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Ride the 82 streetcar from 5th & G to Branchville

Thanks to video posted on YouTube, we can take a historic ride on the DC Transit 82 streetcar line from 5th & G (near what is now WMATA headquarters) all the way to the Branchville neighborhood of College Park.

Between downtown and the northern end of the line at Branchville, the streetcar passes through Eckington, Mount Rainier, Hyattsville, Riverdale, and College Park.

It's difficult to determine the exact date of this film because it was posted without a source cited. However, the streetcars are all sporting DC Transit livery. Before July 1956, the system was known as Capital Transit. It also has to be before January 1962, because that's when the streetcar system closed in DC.

We can actually narrow the dates a little more because the 80 (North Capitol Street) and 82 (Rhode Island Avenue) lines were discontinued on September 7, 1958.

Here is a map of the route the streetcar takes in this film:

Image from Google Maps.

There are a few interesting things along the route visible in the video.

At 0:48, the streetcar takes a "private right-of-way" between New York Avenue and Eckington Place. Today, this is the Wendy's in "Dave Thomas Circle," at New York and Florida Avenues.

A little farther up the route, at 1:58, you see the T Street "plow pit," where the car changed from using underground conduit to overhead wire. The bridge in the background is the T Street bridge over what is now the WMATA Brentwood Yard.

Starting at 10:18, the line begins to cross the Cafritz property in Riverdale Park. This section of the line will be converted into an extension of the College Park Trolley Trail whenever the site is developed.

At 11:20, the streetcar begins running on what is now the College Park Trolley Trail, and it continues on what is now the trail until the end of the film.

At 12:15, the trolley comes to a grade crossing of a spur of the B&O Railroad which was used to deliver coal to the University of Maryland. That right-of-way is now used for Paint Branch Parkway. Just north of that crossing (at 12:25), the streetcar crosses a tributary of Paint Branch Creek on a bridge that is is still used to carry the Trolley Trail.

At 14:18, the trolley arrives at the Branchville Loop, where Greenbelt Road, Rhode Island Avenue, and University Boulevard intersect. The narrator mentions that the line used to run further north along what is now Rhode Island Avenue. As late as 1948, the 82 line was still running as far north as Beltsville. However, the line used to run all the way to Main Street in Laurel, at the far northern end of Prince George's County.

What else do you notice in the film?

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master's in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Greenbelt. Heís a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer. 


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Had to stop watching at 2:00, those wires hurt my eyes!!

Seriously though, it makes me sad that DC and other municipalities threw away such a great resource...yeah, we may get streetcars back eventually, but I'd LOVE to have experienced the system in its heyday.

by MM on Feb 5, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

Makes me sad/angry watching that, thinking about the infrastructure we have lost.

Some of the drivers - wow.

Some of the pedestrians - wow.

by Andrew on Feb 5, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

very very cool find

by JessMan on Feb 5, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

Wow! Very cool. This is the exact streetcar route that my dad took from his home in College Park (Berwyn, really) to his high school St. Anthony's in Brookland from 1958-1961. He'll be very excited to see this. Thanks!

by gina a. on Feb 5, 2013 3:54 pm • linkreport

Imagine drivers today pulling some of those moves w/ the volumes we have now....oh wait, they still do.

by thump on Feb 5, 2013 3:56 pm • linkreport

And as a Prince George's county native, I should say how much I love a good ol' PG Cownty accent, which is highlighted nicely in this video.

by gina a. on Feb 5, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

Woah crazy driver at 3:13.

Also imagine the CONFUSION of encountering a streetcar stop in the middle of the street and having to go around!

by MLD on Feb 5, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

As everyone else has said - it's a shame to think about the amount of infrastructure we willingly destroyed/neglected that we used to have.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Feb 5, 2013 4:07 pm • linkreport

Good thing we got rid of all of those streetcars and tracks!


Said GM and Ford executives.

by Steve on Feb 5, 2013 4:10 pm • linkreport

Does anyone know when/why the T street bridge over brentwood was demolished? I'm assuming it was for metro construction in the 70s. Rebuild! Vital E-W connection between traffic congested RIA and NYA.

by Steve Again on Feb 5, 2013 4:19 pm • linkreport

Freeze frame at 2:23.

