Current and historic transit in Dayton OH

Dayton trolley status (Nov 17)
The large news was an article in the Dayton Daily News on October 20 2017, picked up by several other outlets, which reported on the (future) purchase of NexGen "Dual Mode" battery-electric trolleys. This purchase was authorized by the RTA Board of Trustees in September 2016, once final decisions were made on the configuration, and successful completion of testing required by the Federal Transit Administration. While both items have been completed ... the final written report regarding the FTA "Altoona Testing" has not been received yet (as of November 3 2017). Once the report has been received, the contract will be formally executed. In the meantime the parties involved (GDRTA, Kiepe, and Gillig) are in discussions regarding setting up the contract.

Operations wise, the trolleys still regularly run on Routes 7 and 8 Monday-Friday. No trolley operations on Saturdays or Sundays.

- Route 4 West rebuilding on the inner end from McGee to Delphos (originally built in 1941) along Kammer, Hoover and Oakridge is nearly complete. On the east end, where the 3 on Wayne Ave is tied as a field relief of a 4 at Eastown Hub, the old People's Railway tracks have been pulled out of Wayne Ave to make way for a water/sewer project, and two of the four lanes have been rebuilt. It would appear crews are feverishly rebuilding the other two lanes. New overhead line poles have also been going up on this section. Perhaps maybe the 4 will come back as a trolley in the next driver pick.

- Route 1 has regular Dual Mode operations on Monday-Friday. Most of the time, at least one Dual Mode will be out all day; on one day all four were out on the 1 at one time, making it a predominantly trolley route for the first time since regular operations were extended to Wright State University. Dual modes have also been seen in training runs on Route 2, which has rewiring pans at locations where a Dual Mode may have re-pole.

Worth also noting that Dual Mode operations on Route 1 have been shown to be slower than diesel operations due to the additional time required to re-pole and to reboot the diesel dual modes (they require about a minute and a half to switch over from diesel to overhead, as the bus has to be fully shut off and then restarted, and then the driver must physically get out and confirm the shoes are seated on the wire correctly). The dual mode as a trolley, unlike in the 1940s-1950s-1960s, is not faster than its diesel counterpart. The schedules for Route 1 have not been adjusted for the additional time required to operate dual modes

- Route 5 came back as a trolley on September 11 2017 (see photo below). It is only occasionally trolley in the morning, and due to the pick structure in the afternoon, it's not been a trolley since the power was turned back on (often it's a 30 foot Gillig, which is a minor treat). Perhaps with the next pick, this will change.

Trolleys donated to Crash Course Heavy. When the RTA reduced service in the mid 00s, approximately 22 trolleys became surplus, leaving 35 active. The surplus included two wrecks (9850 and 9854) and the three demonstrators, which hadn't been on the street since approximately 2004. These vehicles were stored under US-35 since then, and had been parted out to keep the current fleet of 33 running. Three more from the active fleet went into surplus, and one of the originally surplus buses came back on the street.

In February 2017, these surplus trolleys were hauled away to Crash Course Heavy, a program which is used to provide rescue personnel hands-on training with rescue tools. The RTA donated several end of life 35 and 40 foot New Flyers to this program. We have a few shots of the buses out at Crash Course Heavy -- and there were opportunities to take a look at what is lurking under the skin of the trolley fleet in Dayton, and it's really not very pretty. But you be the judge.

Finally, if you are on Facebook, and are interested in the trolley operations in Dayton, search for the Dayton Trolleys group, send a request to join and we'll add you in. Provides a forum for questions, answers and chatter regarding the goings-on from folks around here who keep an eye out.

