Railfan.net Home Railfan Photos ABPR Archives Staff Safari Photos Railfan Links

Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums Railfan.net Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please Sign In or Register. Aug 16th, 2017, 3:43pm
Categories •  FastIndex •  LongIndex •  Help •  Search •  Members  •  Sign In •  Register


PCC's; With Feeling
   Railfan.net Web Forums
   Transit and Commuter
   Traction
(Moderators: , NS3360)
   PCC's; With Feeling
« Previous topic | Next topic »
Pages: 1 2 3  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint
   Author  Topic: PCC's; With Feeling  (Read 567 times)
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
PCC's; With Feeling
  PCC3165.jpg - 23999 Bytes
« on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:24pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi All,
 
After several pages, it is time to spread out into a new thread on the venerable PCC.
 
So, how about a working knowledge of a PCC ? Yup, let's go inside the PCC and see how much we know about it.
 
First off, you climb the stairs into the PCC, after the motorman flips a switch on his dashboard and opens the door for you. Then you reach into your pocket and take out the correct amount of change, and drop it into the fare box. Next to the fare box is the change maker for coins. The Motorman, or driver, is at the far left of the car, in front of the dashboard. The dashboard contains switches for the doors, inside lights, outside lights etc. There are also gauges for speed, air pressure etc. What also caught my attention as a kid, NO STEERING WHEEL. Below the dashboard are two pedals. One, on the right, is the Juice, or accelerator, and the one on the left is the brake pedal. Also on the dashboard is a switch to reverse the direction of the PCC. Yes, it can back up. I was surprised one day when Bob, the Motorman at OERM, left the driver's seat, and went to the back of the car. He lifted up the rear seat cushion, and lo and behold, there were controls to allow him to back up and see out the rear window and pull backwards into the carbarn. Quite a surprise. All the seats had cushions and the lighting was fluorescent. Bob could stand up and turn the handle of the destination chart for the top of the car, so as to let the people getting on the PCC where it was headed for. There was also one on the side, just behind the front door, at the bottom of the window. The windows could be opened for the summertime, and there was heating for the car in cold weather. Quite comfortable.  
 
This pretty much describes the inside of PCC # 3165 and her sisters at OERM. Anyone have any additions or changes ? If the tracks were nice and smooth, so was the ride, if not, good luck. The PCC's were pretty sure footed and were able to hold onto the trolley wire quite well. They slid along the trolley wire, did not have wheels as did the older trolleys and so did not lose contact with the trolley wire as often as the wooden trolleys did, especially in bad weather.  
 
I have never sat in the driver's seat of a PCC, but have watched intently, and so I would have some confidence level in actually driving it. OERM usually will offer to train its budding Motormen. From what I have seen, driving a PCC was enjoyable and a pleasure. Probably was a great way to make a living.


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Traction/PCC3165.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Oct 9th, 2006, 8:02pm by Pennsy » Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
W.G McAdoo
Former Member
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:39pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify   Remove

   Pennsy: Certainly, a PCC was the ultimate in "hi-tech" to veteran motormen who'd spent years of operating old "standard" cars with their old-fashioned controllers and brake stands. On "standard" cars, the motorman's hands were always busy, manipulating both controller and brake handles , as well as operating the gongs (on cars that had roof-mounted gongs). On the PCC, bus-type pedals were used for both accelerating and braking. This, surely, must have been truly VERY "Flash Gordon-ish" to many an old-time veteran motorman!!

Logged
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:50pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Oct 9th, 2006, 6:24pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi All,
 
 They slid along the trolley wire, did not have wheels as did the older trolleys and so did not lose contact with the trolley wire as often as the wooden trolleys did, especially in bad weather.  
 

 
   Not all of them had trolley shoes---- The entire Philadelphia PCC fleet retained the trolley wheels throughout the PTC ( private ownership) era. You could hear those cars several blocks away because of the distinctive "hiss" of the wheel on the wire. ( this applied only to the city cars operated by the PTC. The Red Arrow lines equipped all of their cars with trolley shoes sometime in the early 1940's) And, if a PCC took a curve to fast, the pole would de-wire with a thunk and the operator would have to exit the car to re-wire the pole.
   Some of the St Louis ( the city, not the car builder) PCCs were delivered with hand controls


« Last Edit: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:54pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 9th, 2006, 8:08pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi John,
 
True enough. Something like turning loose a steam locomotive engineman into a diesel such as an F-7.
 
