A few weeks ago, anaemia after checking out the Morris Arboretum (located as far northwest as you can go in Philly without actually leaving the city), plague Craftyangie and I decided to check out the Chestnut Hill/Mount Airy sections of Philly. We also had in mind the idea of going to have dinner and ice cream at the Trolley Car Diner (warning, egregious use of Flash on the website) on Germantown Avenue.
We actually had tried to do the exact same thing a week earlier, but were completely foiled at our attempts to do by a) getting distracted by the Allen Lane train station, which delayed getting to the Arboretum; b) torrential thunderstorms which closed the arboretum just as we arrived; c) construction on Germantown Avenue itself to repave the street and restore the Septa Route 23 trolley tracks, which made the Trolley Car Diner very difficult to find. (Especially in the crazy rain.)
Wait… back that train up… trolley track construction? I am so there!
Well, on our second attempt, we did get to the Trolley Car Diner. It is located next to the most recently completed stretch of street and track; the next section is currently in progress just down the street. After a most satisfying dinner of a Reuben Sandwich (for me) and Cheeseburger (Craftyangie) washed down by a delicious malted vanilla-chocolate shake (shared, awww!), we poked around the construction.
The construction is actually a little bit non-traditional. I’m used to seeing rails with built-in flangeways (as seen in the photo on the right, even if that is a former freight line, not a trolley line). But they are using conventional rail here, and simply molding a space for the trolley wheel flange to go out of the concrete. I’m sure this is cheaper, but who knows if it’s better?
They’re also using metal ties, spaced one every several feet, rather than wooden ties, as shown in this very old photo of trolley track (re)construction in New York City. (I have no idea where I downloaded this picture from, probably nearly a decade ago.) Interestingly, they’re using rail with flangeways in the foreground, but when the rail straightens out, they stopped and used regular rail instead. So I guess you could say what they’re doing on Germantown Ave is not without precedent…
Anyway, that’s enough chit-chat. From here, I’ll just show some pictures of the progress, along with my “best educated guess” caption describing what’s going on. If you know for sure what’s going on in these photos, please feel free to comment here!
There are more pictures of the whole thing on my Flickr photo stream…