Third Avenue Railway System 678

Built in:1939 by Third Avenue Railway System
Type of car:streetcar (lightweight car)
Current Owner:National Capital Trolley Museum(Wheaton, Maryland)

Car History by Wesley Paulson

Third Avenue Railway System 678
The Third Avenue Railway Company of New York City embarked on a car building program to fulfill its service requirements rather than purchase the PCC street cars as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company was doing in the 1930s. Built in the Company's 65th Street shops, TARS 678 is a collection of recycled parts and newfangled gadgets. Old eight-point K-35 controllers and newly-designed, brake pedals govern its speed. Rattan, walk-over seats contrast with aluminum window sash and a thrashing air compressor more than compensates for quiet herringbone gears. Intended for service in the Bronx, TARS equipped TARS 678 with trolley poles and without a conduit plow.

Following abandonment of trolley lines in the Bronx in 1948, forty cars of this class provided service for another twenty years in Vienna, Austria as Marshall Plan dollars replaced trams damaged during World War II. Wiener Stadtwerke replaced the trolley poles with a pantograph, warned passengers that the doors are pneumatically operated, installed a wood-slat floor, added turn signals, and covered the rattan seats with vinyl. NCTM is restoring TARS 678 to its New York City appearance.

NCTM purchased TARS 678 and shipped it to the site from Vienna, Austria during the Summer of 1971.

Ownership History:Third Avenue Railway System #678 1939-1948 / Wiener Stadtwereke Verkehrsbetriebe #4220 1948-1971 / National Capital Trolley Museum(Wheaton, Maryland) 1971-present

Facts and Figures

Status:operated occasionallyGauge:4'8.5"
Construction:steelRoof type:AREnded:DE
#Seats:46#Wheels/Conf.:8 (B-B)Total HP
TrucksBrakes:GE (VB3)Compressor
MotorsVoltage (if not 600DC)


Later sold to Austria