But don't forget the comfort. I remember seeing the motorman placing a portable seat on a pole, into a hole in the floor so that he sort of sat down, almost, and drove the wooden trolley. By comparison, the PCC was heaven.


Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #4 on: Oct 9th, 2006, 10:01pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Most traction cars built in the 1930's and later had fairly decent seating for the operator. Some examples are the Brill Bullet Cars ( both the P&W and FJ&G versions), the C&LE Red Devil cars, the 80 series Red Arrow Brill Lightweight Cars, and the Capital Transit Pre-PCC 1000 class streamliners, just to name a few examples.  Some of these car types did, however, continue to be hand controlled.

« Last Edit: Oct 9th, 2006, 10:03pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #5 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 1:12am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi Walt,
 
Yup, I do remember finding a control handle lying on the floor of an older car at the old car barn in Brooklyn, at Hegeman St. One of my favorite hangouts as a kid. We all used to skate to the carbarn and wander around the tracks and into the cars. The Motorman sat on his stool in the center of the control stand with one hand, I believe the left hand, on the handle I mentioned, the throttle, and the right hand on the air brake handle. At his foot was the button for the bell or gong. Nope, not very comfortable, compared to a PCC.
 
Those cars were double ended and so a bench was placed across the doors on the opposite end for seating, the stool would be moved to the hole at the other end, the motorman would take his control handles with him to the other end, and he would raise the opposite trolley pole and lower the one he was using. Now the car was ready to be used in the opposite direction. Needless to say it was a wonderful job in icy and snowy weather with the changing of the trolley poles. To this day, the Canal St. streetcars in beautiful downtown New Orleans operate this way. The tourists are usually ready, willing, and able to help change the trolley poles. Last time I rode the line, the Motorman was a Motorperson, a lady.


Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
RDG_4-8-4
Former Member
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #6 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 2:27am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify   Remove

on Oct 9th, 2006, 6:50pm, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
   Not all of them had trolley shoes---- The entire Philadelphia PCC fleet retained the trolley wheels throughout the PTC ( private ownership) era. You could hear those cars several blocks away because of the distinctive "hiss" of the wheel on the wire. ( this applied only to the city cars operated by the PTC. The Red Arrow lines equipped all of their cars with trolley shoes sometime in the early 1940's) And, if a PCC took a curve to fast, the pole would de-wire with a thunk and the operator would have to exit the car to re-wire the pole.
   Some of the St Louis ( the city, not the car builder) PCCs were delivered with hand controls

 
Philly PCC's wore wheels well into the SEPTA era.  About 1977 the Luzerne-based cars switched to shoes and about 1979, the Woodland-based cars followed suit.


Logged
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
  PCCPerris.jpg - 21594 Bytes
« Reply #7 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 10:19am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Okay RDG,
 
Now you got me curious. Did anyone ever convert a PCC to run with a Pantograph A PCC with a Pantograph would have been an amazing trolley. It would be independent of really bad weather.  How about the ability to throw switches while still in the PCC That was the other problem with trolleys and bad weather.


http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/Traction/PCCPerris.jpg
Click Image to Resize

« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2006, 10:20am by Pennsy » Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
NYC_Subway_Fan
Historian
Posts: 1443
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #8 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 12:54pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Oct 10th, 2006, 10:19am, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)

Now you got me curious. Did anyone ever convert a PCC to run with a Pantograph A PCC with a Pantograph would have been an amazing trolley. It would be independent of really bad weather.  How about the ability to throw switches while still in the PCC That was the other problem with trolleys and bad weather.

 
Absolutely!  The Newark City Subway did just that prior to bringing the LRT's into service.  When they strung the new catenary for the line in preperation for the LRT's several of the old PCC cars were outfitted with Pants so that service could continue to run on the line until the LRT's were delivered and placed into service.
 
Here's a photo from NYCSubway.org of one such car crossing Orange Street in Newark.
 
