Visit the Rockhill Trolley Museum

Rockhill Trolley Museum Photo

Ever ride a real trolley car?

The ting-ting of the trolley bell, the growl of the gears, the ticka-ticka-ticka of the air compressor.

Take a step back in time to when many American towns and cities offered inexpensive and convenient transportation using electric trolleys.

Our collection has several operational trolleys, including an open car, high-speed interurban cars, fascinating maintenance-of-way cars, and two PCC Cars. Plus you'll see more cars being restored in our shops by our talented volunteers.

You and your family can learn about trolleys and how generations before ours got around in America while enjoying a leisurely ride through the scenic countryside.

Your Trip Begins at the Meadow Street Platform

RTM Photo: Meadow Street Platform

There are four locations where trolleys receive or discharge passengers. On regular operating days, scheduled trolleys depart from the Meadow Street Platform. Upon boarding, visitors will occasionally hear the pleasant chuga-chuga-chuga sound of the air compressor as it replenishes the air for the brakes. The conductor will sound two bells to depart and the motorman will sound two gongs. Riders will hear the rush of air as the brakes release and hear the characteristic hum of the electric motors.

The Brick Platform

RTM Photo: Brick Platform

Instead of waiting at Meadow Street, ticketed visitors may arrange with the dispatcher to board at the Brick Platform so that they may visit the Museum Store or other areas of the grounds until trolley departure. Trolleys will stop at the Brick Platform if waved down. Passengers can also arrange to disembark anywhere along the trolley line to take photographs and be picked up later by another car.

Carbarn 1

As the trolley departs the brick platform, it traverses the former Shade Gap Branch of the East Broad Top Railroad on standard (4 ft 8.5 in.) gauge. Visitors will get a short view of cars inside or in front of Carbarn 1. Next, the car passes a ball park and Carbarn 2. From this point on, the journey takes visitors through the nineteenth century realm of the Rockhill Iron Company that once operated here 24/7 with 700 employees. Shortly after passing Carbarn 2, the trolley will cross Cummins Road. Trolleys equipped with an air whistle will sound two longs, a short, and another long for the crossing; cars without a whistle will sound their gong.

Altoff Siding

RTM Photo: Altoff Siding

As the car proceeds proceeds toward Altoff Siding, a trained eye will be able to spot the slag piles, but the average visitor will only see pleasant woodlands, meadows, and a small stream beside the track. Just as in the trolley era when the trolley industry was the 5th largest in the US and carried 15 billion passengers a year, there may be one or more trolleys waiting at the siding for our car to pass before they can enter the single track to return to Meadow Street. At Polar Bear Express, this will be the end of the ride and passengers will get off to enjoy a campfire and some goodies before returning.

Blacklog Narrows

RTM Photo: Blacklog Narrows

After the siding, the car enters the narrows, where the woods are thicker and the mountain side steeper. There is a brief evidence of mine tailings where water pours out of one of the iron company’s now flooded mines but visitors are more likely to enjoy the view of the Blacklog Creek as it flows serenely to the left of the trolley track. As the car rounds the final curve, the Blacklog Narrows Platform appears ahead at the end of the track. There is a track on each side of the platform. Visitors may notice that the turnout from the switch to the siding is quite sharp; only a trolley can negotiate such a sharp turn (which was, in fact, designed and fabricated in our own shops). When the car comes to a stop, the motorman will give a brief history of the car and its significance in the trolley era.

Pole Change

 RTM Photo: Pole Change

Outside, the conductor will raise the front pole and then lower the rear pole. That is so the trolley can troll along on the overhead wire behind the car to pick up the 550 volt DC power on which the motors operate. Yes, the "trolley" is really the brass harp with the carbon insert at the end of the pole. Trolley cars got their name because they had a "Trolley". Today many cities run buses with round ends and the word, "trolley", painted on the side. None of them has a trolley nor does any of them feel remotely like a real trolley; now you know the difference. The motorman will reverse the direction of the seats (in some cars) and take the operating handles to the other end of the car. Most trolley cars operate from either end; the motorman determines which end is the front.

