Peer Behind the Locked Gates of the Windber Trolley Graveyard

See Inside this Mysterious Laurel Highlands Destination

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Some of the more colorful graffiti towards the back of the property at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
Some of the more colorful graffiti towards the back of the property at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

Visiting the Windber Trolley Graveyard had been on my bucket list for years.

Having grown up in Somerset County, I’d heard of it even before the internet and urban explorers turned it into a destination of almost mythical proportion.

So when I received an invitation to tour the grounds, along with some folks from the local visitors bureau, I jumped at the chance.

One of the old trolleys awaiting possible restoration at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
One of the old trolleys awaiting possible restoration at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

Windber Trolley Graveyard FAQs

Where is the Windber Trolley Graveyard?

The Trolley Graveyard is located at the dead end (perhaps fittingly) of 19th Street in Windber, Pennsylvania (Somerset County). It sits behind locked gates, and you should know up-front that this is private property and can only legally be seen with permission of the property owner. However, given the sprawling nature of the property and its close proximity to the local high school, it isn’t surprising that plenty of graffiti covers many of the trolley cars, as you’ll see in the photos to follow. A map showing the location of the Windber Trolley Graveyard in Windber, Pennsylvania.

Is the Windber Trolley Graveyard Really Abandoned?

No, it is not. The actual name for the facility is the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company, and it is owned by a gentleman named Ed Metka. Ed has a passion for collecting old streetcars, with hopes to restore them and save these historic vehicles from becoming scrap metal. He began storing his collection of vintage trolleys at this former site of the Berwind Coal Company Railroad Shop in 1992, and has amassed a collection of nearly 50 trolley cars in various states of repair. A look inside the former Berwind Coal Company Railroad Shop, now part of the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company.

Do You Have Contact Information for the Owner?

I do not. My visit was arranged by the local tourism bureau, and at the time it looked like the property might be opened up to regular tours. Unfortunately, those plans appear to have fallen through as I have neither seen nor heard of any tours being offered at this time.
One of three parallel tracks of old trolley cars located on the grounds of the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company, more commonly known as the Windber Trolley Graveyard.


A Look Inside the Windber Trolley Graveyard Repair Shop

I’d seen plenty of photos of the outside tracks area of the “abandoned trolley graveyard”. But getting to tour the inside of the repair shop with the owner was a rare treat.

I could tell Mr. Metka has a passion for history and would love to see each and every streetcar on the property restored to its former glory.

But my guess is most visitors to the site are there because of the post-apocalyptic nature of the setting. If I’m being totally honest, that was my interest in visiting. It almost feels like you’re on the set of Planet of the Apes (the original movie, not the lame remake).

A retired SEPTA trolley sits inside the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company repair shop.
A retired SEPTA trolley sits inside the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company repair shop.

Mr. Metka has collected trolley cars from places like Philadelphia (above) and Boston (below).

This trolley once carried passengers to Boston College, but now sits inside the repair shop at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
This trolley once carried passengers to Boston College, but now sits inside the repair shop at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

Some of the oldest and potentially most valuable trolley cars are stored inside the repair shop, protected from graffiti and the elements.

Some of the most antiquated streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard sit protected from the elements inside the former Berwind Coal Company Railroad Shop.
Some of the most antiquated streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard sit protected from the elements inside the former Berwind Coal Company Railroad Shop.

Mr. Metka took us through one of the partially restored trolley cars with power inside it. I couldn’t help but wonder how many thousands of people had sat in those illuminated seats in front of me over the years.

A look inside one of the more restored streetcars at the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company in Windber, PA - AKA the Abandoned Trolley Graveyard.
A look inside one of the more restored streetcars at the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company in Windber, Pennsylvania

We spent the better part of an hour touring the repair shop of the “Windber Trolley Graveyard”. Certainly with enough money, the infrastructure exists there to do an extensive amount of restoration work on-site.

This once-bustling rail car shop now sits silent at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
This once-bustling rail car shop now sits silent at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

Touring the Tracks at the Windber Trolley Graveyard

Stop, look, and listen. Good advice here at the former rail car shop of the Berwind Coal Company, now the repair shop of the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company.
Stop, look, and listen. Good advice here at the former rail car shop of the Berwind Coal Company, now the repair shop of the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company.