Look here: (google maps). All of those houses on the right are still there (rowhouses visible at first, larger SFH obscured by trees, move up a bit). This is at the intersection of 4th St NE and Todd Pl NE, right to the west of the train tracks. Super cool.

by Jones on Feb 5, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

@Steve Again -- the T Street bridge was really old/outmoded and couldn't really handle traffic anymore; IIRC it was closed to auto traffic (i.e., became a pedestrian/bike bridge) due to safety concerns in the late '60s and was removed entirely in the mid-1980s.

by iaom on Feb 5, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

Too bad about that house though - is that vinyl siding?

by MLD on Feb 5, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

Oh, and I think it was actually the construction of the Brentwood Road postal facility in the mid-'80s that actually doomed the T Street bridge, since it was still there when the Red Line was new. The old T Street alignment going onto the bridge ran right through the middle of what is now the fenced off truck fleet parking lot south of the postal facility (you can see this now easily on Google Maps).

by iaom on Feb 5, 2013 4:32 pm • linkreport

Oh, you can see another old photo of the T Street bridge (built in 1907, so it was really not made for the truck traffic that was eventually trying to use it) from the Eckington side on page 10 of this PDF:

by iaom on Feb 5, 2013 4:36 pm • linkreport


Thanks for the history. That makes sense - that bridge looks pretty old and rickety (reminds me of a lot of old bridges in Pennsylvania). I imagine traffic projections never justified building a new bridge over all those train tracks - would have been pretty pricey.

by Steve on Feb 5, 2013 4:38 pm • linkreport

At 00:14, when the streetcar turns onto NY Ave from 5th, is that brick building off to the left of the screen the UHOP apartment building at 501-519 L St? They're white now:

by Sara on Feb 5, 2013 5:10 pm • linkreport

I said this in the Metro Expansion thread, but if DC wants to grow, it really should start looking at the Rhode Island Ave corridor a lot more closely. It's got a whole lot of undervalued, underdeveloped, and geographically-convenient land.

Add in good transit, and the US-1 corridor could easily grow like Rosslyn-Ballston did.

by andrew on Feb 5, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

Wonderful footage! How about the beautiful canopy of street shade trees aling Rhode Island Avenue in the District - miss those elms. Bring back streetcars!!!

by Districter on Feb 5, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

Was some of this footage shown along with updates regarding completing trails between Hyattsville (or somewhere in that area) and College Park?

by selxic on Feb 5, 2013 6:30 pm • linkreport

This looks like an excerpt from an old VHS I found in my grandfather's collection in which the narrator chronicles literally every single DC streetcar line block by block from end to end in exactly this style and at this time period. The entire tape is at least 2 hours long - maybe longer.

If I recall, they were made not too long before the system was dismantled by a guy who drove down from New York every weekend (thus the light traffic in the video) to tape them over the course of a year or so.

Frankly, even as a transit nut I only made it through an hour and a half of it. But it's a pretty cool historical record - maybe I should try digging it back out - I wonder how many other copies are out there.

by RichardatCourthouse on Feb 5, 2013 8:24 pm • linkreport

See also

by that was cool on Feb 5, 2013 9:16 pm • linkreport

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if I could travel back in time and decree the routes of the Metro, I would have had them follow the old streetcar lines:

-Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown all the way out

-Straight out 7th Street and Georgia Avenue

-Straight out Rhode Island Avenue to College Park and Greenbelt

-Out H Street, Benning Road and Central Avenue

by Frank IBC on Feb 5, 2013 9:31 pm • linkreport

I love the tiny Nash Metropolitan @ 0:40.

I'll look at the other cars and see if I can help pinpoint the date.

by Frank IBC on Feb 5, 2013 9:33 pm • linkreport

Trees are fully green and shadows are very short so it appears to be in mid-summer.

1958 Chevrolet (I think) at 3:38.

by Frank IBC on Feb 5, 2013 9:55 pm • linkreport


by Greenbelt on Feb 5, 2013 10:01 pm • linkreport

The private right-of-way in Maryland looks like a railway somewhere in the developing world. Shabby and overgrown, but with a certain charm.

