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Washington Railway & Electric Company
(WRECo) 650

J.G. Brill Company, 1912
Washington, D.C.

Principal Features

  • Double Truck, Double End, Center Entrance with semi-convertible windows
  • Trucks: Brill 27GE1
  • Control: K41A
  • Motors: Four WH1435A


Washington Railway and Electric Company (WRECo) 650 was constructed by J.G. Brill Company in 1912 as the sample car for a fleet that would eventually number 50 cars of the center door design. Designed by WRECo Master Mechanic W. A. Wenner, WRECo 650 featured a semi-convertible body, forced air ventilation, and a unique pair of three-fold center doors that opened inward. Located in the center between the wheels, the doors and steps provided easier entry into the car than those on cars with the platforms located at each end of the car above the wheels. Providing relief in the heat of Washington summers, the semi-convertible window design permitted the hinged 3'7" windows to be raised into the roof. Commenting on the introduction of WRECo 650 in April 1912, The Evening Star newspaper noted, "The high window openings give an unusually bright and attractive appearance to the interior of the car..."
WRECo modified the design of the car body on subsequent car orders. Changes included replacing the wide three-fold doors with standard bi-fold doors and changing the ventilation from forced air to a standard roof ventilator. Two narrow windows on each side of the center doors now fill the space where the doors were changed on WRECo 650 in 1915 to standardize the car with the rest of the fleet. At this time WRECo also raised part of the lower floor in the center step well in all of the center doors. Serving all WRECo lines in the city, these cars operated primarily on the Cabin John and Georgia Avenue lines, with a group of larger center door cars also used on the Maryland Line to Mt. Rainier, College Park, and Laurel.
Capital Transit renumbered WRECo 650 as Capital Transit 884. Age and the arrival of the Presidents' Conference Committee cars in 1937 brought the demise of the center door cars in Washington. With slower acceleration in city traffic, the cars were no longer as efficient as they were in 1912. Mills Dean remembers the last years of the center door cars, "Once the new PCC's were delivered in numbers these old Camel Back cars were found to be really slow. Going up Pennsylvania Avenue the PCC's and the ten hundreds would back up behind these old eight hundred series." Capital Transit removed the last group from service in September 1944.
In 1945 Capital Transit donated CTCo 884 to the Electric Railroaders Association (ERA) in New York City. ERA transferred the car to the Branford Electric Railway Association (BERA), East Haven, CT, in 1947. The museum acquired the car from BERA in 2001.
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