The Ohio Museum of Transportation

Ohio's Transit History

Youngstown Trolley Coaches

Youngstown Ohio operated trolley coaches from 1936 through 1959 with initial service being implemented on November 11, 1936. The trolley coaches came to the city as a result of a study that showed the existing streetcar and bus operations were inefficient mostly due to duplicate routings as well as indirect routings. After the Youngstown City Council approved an ordinance on March 2, 1936 to approve trolley coach operations, things moved rather quickly.

The first trolley coaches delivered to the Youngstown Municipal Railway (a private company despite the name), twenty-five 44 passenger Twin Coach 42RTT's, arrived in late October and early November with the first one arriving on October 26, 1936. This coach was towed through the streets of Youngstown to help generate interest with the public and that tactic proved successful. Soon these trolley coaches would be operating on 4 routes covering 17 miles within Youngstown.

The 4 new routes replaced 2 existing streetcar and 4 existing bus routes. These routes, Idora Park, Hillman, South Market, and South Ave proved to be very successful. The new routing used with the trolley coaches cut peak hour vehicle requirements from 33 to 25 on the 4 routes along with increasing the average scheduled speed by 8.5%.

It wasn't long before expansion happened with the Struthers route being converted to trolley coaches in 1937 with the addition of an additional four 42 passenger Twin Coach 42RTT's. The Mahoning-Steel portion of the Mahoning-Steel-Campbell streetcar line was converted to trolley coaches in 1939 with the addition of six 42 passenger Twin Coach 42GTT's and the Campbell portion was converted in 1940 with an additional eight 42 passenger Twin Coach 42GTT's.

Between the years 1940 and 1945, no new routes were implemented but due to the ever increasing ridership levels, additional trolley coaches were ordered. Seven Twin Coach 42 passenger 44GTT's were ordered between 1941 and 1942. These additional coaches helped shore up the fleet to insure service was maintained and allowed for some service increases.

After WWII, conversions and expansions took place with the Mosier bus route converted on December 10, 1945 and the Albert St bus route converted 3 months later. Eight 44 passenger ACF-Brill TC44's were purchased for these conversions. The Mahoning-Steel-Campbell line was extended approximately 2 miles to eliminate the Struthers shuttle bus route as well. In 1951, the last conversion took place with the Campbell Hill bus route being converted over to trolley coach operations.

There were two additional orders of trolley coaches that came in between 1947 & 1954. The first came in 1947 and were ten 44 passenger Marmon Harrington TC44's which were new and in 1954 Youngstown received five used 44 passenger ACF-Brills from it's sister company, Akron Transportation Company.

Even with the post war route conversions and additional equipment, ridership plummeted after 1945. Fares had to be increased to cover operating costs and this resulted in additional ridership losses. This alone was not the death knell of the Youngstown trolley coaches however. The death knell was the fact that Youngstown Municipal Railway was a part of United Transit Corp., a transit holding company, that became a subsidiary of American Transit Enterprises (ATE) in 1957.

When ATE became the parent company of Youngstown Municipal Railway, the name was changed to Youngstown Transit Company and the ATE policies were implemented. The policy that took the trolley coaches off the streets of Youngstown was one that basically stated that electric lines (streetcar and trolley coach) had to be converted to bus operations. This task was accomplished between 1957 and 1959. The last trolley coach operation occurred on June 10, 1959.

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This page updated on August 13, 2004