Cosmopolitan cities of the 1940's: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Johnstown PA.; Not so cosmopolitan locales were: Manhattan, Atlanta, Seattle, and New Orleans! What's the reasoning behind this?!? To be a true "Cosmo" town to most transit fans meant that you operated PCC Cars on your Streetcar lines. These swift and modern vehicles were the last word in comfort and speed. Unfortunately, they were also the last gasp for most of the cities in which they served, as many a PCC became homeless as a result of bus conversions and abandonments from the late 1940's until the 1960's.
Year: Car Numbers: Manufacturer: Electrical Eqpt. Retired: Notes: 1936 7001-7022 St. Louis Car Co. G.E. 1956 1936 7023-7027 St. Louis Car Co. Westinghouse 1956 Renumbered 7301-7305 in 1938 1939 7023-7033 Pullman-Standard G.E. 1958 1939 7306-7334 Pullman-Standard Westinghouse 1963 1940-1941 7034-7053 Pullman-Standard G.E. 1958 1941 7335-7353 Pullman-Standard Westinghouse 1963 1941 7054-7077 Pullman-Standard G.E. 1963 1941 7354-7378 Pullman-Standard Westinghouse 1963 1941 7078-7097 Pullman-Standard G.E. 1963 1941-1942 7379-7403 Pullman-Standard Westinghouse 1963 1944 7098-7147 Pullman-Standard G.E. 1963 Flat Slate-Grey Roofs upon delivery 1944 7404-7428 Pullman-Standard Westinghouse 1963 Buff Roofs upon delivery 1941 7501 Brill G.E. 1956 Not Officially a PCC, but a PCC appearing car called a "Brilliner"
Baltimore was among the first of these "Cosmopolitan" cities to look into PCCs, following only Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. The cars, with dimensions virtually identical to the 1930 "Peter Witt" cars, were a natural fit for the Baltimore system, which sought to increase the number of cars in the system operated by a one-man crew. With the overwhelming majority of the fleet nearing 20 years of age and more, the new Streamliners were also needed to improve the image of the company as well.
To further boost the promotion of the new cars, a design contest was held at the Maryland Institute to come up with the paint scheme for the new cars. The winning entry consisted of an Alexandria Blue body, Orange Belt rail, Cream window section, and a Silver-Grey roof. First car to arrive was #7023, the first Westinghouse equipped car. This car made its debut on a temporary loop line that navigated around Downtown in October of 1936. Following the delivery of the remaining 26 cars, these St. Louis built PCC's were sent to Belvedere for assignment to the #25 and #31 lines. These cars stayed at Belvedere for their entire career, but gradually saw service on the #32 line as well, and perhaps limited service on the #15 and #19 lines once the #31 car line was absorbed.
The Westinghouse cars (#7023-7027) were renumbered as #7301-7305 in 1938 so as to create a numbering system coded by electrical equipment (a system which would eventually be "tinkered" with in later years), as numbers 7001-7300 were set aside for GE cars, with 7300 and up reserved for Westinghouse cars. Baltimore wound up having more GE cars than Westinghouse equipped cars, although not overwhelmingly so. Judging from delivery lists, it appears that the PCC manufacturers determined the motor types to be installed in the cars that were ordered, and that roughly equivalent quantities of each were installed in batches of anywhere between 25 and 75 before switching motor types to the other manufacturer, as no major operator of PCC cars has all of one type of motor installed in their cars, aside from Toronto, whose CCF finished cars all used Canadian Westinghouse motor sets. Baltimore is unique however, in using separate sets of numbers to designate the motor manufacturer whose sets were installed in their PCCs.
A lower bid received in 1938 led to the changing of manufacturer of Baltimore's PCCs starting in 1939. Pullman Standard edged out St. Louis Car, and began delivery of two sets of PCCs in June of 1939, numbered 7023-7033, and 7306-7334. These cars were easily distinguishable from the St. Louis cars due to their slightly boxier appearance, lack of some trim, and more primitive looking wooden doors with squared off windows, as opposed to the streamlined look of the curved "blinker" style doors on the St. Louis cars. All of these cars were assigned to the heavy Route #8 which was only now useable by Single Ended cars due to the installation of a new loop at Catonsville Junction (reportedly a reinstalled loop from Custer Road on the former #3 line). Some of the Westinghouse cars may have run their entire lengthy career on the #8 line!
