• Chicago's post-war PCC's

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by greenhornet
 
I'm researching PCC's that were used by the Chicago Transit Authority after WWII commonly referred to as "Green Hornets". I'm looking for someone who can speak with authority about the operation of these PCC's.

Also, I'm looking for someone who can talk about how these vehicles were switched into turnaround loops. What did the apparatus look like? Does anyone have any pictures of these switches?

Appreciate any help you can give me,

Craig Cleve
Railfan

  by walt
 
A good source for much of the information you're seeking ( but maybe not all of it) is Alan Lind's 1974 book Chicago Surface Lines- An Illustrated History This is actually a history of the entire era of private transit operations in Chicago, but it has information on all of the streetcar types operated by the CSL including both the pre-war and post war PCC's.

  by greenhornet
 
Thanks for the tip on the Lind book, which I have in my personal library.

Specifically, I'm writing a book about an accident that occurred in Chicago on May 25, 1950. It involved a collision between a PCC and a gasoline truck. The resulting fire killed 32 passengers and the drivers of both vehicles.

I've had good luck in that I've been able to find a retired motorman who was able to educate me as to the ABC's of PCC's. But I'm looking for others who are out there who can talk about operation, safety, switches, etc.

Any experts out there?

Thanks again,
Craig

  by 3rdrail
 
You might be able to get first-hand experience by going to a local trolley museum out there Craig.

  by jtbell
 
There's also the Illinois Railway Museum not far from Chicago, which has the only preserved Chicago postwar PCC car. Most of the rest were cannibalized for parts for new 'L' cars as streetcar lines were converted to buses.

  by Frank Hicks
 
greenhornet wrote:But I'm looking for others who are out there who can talk about operation, safety, switches, etc.
I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but I have some knowledge of the operation of these cars from experience at IRM. Electric switches in the street, which I believe most that were used in regular service were, could be thrown by a button at the motorman's station. How exactly this worked I'm not sure but the switches were thrown remotely from inside the car. Switches not used in regular service which were not electric would have been thrown from the ground using a switch iron. This would have been unusual; CSL didn't like its people standing in the street and employees were required to change poles from inside the car, leaning out the window, rather than get out to do it.

As for wyeing the cars, the postwar cars had a hostler position at the rear of the car which enabled the motorman to operate in switching (i.e. the first point of power only) from the rear. How extensively this would have been used in service I'm not sure, but it was possible to operate these cars from the back. I believe wyeing wasn't used much in Chicago; single-end cars are tough to wye because you tend to dewire when backing up so turning loops are preferable.

Frank Hicks

  by JimBoylan
 
greenhornet wrote:I'm writing a book about an accident that occurred in Chicago on May 25, 1950. It involved a collision between a PCC and a gasoline truck.
A 1978 collision between a Pittsburgh Port Authority Transit trolley and bus was very similar except for the fire. For the official report, go to:
Http://dotlibrary1.specialcollection.ne ... _railroads
Choose "1978", then "Port Authority of Allegheny County".

It that doesn't work, try:
Http://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net/
Choose "I.C.C. Historical Railroad Investigation Reports (1911-1994)", then
choose "1978", then "Port Authority of Allegheny County".

  by Disney Guy
 
Many "remote control" switches for streetcars use the same "power-coast" method for throwing as is used for trackless trolley overhead switching. The car may have a button or switch on the dashboard that causes a large current draw comparable to depressing the power pedal although not making the car accelerate. There is no button alternative for "coast".

Spring switches and spring loaded overhead frogs, not requiring the operator to get out, are often used in wyes.

San Francisco MUNI has another method for facing switches. The motorman stops the front of the car at point A and waits for a signal to show a desired light, namely which alternates every 10 seconds from straight bar to angled bar. Then he moves the car about ten feet to point B and waits for the switch to throw and a confirmation light to appear.
  by Mitch
 
I don't think Chicago had electric track switches. I'm not an authority but I could find out.