Rockhill Iron Company

RTM Photo: Rockhill Iron Co. History Lecture

After the car crosses Cummins Road on the return trip, the motorman may give a brief talk on the history of the Rockhill Iron Company as the car pauses next to the most visible of its remains. (Talks, pauses and tours may not occur during Special Events.) Shortly after, the motorman will stop to throw a switch so we can depart from the dual gauge track. The switch has a spring -- it was not necessary to throw it when the car passed it on the outbound trip.

Carbarn 2

 RTM Photo: Carbarn 2

The trip usually ends at the Brick Platform but may instead end at the Carbarn 1 Lead steps or the Food Pavilion crosswalk. From here visitors may visit the Museum Store or gather for a tour of Carbarn 1 (except on Special Events days). If the group shows an interest, a guide may also show them through the restoration shop, which may also have cars from our collection parked outside. Carbarn 2 may also be toured, if we can find a volunteer guide. Passengers may also return on the car to Meadow Street.

Our Location

The Rockhill Trolley Museum is located in south central Pennsylvania, between Harrisburg and Altoona, at 430 Meadow Street, Rockhill Furnace, PA 17249, next door to the famous narrow-gauge East Broad Top steam railroad, less than 1 hour from railroad attractions of Altoona, and close to the many attractions of Raystown Lake.

Click here for Directions from various locations in a narrative format

Google maps:

GPS:

The following GPS coordinates for your navigation device were researched online and have not been verified in practice. Please contact us with any corrections you may encounter:

Latitude : 40.241140 ( 40° 14' 28.104" N )
Longitude : -77.898800 ( -77° 53' 55.680" W )

Aerial Map

The map below shows the primary museum area and adjacent recognizable landmarks.

Rockhill Trolley Museum Aerial Map

Map Legend

Green: All available parking.

Blue: Buildings – Ticket Booth, Museum Store, Carbarn 1, Restoration Shop, Restrooms

Orange: Food Pavillion – There is a handicapped restroom in the lower left corner of the food pavillion and a ramp in the lower right corner that leads to the museum store. A concrete walkway extends from the upper right corner across the tracks to a reserved handicapped parking space.

Loading Areas:

Yellow: Meadow Street Platform (Main loading area)

Orange: Food Pavillion Crosswalk

Lavender: Brick Platform (Main unloading area)

White: Loading Steps in Carbarn 1 Lead

Click here for a larger, one-page version of this map (.jpg, 518 KB).

It will print on 8.5 x 11 paper using the Landscape option.

Parking

ParkingWhen you get to the museum, you may park on the grass along the right side of the gravel road at right angles to the road. You can also turn left on the gravel road just beyond the ticket booth, cross the trolley track and park to the right at right angles to the trolley track. If you have questions about parking or special needs, you can stop briefly at the ticket booth.

Hours, Fares and Group Sales

Ticket ImageOur normal operating season is Saturdays and Sundays, Memorial Day weekend through October.

On regular operating days, the ticket booth is open from 11:00 AM until 4:15 PM.

Trolleys depart at 11:15AM, 12:30PM, 1:45PM, 3:00PM, and 4:15PM, or as needed.

Please note that, due to the historic nature of our collection, equipment and schedules may change.

Special Events:

In addition to our normal, weekend operating schedule, Special Events occur throughout the operating season, as well as on selected off-season weekends.

On Special Event days, trolley departure schedules may vary, tours are usually not offered and non-standard fares may apply.

Regular Fares

  • Adult: $8.00 (All Day Ticket)
  • Children (ages 2 to 12): $5.00
  • Children under 2: FREE! (please ask for free ticket)
  • Child ticket discounts will not apply on Special Events days that include a gift for each child (such as Pumpkin Patch Trolley, Santa's Trolley and Easter Bunny Trolley)

Adult Discounts

Rockhill Trolley Museum participates in the following discount programs:

  • AAA, AARP, or NRHS discounts (with card)
  • Public Broadcasting (PBS) MemberCard: two-for-one admission
  • Trolley Museum Member Cards: On regular operating days we cross -honor member cards from other trolley museums; please check-in with your member card at the ticket office

Buy Tickets at the Museum
Onsite, we accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover for museum admission.

ccamexDiscover

Buy Tickets Online
You can now pre-purchase Tickets Online for most operating days and Special Events.

