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Topic Summary
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:24pm
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.
Posted by: W.G McAdoo Posted on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:39pm
   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!!
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 9th, 2006, 6:50pm
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
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 9th, 2006, 8:08pm
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.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 9th, 2006, 10:01pm
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.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 1:12am
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.
Posted by: RDG_4-8-4 Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 2:27am
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.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 10:19am
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.
Posted by: NYC_Subway_Fan Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 12:54pm
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.
 
 
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 2:07pm
Where did you say that photo was
Posted by: NYC_Subway_Fan Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 5:56pm
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.
Posted by: NYC_Subway_Fan Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 6:36pm
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
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 7:56pm
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.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 10th, 2006, 8:24pm
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.
Posted by: RDG_4-8-4 Posted on: Oct 12th, 2006, 8:19am
Don't forget Pittsburgh ran PCC's for a while with pantographs.
Posted by: Inlet-Longport Posted on: Oct 12th, 2006, 2:20pm
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.  
Posted by: RDG_4-8-4 Posted on: Oct 12th, 2006, 2:31pm
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.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 12th, 2006, 4:25pm
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.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 12th, 2006, 8:49pm
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)
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 14th, 2006, 2:20pm
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.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 1:20am
on Oct 14th, 2006, 2:20pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
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.  
 

 
 Another reason for Philly's more extensive ( more than NYC) streetcar network may be the large number of narrow streets in Philly. Although the streetcar system has now been almost totally bustituted ( with the exception of the 5 subway-surface lines and the "re-railed" Route 15) for a long time it was felt that buses couldn't make some of the turns that the streetcars did, particularly in South Philadelphia. ( If you've ever seen a PCC car make a sharp turn, you'll notice that the body seems to almost swivel as the car takes the curve-- thus permitting a much tighter turn than is possible with a bus of the same length)--- Since it has been more than 35 years since I actually LIVED in the Philly area, and had a day to day knowlege of the transit system, I don't know whether they diverted buses from the old streetcar routes on the narrow streets, but, with the exception of the 15, there are now no all-surface streetcar lines left in Philly.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 10:32am
Hi Walt,
 
Pretty much in agreement with George. Too bad you two couldn't have gotten together at that Swap Meet. I'll bet that there would have been a crowd around the two of you really quick to hear the conversation. These were all Rabid Model RR's and Trolley buffs. The conversations were broken up from time to time by Union Pacific blowing their air horns as they entered the nearby crossing. Not a very quiet area for that early in the AM, and then came the rain.  
 
George did mention that the tight turns were something else for the narrow streets. Something like in Europe. I imagine that the buses that took over were relatively short and might just have been able to handle as many people as the trolley it replaced. Certainly articulated buses, or LRV's, could not take those curves.  
 
New York City did have some neighborhoods that were tight with narrow streets, but they were few and far between. Most of the trolley routes had lots of room. I did see an old wooden trolley negotiate a curve such as that and it really looked weird. The center of the trolley damn near touched the curb of the street. Really close quarters, and of course, the trolley did not present an attractive view while doing that. You could seen the motorman praying that the trolley pole stayed put. And you could walk faster than the trolley could take that turn. No speed demons in that situation.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 3:47pm
At one point, up until the mid 1950's, there were streetcars running on most of the north south numbered streets for most of the length of those streets, particularly east of the Schuylkill River. many of these streets carried one way traffic, so a particular streetcar route would travel northbound on one numbered street, and southbound on another numbered street one block away. If a car needed to make a turn from one of those streets into an equally narrow east- west street, that turn would be extremely tight. Part of the mid 1950's bustitution of 2/3 of Philly's streetcar routes ( courtesy of NCL) resulted in a diversion of the new bus routes to avoid those kind of turns.  Even with PCC cars, pulling the pole on those curves was rather common.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 4:17pm
Hi Walt,
 
Yep, I thought that was the problem. In NYC you very rarely had that problem. The trolleys generally ran on two way streets, both north-south and east -west.  The fun did start with one way streets, although most of them were fairly wide with parking for cars on both sides of the street.  
 
