These are wood elevated BRT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit Cars). They were built in 1904 and 1905 in Laconia, New Hampshire (I hope I spelled it correctly).
They were originally pulled by steam engines and were converted to electric. They were used at the World's Fair and refurbished in 1979. They were in service from 1904 through 1969.
Ok, some very basic history is out of the way. These cars are breathtaking. I'm not kidding. If you like old trains, these cars are the high mark in train manufacture. Maybe it's the New Hampshire wood or the decor that is nicer than most homes. I can only say these are the by far some of the nicest train cars I have ever been in.
First and foremost, they are made out of natural materials. The woodwork in these cars is just spectacular, outside and in. When you look at the cars from the front looking back, you get the spitting image of the Hudson Tube Train. Yes, I know this is an El and was in Brooklyn. The colors are so rich on this train, it's like rolling artwork. It's hard to believe people got to ride in these things. I would imagine the steam ride wasn't as smooth as the electric ride; I still have to believe these ride beautifully. I can see why old folks were so nostalgic when I was a kid. Subways today aren't even close to these cars. The wicker seats are vastly more comfortable than the plastic "ergonomic" seats today.
Yes, trolley's have similar amazing set ups as well but these things moved millions of people. Really, you have to go and see these things up close to appreciate them. I would really love to see tinplate of these trains. I wonder if there's anything even close?