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Yakima Trolley 6/19/2011

by Chris Guenzler

I arose early and after showering, put the corrections in the Sumpter Valley Railway story then posted it on After that I went to McDonald's for hot cakes and sausage before going to Savon to pick up a few things then returned to my room and wrote the Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum Collection story, uploaded and sent Winston an e-mail to proof it. I checked out and had the Northern Pacific station to photograph.

The BNSF sign in Yakima.

The Northern Pacific Yakima station built in 1910. Across the tracks was my next photo shoot of the morning.

Track 29 Mall Collection

The sign along Yakima Avenue for the outdoor shopping centre, Track 29, which was a series of businesses housed in boxcars connected by wooden walkways. It existed for a little over twenty-five years but most of the equipment was demolished in 2013 upon closure of the site.

Former U.S. Army hospital cars that were two of a group of 32 that went to the Alaska Railroad in 1947. Taylor Tots Child Care occupied these.

There is plenty of railroading to see here at the Track 29 Mall.

Union Pacific "Cascade Pass", ex. Union Pacific maintenance-of-way 906032 1963, exx. Union Pacific "Pelham", nee Union Pacific 12 section/2 double-bedroom sleeper "Pelham" 1926, in which was Tequila's Mexican Restaurant.

Two other cars are part of this restaurant.

Tequila's Mexican Family Restaurant.

Railroad crossing signals.

Various railroad signals are located here.

This box car, painted as Milwaukee Road, housed the Hummingbird.

Northern Pacific caboose 1020 which was acquired by the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish in 2013 upon Track 29's demise.

There is a line of freight cars beyond the caboose, which ended our visit to Track 29 Mall. I pulled out onto Yakima Avenue and saw another grade crossing signal and guess what I found.

Americana F7A 1502, nee Alaska Railroad 1502 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1952 and moved to Yakima in 1985. Delaney's Electric Company operated out of these.

Atlanic Coast Line baggage-dorm 1518 "Fort Monmouth", ex. Melco Labs {MELX} 1518 1980, exx. Amtrak 1518 1971, exxx. Seaboard Coast Line 5018, nee Atlantic Coast Line 105 built by Budd Company in 1947.

Central of Georgia tavern/lounge/observation 692 "Fort Benning", ex. MELX 692, exx. Patrick Hall built by Budd in 1947. This was one of the cars from the railway's Man O'War passenger train which ran from Atlanta to Columbus. It was acquired in 2012 by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where it joined two other Central of Georgia Man O'War cars.

I then drove to the Yakima Trolley car barn.

Yakima Trolley

I met Paul who opened the door then pulled out their sign for "Rides Today".

The sign now out by the street.

A brief history

The Yakima Valley Trolleys operate on the tracks of the former Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YVT Co) in Yakima. The YVT is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it is the last authentic, all-original, turn-of-the-century interurban electric railroad in the United States. The degree to which the complete YVT system has been preserved is unsurpassed.

The railroad was constructed between 1907 and 1913. Its greatest length was just over 44 miles. Presently approximately five miles of track remain, connecting the cities of Yakima and Selah, Washington. Electric trains have operated on the YVT trackage every year since 1907.

Service was first limited to a streetcar line in downtown Yakima. In 1909 the YVT was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad with the purpose of expanding the system as a feeder of freight and produce to the Union Pacific mainline.

The YVT built a large stone and timber carbarn/shop facility in 1910. In 1911 a concrete and masonry powerhouse substation was constructed to provide the necessary DC electricity to operate the trolleys. Both buildings are still in use today. The overhead wire catenary is also original.

Streetcar service became less and less popular as more Americans were able to purchase automobiles. Finally in February of 1947 the YVT terminated streetcar service, however the electric freight trains continued to operate.

In 1974 the City of Yakima purchased two streetcars from Portugal to revive passenger service as a tourist operation. The project also served as Yakima’s Bicentennial project in 1976.

The Union Pacific Railroad decided to abandon the Yakima Valley Transportation Company freight operations in 1985. Almost all of the system was donated to the City of Yakima in the process, and has been open as a museum since that time.