The music on the video is beautiful.

by Frank IBC on Feb 5, 2013 10:14 pm • linkreport

I could watch stuff like this for hours. (@RichardatCourthouse, I hope you can find that tape and share it with us!)

The Safeway building and the one beyond it (around 6:30) are still standing:

by WestEgg on Feb 5, 2013 10:27 pm • linkreport

The guy narrating totally sounds like my relatives.

by Frank on Feb 5, 2013 11:44 pm • linkreport

I lived next door to Ms Betty (Elizabeth Munro) who lived at 1314 Maryland Ave NE from 1919 to her death in 1999, told of her family riding streetcars all the way to NYC with changes in Laurel, Baltimore, Havre de Grace, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton, and i forget where near the Hudson on into Manhattan. It was a two day trip, but for her family -- her, three cousins and the grandparents raising them could travel that distance for about $7 for the whole family each way.

by dseain on Feb 5, 2013 11:46 pm • linkreport

@RichardatCourthouse, i also hope you can find and share that video.

by dseain on Feb 5, 2013 11:48 pm • linkreport

@ Frank -

Yes. Totally Old-Washingtonian.

by Frank IBC on Feb 6, 2013 12:43 am • linkreport

While the sight of them must be downright horrifying to some of your readers, my God, what a beautiful bunch of big American automobiles in this film!

by Ron on Feb 6, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

@Frank IBC: Sounds like Paul Desmond on alto sax and Dave Brubeck on piano.

by c5karl on Feb 6, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

Very cool. Bus also sad -- such a waste. I guarantee that ridership plummeted almost immediately when they bustituted that line. In Germany, they would have transformed the RI Ave portion into a dedicated right-of-way and turned the line into a high capacity tramway. Also, note how quiet the streetcar is -- much quieter than the roar of a bus! It kills me how concerned CHRS and C of 100 are concerned about overhead wires but could care less about the noise pollution form buses, truck and even their own precious cars.

by rg on Feb 6, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

it (DC) really should start looking at the Rhode Island Ave corridor a lot more closely


Add in good transit, and the US-1 corridor could easily grow like Rosslyn-Ballston did

YES Again! Tons and tons of potential along Rt. 1/RI Ave. There is a big transit hole between the RI AVe Station and the College Park Station that should be filled.

by thump on Feb 6, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

Wow, just very very cool. Loved the soundtrack and narration, and the color footage. I'm a sucker for all train video (cool Pennsy RR trains too!).

Question - what happened to the ROW used for this line? Did it get converted to a road? Overgrown and forgotten? And is there a map of the line somewhere?

I'm trying to figure out exactly where it would be parallel to B&O.

by Jack Love on Feb 6, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

Duh, never mind about map - I guess I should have expanded the article first. But that's what train videos do to me.

Thanks again.

by Jack Love on Feb 6, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

Responding to Frank IBC: Great ideas. Start the new Wisconsin Avenue streetcar/light rail line at GW, with a loop and terminal at GW/Foggy Bottom Metro. Continue outbound on Pennsylvania Avenue to M Street. Turn right on Wisconsin Avenue and continue all the way north with a major transfer station at Tenleytown Metro and a loop and terminal at Chevy Chase Circle. This line would close the greastet single gap in DC mass transit. And to facilitate traffic flow, ban parking at all times on M Street in Georgetown and along Wisconsin Avenue at least as far north as Calvert Street: With frequent, reliable streetcar service from GW/Foggy Bottom Chevy Chase Circle, there would be less meed/demand for parking at destinations along this route.

by Publius Washingtoniensis on Feb 6, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

There is a Facebook group for a Wisconsin Avenue Line:

by Andrew on Feb 6, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

@Publius Washingtoniensis- It's a close call on "greatest single gap" between what you describe and far NE. There are some pretty big gaps (in Metro) North and East of Stadium Armory, NoMa, RI Ave., Brookland, and Ft. Totten.

by thump on Feb 6, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

The grassy area to the right around 2:55 (after the train passes under the bridge where the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station is now) is part of another bit of DC history, the Columbian Harmony Cemetery, an African-American cemetery established in the 19th century and removed for new development in 1959. See

Unfortunately, history is not always so pleasant to look back on: The buried bodies were shipped off to a new cemetery called National Harmony Memorial Park in Largo, with many reburied in unmarked graves(!), and none of the the original grave markers or other stone monuments were taken to the new cemetery. Instead, many of the stone monuments and markers were hauled off as debris to be used as construction riprap, and a decade ago a bunch of them were found shoring up the edge of the Potomac down around Dahlgren.

