Abandoned Trolley Graveyard
Disclaimer: I visited this abandoned trolley graveyard site almost 10 years ago. This was when I first began to get more serious about my urban exploration, and, learning how to photograph these unique subjects and abandoned locations. Admittedly my gear at the time was not the best, but really, neither was my skillset that has improved with experience. But, these are the photos that I have, and I am glad that I got to see them before they were destroyed and vandalized. I do wish I had shot them a bit differently, and captured a few angles.
After the site started becoming vandalized, I never went back to the Winder Trolley Graveyard, as I hated to see what had happened to the trolley cars. Looking back, I do wish I would have paid it another visit or two, just to document how it changed, and, through the seasons as it looks much different in heavy spring growth, fall colors, and covered in snow.
History of the Abandoned Trolley Cars
Let’s start by debunking some ridiculous stories about the abandoned trolley graveyard that were fabricated to gain exposure/clout and individual interest. No, these cars were not discovered by Seph Lawless (there were many explorers who photographed these prior to him). And no, the story he made up in his book about it being the site of some murder/tragedy/etc to promote his book, is completely false.
The collection of various trolley cars from cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland Chicago, and Pittsburgh, are part of a private collection that began in the early 90’s after he retired. The owner grew up admiring this specific type of transportation. Fearing that so many of these cars would be lost as they were being sold for scrap or just destroyed, he purchased 14 cars from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and arranged to have them transported to Pennsylvania.
Over the years he added to his collection and it expanded to include almost 50 different types of cars. Some cities, such as Boston, still ran the exact type of car, and had difficulty finding parts, except for the cars being stored at this site. Most of the cars were kept outdoors and deteriorated due to decades of exposure to the harsh elements, including the winter snow storms. The abandoned trolley graveyard occupied more than 20-acres nestled among an overgrown part of the woods, and quickly became a popular destination for urban explorers and photographers. With the site becoming shared among visitors and photographers who took photography workshops at the location, the trolley graveyard as it came to be known, was exposed to even more destruction through vandalism, including graffiti.
The Trolley Cars Today
Recent reports show that the site and the abandoned trolley cars have since been sold off to a company for scrap. The plan is to leave them on site through the end of 2023, allowing for the owner to sell off as much as possible that can still be used, and any of the remaining cars that might still have a chance at restoration.