Baltimore Streetcar Museum - Two Bells - Snow Sweepers Snow Sweeper
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Conductor Two Bells Snow Sweeper
By Jerry D. Kelly

Before I start snow sweeper stories, what we remember about them, etc., let’s give a big thanks to all who made a dream come true . . . the dream of an operating sweeper at B.S.M. Our snow fall this past winter was not enough to call out the sweepers as many of us recall from Baltimore Transit Company days but ours was ready and did give a preview of things to come.

Snow SweeperNow that we have that part out of the way let’s return to the golden days of sweepers which ended in November1963. The last year of sweepers operating has been covered in a prior Live Wire. But let us return to 1940 when the B.T.C., as we like to remember, was alive and well as a rail operation in Baltimore. At that time, the company had some 34 sweeper routes. The sweeper route number was not the same as a B.T.C. route number. We’ll cover two of those routes in detail.

Taking a look at sweeper route #18, sweeper #3211 was assigned to the Light Street Car House. It would sweep Light Street to Heath Street, to Hanover Street to Patapsco Avenue, to Curtis Bay loop. It returned via Curtis Avenue to Patapsco and Pennington Avenues,cross over, then sweep Fairfield Division. It would return via Patapsco Avenue to Hanover Street, to Barney Street,to Patapsco Avenue to Heath Street, to Charles Street, to Barney Street, to Light Street, to the car house.

You can see that while this did cover part of B.T.C. Route#6, it also covered part of Route #30. Other sweeperroutes covered the cleaning of Routes #6 and #30. If it was an emergency operation, it would not sweep theFairfield Loop. World War II would change that, though.

Sweeper route #34 was assigned to sweeper #3217 whichwas housed at the Roland Park Car House. It would sweep Roland Avenue to the crossover at the WaterTower, cross over and return to the car house. Then, it would sweep the loop, return and sweep Roland Avenueto University Parkway, to Saint Paul Street to 25th Street.It would “Y” at 25th Street Car House, sweep Maryland Avenue to Biddle Street, to Pearl Avenue, to LibertyStreet, to Howard Street, to Camden Street “Y,” then sweep Howard Street to Liberty Street, sweep the curve north to east at Liberty and Baltimore Streets, then sweep Liberty Street to Park Avenue, to Biddle Street, to Maryland Avenue, to 25th Street, to Saint Paul Street, to University Parkway to Roland Avenue, to Lakeside and return to the car house. If it were an emergency operation, it would not sweep Roland Avenue north of Belvedere Avenue.

The table on the next page shows the assignment of theBaltimore Transit Company’s sweepers and plows in 1940.

Belvedere 3221 (9); 3238 (10)
Carroll Park 3220 (17)
Cumberland Street 3226 (7); 3229 (8)
Edmondson Avenue 3210 (12); 3209 (13); 3223 (14)
Irvington 3212 (16)
Light Street 3204 (19); 3211 (18); 3233 (20)
Lombard Street 3218 (21); 3230 (22); 3236(23); 3237 (24)
Montebello 3231 (28); 3232 (29)
North Avenue and GayStreet 3224 (27); 3235 (25); 3239 (26)
Oak Street 3228 (32); 3227 (33)
Park Terminal 3201 (4); 3202 (1); 3203 (2);3206 (11); 3207 (5); 3208 (6)
Retreat Street 3205 (3)
Roland Park 3217 (34)
Smallwood Street 3225 (15)
York Road 3214 (30); 3213 (31)
Irvington 3216
Light Street 3222
Lombard Street 3219
North Avenue and GayStreet 3215
Park Terminal 3234
Belvedere 3351; 3356
Edmondson 3353
Irvington 3354
Light Street 3352
Lombard Street 3358

In looking at the roster, one can only think that the Baltimore Transit tried to be ready for anything Mother Nature threw at Baltimore.

(Reprinted with permission from the Baltimore Streetcar Museum's quarterly newsletter, The Live Wire. 
Copyright 1999, The Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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