(In fact, the shot at 2:52 of the streetcar going under the railroad tracks must have been shot by a cameraman standing at the edge of the soon-to-be-eliminated cemetery.)

by iaom on Feb 6, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport


I'm the original poster of this video. It comes from Raleigh D'Adamo's Washington Streetcar Films (

Raleigh came down from New York every weekend for several years to film the DC STreetcar system in its entirety. The Cabin John (20) and the Maryland Line (80) were filmed in their entirity outside DC from the cab. The other lines were filmed block by block from the outside. It's not only a great look at the PCCs of that era, but a great look at DC during that time period.

I only extracted a single video from the DVD (for purposes of local coverage where I live), but the full DVD with every single streetcar line is available for purchase here, among other places:

As for this route, If you're wondering what the corridor looked like before this, check out this pictorial series showing historic shots of the route and old buildings, route alignment:

A old USGS map of the alignment in 1946 is available here too:
(look how much less developed the area is!)

FYI - most of this alignment is still public right of way - it's either now the eastbound lanes of Rhode Island Avenue (from Mt Rainier/District line to Hyattsville), or the Rhode Island Trolley Trail that goes largely in College Park. THere are a few places where it is no longer continuous or isn't paved (ie, the segment throguh the Cafritz property)

by Jarrett on Feb 6, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

@Steve Again:

The T Street bridge was demolished to allow for the construction of Metrorail elevated that begins just south of T Street on outbound track B1 and just north T Street for inbound track B2. The vertical clearance under the bridge wouldn't have been high enough to pass over those main line tracks.

by Sand Box John on Feb 6, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

^^^ No, really, the T Street Bridge was still there in the early-mid '80s several years after the Red Line was in operation there, until they put up the Brentwood Road postal facility (source: "Postal Service Chooses NE Site For Its New Main D.C. Office", Washington Post, November 2, 1983, p. C1). The bridge had been closed to auto traffic in 1968 due to safety concerns (source: "T Street Bridge Closed by Mayor", Washington Post, April 17, 1968, p. C1).

The presence of the T Street Bridge is presumably why the Metro tracks had to slope down so fast after leaving Rhode Island Avenue station southbound.

by iaom on Feb 6, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

What really strikes me is how full and lush the tree canopy in Eckington was all those years ago... Travel the same route today and you would be lucky to find 1/3 as many trees. The lack of trees today is especially evident on summer afternoons.

by John Marzabadi on Feb 6, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

It's interesting to look at the map from 1945 that Jarrett posted, and note all the roads (not just streets, but arterials) that had not yet been built.

-Kenilworth Avenue extended

-East-West Highway east of Ager Road

-What's now "Adelphi Road" is "Colesville Road" on the map. Before New Hampshire Avenue was built, the road used to go straight from Hyattsville to Colesville, along the ridge between Northwest Branch and Paint Branch.

-Queens Chapel Road still had the old rambling alignment around Ager Road and Hamilton Street.

-Baltimore-Washington Parkway

by Frank IBC on Feb 6, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

@Frank IBC - there's actually a great set of older USGS maps available on their website here. Really neat to see how the city expands over the years (if you search around, you can also find USGS maps from the late 1800s. Very cool)

by Jarrett on Feb 6, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

I often imagine how different northern Prince George's would be if they'd paid to put the northern Green Line under/over Baltimore Ave. -- or even New Hampshire Ave. -- instead of via undistinguished "West Hyattsville." From Brookland to Hollywood, numerous historic neighborhoods built along a spine of high-capacity, 7-day rail transit would still have that service, and would probably rank among the region's most desirable neighborhoods.

by Payton on Feb 6, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

@Frank IBC: East-West Highway east of Ager Road

Yeah, until about 1950, that big expanse of land that East-West Highway now crosses there was a dairy farm owned by the Heurich family, of Heurich brewery. The big farmhouse was near where the JC Penney at Prince George's Plaza now sits. Christian Heurich's widow died around 1950 and the county quickly swooped in with development plans that they probably had ready to go as soon as the ol' lady was gone. That farmland was also the original location of the Heurich Mausoleum that was moved to Rock Creek Cemetery in the 1950s to get it out of the way of East-West Highway and Prince George's Plaza.

by iaom on Feb 6, 2013 4:53 pm • linkreport

And add one more road to my previous list - University Boulevard between Adelphi (then "Colesville") Road and Greenbelt (then "Glen Dale") Road.

