored indoors. In 2000, a three-way trade was organized between BERA, NCTM and the Electric City Trolley Museum to trade 650 to the Maryland group in exchange for Red Arrow center-door interurban car 76, then owned by ECTM. In 2002, 650 was moved to NCTM's site in Wheaton, Maryland.

Ownership History:Washington Railway & Electric #650 1912-1933 / Capital Transit #884 1933-1945 / 1st preserved by Electric Railroaders Association 1945-1947 / later preserved by Branford Electric Railway Association 1947-2002 / National Capital Trolley Museum(Wheaton, Maryland) 2002-present

Facts and Figures

Status:stored inoperableGauge:4'8.5"
Construction:woodRoof type:AREnded:DE
#Seats:53#Wheels/Conf.:8 (B-B)Total HP:160
Trucks:Brill 27G1BrakesCompressor:CP-27
Motors:WH 323A (4)Voltage (if not 600DC)