• Which cities ran PCCs?

  • 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 aline1969
I can only think of Dallas running double ended PCC's and then Boston bought them for the Mattapan line. Now Seashore has most of that collection, eight total and six are for sale.

fordhamroad wrote:-as a Brooklyn kid, I spent a lot of time riding the PCC's as well as the older trolley models in the thirties and forties.. Riding the Smith-9th line and the McDonald Ave line were usually all PCC's, went to high school daily on one. Best and smoothest transit ride I have ever had. Quiet, comfortable, smooth. The plastic seats were easy to keep clean. I remember 1000 well because it was unusual, and it occasionally turned up when you were riding. Also 1001. always noticed the number really. It is up at Branford Trolley Museum, so I had another ride on it a few years ago.
-it was a great disappointment when the PCC's were replaced with smelly diesel busses. A jolting ride, weaving in and out of traffic -- not nearly as nice. And the puffs of acrid exhaust as you stood at curbside.
-after NYC gave up its trolleys, I used to go over to Newark every once in a while to ride a PCC, just for the fun of it.
-However, the main question I wanted to raise is:
How many cities had DOUBLE ENDED PCC's? Anyone have personal experience of these?



  by JimBoylan
Pacific Electric and Illinois Terminal Company also had double ended PCCs.
Illinois Terminal's, separate from the St. Louis Public Service city PCCs, also ran in Granite City, Ill.
Both Buffalo and Louisville tested a pre-war Pittsburgh PCC. (The Buffalo Evening News also tested a borrowed trackless trolley there.)
Suburban Philadelphia's not quite PCC cars ran until about 1982, but the routes didn't run in any city.
Brooklyn did run PCCs to the 1939 World's Fair in Queens, but was ordered to stop the service because the fare was 10 cents.
Public Service of New Jersey and 3rd Ave. Rwy. of New York belonged to the Electric Railway Presidents' Conference Committee, but neither bought new PCCs.
Clark Equipment also built a few subway/elevated cars for Brooklyn.

  by Gerry6309
Double Ended PCC cars and PCC cousins:

San Francisco, CA: 5 "Magic Carpet" cars - 1938

Philadelphia Suburban, PA: 10 Brillliners - 1941

Pacific Electric, CA: 25 PCCs 1942

Dallas, TX: 25 PCCs 1945

San Francisco, CA: 10 PCCs - 1948

Illinois Terminal, MO, IL: 8 PCCs - 1948

Philadelphia Suburban, PA: 15 "St. Loiusliners" - 1949

Boston, MA: 25 former Dallas Cars - 1959

Shaker Heights, OH: 2 former Illinois Terminal cars - ~1977

Three San Francisco cars are still active in 2008

  by Red Arrow Fan
Gerry6309 wrote:Double Ended PCC cars and PCC cousins:


Philadelphia Suburban, PA: 15 "St. Loiusliners" - 1949

Hmm... I've heard of Brilliners and Liberty Liners, but I never heard the double-ended PCC cars referred to as St. Louisliners. (There were 14, btw).
  by Red Arrow Fan
fordhamroad wrote:...How many cities had DOUBLE ENDED PCC's? Anyone have personal experience of these?


I rode the Phila Suburban double-end PCCs many times in the 60s & 70s. Although they were equipped with couplers, I never saw any 2-car trains (unless you count disabled cars being towed with a drawbar :-) )

The 2-car consists were probably used only on the West Chester line, in earlier times.

  by walt
Two car consists of the double ended St Louis PCC type cars were used extensively on the West Chester, Ardmore and Media Lines during peak periods well into the early 1960's. Many of these runs were short turn Springfield or Oakmont runs on the Media Line, and probably Westgate Hills runs on the West Chester Line. I suspect that two car "trains" rarely ran all the way to West Chester. There is a good Sunday River Video ( Tape I know, but this may now be on DVD as well) entitled Brill Bullet Cars and Red Arrow Lines consisting of film shot circa 1955-57 and which has a shot of a two car "train" of the St. Louis Cars on Garrett Road just outside of the terminal, and the original edition of the Ronald DeGraw Red Arrow book has a photo of Nos 19 & 13 as a two car train taken at Broomall on the West Chester Line. This same photo appeared in the official program of the West Chester Sesquicentennial in 1949 ( when the cars were brand new).