Also ordered along with the initial Pullman order was an order to the J.G. Brill Company for one demonstration "Brilliner." This car, not an official PCC, but rather a lookalike that clearly got its appearance from the PCC style modeling, was assigned to the Irvington barn, and ran its entire life on Route #8.
The Baltimore Transit Company did benefit from some foresight with four successive orders for PCC's starting in mid 1940 that helped the operation to be especially well prepared for the looming crisis of America's involvement in World War II. First of these orders was for two sets of PCCs which arrived in late 1940 into early 1941. The first batch of GE cars (7034-7053) helped to greatly modernize the #15 car line, and may have been spread out to three divisions along that line (Gardenville, North & Gay, and Smallwood Street). The batch of Westinghouse cars that followed starting in January of 1941 (7335-7353) were assigned to Montebello Car House to help modernize the #19 car line, though some would find their way onto route #6.
The railhead from the B&O had scarcely time to dust over when it was being pounded with another delivery for the BTC in March of 1941. This time, 24 more GE cars (7054-7077) were being delivered, with most heading to Park Terminal to serve the #32 Woodlawn line, while the earliest cars in the lot seem to have supplemented the cars already in service on the #15 line. The remainder of the second order arrived beginning in May, as most of these (7354-7378) also went out to Park Terminal for assignment to the #5 line, with a few perhaps added to the #19 line's stable at Montebello.
The third in this rush of orders consisted entirely of GE equipped cars. While only consisting of 20 cars (7078-7097), this set was split between the 4 and 14 lines operating from Edmondson Car House, where they stayed for a number of years before integrating into the rest of the system.
A final pre-war order arrived starting in November of 1941. These cars, numbered 7379-7403 were split between two car houses. Just two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, most of them went to Light Street for service on the heavy industrialized #6 line, while the last seven cars headed out to the Roland Park Car House to work on the more affluent route #29 beginning in early 1942.
BTC's foresight served it well as it headed into this new World War. A number of mothballed Semi-Convertibles returned to service to once again become the overwhelmingly dominant player in the Baltimore Transit scene. However, the record loads carried during the war certainly could not have been possible without the presence of the swift and efficient PCC cars. As the war continued, the PCCs served a great deal of the traffic on eleven routes, most of which were significant backbones of the system.
As the war pressed on, BTC was able to get two more crucial orders out for PCC cars in 1943, each of which took over a year to deliver due to constraints on the Pullman plant in this heavily regulated era. The first order of 50 GE cars would make the largest single order of consecutively numbered PCCs, as cars 7098-7147 arrived starting in April of 1944. These cars were spread liberally throughout the system at first, with small quantities of each heading out to routes 2, 17, 20, 29, and 30. These cars, and those that followed months later are distinguishable due to their slate grey roofs (buff on the following order), and the painted railings on the interiors, as well as the absence of the trademark "flying wings" that adorned the headlights of the PCC cars.
The final order of PCCs (7404-7428) arrived beginning in December of 1944. The first three cars headed over to Eastern & Haven to supplement the #20 line, while most of the rest were assigned to North & Gay Street Car House to operate the heavy #13 car line. The last three cars had a unique drum brake, and were initially assigned to Montebello for the #19 line, only to later shifted over to Park Terminal for the #32 line. These last three oddities were among the first of the PCCs to be scrapped, despite what later rosters may appear to indicate (more on that later).