Lower Montgomery doesn't seem to have nearly as many new arterials during that same time interval, as far as I know, it's just these:

-Massachusetts Avenue

-Connecticut Avenue/University Boulevard between Armory Avenue and St. Paul Street

-Connecticut Avenue north of University Boulevard

-Randolph Road between Gaynor Road and Georgia Avenue

-US 29 between Lockwood Road and New Hampshire Avenue

Thanks for all the info, Jarrett and iaom.

by Frank IBC on Feb 6, 2013 7:12 pm • linkreport


The bridge was gone before the first metrorail cars were delivered to Brentwood Yard. I spent A lot of time during my youth wandering around that area. If the bridge was still there, closed and unused into the 1980s I would have remembered it.

The sloping of the metro track has nothing to do with the bridge everything to do with the how the main line connects to yard. The crossover at bottom of the slope on inbound track B2 is halfway between S and T Streets.

by Sand Box John on Feb 6, 2013 10:34 pm • linkreport

@iaom, @Sand Box John:

I looked at an aerial photo from 1979 and the bridge was not present. I suspect John is right on this one.

by Matt Johnson on Feb 6, 2013 10:41 pm • linkreport

I think this is the street car route that my father would ride in the mid 1940's from George Washington University to visit my mother who lived in College Park with her family. Remember they first met in Greenbelt when he was working for the Rec Dept. and she was the PE teacher at Greenbelt Elementary and the Manager/Director of the Drop in Club. This video is too cool! Kathy

by Kathy Labukas on Feb 6, 2013 11:18 pm • linkreport

I used to ride the streetcar downtown with my mother. My mothers sister lived on 5th street. Also rode Riverdale streetcar to branchville where my grandyma and pop pop had a farm raising rabbits. They had a fish pond I thought was huge. When I grew up that pond was smaller than the one I have here in Riverdale that I built all by myself. The farm was on Apache St. I would hang my feet in the pond with the gold fish on a hot muggy day and thought I saw Native Americans walking around thinking tht is why the street was named Apache. I thought the farm house was huge but today when i drive by the house looks very small. What great memories.

by Emily Fanning on Feb 7, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

Matt: I looked at an aerial photo from 1979 and the bridge was not present. I suspect John is right on this one.

You (and John) are right, the sources I was relying on were mistaken.

by iaom on Feb 7, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

Rode the 82 line to and from high school every day and transferred at Little Eckington to the Florida Ave line. My girfriend Lois and I took the last streetcar to Glen Echo on the day the line closed and had tea at the old tea house at the end of the line.

by Louise DeFeo on Feb 7, 2013 3:23 pm • linkreport

As a railway enthusiast and a vintage car buff, I always enjoy seeing scenes like this from when I was a youngster and the classic cars were new. I believe Frank IBC is correct with his observation of a '58 Chevrolet at 3:28. There were 2 Edsels (Only produced from 1958-1960) and a couple of '58 Plymouth Furys- the tail fins making an emergence. I'd guess this was filmed in the summer of 1958 before the '59 models came out in the fall. Note that there were no foreign cars either!

by Art A. on Feb 7, 2013 8:13 pm • linkreport

Thanks for sharing! I remember my mom driving from our home in College Park to Avondale (at the D.C. Line) to catch the D.C. Transit bus to shop at Woodward & Lothrop, the Hecht Co., and Lansburgh's in what is now Metro Center area. It was something we did several times a year, and always before holidays for shopping and looking at decorations in store windows. I remember coming home and catching the bus in front of some adult bookstores. Mom always tried to divert out attention from those.

