from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
J. G. Brill Co. (1912)
Peter Witt, converted from Nearside
|Retired from Service|
|Acquired by the Museum|
Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company No. 6618 was built by Brill in 1912, to a patented design of the Near Side Car Company of New York. Basically a single end Brill semi-convertible, it is equipped with maximum traction trucks of a design greatly advanced from those under Biddeford open car 31. These Brill 39-E trucks had a standard center bearing, unlike the earlier Type 22-E, which employed a curved slot and slider mounting. On No. 6618, the pony wheels face out, fitting under the end platform.
The patented Nearside features consisted of a space for the conductor by the front door alongside the motorman, there being no other entrance or exit except for a small emergency door at the rear. Thus, a car could stop at the near side of a cross street to load and unload passengers. This was supposed to reduce waiting time for cross traffic and provide greater safety since he car would be moving slowly from a stop at most crossings. Identical cars predominated in Buffalo, which had over 350 Nearsides, where the system was controlled by the same management as Philadelphia. Chicago also had a fleet of 125 cars, while Atlantic City operated 26, and Lincoln, Nebraska had three. Some 1500 of these cars, built for Philadelphia in five rapidly successive orders during 1911-13, are believed to be the largest single group of standardized streetcars ever acquired by any transit property anywhere in the world. In Philadelphia, the emergency doors were removed from most of the fleet, and center exit doors were added, thus transforming the Nearsides into Peter Witt cars. A few years later, the company ordered a large fleet of steel bodied cars having the same door arrangements s the converted Nearsides.
Later in its life, No. 6618 was fitted with special equipment to train motormen and this particular car was chosen for preservation partly with this feature in mind. It was donated to Seashore in 1955 by the successor Philadelphia Transportation Company. Because its trucks were designed for Philadelphia's 5 ft. 2 1/4 in. track gauge (standard gauge is 4 ft. 8 1/2 in.), they had to be rebuilt before the car was able to be operated on Seashore's rails.
Historic Cars: The National Collection at the Seashore Trolley Museum by Ben Minnich
Manufacturer: J. G. Brill Co.
Item Type: City and Suburban Streetcar
Description: Peter Witt, converted from Nearside
|Trucks: 2 Brill 39E
||Motors: 2 General Electric 201F
|Brakes: Straight Air
|Length: 45' 6"
||Width: 8' 6"
||Height: 12' 1"
||Weight: 36000 lbs.