Baltimore's PCCs - The Early Years - Alexandria Blue Photo: Description: It seems odd to see a "First of the new cars" placard on a vehicle ending in number 23, but #7023 was indeed Baltimore's first PCC. The first Westinghouse car, it arrived in 1936, and is shown here in Roland Park Car House well before entering service. In practice, route #29 never operated "Louies" as these cars were called. This car would later be renumbered #7301. Car #7003 slides out of Belvedere Loop in the late 1930's, showing the original color scheme of the Baltimore PCCs on it's original order. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection..= Car #7003 again at a later date works the #31 line, the other early stronghold of the Saint Louis PCCs. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. PCC Car #7005 approaches Liberty and Lombard Streets while operating on Route #25. From here, the car will take the switch to the left to make its loop at Camden Station. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7007 rumbles into the Median Track on Belvedere Avenue, as it leaves bound for South Street in the City's Financial District. Bill Volkemer photo from Dave's Rail Pix. Car #7017 slithers along the Sidewalk track adjacent to Belvedere Car House while getting ready to loop on the #31 streetcar line. At the right of the frame can be seen the lead track to the outdoor Belvedere Yard. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7029 was an oddity among Alexandria Blue PCC's, receiving a repaint similar to that used on the Brilliner, wherein the roof striping headed straight across the area of the destination sign, instead of swooping down beneath it. Photo from the Baltimore Transit Archives Collection. The late 7000's headed to the #4 Windsor Hills line, such as car #7096 seen here. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. A chilly scene is presented by Car #7097 making its way West on Clifton Avenue just East of the Clifton Avenue Bridge while a wet snow coats the ground. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7111 takes layover at the Roland Park Station on Route #29 in late 1946. Behind it rests a charter car from the Baltimore Chapter NRHS. Car shows the difference in gloss between pre-war and war cars, as war cars like this had a flat colored roof. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Awaiting the call to duty, car #7113 rests awaiting the crowds at the Baltimore Stadium that will meet it for their return trip. This section of trackage was commonly called the "Stadium Spur" and was in place on Loch Raven Road as far as 35th Street. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7114 prepares to swing out from the Roland Park Station into Long Lane for the start of it's trip to Pratt and Calvert Streets in Downtown. Route #29's Northern portion contained a healthy amount of reserved trackage ideal for the PCC's speed. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7142 rests while working service on the #30 car line, the neat little curving crosstown that rode a crescent shaped path along the outskirts of Downtown, using McMechen Street and Fremont Avenue among others. The replacement bus line was abandoned due to low ridership in 1992. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Point Breeze loop on the #20 line was another spot where some of Baltimore's PCCs could be found, such as #7147, Baltimore's last GE equipped car. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Picking its way across the special work is PCC #7302, formerly known as #7024. This trackwork project was being performed on Hopkins Place at Redwood Street. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection St. Louis cars did get one other tour of duty from their normal stints on the #25 and #31 lines, when on Sunday, operation of the #13 ran from Wolfe & Aliceanna all the way to Belvedere Loop in place of the #31 line. The Madison Avenue Segment was handled by route #16. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. A rather uncharachteristic NRHS Charter is seen here with car #7314 shown on Redwood Street West of Charles. Typically, the NRHS prided itself on chartering the OLDEST equipment on the property! Bob Jannsen photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7315 works it's long term assignment, a virtual life sentence on route #8. This car would generally stay on route #8 for its career. Here the car is seen at Fayette and St. Paul Streets. Photo from the Transit Arcives Collection. After installation of the Catonsville Junction loop in 1939, PCC's were ready for the #8 line. Here, car #7325 sits at the loop early in her career, with a rather unsightly dent in her dasher. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. The #6 car, while seemingly more of a Peter Witt line, did roster some PCCs as well, such as #7387 seen here having just made the turn from Light Street onto Baltimore Street enroute to the Kresson Street Loop. Dust and dirt does give the car a shabbier appearance. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. #32 line cars signed for "West Arlington" were in fact cars destined for Belvdere Loop. Here, car #7362 signed just so rests before returning at Belvedere Loop. At this point, the #32 car was being operated solely from the Park Terminal Carhouse. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Pristine car #7367 appears to be in East Baltimore near the original Patterson Park street loop of Route #5. This image shows the Pullman PCC in its most beautiful light. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7417 pulls up to board patrons on the #13 line at North Avenue and St. Paul Streets, opposite the Centre Theatre. At this stop, #13 line riders could transfer to Northbound cars of the #17 and #29 lines, or connect with el-running cars of the #1-11 lines on the opposite side of the intersection. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Okay, in the early years, not ALL of the PCCs were painted in the Alexandria Blue scheme. Some, such as car #7389 touring the #29 line bore Billboard Schemes for causes. Many thanks to John Engleman for identifying this car for me! Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection.
