Article from the Olean Evening Herald, July 16, 1925. Submitted by Richard Palmer, with our thanks.
GASOLINE-OPERATED PASSENGER CAR ON SHAWMUT RAILROAD
Modern Method of Transportation Placed in Service---Car to Run Between Olean and
St. Mary’s—S. T. Velie, Herald President Operates Car on Trip to Angelica This
Gliding gracefully along the tracks, the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad company’s first gasoline-operated passenger car arrived in Olean early this afternoon.
Several company officials made the trip from the mines at St. Mary’s, Pa., to this city. The visitors were welcomed by newspapermen.
Early this afternoon the car left Olean for Angelica with S. T. Velie, President of the Evening Herald in the operator’s seat. Officials had told Mr. Velie that he could operate the car for the full length of the trip if he chose to.
The car will be placed in regular service between Olean and St. Mary’s beginning next Monday [July 20, 1925] replacing the train now running on schedule.
The car has a capacity of 55 passengers, including seats in the smoking and baggage compartments. It is possible to operate it at a rate of 70 miles an hour but it will run on a 30-mile-an-hour schedule between the two cities. The engineer’s cab in the front is similar to the front vestibule in a trolley car.
In preparation for the operation of the car the company has installed a gasoline filling station at the local [Olean] station on South Union street. It is the first modern car of its kind to be operated in this territory and if it proves a success two other similar cars will be placed in service between other points.
Operation of the car will dispense with the services of a fireman and trainman now employed on the train running between the two cities.
The mileage is said by company officials to be three miles to a gallon of gasoline. The car is equipped with a gasoline tank of 200 gallons capacity.
Handsome leather-covered seats have been installed. A hot water heater operates from the baggage compartment. Hard coal fuel is used. Parcel racks are conveniently arranged.
The car is 55 feet in length and weighs 56,200 pounds. The body and frame are of steel construction.
The transmission of the car is equipped with five speeds forward and five speeds reverse. The control is operated by a foot-operated clutch and a hand-operated gear shift. Standard air-brake equipment has been installed and there is an automatic bell in
addition to two air whistles.
Officials who made the trip to Olean were” B. C. Mulhern, general superintendent; A.G. Geuder, superintendent of transportation; F. H. Wells, general freight and passenger agent; C. L. Withwood, assistant general freight agent; J. F. O’Leary, trainmaster; F. E.
Gerg, superintendent of motive power transportation [sic]; J. M. Thompson, superintendent of maintenance of way; and A. H. Cleveland, expert from the offices of the J. G. Brill company, manufacturer of the car. He will instruct the operators of the
car for a 30-day period.
The crew on the car when it is placed in regular operation will be: John O’Donald, engineer and Samuel Heers, conductor.
In addition to Mr. Velie, P. H. Quinn, E. W. Fitzgerald and M. C. Fitzpatrick made the trip to Angelica. The return trip will be made on the regular passenger train now in operation, the gasoline car stopping at that village overnight. Tomorrow it will continue on to St. Marys.
The car has been christened “The Ninety” by company officials.
The railroad paid $26,000 in cash for this car, but it wasn't very powerful and could travel no more than 15 miles per hour on stiff grades. But it was initially put into service, leaving St. Marys for Brockway in the morning and Olean in the afternoon.
Eventually a second motor was purchased from the Brill Company of Philadelphia.
In 1927, No. 90's run was cut back to only St. Marys to Olean. But it soon became evident, with improved highways, that passenger service was a thing of the past, and it was discontinued entirely in 1935. These cars were nicknamed "Hoodlebugs."