If I remember the Benny Goodman story correctly, he was a Philadelphia boy and his father got killed when run over by a streetcar, on such a narrow street. Such streets were, apparently, inherently very dangerous. Yet, I will bet the kids still hopped on the back of the streetcars for a free ride. Never tried it myself, but saw it many times. The thought that the kids didn't have the price of the carfare never entered my mind.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 6:02pm
Another "trick" that kids had during that era, particularly where there was an alley near an intersection with a carstop, was to run out of the alley when a car stopped at the cross street and yank the pole retriever rope thus "pulling" the pole. The kids would then run back into the alley and hide as they watched the operator  re-wire the pole.  Narrow streets are inherently dangerous for many reasons. They also caused delays if an auto was parked too far from the curb, or if a coal or oil truck was making a deliverly of fuel to a building along the street. The streetcar would sit there repeadtedly clanging its gong until the obstructing vehicle was moved.
 
  On Main Street in Ellicott City, Md.,if a No. 9 car couldn't proceed up Main Street to its termius because of an obstruction, since that line used the double-ended Brill Semi-Convertable Cars, the operator would simply reverse ends and go back to Catonsville rather than wait for the obstruction to be removed.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 15th, 2006, 10:55pm
Hi All,
 
John just gave me a photo of a PCC of the Church Ave. Line at the intersection of Church Ave. and Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn. This is where the PCC goes under Ocean Parkway. Both the Tunnel and the PCC's are gone now. Just had to take the photo and do some magic with it with Kodak Easyshare and here is the result. Enjoy
 
Also, no we did not vandalize or other such things as Walt delineates. I guess we were relatively good kids. Also we had a Clancy nearby. Yes, you guessed it, that was the neighborhood police officer. He was one of "the boys". That was in the days when the local cop was your friend, protector, and watched over you. And all the kids knew him by first name. We were also members of the Police Athletic League.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 19th, 2006, 10:29am
Hi John et al;
 
Looks like you all, even with all those photographs, missed a winner. That is, the Bicentennial paint jobs that some of the PCC's got. The last PCC I rode on, that was in revenue service, was in Boston, on the line going through Newton Highlands. It was the Bicentennial PCC, and was resplendent in red white and blue. The red and blue was the bunting and the white was the stars. Beautiful paint job, and really clean and smooth riding PCC.  
 
So, fellas, how about some color photos, if possible, of the PCC's in Bicentennial Paint jobs I think we have now seen PCC's in every color but the Bicentennial paint jobs. Can't believe the white PCC. I'll bet it didn't stay white too long. John seems to be surfing the net like mad finding all of these incredible photos. Now he can surf a bit harder. Another point that is incredible: can you believe that John's thread has over 20 pages now ? Talk about a long thread. That is why I started this one, to spread it out. I won't mention that it appears that half of those twenty pages probably is all John's postings.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 19th, 2006, 7:45pm
on Oct 19th, 2006, 10:29am, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi John et al;
 
Looks like you all, even with all those photographs, missed a winner. That is, the Bicentennial paint jobs that some of the PCC's got. The last PCC I rode on, that was in revenue service, was in Boston, on the line going through Newton Highlands. It was the Bicentennial PCC, and was resplendent in red white and blue. The red and blue was the bunting and the white was the stars. Beautiful paint job, and really clean and smooth riding PCC.  
 
So, fellas, how about some color photos, if possible, of the PCC's in Bicentennial Paint jobs I think we have now seen PCC's in every color but the Bicentennial paint jobs. Can't believe the white PCC. I'll bet it didn't stay white too long. John seems to be surfing the net like mad finding all of these incredible photos. Now he can surf a bit harder. Another point that is incredible: can you believe that John's thread has over 20 pages now ? Talk about a long thread. That is why I started this one, to spread it out. I won't mention that it appears that half of those twenty pages probably is all John's postings.

 
  I'll have to check the nycsybway.org web site or the www.phillytrolley.org site for photos, but SEPTA painted a number of its Ex- Kansas City all-electric PCC's in white with red and blue trim for the Bicentennial. ( The Ex-Kansas City cars were the cars with the post-war body, but with full length side windows without the standard standee windows --- the president of the Kansas City company which originally ordered the cars didn't like the standee windows)  Each car had the name of one of the original 13 states on its side. These cars were selected because they were used on Route 50, which ran past Independence Hall. Septa later adopted a variation on that paint scheme as its standard colors, so all of its buses and the Kawasaki LRVs are basically white with the red & blue trim. The only exceptions are the PCC II cars on Route 15, which display the old PTC green and yellow paint scheme.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 20th, 2006, 9:18pm
Here is a photo of the Ex Kansas City PCC in Philly in its BiCentennial paint scheme: http://world.nycsubway.org/perl/show?46286
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 21st, 2006, 12:49am
Hi Walt,
 
Now that is a PCC. Great paint job, however if you saw what they did to the Boston PCC for the Bicentennial you would flip out. It was outstanding.  
 
