TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Saturday essay: The last run

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Its swan song was on Jan. 1, 1969, the day the old man's last HO-scale model train platform came down for the final time. That same day, its red-and-white trolley bus was packed away for what would be nearly 45 years.

The bus spent many a Christmastime traversing its 4-by-4-foot third of the L-shaped platform that wrapped around the fireplace and through the community of Plasticville, named for the brand of its 1950s modeled plastic buildings.

And it was a temperamental beast. The bus took its power from a pantograph whose grooved rollers connected to overhead rails. They also served as a guideway to keep the bus running true down the street. As long as everything was in adjustment, there were few mishaps. But out of adjustment, oh, the carnage in Plasticville was legendary.

My brothers delivered the trolley bus on a visit from Ohio a few years ago; it remained packed away until this month, when, on a whim, the itch hit: Would it still run?

After a careful cleaning and thorough oiling — and mounting its power standards and meticulously positioning the overhead power rails on a circular base — the moment of truth came: By golly, it ran. After all those years.

A cellphone video was in order. And the 30-second clip indeed is a treasure.

Especially considering that a few seconds after the video ends, the trolley bus began to lurch, its motor burned up and the bus stopped dead in its tracks. It would be its last run. Sigh.

— Colin McNickle

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. Greensburg Tuesday takes
  2. Another IRS ‘oops’: Hardly credible
  3. Alle-Kiski Tuesday takes
  4. U.N. Watch: Coddling anti-Semites
  5. Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
  6. Greensburg Laurels & Lances
  7. Cemetery crisis
  8. McKeesport Tuesday Takes
  9. Brewster advances
  10. Water rules: States v. EPA
  11. The Export-Import Bank: Do not resuscitate