 


Logged

Alan,

Take care and take trains!
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #9 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 2:07pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Where did you say that photo was

Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
NYC_Subway_Fan
Historian
Posts: 1443
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #10 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 5:56pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

on Oct 10th, 2006, 2:07pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Where did you say that photo was

 
Just click on the word "Here's" in my post above to be linked to the picture on the NYCSubway.org site.  There are even more pictures of NJT PCC's with pants on their site.


Logged

Alan,

Take care and take trains!
NYC_Subway_Fan
Historian
Posts: 1443
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #11 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 6:36pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Just to make it easier, the link to that first photo that I mentioned is right below.
 
Picture #1
 
And here are links to a whole bunch more photos of NJT PCC's wearing pants.
 
Picture #2
 
Picture #3
 
Picture #4
 
Picture #5
 
 
Some neat shots showing both the original trolly pole and the pantograph.
 
Picture #6
 
Picture #7
 
Picture #8
 
Here's one with a PCC in it's original Public Service livery.
 
Picture #9
 
Again, all of the photos are from NYCSubway.org


Logged

Alan,

Take care and take trains!
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #12 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 7:56pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Sarajevo, Yougoslavia purchased 74 ex DC Transit PCCs and equipped them with pans. They also cut several of them and made articulated units out of them.

Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #13 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 8:24pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi  All,
 
Looks like the PCC's did indeed have Faively type pantographs at one time. I'll bet the Motormen really liked them.
 
The new LRV's, Light Rail Vehicles, all have Faively type pantographs. They also have a means of throwing switches to change their routing from inside the cab. Before each switch, there is an inductor between the rails, a corresponding transducer is located below the body of the LRV. When the Motorman activates the transducer from the dashboard of the LRV, the tracks pick up the signal and throw the switch. No Interlockings required, all a one man operation. If the PCC's had that, or something similar, it would have been pig heaven for the Motormen, especially in rainy weather or ice and snow. Today's LRV's are nothing short of amazing in how they operate. Let's not forget the PA system announcing the next station or whatever the Motorman wishes to say. Most announcements are prerecorded with a professionally trained voice. No problem with "marbles in the mouth" sounds.


Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
RDG_4-8-4
Former Member
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #14 on: Oct 12th, 2006, 8:19am »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify   Remove

Don't forget Pittsburgh ran PCC's for a while with pantographs.

Logged
Inlet-Longport
Railfan
Posts: 116
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #15 on: Oct 12th, 2006, 2:20pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Baltimore Transit never used carbon insert shoes.  The PCC's always used trolley wheels.  Last car ran November 3, 1963.  Preserved BTC PCC 7407 still operates at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum using a trolley wheel.  
 
Atlantic City's brilliners were delivered with trolley wheels.  I don't know when the company changed over to carbon shoes.  


« Last Edit: Oct 12th, 2006, 2:21pm by Inlet-Longport » Logged
RDG_4-8-4
Former Member
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #16 on: Oct 12th, 2006, 2:31pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify   Remove

on Oct 12th, 2006, 2:20pm, Inlet-Longport wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Baltimore Transit never used carbon insert shoes.  The PCC's always used trolley wheels.  Last car ran November 3, 1963.  Preserved BTC PCC 7407 still operates at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum using a trolley wheel.  
 
Atlantic City's brilliners were delivered with trolley wheels.  I don't know when the company changed over to carbon shoes.  

 
When I visited Pittsburgh in the late 1970's, a few cars had metal-insert shoes.  But I talked to one motorman about it and he said that they were going back to using wheels because the shoes weren't maintained properly and as a result they started to shave the wire.  The metal inserts were to smooth out the wire before they would go to the carbon inserts.  Amazing that with that in mind that they didn't go with roller pantographs on the LRV's like SN originally had.


Logged
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #17 on: Oct 12th, 2006, 4:25pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi All,
 
Well gentlemen, it appears that depending upon where you were you could find PCC's with trolley wheels, trolley shoes, or pantographs. Talk about a versatile piece of machinery. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
 
From the point of view of the motorman, the operator, especially in cold climates, I would definitely take the PCC with the pantograph.  
 
