New Orleans Streetcars

Away from Home

In 1964, New Orleans Public Service (NOPSI) officially phased out streetcar service on the historic downtown Canal Street Line -- the last route to be abandoned after a long period of system shrinkage, during which numerous lines were dropped or converted to bus routes. By the late 1960s, only the St. Charles Avenue line remained in service; as such, NOPSI found itself with an excess of 800 and 900 series cars. Having culled the better cars for use on the St. Charles line, NOPSI officials sold or donated eleven retired Pearly-Thomas cars to various traction museums across the country. Happily, most of these NOLA cars in diaspora have been well maintained in operating condition and restored to their NOPSI-era look and setup

Photos on this page not from our collection are used here with permission of owners

#832

NOPSI #832 is one of three 800-series Pearly-Thomas cars retired from Canal Street service and dispersed to a museum. Immediately after retirement, #832 arrived at Washington, Pennsylvania -- south of Pittsburgh -- to the trolley collection then known as the Arden Trolley Museum. #832 is still in their good care and in excellent condition, though the site is now known as the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

New Orleans Public Service #832

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1922
  • series:1 of 25 produced 1922
  • motors:two Westinghouse 306-CV4
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #832
    retired from service, 1964
    to Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, 1964
  • See also our complete Pennsylvania Trolley Museum collection

    #836

    NOPSI #836 has been fully restored by the Connecticut Trolley Museum and is in service at their East Windsor, Connecticut facility.

    New Orleans Public Service #836

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1922
  • series:1 of 25 produced 1922
  • motors:two Westinghouse 306-CV4
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #836
    retired from service, c 1964
    to Connecticut Trolley Museum
  • #850

    NOPSI #850 went immediately from service on Canal Street to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut. The car was held in storage for many years until museum volunteers and National Railway Historical Society members spent a decade restoring it in the museum's shop. The car is now in operation at the museum, and in 2007 it travelled to New York City and Chicago on a post-Katrina goodwill tour to promote the Crescent City.

    New Orleans Public Service #850

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1922
  • series:1 of 25 produced 1922
  • motors:two Westinghouse 306-CV4
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #850
    retired from service, 1964
    to Shore Line Trolley Museum, c 1965
    restored to operation, 2007
  • See also our complete Shore Line Trolley Museum collection

    #913

    NOPSI #913 after retirement went west to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California. It was maintained in service at the southern California facility for many years, only recently being sold outright to the City of San Francisco for use on their historic M-Line with sister #952 (below).

    New Orleans Public Service #913

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1923
  • series:1 of 73 produced 1923-24
  • motors:two Westinghouse 306-CV4
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #913
    retired from Canal Street line, 1964
    to Orange Empire Railway Museum
    to San Francisco M-Line, 2005
  • #918

    NOPSI #918 was acquired by the High Point Museum after its retirement from service in the city. In 1978, it was donated to the North Carolina Transportation Museum, located on the site of the historic Southern Railway Spencer Shops. Although the car is inoperable and awaiting restoration, its location near High Point, North Carolina is significant: The entire NOPSI 900 series fleet was built by the Perley Thomas Car Works in High Point in the early 1920s. As such, the 918 is now not far from its birthplace. Thomas streetcars were used in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana.

    New Orleans Public Service #918

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1923
  • series:1 of 73 produced 1923-24
  • motors:two GE 263A (65 hp)
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #918
    retired from service, 1964
    to High Point Museum
    to NC Transportation Museum, 1978
    awaiting restoration
  • #952

    Like her sisters above, NOPSI #952 worked Canal Street up until bus service removed streetcars from that line in 1964. Saved from scrap by a hotel operation in Chattanooga, #952 soldiered on in semi-retirement until she returned to New Orleans in 1984 to serve on the new Riverfront Line. In 1997, the Riverfront operation was converted to use brand-new units built to resemble the older 900-series cars. Since the historic St. Charles fleet already had ample spare cars, 952 and two other Riverfront cars were put into storage awaiting disposition. In the late 1980s, the City of New Orleans loaned #952 to the City of San Francisco for use on the Bay area's F-line. Currently she is in use there with recently-acquired sister #913 (above).

    Regional Transit Authority #952

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1923
  • series:1 of 73 produced 1923-24
  • motors:two GE 263A (65 hp)
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #952
    retired from Canal Street line, 1964
    to Chattanooga Choo Choo
    to RTA Riverfront line, 1988
    leased to San Francisco F-Line, 1998
  • RTA #952

    Trolley Talk / Sep 1998 / collection

    #959

    NOPSI #959 ended her Canal Street career in 1964, and was subsequently purchased by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Later the car was restored in Georgia and in 1973 was placed in operation as #953 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel operation in the city's revitalized railroad station. The actual RTA #953 is still in service in New Orleans.

    Chattanooga Choo Choo #953

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1923
  • series:1 of 73 produced 1923-24
  • motors:two GE 263A (65 hp)
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #959
    retired from Canal Street line, 1964
    to Tennessee Valley Railway Museum
    to Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1973
  • See also our complete Chattanooga Choo Choo collection

    #966

    NOPSI #966 after retirement was picked up by the Heart of Dixie NRHS Chapter in Birmingham, Alabama, but their plans for restoration of the car were not completed and it fell into disrepair. The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine acquired the car in 1982 and its members sponsored a complete rebuilding and restoration, bringing the car back into operation. 966 is currently on loan to the National Streetcar Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts -- a subsidiary of the Seashore museum.

    New Orleans Public Service #966

  • builder:Pearly Thomas Car Works
  • type:double-truck, steel
  • built:1923
  • series:1 of 73 produced 1923-24
  • motors:two GE 263A (65 hp)
  • capacity:52 (36 cross, 16 long)
  • notes:
  • blt New Orleans Public Service #966
    retired from Canal Street line, 1964
    to Heart of Dixie NRHS chapter, c 1965
    to Seashore Trolley Museum, 1982
  • This page was updated on 2017-08-28