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A Desire Named Streetcar
Photo by Jefferson Steele
Andy Blumberg drives to work.

He lives too far from his Hopkins office at 100 North Charles Street to walk, and there's no light rail stop near his Towson home. So Monday through Friday, the School of Professional Studies' communications manager makes the 20-mile roundtrip downtown in his Honda Accord.

On weekends, however, he prefers the streetcar.

It's been 40 years since Baltimore's army of streetcars lurched and squeaked through the city's neighborhoods. But as a longtime volunteer and trustee at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, Blumberg brings the streetcars back to life — driving the cars, swapping stories with old-timers, and telling visitors about the glory days, when everyone from bank presidents to cleaning ladies rode the streetcar.

"These things helped build the city," says Blumberg. "Half a century or more ago, half of all families didn't own cars. The streetcar would take you anywhere you wanted to go."

Blumberg, who grew up in Mt. Washington, doesn't remember riding Baltimore's streetcars as a child. But as a student at Boston University in the 1970s, he became a faithful rider of the cars that ran up and down Commonwealth Avenue. He started volunteering at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum in the 1980s and has been a devotee ever since.

Of the museum's many streetcars, trackless trolleys, and buses, the #7407 — the last streetcar to run in Baltimore — is Blumberg's favorite. Sometimes when he takes #7407 out for a run on the museum's one-and-a-half-mile loop, he's tempted to bring her up to the 50 miles per hour he knows she can go. But he resists: "You don't want to go too fast," Blumberg says. "You want to enjoy the ride."
Maria Blackburn

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