I also rode the St. Louis Cars and the Brilliners extensively during the 1950's and 1960's. As a young child, I even got to ride all the way to West Chester on the St. Louis cars several times. I remember the pre- farebox fare collection on those cars--- they had a rod running along the ceiling above the aisle seat with buttons spaced at intervals along the length of the car. The operator would walk the car before departing from either terminus collecting fares and would ring them up using the buttons. All of the car types had this arrangement, but the 80 series cars and the Brilliners had a very small fare register mounted above the windshield on one end of the car. ( I have one of those registers on my bookshelf--from Center Door Car No 57--- it carries the letters PWCT---for the Red Arrow predecessor Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Co.) The St. Louis Cars had a much larger register which had colored lights which displayed the several types of fares collected. Also, in the early 1950's, the cars were equipped with window shades.

The Brilliners had no couplers and could not be operated as two car trains. Drawbars were used to tow these cars, but otherwise they were always operated as single units. BTW the Brilliners and "St. Louies" used the same motors, though they were mounted on different trucks.


  by Alcophile
Leo Sullivan wrote:Did the Pittsburgh car run in Buffalo?
No, Pittsburgh streetcars use a broad gauge in the neighbourhood of 5' 6" (I'm sure what it is exactly) Buffalo's IRC used standard gauge. The Pittsburgh PCC was placed on display behind the Aud.
  by ohioriverrailway
Alcophile wrote:
Leo Sullivan wrote:Did the Pittsburgh car run in Buffalo?
No, Pittsburgh streetcars use a broad gauge in the neighbourhood of 5' 6" (I'm sure what it is exactly) Buffalo's IRC used standard gauge. The Pittsburgh PCC was placed on display behind the Aud.
That would be 62.5".
  by eddiebehr
PCCs did get to Manhattan. Three Brooklyn routes ran via the Brooklyn Bridge to a terminal at Park Row in Manhattan. Trolley service via this routing ended March, 1950.
  by ExCon90
I'm just catching up on this thread. Regarding some earlier posts about personal recollections of double-ended PCCs, I have two:

1. I rode the Pacific Electric PCCs on the Glendale-Burbank line from 1947 to around 1953 (that's when I went into the Army, and I can't remember whether they were still running then or not -- they were certainly gone when I came back). I believe they were the only double-ended PCCs in the US with center doors; that is, they had two front doors and two center doors on the right side in the direction of movement, so that from either end almost to the center they looked like a single-ended car. Originally the conductor stood at the center door and collected fares as the passengers entered; the front was for exit only. Later they were changed to one-man operation, and exit treadles were installed in the center stepwells. The seats were very comfortable, being one-piece two-seaters with fairly deep upholstery (no danger of slashing in the 1950s -- and the windows were ordinary glass in those innocent days). They swiveled in place; the conductor walked the length of the car turning the seats at the end of the run. There was no pedal to depress, as on long-distance railroad coaches -- the conductor just stood in the aisle with one hand on the handrail at the back of each seat, and gave a vigorous yank. The seats spun around 180 degrees and latched in position facing in the opposite direction (this happened at each end of the run, something like once an hour on the Glendale-Burbank line, all day, every day -- hardware was built to last in those days). Imagine facing in the direction of movement! The 600-series (Hollywood) cars had the same seating, as did the blimps on the Southern District. The PCCs rode pretty comfortably, although there was a tendency for any irregularity in the track to be amplified by the cars' suspension. They operated as two-car trains more often than not; in a typical off-peak maneuver, a single car would operate from Burbank and would find a single car waiting on the main at Arden Jct., having come down from North Glendale. The car from Burbank would move up and couple on, much to my chagrin, since it shut off my forward view the rest of the way. I have a recollection of at least one 3-car train in rush hours but have learned not to trust my recollections. It seems that if such existed, somebody would have photographed it, probably on the Fletcher Drive trestle, but I haven't run across any photos of a 3-car train.

2. I was told by an old-line Red Arrow expert that for a number of years they ran two St. Louis cars as a slip-coach operation (the only one I ever heard of in the US); to save using two time slots out of 69th St. in rush hour, the first car ran express to Woodland Ave., local to Media, and the second ran express to Scenic Road, local to Woodland Ave. Approaching Scenic Road, the operator of the second car uncoupled at speed, using a pushbutton or something on the console, and brought the car to a stop at Scenic Road while the first car barreled through Scenic Road without stopping, to make his first scheduled stop at Woodland Ave. Meanwhile, the second car continued as a local to Woodland Ave. and returned to 69th St. from there. Would have liked to ride that if I had known about it.