Abandoned RTA Streetcars

The City of Shaker Heights was incorporated in 1911 as a planned community southeast of Cleveland, Ohio. Shaker Heights is what’s known as a “streetcar suburb,” a community connected to a larger city by streetcars or light rail lines. Though Shaker Heights started with a population of just 200, in 1913, the completion of the Cleveland Interurban Railroad brought downtown Cleveland within easy reach of the suburb, which attracted new residents.

In 1944, the CIRR was in financial trouble, and Shaker Heights took over the line. Shaker Heights Rapid Transit made improvements to the line, including the purchasing of new Pullman PCC streetcars in 1947. The Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, took over the line in 1975, and has operated it since.

The Pullman PCC streetcars were withdrawn from service in 1982 as the entire line was renovated. The old cars were sold, with at least four of them ending up in a rail siding along a road 140 miles to the south near Hebron, Ohio. It’s not clear how or for what reason the cars found their way there, but from sometime in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, they sat rusting in a ditch next to a cornfield until they were removed in 2011.