Philadelphia & West Chester Traction
Work/Freight Car 07 shown above - Click on each picture for a full size image
|Farmers all along the turnpike had to
cart their milk into the city; a slow and expensive process which
consumed nearly a full day.
In January 1897, only eight months after through trolley service had begun, P&WCT inaugurated a daily raw milk run from farms located between the 63rd & Market Street milk/freight terminal and Newtown Square. The milk runs were confined solely to the West Chester division. Business was light at first, and a four wheel car No. 1, converted from a steam dummy, was sufficient to handle traffic.
Business boomed quickly and more than one million quarts of milk were handled during the first year. Farmers built little wooden platforms next to the trolley line early each morning (except Sundays). The trolley stopped at the platforms and its crew lifted the big containers of milk onto the car. The trolley then ran to 63rd and Market Streets where the company built a siding and platform on a vacant lot. Horse drawn wagons from the city's biggest milk companies waited for the arrival of the trolley and the milk was quickly transferred to the wagons. Next morning, on its way out, the trolley dropped off all the empty milk cans at the farmers' platforms.
The principle milk customer was Supplee-Willis-Jones Dairies.
In 1899, service was extended to Milltown. Business grew so fast that the little four wheel car No. 1 was scrapped after only two years of service in favor of a new double truck milk car built by Jackson and Sharp. This new car was given the number 1 also. (2nd)
In 1902, a single truck passenger car No. 4, was rebuilt for transporting milk and then rebuilt for freight service.
In 1909, car No. 6, a big, fast car built by the Jewet Car Co., arrived to replace the Jackson and Sharp Car No. 1.
In 1911, a joint P&WCT-Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co. freight service was instituted from a newly constructed milk/freight three track depot (one track being used for milk cars) on the Southwest side of 63rd & Market Streets, replacing the original depot.
In 1918, car No. 8, a new double truck refrigerated express car, was built by Brill Car Co. to handle the expanded service.
Annual receipts for milk in 1908 totaled $17,000, but 10 years later, that figure had almost been cut in half partly because of the increased growth of the motor truck after the extension of service to Cottage Hill in 1916 and increases in rates. Milk revenues climbed back to almost $15,000 in 1922.
Suddenly, the bottom dropped out of the milk business when the Supplee-Willis-Jones Dairy Co., the P&WCT chief customer at 63rd Street, decided to send its own trucks along West Chester Pike beginning October, 1924.
Overnight, the milk trolley died. Shipments immediately dropped to about 30 cans a day, less than one quarter of what had previously been carried. The milk business quickly became a liability instead of a profit marker, and on January 27, 1925, Car No. 06 made its last trip. The car was sold later that year.
The once lively freight business was also discontinued on the same day.
No. 06 P&WCT Milk Car, built by Jewett in 1909 as a DTDE car, was built to replace the second No. 1 P&WCT car. A primitive cooling system was added in 1911. An ice box was built into one end of the car and a large fan blowing over the ice was supposed to circulate the cool air. The car was sold in 1925.