The Yakima Valley Trolleys organization was incorporated in 2001 to operate the railroad for the City of Yakima. Present and future generations are able to experience an early-American street railway almost exactly as it was 100 years ago and come to understand the important role transit held in developing the City of Yakima as well as the rest of the industrialized world.

After buying my ticket, Bob and Elizabeth soon arrived to join me for my adventures today.

Two large generators.

More of the unique electric machines located here, after which I went outside for some pictures.

Burlington Northern box car 951307, builder and year unknown.

Union Pacific tank car 68130, builder and year unknown.

Yakima Trolley flat car 55836, nee Union Pacific 55836, builder and year unknown.

Union Pacific box car 912502 builder and year unknown.

Burlington Northern refrigerator car 70700, builder and year unknown.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas box car 100248, builder and year unknown.

Next I walked over to the Yakima Trolley car carn.

Yakima Valley Transportation steeple-cab 298 built by General Electric in 1922. It was in freight service from 1922 to 1985 and is presently in operating condition.

The builder's plate.

There is another generator here.

Yakima Valley Trolley single-truck streetcar 1976 built by J.G. Brill in 1928 and operated in Oporto, Portugal as streetcar 254. Similar in appearance to Yakima's first streetcars, it was also brought to Yakima in 1974 and was the second bi-centennial project. It has remained in continuous operation ever since.

Yakima Valley Transportation flatbed locomotive/Line Car A built by the Niles Car Company in 1910. It was built new and used as a flatbed locomotive until 1922 when it was converted to a line car. It is presently in operating condition and has been in continuous service since 1910.

Yakima Valley Trolley double-truck streetcar 21, one of three Brill Master Units built new for the YVT in 1930. It ran in Yakima until 1947 then was sold to Portland Traction Company and ran in Portland, Oregon until 1958, then sold to Robert Hively and displayed at the Puget Sound Railway Historical Association museum in Snoqualmie, Washington. It was returned to Yakima in 1989 and is presently in operating condition.

Yakima Valley Trolley single-truck streetcar 1776 built by J.G. Brill in 1928. It is similar in appearance to Yakima's first streetcars. It was built and operated in Oporto, Portugal as streetcar 260 then brought to Yakima in 1974 and was Yakima's United States Bicentennial project. It has remained in continuous operation ever since.

Yakima Valley Transportation double-truck streetcar 22, built by J.G. Brill in 1930. It was one of three Brill Master Units built new for the YVT and operated in Yakima until 1947 when it was sold to the Portland Traction Company and ran there until 1958. 22 was then sold to Robert Hively and displayed at the Puget Sound Railway Historical Association museum in Snoqualmie, Washington and returned to Yakima in 1989. It is presently awaiting restoration to operating condition.

Yakima Trolley 1776 came out of the car barn.

First the car has to be disconnected for the car barn power source.

Next the trolley pole had to be connected to the trolley wire.

The car barn door was then closed and we were then taken aboard the car to the boarding area.

Here is Bob coming off 1776.

Trolley Car 1776 looks great in the bright sunshine of this morning. Guess who just arrived, none other than my good friends Bart and Sarah Jennings. You never know where Bart and I will meet.

Now the trolley pole was reversed for our trip down West Pine Street. The Selah Gap run has not been operated due to wire thieves who stole the copper wire to sell. The group hopes to restore this longer operation but until then, the trips run west down West Pine Street.

The Trip

Bob and Elizabeth were in the front of the car.

Bart and Sarah Jennings were riding in the rear of the car with me.

The trolley left the boarding area before turning west onto West Pine Street. Now enjoy the trip up the road.

This was our run up West Pine Street.

The Trolley runs off West Pine Street to where we end our run.

We had come to the west end of the trip at Treton Drive and Holton Avenue and detrained for pictures.

Trolley Car 1776 at the west end of their present operations. I enjoyed the ride back talking with Bart and Sarah on the way. Once there, a car barn tour was given for us.

Views of the tour. After that we said goodbye to Bart and Sarah were heading straight to Tacoma to the National Railway Historical Society convention there. Bob and Elizabeth would meet me in Toppenish to visit the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum, my next story. A special thanks to the crew at the Yakima Trolley for a very special visit here.