Number 8 Streetcar Operator Memories
By Len Hoyt
July 25, 2004

     I was discharged from the Navy in July 1957 and went to work at the Washington Street shops for the Baltimore Transit Co. After about a year I was laid off when they had a big cutback. I was called back after about a month and was offered a job operating a streetcar. I managed to pass the training and the first line I was put on was the number eight from Towson to Catonsville. I don't remember if it was the York road barn or the Irvington barn first, but I worked out of both. Irvington was nice because we were able to pull in and turn in back of the barn and park the car heading out for the next run. On York road we had to back into the barn which we were able to do from inside the back of the car. A big problem with that was sometime the switch wouldn't change or if we went too fast then the trolley would come off.

     The biggest problem was kids pulling the trolley off the wire to get you out of the car. You better remember to take your changer and change box with you or they would have it. Those street cars weighed 40 tons and when we rolled off the hill just before Towson they would roll up to 45 or 50 miles an hour. Outrun the route inspector many a time in his 57 Chevy.

     I was able to call out every stop by name, both ways, while on the number eight. Never was able to do that on any other of the lines I worked. That is how much I enjoyed running the number eight line.

     I stayed on the number eight until they took the street cars off and then went to work driving the number ten bus from Sparrows Point to Roland Road and the 13, 22 and other lines out of the Highlandtown barn that I can't remember.

     I quit the Baltimore Transit Co. in 1964 and went on the road driving a tractor trailer hauling Volkswagens out of Dundalk for Automobile Transport out of Wayne, Mich. I enjoyed my time at the transit company and met a lot of very nice people. Who knows you may have been one of the many school kids I picked up in Govans which took so long to load and unload at the school that I was running 15 minutes late when I got downtown. I hope you get this and enjoy reading it. I would enjoy a reply from you or any other Baltimore Transit riders or workers back then.

     Len Hoyt oldpops@dmv.com

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