SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri May 03, 2013 2:25 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:And Philly's PCC's needed one only to remove the cushions to get to the controls, although one still needed the reverser handle to make the controls do anything. The 1981-82 vintage Kawasaki cars have the backup controller in a locked box on top of the panel behind the back seats, and if I remember correctly the operator uses the same key to unlock the normal controls at the front of the car.

I'm ashamed to say I should know a lot more than I can post, fuzzy memory's to blame.
I never saw a PCC's backup controller in action in Philly, although I think I remember seeing or using one at http://www.pa-trolley.org/ which like http://www.trolleymuseum.org/education/motorman.php offers one the chance to operate http://www.pa-trolley.org/page4/page4.html
http://www.shorelinetrolley.com/stm/ doesn't say they generally let the uninitiated run their cars, but I wager they have an unwritten all you can buy policy. At the least your New England trolley museums should have some Boston cars you could check. Remember this thread started with a Philly car that's only painted to look like a Boston car in San Francisco.

I also got to experience a Kawasaki car's backup controller in real service, but was sitting in the front, so didn't get to see Howie Doit. A car started to go the wrong way at a switch, the operator noticed and backed up a few feet to get correctly routed.

And during Philadelphia's SEPTA trolley festival, I believe it was the first one 1993, they allowed the public to operate a Kawasaki car on a short stretch of track inside Elmwood depot. One at a time lucky civilians got to run the car forward a few hundred feet, and another, me included, got to use the backup controller

By the way, actually shutting down the front controls and walking the whole car length, opening, using and shutting the backup controller, walking the whole car length again, and unlocking the front controls uses a lot more time than just running the car in reverse from the front, but I'm sure many would agree using the backup controller's a lot safer.


NO Philadelphia PCC ever had a back-up control. They arrived on the Kansas City cars, and were removed before the cars went into service in Philly. Wiring diagrams showed the back-up controller, but they were not installed.
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby 3rdrail » Fri May 03, 2013 2:37 pm

Yeah, it was a shame. It seems like that as soon as the novelty wore off and the shop guys started to complain, that the car spent most of it's time up on blocks at the Arborway Yard. For a car that was so radically civilized from the 5's, there must have been a lot of problems.
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Patrick Boylan » Sat May 04, 2013 9:55 am

Again I admit my memory's fuzzy, so I'm going to gather testimony at today's http://www.eastpenn.org/meet.html. Stay tuned.
I think at least some of Philadelphia's ex-Kansas City cars had backup controllers, although on one fan trip in the 1970's when during a backup move our trolley pole snagged and bent I remember somebody commenting that it wouldn't have happened if the backup controller was working. I assumed that it had broken recently, not that Philly deliberately disabled them. Why would they do that?

For what it's worth
PCC The Car That Fought Back, Stephen P Carlson and Fred Schneider III,
page 79
The Boston cars used General Electric Equipment and had backup controllers


page 89
When a car was equipped with a backup controller, the removable reverser handle was used to operate it. Like a common fish-hook extractor and bottle opener, the reverser handle was an all purpose tool that also opened the battery compartment, certain fuse cabinets, and the cover plate over the drawbar's socket
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Patrick Boylan » Sat May 04, 2013 10:50 pm

I didn't actually need to go to http://www.eastpenn.org/meet.html since when I was there the person I wound up asking was my brother. He said that the ONLY Phila cars that had backup controllers were the ex Kansas City cars, and that Ed Torpey had told him he had operated one, so it seems Gerry6309's statement that they were removed before entering Philly service is wrong.
It does seem though that whatever car in San Francisco that started this thread was probably not an ex Philly car, unless San Francisco had backup controllers put into their ex Philly cars.
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby WatertownCarBarn » Sun May 05, 2013 11:12 am

RFP wrote:Hello folks and thanks for answering my rear controller question. I grew up in Roxbury and Dorchester and by the 4th grade we were living between Coolidge Corner and Braves Field. Thus, I got to spend lots of time on the trolleys. As I scratch my head a bit, I remembered one time when an inbound C had to backup a bit as the driver of a car turning left at St. Paul kind of cut off the streetcar and was left with no room to complete the turn. The trolley driver inspected the situation (and now it becomes fuzzy) as I think he took a hanndle and inserted it into the "shift slot" to the left of his seat and then went to the back to remove a cushion or two and the PCC moved back a few feet. This allowed the "left turner" and the trolley to continue. Does this make sense or is my memory totally hosed?
Thanks again, Ron


I have the same fuzzy memory...
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Gerry6309 » Mon May 06, 2013 5:22 pm

3rdrail wrote:Yeah, it was a shame. It seems like that as soon as the novelty wore off and the shop guys started to complain, that the car spent most of it's time up on blocks at the Arborway Yard. For a car that was so radically civilized from the 5's, there must have been a lot of problems.

If it had been a Westinghouse car, it would have been running trippers to Heath St. until 1985 :)

It's a wonder that the Brooklyn cars lasted until 1956!
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby 3rdrail » Mon May 06, 2013 6:00 pm

Gerry6309 wrote: :)

It's a wonder that the Brooklyn cars lasted until 1956!

It suggests that NY's MTA practiced routine maintenance as opposed to emergency repair. Unfortunately, sometime (I think that it was in the 50's) our MTA, followed by the T, went into emergency repair bail the sinking ship out with buckets mode.
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon May 06, 2013 9:12 pm

At that time the MTA did not exist (until 1965). The Brooklyn lines were operated by BMT, which merged into the municipal transit system in 1940 under the NYC Board of Transportation, which became the NYCTA in 1953.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby StevieC48 » Fri May 10, 2013 9:45 am

Besides SF and Boston Phillys PCC did not have a rear back up controller. The operator would sit up front and the reverser had a reverse notch. Unless 2709 at Seashore is different there is no reverser at the back of the car. Unless which might be is that SF added the reverser to the rear of their Philly PCC's
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby 3rdrail » Fri May 10, 2013 1:09 pm

Gerry just made this point a week ago (at the top of this page).
viewtopic.php?f=65&t=146313&start=15
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Patrick Boylan » Fri May 10, 2013 1:24 pm

And I made the point shortly after that according to reliable testimony the ex-Kansas City cars' backup controllers did work in Philly. But I see one gets no respect in this forum unless one's from Boston :)
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Re: SFO Boston Elevated Railway Livery PCC

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri May 10, 2013 3:54 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:And I made the point shortly after that according to reliable testimony the ex-Kansas City cars' backup controllers did work in Philly. But I see one gets no respect in this forum unless one's from Boston :)

OFFICIALLY the back-up controllers were "sealed" by PTC. That doesn't mean that SEPTA didn't unseal them. Philadelphia had so many looping possibilities that backup moves were seldom needed until recent years.
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