In 1945, the efforts on "D-Day" led to "V-E day", to later be followed by "V-J day", bringing the War effort to a victorious close. This jubilant news did have a negative effect on Baltimore Transit's wartime surge in ridership, as Rubber and Gasoline rationing ceased. The wartime prosperity also helped thousands to move outward and purchase automobiles, thus helping to sizably erode the BTC's ridership base. When combined with the pro-bus National City Lines management team that took control of the BTC in 1946, the fate of the Street railway in Baltimore was sealed.
While the drop in ridership was severe, the transition of the system was more gradual (although by all means still dramatic) due to the need for replacement buses which were in heavy demand following the war. Interestingly, some accounts report that an additional lot of PCCs (all-electrics) were ordered following the war, reportedly to be numbered either in the 7600s. These cars were to be multiple unit equipped and were intended for route #26. This account later goes on to state that the order was subsequently cancelled, reportedly after construction of some cars began, resulting in a later diversion of Baltimore intended shells to a Boston order.
Interestingly, multiple unit gear was delivered to the BTC in the late 1940's but was never installed. In an aesthetic way, one can be thankful for this, as it would have required cutting the end skirts off of the car, resulting in an even more utilitarian look to an already boxy version of what was intended to be a streamlined work of art.
While the first cars to be retired following the war were the teen vintage semi-convertibles, the PCCs saw a number of reassignments in the coming years resulting from the conversion of lines which they were serving. An early reassignment of the PCCs occurred in 1946, as Roland Park Car House closed, shunting the #29 line's operation over to Oak Street Car House. Thus, cars 7112-7119 and 7397-7403 were reassigned, and slightly re-pooled so as to make possible the sighting of some of these cars on Oak Street's #17 line.
However, both the #17 and #29's days were numbered as "M-Day" approached in June of 1947, resulting in the closure of Oak Street Car House. Most, if not all of these cars headed over to York Road Car House, allowing nearly complete modernization of the #8 line. Route #30 which had also run from Oak Street was reassigned to York Road, where it basically kept use of the same cars as it had.
Around this time in 1946, the paint scheme on the PCCs had been modified greatly to be more uniform to that being worn by the newly ordered buses of the BTC. This scheme was commonly called "Fruit Salad" and appeared with some variation, in a number of cities. It consisted of a Yellow body with an Olive Green window Section and a Grey Roof. There were one or two variations in it, and it was applied to perhaps 70% of the fleet before the scheme was later changed again at some point between 1947 and 1949. Interestingly, there is no conclusive evidence found that shows that ANY of the St. Louis cars were put into this scheme. In addition, the Brilliner never wore it as well.
Baltimore's PCC's - The "Fruit Salad" Era Photo: Description: Car #7041 carried a rare variation of the Fruit Salad Scheme, carrying a Green border atop the yellow roof area. Here the car glides across the rails inset into the brick paving of Baltimore Street at Greene Street in the late 1940's. The scene today is entirely changed from this view. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. PCC #7325 makes its way back onto Gorsuch Avenue from the Stadium spur while working a special trip on Route #8. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7369 gives a good look at the setup for the arrangement of the Fruit Salad Scheme, as it awaits leaving time on Route #14. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7388 lays over at the Towson Courthouse on a brisk Winter afternoon. This photo probably dates past 1948, as this car is belived to have been originally a #6 line car. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection.
The year 1948 witnessed the conversion of the 2, 5, 6 and 20 lines, the first being switched to Trackless Trolley, with the remainder becoming motor buses. The cars from the #2 line headed to Edmondson Avenue to help supplement the #4 line. The #5 line cars were mostly split between the #14 and #32 lines. The cars from the #6 line made possible the total modernization of the #8 line when combined with those from the #20 line, which also supplied a handful of cars to the #15 line as well.
By 1949, the number of PCC operated lines was fairly meager, consisting of routes 4, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 25, 30, 31, and 32. This listing would be pared by one by April, as the #25 line was mostly converted to bus, the remnant rail shuttle, designated #48, being easily serviced with a handful of Belvedere based Peter Witts. This left all of the St. Louis built cars being solely assigned for the time to the #31 line.
No later than 1949, the paint scheme was simplified to a "Transportation" Yellow and Silver-Grey, thus eliminating the Green of the Fruit Salad Scheme. The scheme of this latest program was carried out vigilantly, as photos of PCCs in the original Alexandria blue are quite scarce following 1950; about the same can be said for the "Fruit Salad" Scheme, which appears to have vanished by 1953.