Leaving the repair shop, we then headed out towards the back of the property where 3 parallel lines of railroad track (nearly a mile in total length) house the majority of the trolley cars belonging to the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company.

Nature is slowly reclaiming the tracks and streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
Nature is slowly reclaiming the tracks and streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

The easiest way to navigate the property is to walk through the cars themselves, rather than through the high grass and weeds around them.

Touring the streetcars at the WIndber Trolley Graveyard is trip back through time.
Touring the streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard is trip back through time.

A few of the trolley cars are so decayed that they almost seem to have their “ribs” exposed to the sky, conjuring up a Mad Max vibe.

Nature and the elements have reduced many of the vintage streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard to skeletons of their former selves.
Nature and the elements have reduced many of the vintage streetcars at the Windber Trolley Graveyard to skeletons of their former selves.

Once you get towards the back of the property, things open up a bit and you can wander around on the outside of the cars more easily. Use caution and common sense though – broken glass and pieces of metal could be anywhere underfoot.

Urban explorers and fans of post-apocalyptic movies will feel right at home at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
Urban explorers and fans of post-apocalyptic movies will feel right at home at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
The parallel train tracks where many of the vintage trolley cars sit rusting away in Windber, Pennsylvania.
The parallel train tracks where many of the vintage trolley cars sit rusting away in Windber, Pennsylvania.
A little piece of Philadelphia at the Windber Trolley Graveyard as this vintage SEPTA car rusts away on the tracks.
A little piece of Philadelphia at the Windber Trolley Graveyard as this vintage SEPTA car rusts away on the tracks.

Retracing my steps back through the trolley cars, I arrived at the front of the property once again, where numerous trolleys that have been used as “donors” for parts to repair other cars lie scattered about.

One of the trolleys located near the front of the Windber Trolley Graveyard property.
One of the trolleys located near the front of the Windber Trolley Graveyard property.

My visit concluded, I bid my farewell to the Windber Trolley Graveyard, having crossed another unique Pennsylvania destination off my bucket list.


Final Thoughts on The Windber Trolley Graveyard

Being a fan of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic movies, I found the entire setting to be a mesmerizing panorama of “what if civilization came to a screeching halt tomorrow”.

The owner of the property certainly didn’t intend for it to become a graveyard, but rather a historical collection of trolleys to be restored.

At this point in time, the scale seems to be tipped more in the direction of graveyard, but who knows what the future holds for the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company.

An instrument cluster on a long-defunct streetcar at the Abandoned Trolley Graveyard in Windber, Pennsylvania.
An instrument cluster on a long-defunct streetcar at the Abandoned Trolley Graveyard in Windber, Pennsylvania.

In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit this fascinating spot tucked away in Windber, Somerset County. Should you want to visit, the best advice I can give you is to try and contact the owner, Ed Metka.

As mentioned earlier, this is private property (not “abandoned”), so visiting without permission would certainly put you at jeopardy for being charged with defiant trespass.

This forlorn-looking trolleybus sits near the front of the property at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.
This forlorn-looking trolleybus sits near the front of the property at the Windber Trolley Graveyard.

If you do manage to gain legal access to the Windber Trolley Graveyard, I think you’ll agree it certainly has earned its reputation as a “PA bucket list” destination.


Similar Attractions

If abandoned transportation history is your thing, then you ABSOLUTELY MUST check out the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike located in neighboring Bedford County.

The western portal of Rays Hill Tunnel on the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The western portal of Rays Hill Tunnel on the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike.

This 13 mile stretch of abandoned superhighway features two unlit but intact tunnels, each around a mile long!

A photographer illuminated by a spotlight inside the Sideling Hill Tunnel.
A photographer illuminated by a spotlight inside the Sideling Hill Tunnel.

The Abandoned PA Turnpike can be legally accessed and used 365 days a year – read all about it HERE.

Looking east from the top of the Rays Hill Tunnel.
Looking east from the top of the Rays Hill Tunnel.

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