JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – The streetcar is back in style. And according to Brookville Equipment Corporation, an area company that manufactures the form of transportation, they have seen a spike in business recently.
Brookville Equipment Corp. has designed streetcars for more than 100 years. Today, modern streetcars line the streets in cities like Dallas, Detroit, Oklahoma City, and Milwaukee. Six more streetcars will head to Arizona this year, as well as an additional five will be off to Tacoma. Two more are destined for Portland, Oregon in the near future.
The company has also previously designed 120 historic streetcars, which can be found in more than a dozen cities across the country. Throughout all the years, although the styles have changed, Joel McNeil the VP of business development at Brookville Equipment Corp said one thing has stayed the same.
“The product itself has changed quite drastically now with these fancy modern streetcars. But that common thing has been rail,” McNeil said.
He adds that Brookville Equipment is solidifying itself as a major player in the ever-growing streetcar industry. But unlike many of the major international corporations, the small Jefferson county business has always done things in its own unique way.
“An engineer that is designing a part… in a year from then gets to actually walk out and see that being produced on the floor. And that’s something special for someone in the engineering field,” McNeil said.
The process is quite lengthy. Initial design work can take months.
“We make sure that our overall dimensions are correct the seating capacity is what they want the operator control,” said Ron Smith, a project manager, Brookville Equipment Corp. who has overseen both the historic and modern “Liberty NXT” models. “So we work very closely with the customer and their consulting agencies to get it the way they want it.”
Once all the details are ironed out – then it’s time to get to work.
“Once we have the drawings released and get going with the raw materials cars can get built here in just a few months,” Smith said.
Once the current orders for the modern “Liberty NXT” streetcars ship, there will be a total of 36 of these sleek, modern streetcars in U.S. cities. As the demand for streetcars grows across the country… the need for people to manufacture and design them grows as well. Brookville Equipment is currently hiring positions all across the board. McNeil added as the number of streetcars manufactured in Brookville grows, the personal connection with each one is still there.
“It makes you proud when you go to a city and you see something that was built from our local area,” McNeil said.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.