by Karen on Feb 9, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

There are other 1958 cars--I saw an Oldsmobile, for example. The "Rambler" dealer is another tipoff. AMC dropped their Hudson & Nash designations at the end of the 1957 model year. There's no fall foliage and the women in Mt Ranier are in sleeveless dresses. I'd guess thsis was done in late Spring or Summer of '58 in anticipation of the line being discontinued.

by Rich on Feb 9, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

At 14:24 he mentions the Beltsville line. That was a single set of tracks with no loop around at the end. The car was an open air one with bench seats. Once at the Beltsville end, the conductor would take the control handle to the other end of the trolly where he would then operate the car. On his way to the other end, he would flip the hinged seat backs so that they would face in the new direction.

by Ron A. on Feb 9, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

Lived in DC for about 10 years from the late 40's. Rode the bus and streetcar regularly to school, Capital then DC Transit thanks to Louis Wolfson. Sometimes rode the Benning road line which still used the old Brill cars. Have one as model in N scale. They were more fun to ride that the PCC cars.
Most fun ride was the line to Glen Echo, on a private right-of-way along the river. Better than the rides at the park.

by Charlie M. on Feb 9, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

Yes, the PCC cars could only use lines on which there were loops or Y-turnarounds at the end. The lines that didn't required older double-ended cars.

That was one of the reasons for closing the Benning line - it did not have loops at the ends, and as such PCC cars could not be used on it.

by Frank IBC on Feb 9, 2013 7:47 pm • linkreport

To Gina: I also rode this streetcar to school (St. Anthony) in 1959, and 60. I lived in Berwyn too. What is your Dad's name? Also, it's very impressive that you know so much about how your Dad was getting back and forth to school. Not too many kids would have paid that much attention. Very nice.

by Barbara Palmer on Feb 10, 2013 5:36 pm • linkreport


by Donald on Feb 10, 2013 7:49 pm • linkreport

My great grandfather ran the horsedrawn trolley and later the electric ones from the Georgetown terminal to Pennsylvania Ave . My mother, his granddaughter, recalled how she would wait at the stop near where the 4 Seasons Hotel is now to bring her grandfather his lunch. She would ride along while he ate and bring back the lunchpail on the return trip. One of the regular passengers was Lincoln's son, Robert, who then worked as an attorney for the Department of Agriculture.

by Greg Kenefick on Feb 11, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

Wow thanks for rekindling the memories. I serviced the underground electrical systems for the transit systems in 1956 till they shut them down prior to 1962. Many a midnight shift I spent shutting down the system grid and pulling out the underground electrical cables(600 volt-DC)and cutting them up to be hauled away to the scrap yard. (very depressing like cutting my livelihood away), but I carried away great and wonderful memories of events about trollies and Downtown Wash. DC. Does anyone else remember the elevator inside the Transit building at 36&M St. Raised the streetcar from M st up into Georgetown.

by CB Inspector/DC Transit on Feb 11, 2013 4:12 pm • linkreport

Barbara: My dad is Ron A. in one of the comments above. I didn't know for sure if it was his commute, but I figured it must be since it went into Branchville. I think he graduated from St. Anthony's in 1962. I am sure you would know him, it was such a small high school. If you want to contact me offline, I can pass your info on to him. I think he's reconnected with quite a few of his classmates from St. A's and I know he sent the video around to them too. My email is

by gina a on Feb 11, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

Tidbit of info re: MLD post of Feb 5, ref: Stops in the middle of the street. If you notice the double diagonal yellow signs on the yellow post. They were constantly knocked down, originally the post were imbedded into the concrete. Cars would run over them and leave the scene,requiring the concrete to be repaired. eventually sleeves were installed and the steel post sat into them however the post were scored at about 6" thereby when a car ran over one, the stub of the post would either flatten the tire or tear a hole in the oil-pan and the vehicle would remain on the scene and their insurance would pay for the damage.

by CB Inspector/DC Transit on Feb 11, 2013 5:00 pm • linkreport

Previous to the line stopping in Branchville it ran to Beltsville on what is now Rhode Island Avenue. It was called the Beltsville Branchville shuttle. The car was a much older model than shown in the film. It stopped at Odell Road in Beltsville.

