Skippack Historical Society

Trolley Archaeology: Montgomery County Rapid Transit Company

Front of trolley ticket dated 1914. (click images to enlarge)

Ticket Front

Below is the backside of the ticket.

Ticket back

Skippack's Trolley Line

You may have noticed the concrete piers along the south side of Skippack Pike as you drive across the Skippack Creek. They were built there in August of 1907 for the Montgomery County Rapid Transit Company bridge which carried the trolley across the creek into Skippack and beyond.

Above is a photo taken from Skippack Creek looking up towards the trolley bridge that ran along the side of the Skippack Pike bridge.

The cars ran as far as Wentz’s Church by April of 1908 but did not reach the village of Skippack until July 4 of that year. The proposed sixteen-mile-long road was incorporated in June 1902 as the Souderton, Skippack, and Fairview Electric Railway Company. It was to run between Norristown and Souderton by way of Trooper, Center Point, Skippack, and Harleysville. but it never reached to Souderton.

This is a photo of a Trolley car traveling southeast along Skippack Pike in front of a building at the corner Skippack Pike & Collegeville Road.

Montgomery County Rapid Transit Co. - Close up of above photo showing company name on car.

The first car left Norristown on July 20, 1907 to run to Center Point. “The trip was a gay one with a band and fireworks displayed along the way”. Of great scenic beauty, the line differed from others in that the right-of-way ran mostly on private ground adjacent to the wagon roads and not on them. Frequently it took shortcuts through wooded sections and the trip was reported to be “delightful in the open cars”. Two large closed cars were purchased that first year. They had eleven windows on each side, a smoking compartment, and were painted a rich green with gold trim. The additional four miles to Harleysville was not completed until 1912. The line made little improvement after the Souderton extension was abandoned, although three new cars were purchased in 1916. For some reason the line was not a financial success and foreclosure came in 1923.

Click here to see a Skippack & Perkiomen Transit Company 1923 schedule.

During these final years the cars were often called ‘wogglebugs’. The very day that service was to be discontinued on June 7, 1925, the end came suddenly and dramatically. “A car ran into an open switch, launched into another car, and both cars were put out of commission”. No further effort was made to serve the public.

Picture looking southeast down Skippack Pike showing dirt roads, trolley tracks, and the trolley in front of the old hardware store.

Researched and written by
Andy McClay and Brad DeForest

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