Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority D39

Built in:1908 by Philadelphia Rapid Transit
Type of car:line car (rebuilt box motor)
Current Owner:Rockhill Trolley Museum(Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania)

Car History by Frank Hicks

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority D39
This car has a longer and more eventful history than just about any other preserved work car. It was originally built as an ash car at PRT's Kensington Shops in April 1908, built to haul ash for the city of Philadelphia. Only eight years later, it was heavily rebuilt with a new body for carrying package freight. This new role in turn only lasted six years; in 1922 the car was removed from freight service and put into use as a utility work car. In 1950, it was regauged to 4'8.5" gauge and transferred to the Broad Street Subway for use as a garbage car; after only a few years of this it was again re-adapted for use as the BSS wrecker (tool car) and based out of Fern Rock Shop. When line car D38 was destroyed by the Woodland carbarn fire on October 23, 1975, car D39 - at the time numbered T17 - was sent out to be regauged and rebuilt by Ed Blossom for use as a replacement line car. This took quite some time, and it was not until 1984 that D39 - now with its final number - was back in service maintaining the overhead wire on the Philadelphia subway/surface system. It only lasted in this role for four years, until a pair of PCC's took over subway/surface route line car duties; in 1988 D39 was transferred to the old Red Arrow Media and Sharon Hill lines to supplement aging line car 07. Finally, in 2003, a new diesel-powered line car was bought to replace D39 and it was sold to RTM.

Ownership History:Philadelphia Rapid Transit #2621 1908-1912 / Philadelphia Rapid Transit #P12 1912-1916 / Philadelphia Rapid Transit #F25 1916-1940 / Philadelphia Transportation Company #F25 1940-1950 / Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority #D39 1984-2003 / Rockhill Trolley Museum(Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania) 2003-present

Facts and Figures

Status:stored inoperableGauge:5'2.5"
Construction:woodRoof type:AREnded:DE
#Seats:n/a#Wheels/Conf.:8 (B-B)Total HP
Trucks:Curtis C-1112BrakesCompressor
MotorsVoltage (if not 600DC)


Maintenance fleet; former PRT ash car (1908-1916), box motor (1916-1922), work motor (1922-1940), PTC work motor (1940-1950), PTC rubbish car #T17 (1950-1955), PTC wrecker #T17 (1955-1968), SEPTA wrecker #T17 (1968-1984)