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Pittsburgh and SF PCCs (transportation nerdery)

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:36 pm

PCC #1711 in Allentown climbing Arlington Ave. Hill, 1967 by Edward A Wickson

I’ve been interested in PCCs recently. They’re a type of streetcar that was designed by the Presidents’ Conference Committee in the 1930s and were primarily used during through the 1960s. San Francisco’s F Market line runs a lot of these along with some mostly wooden antique and Milan cars.

I found recently that Pittsburgh had one of the largest PCC fleets in its heyday. There are a number of great photo galleries of old Pittsburgh PCCs in action.

Interestingly enough, Pittsburgh actually ran PCCs in a limited context until 1999 on the 47D Drake Loop line. Here’s a great page about that loop and here’s a photo gallery of the last days of that line. I believe some of the last PCCs were running along this line, though I’m not sure where I read that now. Apparently ridership dwindled to 50 passengers a day at the end.

Market Street Railway, the non-profit that restores PCCs for the F Market, bought two of the last three cars, though they need to converted to appropriate wheel gauge before they’re usable. I really hope they keep the 90s white-black-and-gold paint job you see below.

In one last PCC oddity, the Ashmont Mattapan line in Boston is the last non-historic use of PCCs in the US. The line also runs through a cemetery. I should ride it next time I’m in Boston.

At Fort Couch, inbound car 4004 emerges from the tunnel under Fort Couch Road, a busy four-lane highway by Jon Bell

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