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Third Avenue Railway System
(TARS) 678

Third Avenue Railway Shops, 1939
New York City, New York

Principal Features

  • Double truck, Double end City car
  • K-35 control
  • Four motors
  • Trucks built from two Maximum Traction trucks


The Third Avenue Railway Company of New York City embarked on a car building program to fulfill its service requirements rather than purchase the PCC street cars as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company was doing in the 1930s. Built in the Company's 65th Street shops, TARS 678 is a collection of recycled parts and new-fangled gadgets. Old eight-point K-35 controllers and newly-designed, brake pedals govern its speed. Rattan, walk-over seats contrast with aluminum window sash. And a thrashing air compressor more than compensates for quiet herringbone gears. Intended for service in the Bronx, the Company equipped TARS 678 with trolley poles and without a conduit plow.
Following abandonment of trolley lines in the Bronx in 1948, forty cars of this class provided service for another twenty years in Vienna, Austria as Marshall Plan dollars replaced trams damaged during World War II. Wiener Stadtwerke replaced the trolley poles with a pantograph, warned passengers that the doors are pneumatically operated, installed a wood-slat floor, added turn signals, and covered the rattan seats with vinyl. The Museum is restoring TARS 678 to its New York City appearance.
The Museum purchased TARS 678 and shipped it to the site during the Summer of 1971. The car was removed from service in 2000 for extensive restoration. TARS 678 returned to occasional service in January 2015, much to the delight of members, volunteers and museum guests.
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