The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company 978

Appleton Trolley Museum & Railway

Built in:1928 by St. Louis Car Company (ord#1485)
Type of car:streetcar (lightweight safety car)
Current Owner:East Troy Electric Railroad(East Troy, Wisconsin)

Car History by Frank Hicks

The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company 978
This standard Milwaukee streetcar had an interesting and varied post-preservation life. One of about 200 lightweight steel cars built for Milwaukee during the 1920's, 978 operated until the end of streetcar service in 1958. It was then acquired by a railfan named Al Buetschle, who had the car moved to Wauwatosa where it was put on display at the Kiwanis Club. Buetschle moved away and interest in the car waned until at some point during the 1960's it was sold to the Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin. At the time MCRR was establishing a small collection of electric railway cars, but in 1970 the decision was made to deaccess the traction collection. The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society, then being established, assumed ownership of 978 and moved the car to East Troy, Wisconsin. It was stored there until 1982, when it was sold to a new group in Appleton known as Trolley 86 (later known as the Appleton Trolley Museum & Railway). That organization worked on restoring the car to operation, and during the late 1980's 978 was made operational. It was shipped to San Francisco to participate in one of the Trolley Parades that were being held in that city at the time, but an accident occurred en route that resulted in severe frame damage to the 978. It was shipped back to Appleton, but the frame damage was deemed too serious to warrant repairing and the car was put into dead storage. Trolley 86, by now known as ATM&R, merged with the East Troy Electric Railroad in 2002 and most of its equipment was moved to East Troy. Car 978 stayed behind, though, and work is currently being done by the former ATM&R volunteers to restore it.

Ownership History:The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company #978 1928-1938 / The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Company #978 1938-1953 / Milwaukee & Suburban Transit #978 1953-1958 / 1st preserved by The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society 1967-1982 / later preserved by Appleton Trolley Museum & Railway 1982-2002 / East Troy Electric Railroad(East Troy, Wisconsin) 2002-present

Facts and Figures

Status:stored inoperableGauge:4'8.5"
Construction:steelRoof type:AREnded:DE
#Seats:55#Wheels/Conf.:8 (B-B)Total HP
Trucks:St Louis 64EIBBrakes:SMECompressor:DH-16
Motors:GE 265J60 (4)Voltage (if not 600DC)


Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; owned by Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club 1958-1960, Mid-Continent Railroad Museum 1960-1967