Again, great looking PCC.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 24th, 2006, 10:35pm
Hi All,
 
One of the things I watched, both in Boston, and in the Newark area, was PCC's double headed. I imagine that the motorman of the lead PCC controlled the doors and other controls of both cars. Did he also have some means of seeing if things were okay in the second car ? Also, how was fare collected in the second car ? How did the motorman know if someone in the second car wanted to get off at the next stop ? All sorts of questions on how it worked when PCC's were MU'd.
 
With LRV's, one man does it all and with mirrors. No fares to collect, but security guards roam freely checking your tickets. Major fine, citation, should you not have a valid ticket. How was all that handled ?
Posted by: RDG_4-8-4 Posted on: Oct 25th, 2006, 10:57am
on Oct 24th, 2006, 10:35pm, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi All,
 
One of the things I watched, both in Boston, and in the Newark area, was PCC's double headed. I imagine that the motorman of the lead PCC controlled the doors and other controls of both cars. Did he also have some means of seeing if things were okay in the second car ? Also, how was fare collected in the second car ? How did the motorman know if someone in the second car wanted to get off at the next stop ? All sorts of questions on how it worked when PCC's were MU'd.
 
With LRV's, one man does it all and with mirrors. No fares to collect, but security guards roam freely checking your tickets. Major fine, citation, should you not have a valid ticket. How was all that handled ?

 
Hi Pennsy.
 
Although Boston had nothing but MU PCC's (except the "Queen Mary") Newark's PCC's never had couplers, although some of their sisters from Minneapolis that went to Shaker Heights did get MU equipment.  Offhand, the only cities that ran PCC's in MU were Boston, Toronto, Pacific Electric, Red Arrow (not true PCC's but same general idea), and Shaker Heights.
 
This is how MU operation worked with PCC's, at least with Red Arrow's St, Louis cars:  Each car had its own operator.  Both operators collected their own fares and controlled their own doors; i.e., doors were not trainlined.  When the operator in the second car was finished his station work, he would ring a bell that would ring on the lead car's operator's dash which would let him know that the second car was ready to go.  If he was operating a 3-car train, like in Boston or Shaker Heights, he could not leave a station unless he heard 2 sets of "OK to Go" signals on the little bell on his dash.  If there was a problem in one of the cars, the Louie's were equipped with 2-way radios for communication.
 
Hope this answers your questions.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 25th, 2006, 11:10am
Hi,
 
Rather interesting mode of operation. Totally wasteful. Seems to me that they could have operated individually, and be close behind each other. This would be similar to the NYC buses when they ran during rush hour. You would see two or three buses at the same stop, All doors open, and people scrambling for the least occupied bus, so as to get that really valuable SEAT.  
 
That system of operation gives one a really new respect for the new LRV's and their method of operation. By the way, the Los Angeles Red Line operates the same way. Picture a subway train of up to eight cars, The motorman operates the ENTIRE train, he uses mirrors and his PA system to watch those getting on and off the train. And, generally the Lady, will re-open the doors to allow that person that is running towards the train to catch it. The Ladies really are sympathetic towards those "running late". One fantastic Subway system.
Posted by: RDG_4-8-4 Posted on: Oct 25th, 2006, 11:35am
on Oct 25th, 2006, 11:10am, Pennsy wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hi,
 
Rather interesting mode of operation. Totally wasteful. Seems to me that they could have operated individually, and be close behind each other. This would be similar to the NYC buses when they ran during rush hour. You would see two or three buses at the same stop, All doors open, and people scrambling for the least occupied bus, so as to get that really valuable SEAT.  
 
That system of operation gives one a really new respect for the new LRV's and their method of operation. By the way, the Los Angeles Red Line operates the same way. Picture a subway train of up to eight cars, The motorman operates the ENTIRE train, he uses mirrors and his PA system to watch those getting on and off the train. And, generally the Lady, will re-open the doors to allow that person that is running towards the train to catch it. The Ladies really are sympathetic towards those "running late". One fantastic Subway system.