Now then, how about the switches Did all of them have to get out of the PCC to throw the switch, or was there a mechanism that allowed them to do that from inside the PCC, as today's LRV's do
 
I would also venture a guess that if you took a PCC with a pantograph, it would run perfectly on today's LRV routes. And who wouldn't pay to ride that car By the way, the last PCC I rode in revenue service was in Boston, and it was the PCC painted for the Bicentenial in red white and blue etc. Beautiful car and paint job. Taking the turnaround to go back to where we came from, the motorman entered the loop too fast, and guess what, we lost the trolley wire. Fortunately it was a lovely day and he had no problem replacing the trolley pole on the trolley wire, from outide the car. It would have been nicer for him had the PCC had a pantograph.  
 
Okay, now the big question; we have mentioned NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia. Looks like Walt C. and I are about to go the rounds on this one. I claim that the NYC trolleys were more plentiful than those in Phillie, and had more and longer routes, and carried many more passengers. The gauntlet is down. Remember, I took as a kid with my Grandmother ONE trolley from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn all the way into Manhattan, across the Williamsburg Bridge.


« Last Edit: Oct 12th, 2006, 4:31pm by Pennsy » Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
Walt_C
Historian
Posts: 2934
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #18 on: Oct 12th, 2006, 8:49pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

The switching depended more on the line than on the car type. As early as the 1950's ( and probably earlier than that) most, if not all, of Philly's "mainline" switches were electrically operated by a toggle switch inside the car. The cars did carry a switch iron, as some of the switches inside the loops ( particularly those which served little used, or storage tracks) were manual requiring the use of a switch iron. I particularly remember watching manual switching of cars entering the old Woodland Depot from Woodland Ave. in West Philadelphia.
 
 Alan---- as late as 1965, Philadelphia had more streecars running to more different destinations throughout more of the day ( 24/7 on the Subway Surface Lines)than any other North American City with the exception of Toronto. In 1965 Philly operated more than 450 PCC cars. During the earlier ( conventional Nearside Car) era the number of streetcars being operated in Philly was closer to 1500. ( This is from the Harold E Cox book "Surface Cars of Philadlphia- 1911-1965") Also-- Philly's Route 23 ( Germantown- South Philly)  was the longest city streetcar route in North America ( and according to Cox, the world) being 141/2 miles from end to end, and requiring 1 1/2 hours running time between terminals -- When the 1947 All Electric PCC's were placed into service, 100 of them were assigned to Route 23. Philly also operated the SHORTEST streetcar route in the US--- Route 62 between the Darby and Yeadon Loops- 1.54 mile round trip. ( This Route is now part of the extension of Route 13 into Darby)


« Last Edit: Oct 12th, 2006, 9:04pm by Walt_C » Logged

Please move to the rear and speed your ride-Regards, Walt
Pennsy
Historian
View Profile  

Posts: 4586
Re: PCC's; With Feeling
 
« Reply #19 on: Oct 14th, 2006, 2:20pm »
Quick-Jump   Reply w/Quote   Modify

Hi Walt,
 
Well I felt that things would heat up with that one and I am not disappointed.
 
Today, in beautiful downtown Pomona, CA, I attended the Pomona Valley Model RR club swap meet. Bumped into an old acquaitance, George Huxtabury, an old Philadelphia boy, model trolley and streetcar affecionado,  and he said a few things that agree with you. Phillie did have in excess of 1500 street cars at one time. George also agrees that Phillie had a more extensive streetcar system than New York. Probably because NYC also had a rather extensive Subway, and Elevated subway system at the same time. Good debate on that one.  
 
The part of his discussion that caught my attention was what you flirted with. How the PCC's switched tracks from inside the PCC. According to George, they used the VTAG system. This system used radio signals from the PCC to the electric switches to throw them. A toggle switch on the dashboard accomplished this, in any weather. George could not tell me what VTAG stood for. Apparently, a different system was used on electric buses to throw the overhead switches on the trolley lines. This was activated by the bus driver signalling for a right or left turn, depending on which way he wanted to throw the switch. As the trolley poles passed under the trolley wires, they would pick up his signal from the bus and throw the switch. So the driver stayed inside the bus. A fascinating piece of history.


Logged

Dyed in the wool PRR fan.
Pages: 1 2 3  ReplyReply     EMail TopicEMail Topic   PrintPrint

« Previous topic | Next topic »