• St. Louis vs. Pullman 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 Mr. Harlem Line
 
Is there any sort of difference between Pullman-built PCCs and St. Louis Car-built PCCs (Aside from being built by two different manufacturers :P )?
  by walt
 
Mr. Harlem Line wrote:Is there any sort of difference between Pullman-built PCCs and St. Louis Car-built PCCs (Aside from being built by two different manufacturers :P )?
Generally, the PCC's built by the St. Louis Car Co were considered to be more "luxurious" than the units built by Pullman Standard. St. Louis pre war ( air electric) models had raised fluting above the windows and on the belt rail, while their Pullman Standard counterparts did not ( had smooth sides in those locations). The same was true for the post-war all-electric standee window types-- the St. Louis cars had fluting, while the Pullman Standard units were smooth sided. The St. Louis models always appeared to be heavier and more solidly built, than the Pullman Standard models, though that could be simply my perception. I do know that Philadelphia, which in the 1960's had the largest fleet of PCC cars in the U.S., was an all St. Louis PCC town until the late 1970's when it acquired some third hand Pullman-Standard Units from Toronto--- and found that many of those cars were badly rusted. The Philly PCC's that ultimately went to San Francisco, and those that were used to create the PCCII rebuilt & modernized units currently being operated on SEPTA's Route 15, are all 1947 St. Louis Car Company units.
  by 3rdrail
 
A Pullman-Standard PCC usually is described as more "angular" than the more rounded St. Louis variety. Boston has gone exclusively with left hand door Pullman-Standards, with the exception of their very first trial PCC - "the Queen Mary", which was a St. Louis Car Company product. The Boston Elevated Railway Company didn't like it particularly as it was claimed that it was jinxed with many electrical problems, and wound up being scrapped as a relatively young car. They went to P/S afterwards and stayed with them. They simultaneously ordered large quantities of Pullman and Pullman-Standard rapid transit cars and trackless trolleys, never returning to St. Louis, except for 40 cars for the Revere Extension in 1951.
  by Mr. Harlem Line
 
Thank you very much for the responses. As I was reading , a few more questions came up.
St. Louis pre war ( air electric) models had raised fluting above the windows and on the belt rail, while their Pullman Standard counterparts did not ( had smooth sides in those locations).
Is there a specific purpose for the fluting, or was it just part of the design?
Boston has gone exclusively with left hand door Pullman-Standards, with the exception of their very first trial PCC - "the Queen Mary", which was a St. Louis Car Company product.
Is there a photo online of "The Queen Mary"? I'm interested to know what the first PCC for Boston looked like.


Just a couple of more questions I like to throw in while I'm at it...

What were some of the improvements(if any) did the post-war PCCs have over their pre-war counterparts?

Also, how many different classes of PCCs, such as A7 and A8, are there? Are these classes designated to specific operators?

Was Boston the only city to run PCCs consists of three(or more) cars? As seen in this photo.

Sorry about asking many questions...just want to learn a bit more of the PCC.
  by 3rdrail
 
Mr. Harlem Line wrote:Is there a photo online of "The Queen Mary"? I'm interested to know what the first PCC for Boston looked like.

http://world.nycsubway.org/perl/show?29117
  by walt
 
Mr. Harlem Line wrote:Thank you very much for the responses. As I was reading , a few more questions came up.
St. Louis pre war ( air electric) models had raised fluting above the windows and on the belt rail, while their Pullman Standard counterparts did not ( had smooth sides in those locations).
Is there a specific purpose for the fluting, or was it just part of the design?
Boston has gone exclusively with left hand door Pullman-Standards, with the exception of their very first trial PCC - "the Queen Mary", which was a St. Louis Car Company product.
Is there a photo online of "The Queen Mary"? I'm interested to know what the first PCC for Boston looked like.


Just a couple of more questions I like to throw in while I'm at it...

What were some of the improvements(if any) did the post-war PCCs have over their pre-war counterparts?