Another PCC operation was lost in March of 1950 when the #30 line was converted to Trackless Trolley, due to the availabity of numberous surplus coaches made possible from the dwindling ridership. However, an additional route would be added to the PCC's prowess beginning on July 29, 1950. The shortfall for this was the loss of significant numbers of Semi-Convertibles however, as the #26 Sparrows Point line was cut back to operate between Highlandtown and Sparrows Point using PCCs largely reassigned from the #15 line. Throughout the 1950's the line would become characterized for it's early to mid 7000 series PCCs rather than the multitudes of Semi-Convertibles for which it was once well known.
It appears that PCC's were pulled from the #13 line before its conversion to bus in January of 1954, as later photos of that operation show only Peter Witts operating on the line. This may have been largely undertaken in 1950 to free up the streamliners for reassignment to help the furnishing of the #26 line, although this is not actually known.
The 1950's all but resulted in the final nail being placed in the coffin for Baltimore's Street Railway operations. In 1952, in an attempt to minimize routes laying over Downtown, the #31 line was merged with the #19 line, in a new #19 line. This resulted in the quite possible assignment of the St. Louis Built PCCs to this new #19 line, although many of these cars were mostly assigned to the #32 line which now operated entirely from Belvedere after the closure of Park Terminal.
Another car house closure occurred in 1954, when the doors of Edmondson Avenue Car House were closed . Route #14 was combined with the #23 bus, while the #4 line was merged with the #15 line. Operation of this new and massive #15 line was supplemented with assignments from Belvedere Car House, which may have caused some of the St. Louis PCC's to see service on the #15 line as well. However, by this late date, there was little action for any streetcars other than Pullman PCCs as most of the Witts and conceivably many of the St. Louis Built PCCs were now made idle by the dwindling ridership. It can also be assumed that the sole Brilliner must have been largely dormant by this time.
Any action that the St. Louis Cars may have seen was sure to be almost all but dry by 1955, when the #32 line and its cars heading out to the hallowed grounds of Gwynn Oak Amusement Park was converted to a bus line just after the Summer Season in September. This left only the #8, 15, 19, and 26 operating, with an almost certainty that all cars left in service were PCCs.
Any extended stay that the St. Louis PCCs may have had was certainly gone in 1956, when the #19 line was converted to bus in June. All of these cars were scrapped in 1956, with car #7018 heading out to Boston Metals in Fairfield for use as a storeroom where it survived for over 30 years. Another car, Pullman #7078, was shipped to Costa Rica, where it was converted to (of all odd things) a narrow-gauge diesel passenger (sort of) RDC for the Costa Rica Northern Railway. In this capacity, it served for years following the final conversion of Baltimore service, thus making it, in an odd way, the last Baltimore PCC operating in passenger service.
Baltimore's PCC's - The Final Days - "Transportation Orange" Photo: Description: All of the St. Louis Cars eventually made their way into the Transportation "Orange" paint scheme. Here is Car #7001, boarding at Park Avenue and Fayette Streets, on its way to Woodlawn on Route #32. Bob Jannsen Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Side view of the St. Louis car in Yellow, as seen here in #7003 laying over at Belvedere Loop. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7046 wore its number in two spots, both above the destination sign and above the headlight, as it made its way East on Dundalk Avenue at Oldham Street in the mid-1950's. This set of cars was the second set of PCC's to work the #26 line. When first cut back in 1950, the line was assigned a set of high numbered 7100 series cars. As the first hints of sunlight fill the sky, two passegers board PCC #7052 on Grundy Street at Eastern Avenue in the 1950's. The dawning of PCCs on this line spelled the death of the fabled Semi-Convertibles. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. In the final weeks of service, Car #7084 drops off passengers at Fayette and Howard Streets Downtown. Roberta Hill Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Same car - Different locale. This time, shown cresting Gay Street near Federal Street with the City Skyline in the Backdrop. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. The last time a #8 Streetcar ever saw Catonsville Junction. A crowd gathers to witness #7084 prepare to make the last trip of the #8 Streetcar, as it gets set for a shuttle trip to Irvington Barn. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7088 lays over on the lesser used Smallwood Street cutback of route #8, a simple curve connecting inbound and outbound tracks at the connection of Frederick Avenue and Pratt Street. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Time was ticking when Car #7109 rested here at the Govanstown Loop of Route #8. Roberta Hill Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7113 lays over at Sparrows Point Loop on route #26. The use of a 7100 series car dates this photo to the early 1950's. There was once a time when the Route #15 streetcar journeyed West of Walbrook Junction to Windsor Hills. Here, car #7140 picks up a patron at Clifton and Talbot enroute to the city. This arrangement ended in 1956. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7372 awaits leaving time from the Irvington Loop in 1963. Car is among the less shabby appearing cars of the late day BTC fleet. Roberta Hill Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7376 awaits the light at Fayette and Liberty Streets, amidst surroundings that have since vanished to the Charles Center redevelopment project. Roberta Hill Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Car #7420 battles the blowing snow while working a trip on Route #13. Though the cars performed well in these circumstances, they could often get stranded out as well. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection. Resting at Irvington Car House is #7501, Baltimore's sole Brilliner. As evidenced in this photo, the once unique Tavern Doors have since been replaced with squared ones similar to the Pullmans. Photo from the Transit Archives Collection.