by Vincent B on Feb 14, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

Awesome to watch. Thanks so much for preserving this piece of history. As a teen, I would place pennies on the track at the Branchville Loop much as the kids did in the movie "Meet Me In St. Louis". As you see the steetcar approach the Berwyn crossing, there is a small store on the far right corner. We could purchas cigaretts there for $0.19 per pack. Just up the street was I think Holy Redeamer Catholic Church. As a retired PG Co Policeman, I remember the name Melrose Crossing, but not what was there.

by Dan Cornett on Mar 10, 2013 3:40 pm • linkreport

I not only remember the streetcars, I rode them enough. My father drove a streetcar for capitol and DC transit for many years and then drove a bus. I think he had the old Glen Echo route for a few years. He may have had the one posted here, but I don't remember.

by Mike on Mar 20, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

This is a wonderful film! Unfortunately it ends just before it gets to the Branchville Loop where my family has much history. My grandfather (Albert Johnson) was a streetcar driver & also owned a grocery store & bar (early 1900's) on Branchville Ave. His house was across the street on R.I. Avenue (torn down in 1962 for the Rt. 193 extension into Greenbelt) & I remember the streetcar sparks flying as my bedroom was on the second floor. My father (now 89) rode the 82 Line to McKinley Tech in DC & also owned "Johnson's" general store at the intersection of R.I. Ave., Rt. 193 & Greenbelt Rd. The web site has some interesting photos if you'd like more info/history.

by Gail Johnson on Apr 13, 2013 12:43 am • linkreport

does anybody remember the Wenzel/Schatz family that lived on Apache Street, Branchville? Joe Wenzel, Julian, Clarence, Louis, Millie married Johnny Bosma, Bill Wenzel who married Jean Chaney- then Irene Schatz, Bernie, Catherine, Clarence Schatzs. I am 74 and daughter of Louis Wenzel.

by Emily Wenzel Fanning on Apr 13, 2013 10:49 pm • linkreport

To Dan Cornett: the most well known point at Melrose Crossing was the Marche's Florist in Hyattsville. However, there was also an iron works there and a small black community called Melrose, now Melrose Park.

by Allen Lee on Oct 14, 2013 3:53 am • linkreport

Thanks for posting this clip from Mr. Adamos video collection (now available on disc). As an mid city boy, I never got to ride the Rt 82 streetcar outside the downtown district. The first time I rode that now bussed line was in the summer of '61 when attending summer school at St Francis (?) on R. I Ave. N.E. By then, overhead wires were gone but the rails remained.I do vividly remember three flatbed tractor trailer trucks with 1200 or 1300 PCC series streetcars headed north towards Md. Don't know if these cars were destined to Barcelona of Sarajevo by way of Baltimore. If only I would have noted the car's numbers then I could look them up on a database to see what became of them. In the late 60's or very early 70's, I walked the overgrown right of way at the Paint Br. bridge and the B&O spur railroad crossing to U of Md.The sephamor signal with glass lenses was still standing too.
I rode the 14 St. lines, the Mt. Pleasant lines or the Calvert Bridge lines to go downtown for shopping or whatever. OR even better, to transfer to the Cabin John line. Also rode the Friendship Hts. line but had to take a crosstown bus to get to it.
I am also a member of the National Capital Trolley Museum (44 yrs.) in Wheaton where we have a number of D.C.trolleys on display or operation. (
Prior to the museum's track right of way relocation due to the I.C.C. construction, we had about a 1/4 mile of straight track where we could recreate the rock & rolling motion as one might have experienced going to Glen Echo or to Branchville.
Glad to see the new D.C. streetcars on the H St. corridor.
'bout time!!!!

by Charles Pineda on Apr 9, 2014 12:11 am • linkreport

The trolley used to pass right by my house in Calvert Homes not far from the ERCO building. I'm working on a fiction piece, and I will have to be Historically incorrect when I send the 82 line to Odell Road in 1950's, but since it is fiction, I can get away with it. I will use the September 7, 1958 date to upset the main character, however. She comes unglued when the trolley no longer stops at her fictional antique shop in Riverdale Park. I think that many of us wish we could rewrite history. Next best thing is having a vivid imagination. I miss the old days before East West Highway went in.

