Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Trolley #168

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Car 168 History

August 4, 1947 saw the end of trolley service between Hagerstown and Williamsport in Washington County Maryland ending over 50 years of continuous service by the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway (H&F).

World War Two had brought gasoline and tire rationing, forcing most automobile owners to find other means of transport, for both themselves and shipments of materials. The trolleys provided this service through south Hagerstown, Halfway and Williamsport along US Highway 11.

The railway was owned by Potomac Edison Electric Company (PE) and after the crush of WWII traffic was over, the line and equipment were pretty much worn out and riders went back to their automobiles for their daily rides.

The H&F line was severed over South Mountain, between Mt. Lena and Myersville in 1938, to allow construction of the new US 40 highway, called the Dual Highway directly between Hagerstown and Frederick, The service to Boonsboro was cancelled, along with the entire line from Beaver Creek Junction back to Hagerstown later that year. All Hagerstown streetcars had already been replaced by city buses, leaving the line to Williamsport as the only service. Three interurban cars were left to provide this service, numbers 168, 169 and 172.

After the Washington County service ended, car 172 was trucked over to Frederick to support the remaining Frederick to Thurmont line and became the last trolley for the second time in 1954. Cars 168 and 169 were stripped of all usable components and sold for salvage later in 1947. Car 168 was placed on a lot above dam 5 on the C&O canal south of Clear Spring, where it became a clubhouse. Car 169 was placed in a salvage yard along the Greencastle Pike and was used as a residence for many years.

The C&O Canal National Park donated the 168 car to The Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum (HMRRM) in August 1985, preventing the imminent destruction of the car. The stipulation was the car had to be removed from canal property as soon as possible. HMRRM spent the remaining days of 1985 tearing down the structure that had been built around the car. The second week of 1986 saw the car moved by PE to its new home on the Hagerstown Fairgrounds. Much restoration was performed by HMRRM members and volunteers over the next several years. The car was donated to the Hagerstown Roundhouse Musuem (HRM) in 1993 after HMRRM moved from the Fairground location.

We have recently received evidence the 169 car was eventually cut up for salvage. Car 172 was apparently burned by vandals sometime after it left service in 1954. This leaves our number 168 car as the remaining Hagerstown trolley.

If you have any photos or information on the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway that you would like to share with the HRM, please contact us.