For the final years, the damage was done, and it was merely a matter of time before the final three PCC operations were converted to bus lines. First to go was the #26 line in August of 1958, which the Transit Company stated was necessary to make a desirable single seat ride from Sparrows Point to Downtown (never mind that they were the ones to eliminate this convenience just eight years earlier when they cut the #26 line back). Conversion of this line resulted in another major scrapping, but the first significant loss of GE equipped cars from the fleet, as well as the closure of the Lombard Street (or Highlandtown) Car House.
One interesting aside comes in regarding a handful of PCC's beginning in 1955. There were 5 cars from Montebello that were involved in accidents: 7352, 7410, 7414, 7426, and 7427. Rather than use insurance proceeds to repair the cars, the BTC devised a remarkable way of repairing the cars for mere cents on the dollar. They simply renumbered an older car as one of the wrecked car's numbers, and VOILA! the five cars were miraculously fixed! The older cars, scheduled for retirement, were given a new lease on life, while the wrecks were simply given the older cars numbers (on paper at least) where they were weeded out with the scheduled retirements.
The Belvedere Avenue Division (more than a Car House, as Buses had been housed here since 1933) was closed effective on the snowy Valentine's Day of 1960, resulting in the paring of even more miles of Streetcar trackage from the already skeletal system. From this day on, a portion of the route #15 operations were housed at the York Road Division.
These days would not be numerous however, as the days for these last two vestiges of the Street Railway era were numbered. Regardless, they continued to soldier on for over three years, as BTC's management found itself pressed to finance any futher bus purchases. It was not until a deal was struck with the city concerning the costs of repaving the streets on which these routes operated, that a final conversion could finally be executed.
The day of November 2, 1963 dawned with a mixture of variably cloudy skies with scattered sunlight mixed in. Those rays of sun that did make it through the clouds were to be among the last that the cars would feel upon them as operating vehicles of the Baltimore Transit scene. The #15 car vanished early the following morning, followed shortly thereafter by car #7084 pulling back into Irvington Car House from Catonsville Junction. A few hours later, car #7407 made the last journey of any car under power as it made a last venture from Irvington Loop to the Car House just as the first hints of dawn hit the horizon.
Not only were 104 years of Street Railway History now just that, but also 27 years of PCC operation in this once Cosmopolitan town came to a close as well. Just as the final gasps of enemy were sounded a mere 18 years prior from World War II, a war on Baltimore's transit scene finally came to a close after 16 years of heavy conversion. The PCCs were the last soldiers standing, but now they too were silent.
In 1964, the PCCs were sold off for scrap value. Enthusiasts led by John Engleman were able to save the last soldier - #7407, while others were purchased by individuals for use a homes, and perhaps eventual preservation. Only a handful can be accounted for in the years following 1964. Nine cars were burned in Curtis Bay around 1968, two survived partially in a Salvage Yard in Cherry Hill, one car rested in a field in Laurel, four found exile in an Auto Parts scrap yard in Waterloo until just recently, two survive through the present out in Hereford, while one was used as an "immobile mobile home" on Route 40 East.