by Brenda on Jun 25, 2014 2:14 pm • linkreport

Getting my license at 17 in 1958, I recognize many of the cars; however, I can't quite date the film by the newest car seen.
Growing up in Univ Park, I generally took the Greyhound (or Trailways?) bus, on Rt-1 (Baltimore Blvd) into DC (and to Baltimore), rather than city buses or the #82 (RI Ave) Trolly Line. For one summer job (1961?) I bicycled 5-miles into N.Capitol St.
I remember my father complaining bitterly about "O Roy Chalk" getting the contract to remove the Trolly rails -- making millions selling the steel as scrap (a big scandal, he said).
The interplay of METRO stations in West Hyattsville and PG Plaza (bypassing Hyattsville and Riverdale) may be complex or just timing.
* Hyattsville was originally an early bedroom community thanks to the trolly line from DC. However, it's peak had passed. Hyattsville's business district was committed to and then destroyed by the automobile (and truck) traffic on Rt-1 (especially the Lustine and Banning Dealerships).
* Riverdale embraced their MARC Station on the B&O RoW.
* University Park said "No Way" to any Metro Station inside it's residential community -- and in fact managed to have Queens Chapel Road closed.
I agree with the comments above - about the Heuirich Estate (bought as a summer cattle ranch) from the Ager Farm, until PG Plaza and E-W Hwy went in. Same for all the Adelphy/Colesville Road name changes.
* My brother and I could never understand West Hyattsville Metro (on an old airport site) never developing -- unless PG Co was to be the overflow for the slums pushed out of DC -- Perhaps it's time will soon come? It's a mystery.
Thank for the ride.

by Jim Fox on May 5, 2015 6:54 pm • linkreport

Great that many people share their stories here. One false idea that keeps popping up here and with a number of "older" folks I've talked in Md. & here in S.C. where I now reside, is that O.Ray Chalk took control of Capital Transit with the intention of "tearing up the rails to sell for scrap and get rich". Also the business of GM, Firestone and the oil industry. The conversion to buses in the D.C. area was unique. Congress, not the above mention conglomeration, was responsible for the change. The first abandonment began in 1949 with the convertion of the Benning line (Rts.10 & 12). The improvement of traffic flow on N.Y.Ave. and to relieve the congestion of streetcars on Pa. Ave. were the main reasons.This was under Capital Trasnit control. (And, yes, the Benning Line DID have loop terminals for use of PCC cars. The Trolley Museum just rescued the long buried trackage from the Seat Pleasant loop last year.)The real beginning of the end began with the transit strike of 1955. Capital Transit lost the operation franchise since it could not settle the strike. Congress searched for a new operators. After a while, O. Roy Chalk was awarded the franchise with the condition to the removal of the street railway infrastructure by 1963. After fruitless meetings to save rail transit and actually improve it, he caved in to congressional demands Rts. 80 &82 were its first victims in 1958. The reasons Congress stated were that rail transit was outdated, clogged automotive flow and the aging underground conduit system which was a major headache when it would occasionally fail and and stall streetcars. Urban developement was another reason.
All this is fully documented in three fine books: Capital Transit-Washington's Streetcars-the Final Years 1933-1962; 100 Years of Capital Traction & Metro At 25. There also countless other articles written over the years.

by Charles Pineda on May 5, 2015 10:17 pm • linkreport

Thanks for bringing back good memories. I loved to ride the trolley when I was young. We even had the old wooden trolleys (my favorite) sometimes. I rode the line shown in the video from Berwyn to a doctors office in the Brentwood section of D.C. I would love to ride the old trolleys again someday.

by Pat Biedzynski on Feb 12, 2016 12:52 pm • linkreport

The narrator makes a misleading comment about the Hyattsville, Maryland stop. The attractive, red brick B&O station (built in 1884) is out of view of the camera, across the tracks to the right. The trolley stops at a small shelter designed solely for the use of trolley riders. JD tower is also seen in several views along the B&O tracks. It controlled the junction of the railroad's Washington and Alexandria branches, and was manned until about 1992, when it was demolished.

by Jim Kelling on May 3, 2016 2:02 pm • linkreport

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