(SOURCE: Shore Line Trolley Museum)
PATH subway car 745 received a ceremonial welcome on Thursday, August 6th at the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, where it has joined one of the most diverse collections of historic transit vehicles in North America.
The car which is being donated is one of two that were found in a cast iron tunnel, the strength of which protected the cars intact from the pressures from the collapsing buildings above. On the morning of 9/11 they were sent to the World Trade Center to pick up passengers, but with evacuation underway, the cars were simply left standing in the tunnel. No passengers were found inside when the car was discovered during excavation. Car 745, which since that time has been housed in an airplane hangar at JFK Airport, is still in the same condition as when it was excavated from the tunnel in the World Trade Center clean up. The car was to be included in the 9/11 Memorial Museum but was determined to be too big for their site.
Shortly after 11:00AM, the procession began from the East Haven Green down River Street, which was lined with emergency service vehicles and several hundred onlookers. An honor guard and bagpipe ensemble from FDNY were joined by men and women from local emergency services departments, elected officials, and museum representatives in the march. The beginning of the route was marked by passing beneath an American flag waving in the breeze between the extended ladders of of an East Haven and Branford tower aerial truck. The end of the route was the trolley museum’s Sprague Station, where a small podium had been constructed for several short speeches.
Presentations were given by East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo, Branford Selectmen James Cosgrove and Joseph Higgins Jr., State Representative Sean Scanlon, CT U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, and museum representatives president Jeff Hakner, trustee Alan Zelazo and general manager Wayne Sandford.
Later in the day, the Silk Road trailer upon which car 745 rode was carefully placed into position so the car could join the museum’s collection. With a few onlookers still watching, another New York subway car, NYCTA “Redbird” 6688, was coupled into position to bring 745 onto museum rails. The grit and grime of 14 years of stationary confinement was shook loose and 745’s wheels turned for the first time since as it touched down around 2:25PM.
In the late afternoon, the car was switched through the back end of the museum’s trolley yard and into position where it can now be seen by the public as part of the museum’s main guided tour route. In 2016, 745 will be joined by WTC station signage, tunnel pieces, and other artifacts in a more permanent exhibit. We welcome this opportunity to interpret another important and society-shaping component of American history.
The Shore Line Trolley Museum wishes to thank everyone who helped to make the day a success, especially those first responders who came to participate and remember a day of terrible self sacrifice. Additional photos of car 745’s arrival are found below. Car 745 is expected to be on exhibit for the public to see for remainder of the museum’s 2015 season of regular trolley operations & tours.