Washington County Fair visitors have an opportunity to avoid busy traffic this year by using the annual park ‘n’ ride service with the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
The trolley museum finished the expansion of the bridge and increased the platform size by three times to fit more visitors this past April.
“We wanted it finished just in time for the fair so it gives visitors an opportunity to miss the busy traffic and get a new experience while riding one of our Trolleys,” museum Executive Director Scott Becker said.
Guests can purchase tickets Sunday, Aug. 11, through Saturday, Aug. 17. The trolleys will run every 10 to 15 minutes from the Eaton parking lot at 2800 N. Main St. to the fair from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The trolley museum started working on the fairgrounds platform project a day after the fair ended last year. The first step was to expand the bridge leading to the fairgrounds, which was finished in the fall of 2018.
The next part in the project was to expand the platform. It increase from 585 square feet to 1,870 square feet. The platform now can accommodate two trolleys on each side of the tracks.
Trolley museum Director of Engineering Larry Lovejoy said the museum volunteers partnered with the contractor on the construction.
“We did partial demolition of the old facility and then the contractor came in and removed the rest,” Lovejoy said. “We partnered on the construction of the track work. Museum volunteers contributed about 2,500 hours to completing this project.”
There is 1,290 feet of new or newly reconstructed track that was put in place and 800 feet of salvaged and reinstalled trolley power feeder cable. Guests can see four new grade crossing warning signals.
It was an estimate of $1,498,814 to complete this project, Washington County Planning Commission Director Lisa Cessna said.
“Between the two projects it cost well over a million,” Cessna said. “We plan on doing more projects. This was just phase one.”
Washington County and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation funded the project.
“The county still has additional plans for improvements for not just this area, but for the fairgrounds itself,” Lovejoy said.
Becker, who was the trolley museum’s first paid employee 26 years ago, said the next step is adding a canopy over the platform.
“Pittsburgh History and Landmarks donated these 1935 canopy supports that used to be used for the train station down at Station Square,” Becker said. “We want use some of them here. It’s a $70,000 project, and we’ve raised about $20,000 of it so far.”
The trolley museum first came to Chartiers Township in February 1954 with three trolleys. Now, more than sixty years later, it has 52 cars, 150 volunteers and more than 30,000 visitors each year.
Becker said trolleys take about 10 percent of the county fair visitors to the fair each year, about 7,000 of the annual 70,000 guests.
Those interested in using the park ‘n’ ride service at the fair will pay $3 per person, and children under the age of 4 are free. The fee does not include admission to the fair, which is $10 for daily admission.
If interested, visitors can purchase tickets to the trolley museum, which is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 per child. The museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m during the week of the fair.