Posts Tagged ‘pcc streetcars’

Turning on the Loop

February 16, 2022

Port Authority of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) public transit car 4009 is rounding the PCC turn back loop in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1999. Note the more modern transit car behind it.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

In the Loop

July 2, 2021

 Shaker Heights Rapid Transit PCC cars are inside the Van Aken loop in Shaker Heights in May 1973. Today most of these tracks are gone and Greater Cleveland RTA Blue Line cars do not turn around at the Van Aken station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Brookville Completes Restoration of El Paso Streetcar

March 26, 2018

Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corporation has completed the restoration of the first of six Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars dating to 1937 for a streetcar line in  El Paso, Texas.

The car was moved to Texas earlier this month after being modernized at Brookville’s plant in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

The cars are being operated by El Paso’s Mass Transit Department, known as Sun Metro.

The streetcars had been taken out of service in 1974 and stored before being returned to service.

The modernization included repairing and replacing structural carbody components, new propulsion systems, complete rewiring, new interiors, and door system upgrades. The project also included the integration of key modern features and amenities, including HVAC systems, pantographs, and mobility device lifting system.

The first vehicle to be restored was painted light blue, red and white to match the livery used by the El Paso fleet between the late 1950s and 1974.

Other vehicles will match El Paso’s fleet during the 1950s (green, orange and white) and 1960s (blue, green and white).

The delivery marks the completion of Brookville’s 43rd PCC streetcar restoration, including 18 vehicles for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in Philadelphia and 24 for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

In addition to the five remaining vehicles for El Paso, Brookville is currently working through a progressive rebuild with SFMTA and has delivered eight of 16 total units to San Francisco.

When the work is completed, Brookville will have refurbished 56 PCC streetcars and 88 heritage streetcars, inclusive of propulsion systems and trucks provided for 31 Perley A. Thomas red cars for New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and the restoration of SFTMA’s Streetcar No. 1.

Brookville to Rebuild 13 El Paso PCC Streetcars

October 28, 2015

Brookville Equipment Corporation plans to modernize six PCC streetcars for use in El Paso, Texas.

The cars were built in 1937 and are to be used on a 4.8-mile line now under development.

Restoration work will begin in the company’s plant in Brookville, Pennsylvania, next month.

The $18.8 million contracts calls for Brookville to strip down the vehicle frames, repair and replace structural carbody components, rewire the cars, rebuild the trucks and upgrade the doors

Brookville said in a news release that the work will “provide a modern transit solution wrapped in a nostalgic, historical package.”

This includes installation of modern HVAC units, a wheelchair lift system, WiFi access, bike racks and fareboxes.

Once in service, the cars will provide the first streetcar service in El Paso since 1974.

The cars were used in El Paso previously and the renovation is expected to result in their being painted in the original liveries from the 1950s, (green, orange and white), 1960s (blue and white), and late 1960s and early 1970s (light blue, red and white). Two cars will be repainted to match the livery of each era.

“By retaining the charms of yesteryear, while also integrating the latest technologies for passenger accessibility and convenience, we are hopeful these restored streetcars will serve as a reminder of El Paso’s unique history and become iconic symbols of its future,” said Joe McNeil, Brookville’s vice president of business development.

The cars were built by the St. Louis Car Company for the City of San Diego. Later, the cars servied El Paso and crossed into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, before being removed from service in 1974. The cars have been in outdoor storage since then.

Brookville bills itself as America’s leading PCC streetcar rebuilder, with more than 30 PCC streetcars in service in the United States and over 70 rebuilt or originally manufactured streetcars operating on American streets.

Currently, Brookville is completing a PCC streetcar end-of-life rebuild project for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority after having completed 16 original rebuilds from 2004 through 2011.

In the early 2000s, Brookville modernized and rebuilt 18 PCC streetcars for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority of Philadelphia.

At the completion of these and other projects, Brookville will have made contributions to 56 PCC streetcars, and 88 heritage streetcars in the United States.


I liked the Time Warp Effect the Trolleys Created

July 2, 2014


Last Saturday I visited the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum to view the parade of trolleys day and the many rare streetcars that would be running.

I was interested in former Pittsburgh Streetcars specifically.  The museum has two operable PCC cars that ran on Pittsburgh Railways.

Car No. 4004 wears the late PAT scheme and while car 1711 is dressed in 1950s era paint. Also on hand were some older Peter Witt cars.

We arrived about 10:30 and were able to get pictures of both the PCC cars. Unfortunately, it was a warm day with temps above 90 degrees.

The PCCs both have sealed windows and no air conditioning and were put away after just one trip.

After touring the carbarns, I boarded an older Peter Witt car with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Alex Bruchec as the conductor.

He is a member of the museum and a regular operator as well. I’ll quote  Dave Reid of Pittsburgh who commented on my photo of Alex. “I met this gentleman last year when I visited.  He was very knowledgeable about every streetcar in the collection and you could tell he had a passion for them.”

As for myself, I like the time warp effect you can achieve at an operating museum such as this one.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon



Alex Bruchac is at the controls.

Alex Bruchac is at the controls.