PRCo PCC Interurban 1700 is brand new in this photo, most likely late November or early December of 1948. Following tests with some 1601-series PCC cars for Interurban service, the first 25-cars of the All-Electric order (1700-1724) were built to specifications for use on the Interurban lines of Charleroi and Washington through Overbrook and Castle Shannon. Charleroi was the destination sign but it went thru town and continued south to Roscoe, about 36+Smiles One-way! Delivery of the other 99-cars of the 1700-series began 1949.01.18 and concluded 1949.05.31. These were the last Trolleys to be ordered and received by PRCo.
Even at this late date of 1948, new Trolleys made the rounds to many different routes for public exposure. Car 1700 operated on the 22-Crosstown for a month or two before being sent to South Hills for service. She may have operated on other lines for exposure.
PCC 1700 was delivered by railroad flat car to the Millvale Car House where the 82-LINCOLN sign was installed. She probably went to Homewood Main Shops for inspection before starting service. In this particular photo she sits at the outer terminal for the 71-Negley and 73-Highland on St.Clair immediately south of Bunkerhill. A Car House for Trolley Storage is on this side of 1700 but a large apartment building replaced it some time after the 1954 closure. The 82-Lincoln may have been based here.
The Gentleman in the “Stetson” is an employee of Pittsburgh Railways Company but does not appear to be Mr. Fitzgerald who was a trustee during bankruptcy which ended in the early 1950s. These men did a noble job of maintaining the system, purchasing the bulk of the 666-PCC cars, and even returning it to solvency. Alert investors saw a way to cash in and essentially drained the Railway of their new found freedom. Highly unethical but not illegal, unfortunately, or the future may have been somewhat different.
The PCC (Presidents Conference Committee) Trolleys were American Researched, Designed, and Built with the 4th order – one single car #100 – being the first to go into service in the world on the streets of Pittsburgh in 1936! The 1700-series (1700-1799) was not The Last of the PCCs to be built in America, but very close. About 5,000-PCCs were built for service in North America, most for the United States but also Canada and Mexico. Please note that the “Presidents” are those of many individual Transit systems from all over North America. The PCC was Privately designed and built without government assistance.
Tatra of Then Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic following an amicable split with the Slovak Republic of the 1990s) did some research on the PCC and even had contact with Pittsburgh Railways. The Communist take over following WW2 canceled all “known” correspondence but Tatra proceeded and built Highly Successful PCCs used extensively in the Eastern Bloc countries and Russia and its territories. Over 10,000-PCC cars were so built (some estimate considerably more than this, even double or triple). Their research made refinements and improved the car significantly, enough that the original U.S.A. research team would be fighting back tears of joy and approval.
The PCC TrolleyCar is a remarkable product that drastically reduced maintenance needs which increased reliability while significantly increasing passenger comfort.
The PCC Interurban to make THE very last revenue run from downtown Washington to downtown Pittsburgh in late-August-1953 is 1711 restored to its original splendor by the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum (PTM). PCC 1711 literally operates over a portion of the former Washington Interurban she traversed so faithfully!
The Whole Family would enjoy a trip to PTM:
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