Also, how many different classes of PCCs, such as A7 and A8, are there? Are these classes designated to specific operators?

Was Boston the only city to run PCCs consists of three(or more) cars? As seen in this photo.

Sorry about asking many questions...just want to learn a bit more of the PCC.

Most of these questions are answered in an on-line article "PCC Cars- Not So Standard", but since I don't remember the web site that has it, I'll try to give you some highlights.

Though the PCC car is described as being a standardized design ( and it was more standard than previous designs) there were about 32 or so different variations. The basic "division" is between the pre-war and post war models. The pre-war models were air-electric"-- ie they had air operated doors and brakes ( as well as dynamic braking) while the post-war models were "all-electric"--everything was electrically operated including the doors and brakes.
In appearance, the most noticable difference is that the pre-war models had no standee windows and smaller windshields and rear windows, while the post-war models had standee windows and taller front and rear windows. ( Actually the cars themselves were taller to accomodate the taller front and rear windows). Additionally, the windshields on the post war cars were sloped to cut down on the reflection of the interior lights into the operator's eyes. There were two variations on this slope-- one version ( the largest number of cars) had a 24 degree slope, and a second version had a 32 degree slope. Most companies opted for the 24 degree slope because it was felt that the 32 degree slope took too much interior space. The city of St. Louis had the largest number of cars using the 32 degree windshield slope.
Other variations dealt with such things as car length-- Chicago's PCC's were the longest single ended units while DC's were the shortest being one window shorter than standard--whether the cars were double ended or single ended etc. Additionally there were cars built using a "modified" PCC body which technically were not PCC because they did not use the patented PCC components---One such group of cars were 14 double ended high speed suburban-interurban cars built in 1949 for the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co ( Red Arrow Lines) which had high speed trucks, a control system which allowed for higher speeds, and more powerful motors than the standard 55 hp PCC motors. (the Red Arrow Motors were 75 hp). These cars used the pre-war non standee window body, but with the post war 32 degree windshield slope on both ends, and were of the Chicago length to accomodate the second platform.
Another variation, also seen in Philadelphia, was a non standee window all-electric type ( with the taller windshield and rear window and which used the 24 degree slope). These cars had taller side windows than "standard" because of the absence of the standee windows. These cars were originally built for Kansas City as the president of that company did not like the standee windows. Philadelphia acquired 50 of the cars second hand, and I believe that Toronto also acquired some of these cars.
One early standee window type car was built in the late 1930's by the Clark Manufacturing Co for Brooklyn ( No 1000). This car is the earliest standee window PCC car, and is the only complete PCC ever built by Clark, which concentrated on manufacturing the PCC Clark B-2 trucks which were standard on PCCs. This car still exists in a trolley museum.

Additionally, Philadelphia and Baltimore PCC cars ( including the 14 interurban cars mentioned above) were built to the wide guage trackage used in each of the cities, while the DC cars were the only PCC's to use the underground conduit current collection system.

The PCC cars built for the City of St. Louis also had a different control system than standard, which created problems when those cars were sold to other systems. Philadelphia acquired 50 pre-war models from the city of St. Louis at the same time they acquired the Kansas City Cars, but found the cars from St. Louis to be unsatisfactory because of the control system. Those cars only lasted about five years before they were scrapped, while the Kansas City Cars ran into the early 1980's.

There are other variations which are best explained in the article I mentioned if you can find it. The best place to find photos of the various types is the http://www.nycsubway.org site mentioned in 3rd rail's post.
  by walt
 
Just an addendum to my previous post: The article "The PCC Car- Not So Standard" can be found on the nycsubway.org web site, but the easiest way to get to it is to simply do a web search on "PCC Streetcars" this will take you to direct listing for the article without having to navigate the rather large and complicated nyc subway web site. The article also has links to photos of PCC cars in a number of cities.
  by Gerry6309
 
Boston's dislike for 3001 had nothing to do with it being a St. Louis Car. It was based on its having a 17KM3 control system, which was quite complicated. The later GE version, the 17KM12, was used on Boston's Wartime fleet along with Westinghouse controls. As a one-of-a-kind, 3001 wasn't very useful and difficult to maintain and stock parts for. One of its trucks was used as a shop truck and wound up at Seashore. It bears property number 1001. The added cost for the left hand door was offset by the lower shipping costs for Pullman, thus they got all the Boston orders. Cars 3002 to 3021 were equipped with Osgood-Bradley's box girder bolster design. Later cars used a standard heavier design.

