Rollsigns from Lehigh Valley Transit Co.
"Liberty Bell Interurban Route" Allentown to Philadelphia, PA
The Lehigh Valley Transit Compnay
"Liberty Bell Route" logo.
This linen rollsign was designed for one of the Liberty Bell Route 700
series cars, positioned on the end near the doors. It appears to be hand
painted, not using stenciled letters for the exposures. The sign has no
print date, but being it was designed for the 700 series cars, it could put
the date of it back to as far as 1916. It has eight exposures.


Below, a photo of a rare three-car train of older 700-800 series cars on a
Liberty Bell Limited fantrip in 1950. The lead car would have been the
type to use this style of rollsign.
(Photographer unknown, from the archives of the Central Electric Railfans' Association.
https://ceramembersblog.wordpress.com/
2013/10/25/tonight-cera-rare-films-of-the-lvt-interurbans/)
Public transit in Allentown, Pennsylvania began on May 21, 1868 with a horse-car line between the Black Bear Hotel at 9th Street
and Hamilton Street, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad Depot at 3rd Street and Hamilton Street. The line was electrified in 1891. The
Allentown and Lehigh Valley Traction Company was created in 1893 after merging several local streetcar lines. In 1901, the
Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley Traction Company was formed when this service was merged with the Quakertown Traction
Company (founded in 1898 to run from Richlandtown through Quakertown to Perkasie), the Inland Traction Company (founded in
1900 running south from Perkasie to Lansdale), the Montgomery Traction Company (founded in 1900, running to Norristown), and
others in the Lehigh and Delaware Valleys with the plan to create a trolley system that would extend north to New York City. Later in
1901, the principal investor, Albert Johnson, passed away, and the company went in to receivership in 1903, While in receivership,
the company continued route construction and expansion. The stretch from Allentown, thirty five miles to the Chestnut Hill area of
Philadelphia opened later that year, allowing connections with the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company streetcars so passengers
could continue to downtown Philadelphia. In 1905, the company was acquired by the Lehigh Valley Transit Company. Under this
new administration, multiple upgrades to the infrastructure and rolling stock were conducted, resulting in a high capacity interurban
line running from Allentown to Norristown. The Philadelphia Division "Liberty Bell Line" running from Allentown to Philadelphia, was
a single track high speed electric trolley line with frequent sidings so opposing cars could pass one another. Each larger town had
a station with a ticket agent, waiting room and facilities to handle freight service, although freight was just a small portion of the
business. In December of 1912, service operated from Allentown to Philadelphia's 69th Street terminal using the Philadelphia and
Western Railroad south of Norristown. In 1926, the former Inland Traction line was converted to buses. In 1929, the same
happened to the Quakertown and Richlandtown line. Two more reorganizations of the LVT service (and one of the the P&WR
service) happened over the next twenty years, but trolleys continued to operate and stayed competitive due to lower cost to riders,
especially during the Depression and during the gasoline rationing of World War II. After the war ridership dropped again as private
car use increased. In 1949, through service on the P&W. The quality of service started to suffer during the 1950s. Management
petitioned the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission to abandon rail operations, and finally September 1951, they were given
permission for a "trial" suspension with a conversion to buses. which led to a further loss of riders. Management quickly sent crews
out to rip up rails, remove signals, and take down trolley wire, the idea being to prevent being ordered back to interurban
operation. They continued to operate local bus service in the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Pennsylvania areas. Lehigh
Valley Transit Company survived as a Pennsylvania corporation with its bus system until its dissolution on March 19, 1974.