New Stuff (November 9 2017)
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Older Dayton trolleybus photos
Dayton streetcars and interurban photos
Vosslohs, ETIs, BBCs, a few Flyers and a few diesels
Interurbans, streetcars, maps, signs, rosters, dates, reports, studies
Trolleybuses: A Dayton Local Legacy
Dayton Public Transit: 1870-Present
The Washington St Calamity
The Vossloh-Kiepe Dual Modes
As of Feb 15 2015, The Greater Dayton RTA has four Vossloh-Kiepe dual mode "NexGen" buses. Two diesel-electrics and two battery-electrics.
They are being tested and evaluated by the GDRTA for suitability as future ETI fleet replacements.
Where do trolleybuses currently operate in Dayton?
As of March 25 2016, The Greater Dayton RTA regularly operates four trolley bus routes, Monday thru Friday. They are:
  - Rt 3, from Wright Stop Plaza to Eastown Hub three times a day
  - Rt 4, from Westown Hub to Eastown Hub via Hoover Ave, West Third St and Xenia Ave (20-25 min at rush; 30-40 min midday)
  - Rt 7, from North Main and Philadelphia to Woodman and Patterson via Main and Wyoming/Watervliet (10-15 min rush; 20-25 min midday)
  - Rt 8, from Northwest Hub to Westown Hub via Salem and Germantown/Lakeview (10-15 min rush; 20 min midday).
These routes are usually operated as trolley, unless disrupted by accidents, street construction, or downtown events. These routes operate thru the Wright Stop Plaza downtown off Main between Third and Fourth. All four dual mode NexGen demonstrators are being tested on these routes at various times. These four routes do not operate as trolleys on weekends.

As of March 25 2016, the following routes are temporarily suspended, and operate with diesels:
  - Rt 1/2, a single morning and evening trip, due to I-75 construction on Third St (the wires are removed)
  - Rt 5, a single morning and evening trip, due to the rebuilding of Warren St and no switch at Wyoming and Brown
Why does it appear you have four websites containing nearly the same information?
Answer: I control three of the sites, and provide webspace to host the fourth. Material is nominally segregated:
    - www.daytontrolleys.net contains photos of Dayton I own, or material I've created. Mostly recent photos, with some historical material covering history back to 1869. If it's a historical writeup, illustrated with pictures, it's likely here.
    - www.trolleybuses.net contains trolleybus photos from cities all over North America taken by or owned by others. Primarily older photos and ads. If somebody besides me took the photo in Dayton, it's likely here.
    - www.newdavesrailpix.com is a site originally built by Dave, which contains photos of electric rail transit from all across the country, including Dayton. With Dave's passing, I host that material. If I don't possess the physical Dayton streetcar/interurban photo, it's likely here.
    - Cory's page is my friend Cory's page on Dayton buses which I host in my webspace. That site contains his photos.
Any comments? Let me know at:
rtmatttrolleybusesdotnet



Dayton Ohio's transit history started in 1869, with the first horsecars on Third St, running from King St (today JH McGee Blvd) to Findlay St, the then city limits. First electric operation in Dayton came in 1888, with streetcars on the White Line, which ran from N Main and Forest to Home Ave and King which was an interchange with horsecars and a steam railroad to the National Military Home (today, the VA Home). Horsecar operation grew through 1890, with operations on Third, Main, Fifth, Brown, Salem, Valley, Wayne and Richard. The last of the horsecars came off Wayne Ave in 1896, and electric streetcars then served Dayton's transit needs.

Electric operations grew, and from 1909 to 1933, there were six independent streetcar companies in Dayton. After a disastrous carbarn fire on the Dayton Street Railway in August 1932, that line, extending from Linden and Santa Cruz to Salem and Catalpa, was converted to trolleybuses in April 1933, the first such operation in Ohio. Over the next 14 years, the remaining streetcar operations were converted to trolley and gasoline buses. Last streetcar operation in Dayton was in November 1947. Since then, the electric operations have grown to follow population movement, diesel bus operations were inaugurated, trolley operations were contracted, diesel operations expanded, and in the late 1990s, a renaissance and expansion of the trolleybus system. Dayton has seen (arguably) four generations of trolleybuses since 1947, with the most recent advancement, the dual-mode "NexGen" trolleys, capable of on-wire and extended off wire operation, whose demonstrators first arrived in 2014.

Meanwhile, by 1956, those six streetcar companies turned into a single bus company, City Transit, whose operations were in turn purchased in 1972 by the Miami Valley RTA, renamed the Greater Dayton RTA in 2003. In doing so, the transit operation which originally served the City of Dayton now operates throughout Montgomery County, providing over 9 million passenger trips per year.

The utilization of trolleybuses make Dayton a part of a unique set of transit operators in North America; there are only five trolleybus cities in the US (Dayton, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and Boston) and one in Canada (Vancouver), although trolleybuses are operated extensively in Europe and China. The uniqueness of this mode of transit is the focus of this website. This website is not affiliated in any way shape or form with the Greater Dayton RTA.

Info and material to share is always welcome.