Today, car #7407 is alive and well at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, thanks to a major restoration and rebuilding, thanks in part to the Mass Transit Administration. Cars 7329 (from the Cherry Hill site) and 7350 were originally earmarked for eventual preservation in the early 1980s, but 7329 has since been scrapped while 7350 (from Hereford) has since been deemed to be too badly deteriorated to save. Car 7317 (also from Hereford) has been eyed by some as a possible candidate for preservation and restoration. Thus it is possible that two examples of the Baltimore PCC will soldier on for the generations to come!
PCC Fast Facts:
- Major Interior Differences between St. Louis PCC's and Pullman PCC's include the use of singular Forward Facing Seats on the Right Side above the Center Doors for Pullmans as compared to Longitudinal Seating on Pullmans. Interior lighting on St. Louis Cars had modern "Ice Cube Tray" Light Diffusers compared to simpler Lamps on Pullmans.
- Another innovation that appears to be introduced to Baltimore on the PCCs is the "bell cord" which patrons could ring to signal their intention to alight at the next stop. Witts had push-button buzzers.
- Car #7022 recieved replacment doors somehwhere around 1950. While the Blinker Doors were more modern looking, they were harder to maintain and less safe in the event of an accident. Thus, the replacement doors were the outward opening wooden doors seen on Pullmans.
- St. Louis Cars to the point?!? Probably so! One enthusiast reported riding St. Louis-built PCC 7302 on the #26 line in late 1954. He has a clear recollection of a ride on car 7302 which had the trademark St. Louis single forward-facing seats and above-window carbody fluting. This is consistent with BTCo Bulletin 92-52, INTERLINING OF NOS. 13 AND 19 LINES WITH NO. 26 LINE, as Belvedere cars working the 19 line could have operated trips on the #36. In addition, a former BTC Streetcar Operator swears that he operated a Saint Louis Car based out of Irvington(!) for a time in an interlined tripper along route #26. Though no photos have been found of St. Louis Cars (nor Peter Witts) on the #26 line, the evidence strongly suggests that Louie's did indeed visit "The Point" on occasion.
- Despite the significant number of cars that received the Fruit Salad scheme, no photo has been found to show a St. Louis built PCC wearing it. In addition, few of the 1939 cars appear to have worn this scheme.
- Early posed photos of Car #7023 show it in Roland Park Car House, as well as posed on Route #29 in Charles Village. Regardless, Route #29 did not even get PCCs for another 5 years, and it never operated St. Louis Cars.
- Paint scheme oddity - Car #7075, which had was basically a yellow body, green beltrail, yellow window area, and a slim green stripe above the windows set off by a white roof. This would be the only Baltimore PCC to ever have a white roof.
- PCCs almost certainly operated to Lakeside as well (despite the lack of a Destination Sign), as some trips on Route #29 operated there to accomodate School Children.
- While women primarily operated Semi-Convertibles during the war, some went on to stay with the BTC, and operated PCC cars as well.
- Route #17 was the shortest lived PCC operation, running the cars a mere three years.
- One wonders where PCCs may have winded up had the alleged Postwar order gone through. Aside from Route #26, the cars were also compatible with the #16 line on which they never ran. With some minor route modifications, they could have operated on the #18 line as well.
- The last car to carry the original Alexandria Blue Paint Scheme was Car #7397, which was repainted into the "Transportation Orange" scheme on October 15, 1951. Special ceremonies were held to mark this occurrence.
- One interesting modification to Car #7407 in the final days occurred when wings were installed gracing the headlight. As this was a war car, these were never present on the car from delivery. Thanks to John Engleman for this one!
- Contributing evidence on the Postwar Order belief (1) Pullman's orders from Boston and Cleveland following the alleged cancellation of the Baltimore order match the 100 cars believed to have been ordered, (2) The "Fruit Salad" paint scheme adopted in 1946 scheme differs from other NCL properties with its Yellow area above the windows, perfect for setting off Standee Windows that the Postwar cars would have had. Altogether, some interesting points to ponder.
Many thanks to John Engleman and Dan Lawrence, whose input was an invaluable resource in enhancing the information within this page!
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