 
The big advantage, especially with Red Arrow, in running two-car trains is that you have one "unit" taking up one signal block rather than two seperate moves, especially when you have a lot of private right-of-way.
 
As for ones who keep "waiting," if there is enough "slack" in the schedule, you can do it.  But I'm a big beleiver in the idea of, "People wait for trains, trains do NOT wait for people."
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 27th, 2006, 10:43pm
Keep in mind that the Red Arrow St Louis Cars were "one man" cars, as were the non-MU 80 series and the Brilliners. However, during the "heyday" of train operation of Red Arrow equipment, many of the old Center Door Cars were still being operated, and these cars were two man cars. In this context, operating a two car train of St. Louis Cars, each with its own operator, did not require any more personnel than one of the Center Door Cars, since it took two employees to operate one of the older cars, yet provided about twice the passenger capacity. Since the St. Louis cars were faster, yet used less power than the Center Door Cars, even with the "redundancy" of the second operator, they still cost less to operate than the older equipment.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 28th, 2006, 2:20pm
Hi Walt,
 
As usual, the bottom line is economics, money.
 
Today, it is even worse, and MU'ing with individual operators per car would be considered suicide. How come, even in those days, they didn't use ladies or young fellas with minimum training to operate the doors and collect the fares I am still really pleased when, the last time I was there, the Canal st and St. Charles trolleys are operated totally by smiling ladies. And yes, all come out of the car to help her drop the following trolley pole and raise the lead trolley pole to allow the trolley to reverse direction. That way the trolley pole always follows the trolley.
Posted by: Walt_C Posted on: Oct 28th, 2006, 5:43pm
Alan------Unfortunately-- almost everything in the latter day saga of traction companies is related to money. Many of the points you make, particularly in the area of safety, were prime arguments AGAINST one man cars in the 1920's and the early '30's. The depression changed all of that as one man operation, and cars designed to be operated in that fashion, wound up saving, at least temporarily, many streetcar and interurban systems. In the case of the Red Arrow ( and its predecessor Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Co.) the 1932 80 series Brill Lightweight cars, which were the first one man cars on the system, are creditied, along with some very astute management, with keeping the P&WCT/ PST out of bankruptcy.
   Like many systems, the Red Arrow did move to the hiring of female operators and conductors ( on those two man cars which continued to operate) during WWII, but unlike some companies, including the neighboring PTC, the Red Arrow let its women operators go after the war.
 
    The neighboring P&W also found that the advent of the one man Bullet Cars, and the rebuilding of the Strafford Cars into one man cars, along with the extremely high speeds operated by both types in the 1930's, became the savior of that system as well.  We can't get away from financial considerations when we talk about the operation of traction companies.
Posted by: Pennsy Posted on: Oct 29th, 2006, 6:20pm
Hi All,
 
Pretty much correct all the way.
 
I seem to remember seeing, due to traffic etc. PCC's stacked up a bit, so that it looked like they just about were being operated together. You would see one PCC stop and drop off passengers, and pick up a few, and pull away, as a second PCC would pull up and do the same. All done on city streets and usually during rush hours. Each PCC was independently operated.  
 
Naturally, when the buses took over, you could easily see the same thing. In fact, often you would rush to the second or third bus to ensure that you got a seat. I'll bet the same happened with the PCC's.
Posted by: typesix Posted on: Dec 7th, 2006, 10:46pm
Boston PCCs in MU operation were interlocked. Lead car would get a green light indicating all doors on train were closed and only then would brakes release. Any passenger pulling the stop request in a trailing car would also activate the front car's stop request bell via the trainline connections. In later years of operation the operator signal buzzers would not work, so trailers would signal using the stop request cord. The most common use would be if a pole dewired, the trailer would rapidly pull the cord several times until the lead car got the message and stopped.
Posted by: firstbelt Posted on: Dec 21st, 2009, 12:48pm
on Oct 20th, 2006, 9:18pm, Walt_C wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Here is a photo of the Ex Kansas City PCC in Philly in its BiCentennial paint scheme: ...

Here's one of Pittsburgh's PCCs in a bicentennial scheme:
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1663778
Posted by: firstbelt Posted on: Dec 21st, 2009, 12:51pm
Here's a view of the turnaround loop at Shaker Square near Cleveland.  I visited Cleveland several times in the late 1970s, finding one of the two Shaker lines out of service for maintenance beyond Shaker Square.  It was  fun watching them turn them around, anyway.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1663786