Buy Tickets by Phone
Call (814) 506-0594 for ticket sales and information.
M-F 9 AM to 8 PM, Sat 10 AM to 6 PM, Sun 2 PM to 6 PM Eastern Time.

Group Sales / Bus Tours / School Groups

Rockhill Trolley Museum welcomes your bus tour, school group, birthday party, or other group for rides on our demonstration railroad, tours of our restoration shops and the chance to browse our museum store for souvenirs, books, snacks, and information about trolleys from many areas of Pennsylvania.

Off-hour weekday and off-season group visits are possible, but advance arrangements must be made and may require a deposit and/or minimum charge of $300. Payment must be made upon arrival at the Museum.

Standard Group Fares:
Standard group discount fares are $0.50 off the regular fare. Exceptions noted directly below.

  • Walk-up groups (Saturday/Sunday): Minimum of 12 persons, Adults $7.50 per person, children $4.50 per person
  • Mid-week or off-season groups: By arrangement only, Adults $9.00 per person, $300 minimum may apply
  • School groups: $5.00 per person
  • Group leaders and bus drivers receive free passes

For pre-arranged group tours (whether regular operating days or mid-week pre-arranged), please contact:

Additional Information

  • Thank you for not smoking (including e-pipes and e-cigarettes) or using alcohol or tobacco in our trolleys or buildings
  • Additional fee may be required if Pavilion space is to be reserved exclusively
  • Reservations and a 50% deposit is required two weeks before the event
  • Our vintage trolleys are not handicapped accessible; however, arrangements can be made, and we encourage you to contact the museum prior to your visit so that we can make efforts to accommodate your needs
  • Animals by special arrangement only
  • Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times

We hope to see you soon!

Where is "the Museum?"

RTM Photo: School Group Tours

The answer is: as soon as you step out of your car, you're in it! The museum is your trolley ride and all the things you'll see throughout the grounds. Inside the Museum Store, there are a handful of pictures on display. These exhibits rotate periodically, but our collection of cars and equipment really is the heart of the exhibits.

The motorman or conductor may offer to take riders on a tour of the cars in Carbarn 1 at the conclusion of most excurions, but the best way to experience a trolley is by riding in it and seeing it come to life. While each car's destination is the same, each ride is quite different. For this reason, tickets are good for unlimited rides on the day of purchase+. On many days there may only be enough qualified crew members to run one car at a time, but if visitors request to ride one of the other passenger cars that is out on display, the dispatcher will do his best to schedule it.

+On special days, like Pumpkin Patch or Ice Cream events, rides are unlimited (sorry, pumpkins, ice cream and other gifts included in event tickets are not). At Santa's Trolley or Polar Bear Express, riders may only ride again if there are unsold seats.

The Food Pavilion

RTM Photo: Food Pavilion

The food pavillion is usually available to our visitors when not scheduled for private parties. There is a soda machine and the adjacent museum store usually sells popcorn and flavored ice but food service is usually set up only as needed for museum volunteers on selected workdays. When it is open, it may be possible to purchase a meal.

At Santa’s Trolley and Polar Bear Express, cookies and hotdogs are usually available. At Pumpkin Patch Trolley, free pumpkin decorating supplies and assistance are available in the food pavilion, and at Easter Bunny Trolley, balloon creations and face-painting may take place here.

Access for the Disabled and Physically Challenged

WheelchairWe welcome disabled / physically challenged visitors to our museum!

On the grounds, we have a handicapped-accessible restroom located in the corner of the Food Pavilion. There are concrete walkways and ramps in the area of the Food Pavilion, and Museum Store.

However, our trolley cars are historic vehicles from another era. Although one must negotiate one or more high steps to enter all our cars, it is frequently possible, with advanced planning, to overcome the obstacles.

Please help us in our efforts to accommodate your unique needs by consulting with the Operations Department Head, Calvin Gerhard at (610) 678-3604, before arriving on the property. In these instances, a person to person conversation, rather than email exchange, results in the best solution.

Animals by special arrangement only.