Urban Campus

The Depot Trolley Car Design

Articulated Trolley Car "Two-Rooms-and-Bath"

"Two-Rooms-and-Bath" Trolley Car

A Two Car Trolley / Concrete Bridge Trestle

Two Car Trolley Over Concrete Bridge

Frank Jay Gould, vice-president of the Virginia Passenger & Power Co., was from New York City, but spent a great deal of time in Richmond, Virginia.  The Virginia Passenger & Power Co. (VP&P) invested money to create the Richmond & Chesapeake Bay Railway, which included the 1907 Depot located at 814 Broad Street.  In 1915, the Richmond & Henrico trolley line was sold to VP&P, creating an even larger tolley line for Gould and VP&P. (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond)

Instead of using single car units, Gould's car crews created double car units by removing the platform and vestibule from one end of each car.  In order for the double car to move easily, a center section, sometimes called a "dog house" or "ice house," was added between the two cars. This center section would swivel, allowing the two attached cars to turn corners.  Gould promoted his newly designed cars with color booklets, advertising that the cars could be chartered for outings or tours of the city.  In order to provide music for the passengers, bands would travel on the trolley cars.  At the end of a tour, the trolley would stop at local amusement park for the passengers to enjoy. (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond)

In December of 1923, a newly invented mobile projection device was tested out on one of the trolley cars. The black box which held a small projector in one end and a translucent screen in the other, was mounted at the front of trolley car for the passengers to watch.  The "motion pictire" used film which showed individual movie frames providing different pictures, drawings, or safety messages.  The problem with this arrangement was that the passengers were so interested in watching the film, they would ride past their stops. (McKenney, Carlton Norris; Rails in Richmond)

Frank Gould wanted his electric car line to be comfortable and fast.  The interior of the cars had mahogany paneling, high-backed seats, frescoed ceilings, and smoking compartments. His newly designed cars had four 125-horsepower motors.  The cars were also designed with duplicate electrical equipment in the event problems arose.  Each car was designed to travel at a top speed of 90 mph. (McKenney, Carlton Norris: Rails in Richmond)

The Depot Trolley Car Design