Downtown Trolley, Inc.
2015 Chadbourne Avenue
Madison, WI 53726
Phone 608-233-1999
Fri, May 25, 2018
Equipment : PCC cars
The PCC Car: An American Original

PCC cars were designed according to standards developed by the Electric Railway President's Conference Committee ("PCC") in the 1930's. They were built to operate on the major US streetcar systems. They are quiet, fast and comfortable. They are powered by four 55 horsepower DC electric motors, with a top speed of 50 mph. Most of the cars have operating controls at one end. Most were 46 feet, 5 and 3/8 inches long, and 8 feet, 5 and 3/8 inches wide. Depending upon internal configuration, they seat 50 to 60 passengers. The cars are standard railroad gauge, 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches. They require rails permanently embedded in the street/ground, and an overhead wire system for current distribution. The current is 600 volts DC. The tracks do not impede traffic. The overhead wire is 18 to 22 feet above the pavement. More than 5,000 cars were built between 1934 and 1951. Most of the cars were built by the St. Louis Car Company, and the Pullman Car Company.

Schematic of Washington DC PCC delivered

San Francisco PCC 1053, one of the cars acquired from SEPTA, painted in Brooklyn, NY livery, operating on Market Street
San Francisco
San Francisco operates a fleet of 27 PCC cars on the F Market and E Embarcadero streetcar lines. Sixteen of the cars were acquired from SEPTA in Philadelphia in 1992; those in service are numbered 1050 to 1063. The cars were rebuilt before entering service on the F line in 1995 by Morrison Knudsen.. They are being rebuilt in 2017-2018 by Brookville Equipment. Each car is painted in the livery of a city that operated PCC cars in the 1940s.

San Francisco PCC 1071, painted in the livery of its original owner,Twin Cities Rapid Transit.
San Francisco acquired 11 additional PCC Cars from Newark, NJ in 2004. The cars were originally built for Twin Cities Rapid Transit (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN) in 1946, and operated there until 1953. They were sold to Newark and operated on the City Subway line until 2001. These cars were rebuilt by Brookville Equipment Corporation, and painted in the livery of cities that operated PCC cars.

MUNI double end PCC 1015 operating on the E line at Fisherman's Wharf.. The car is painted in the livery of the Illinois Terminal Railroad, which operated seven double-end PCCs between St Louis, MO and Granite city. IL. Photo by John DeLamater.
In 2015, San Francisco opened streetcar service on the E Embarcadero line. The line runs from Fisherman's Wharf on the west end, past the Ferry Building, where the F line turns south on Market Street, to 6th Street in the Southeast. The line connects Fisherman's Wharf to the San Francisco Giants stadium and the CalTrain (commuter service to San Jose) station. There are no turning facilities at Sixth Street so the line requires double-end PCCs, cars with controls at both ends. Such cars were fairly rare. Fortunately, San Francisco owned 15 such cars of which several survive. Three - 1007, 1010, and 1015 - were rebuilt in 1995-1996 by Morrison Knudsen. Four more - 1006, 1008, 1009 and 1011 - were rebuilt in 2012 to 2014 by Brookville Equipment. In common with their single-end siblings, they are painted in the livery of cities that operated double-end PCC cars.

SEPTA had 18 original Philadelphia PCC cars completely rebuilt by Brookville Equipment in 2002-2004, and placed them in service on the 15 Girard line. The cars are referred to as PCC II cars because of the extensive rebuilding. They are painted in a green and cream with red striping scheme, the livery of the Philadelphia Transportation Company, one of SEPTA's predecessors.

Kenosha Area Transit car 4617, painted in the 1940s San Francisco streetcar livery, "wings." The car is at 54th Street and 11th Avenue, the Metra Station.. Photo by John DeLamater.
Kenosha, WI
Kenosha, WI opened the first 21st Century streetcar line in June 2000. The line has a fleet of seven operating PCC cars. Six are A-15 PCC cars acquired from Toronto in 1995. The cars were rebuilt in the Toronto Transportation Commission shops between 1998 and 1991 for service on the Harbourfront Line. In 1995, the TTC Director abruptly decided to terminate the service and sell the cars. The Kenosha fleet includes TTC 4606, 4909, 4610, 4615. 4616 and 4617; the cars retain their TTC numbers. Each of the six is painted in the livery of a North American City that operated PCC cars.

Former SEPTA 2185 operating in Kenosha WI on 56th street.
The seventh PCC operating in Kenosha is SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) car 2185. The car was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948, and operated in Philadelphia until 1992. It was rebuilt on the GOH program, begun in 1979, and repainted in the current red, white, and blue livery. It was purchased in 1995 by a Milwaukee resident, Tom Matola, and moved to Kenosha in 2011.

Boston 1945-46 PCC at the Mattapan, MA station.
Boston, MA
In the 1940s and 1950s, Boston operated a large fleet of PCC cars. In 2017, 10 PCCs continue to serve the M Lime, or Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed line. The line is entirely grade separated, and connects the Ashmont Rapid Transit Red Line station with the suburb of Mattapan. The streetcars were built by Pullman-Standard in 1945-1946, and have been rebuilt twice, most recently in 1999-2005 in the MBTA shops. During the latest rebuild, they were repainted into a livery closely resembling their original 1946 appearance.

San Diego PCC 529 operating on the Silver Line around downtown San Diego.
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA was one of the first US cites to purchase and operate the "new" PCC cars. It placed 25 in service in 1936 and three more the following year. As happened in many other cites, the San Diego Electric Railway was purchased in 1948 by the Western Transit Company, a pro-bus/anti-streetcar operator, and all of the streetcars were gone within one year. In 1981, the first light rail line in the US began operation under the name San Diego Trolley. Subsequently two additional lines were added, creating a 2.7 mile loop round and through the Downtown. The route using this loop is called the Silver Line, and service was inaugurated in 2011 using a completely renovated PCC car. The car was rehabilitated in the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Authority shops, and is numbered 529. A second car, numbered 530, joined the first in 2015.. 529 and 530 were built for St Louis Public Service Company, later operated in San Francisco. SEPTA 2186, purchased from the National Museum of Transportation, is currently being rebuilt.