Thanks for the references to my article. Variations on the PCC design were many in number, and exceeded the standard cars when all was said and done. The 32 degree windshield was used on almost every post-war car, but there were two designs. The 24 degree windshield was most common in Boston (3022-3196 and 3222-3271). The original design appeared on 3001-3021 and 3322-3346. The 32 degree design was used on 3197-3221 and 3272-3321.

Other cars with the 24 degree windshield were Pittsburgh's 1400 series, some Los Angeles 3100s and a number of Washington, DC cars. The 32 degree low profile windshield was used on 200 St. Louis Public Service cars and all of the double end cars built in the post war period (San Francisco, Illinois Terminal and the almost PCC Red Arrow cars. All other post-war cars had the standard version.
  by walt
 
Gerry6309 wrote:
Thanks for the references to my article.

No problem--- I have found it to be the best article on PCC cars that I have seen. I refer to it anytime I get involved in a serious discussion of PCC cars. Also thanks for clarifying and correcting my identification of the cars with the 24 vs 32 degree windshield slope.

Boston's problems with No 3001 seem very similar to Philadelphia's problems with the 50 St. Louis Public Service cars that the PTC acquired in the mid 1950's as well as the problems with the PTC's three Brilliners. That is ironic, since Brill was located in SW Philly and had a direct track connection to the Philly streetcar system--- and, nine of the ten high speed double ended versions acquired by the Red Arrow outlasted all of the single end versions in revenue service by almost 30 years.
  by Gerry6309
 
The cars Philadelphia bought from St. Louis were 1940 model All Electrics, the very first cars of that type built. They had St. Louis' unique control arrangement, which PRT modified to match the other cars. Because of these factors they were cantankerous and didn't last long on that system. San Francisco bought the 1945 cars and didn't tinker with the controls, getting much better results. In that city, ordinary PCC controls were in the minority until the F-Line era began. The Kansas City cars were weird looking but standard mechanically, and outlasted many of Philadelphia's native PCCs. As you stated, the Brillliners were also oddballs in a large fleet and soon fell out of favor. The Red Arrow Brill cars, like their St. Louis built counterparts, were neither fish nor fowl, not quite Brillliners, but what Red Arrow wanted. They were an important part of that fleet and thus outlasted any other Brillliners.
  by walt
 
Gerry6309 wrote: The Red Arrow Brill cars, like their St. Louis built counterparts, were neither fish nor fowl, not quite Brillliners, but what Red Arrow wanted. They were an important part of that fleet and thus outlasted any other Brillliners.
Very true- in fact, in 1945 Red Arrow approached Brill and attempted to order more of the high speed Brilliners. By that time, however, Brill had abandoned its rail car manufacturing operation( in favor of buses and trackless trolleys) and declined the offer. It was only after the Brill "turn down" that the Red Arrow placed the order with the St Louis Car Co. for the 14 PCC type cars. And--- it was a Brilliner ( No. 7 IIRC) that made the last revenue trip of the Red Arrow aquired Cars over the former Red Arrow system prior to the advent of the present SEPTA Kawasaki LRV's, and not one of the newer St Louis Cars.
  by Mr. Harlem Line
 
Thank you again guys for all the detailed answers and links. I've read the "PCC - Not So Standard" article and I must say, it is a very good article and I did find answers to several of my questions from reading it, along with the posts in this thread.

Will bookmark this thread for future reference.