POSTED 1 JUNE 2017.

Welcome to the Presidents' Conference Committee Car Photo Index!

Like this site's parent site, the Passenger Car Photo Index, this site features an extensive collection of links to images that can be found on the Internet of PCC cars in both the United States and Canada.  This site is as extensive of a listing for PCC car owners that is possible with many operators being featured. 

The Presidents' Conference Committee cars, or PCC cars as they are commonly called, was an unprecidented attempt to create an entirely new streetcar with pioneering engineering that would pave the way for the car to not only serve on the North American continent, but rather, after World War II, in places nearly all around the world.  It was the first time where executives of several large Interurban operations, one transit operator, Chicago Rapid Transit Co., and builders came together to develop this new car which could take over streetcar or Interurban operations far into the future with much of the technology being the first time that it was employed, be it the physical carbody (which, except for the single prototype Clark Equipment Co. car which was made of aluminum, featuring all welded construction) to the electrical equipment.  Everything was brand new.  The cars were something special and operators welcomed them with open-arms. 

Work on what would become the PCC car began in 1929 when the committee was formed, initially called Presidents' Conference Committee but renamed to Electric Railways Presidents' Conference Committee in 1931. By 1935 much of the initial design had been decided upon and orders began to be taken, though streetcar manufacturer, J. G. Brill and Company decided to bring out a competing streamline design called the Brilliner, which used mostly existing equipment, but suffered from a lack of orders (less than 50 cars sold), resulting in few of their cars being built and their manufacturing efforts being refocused on trolley buses through the 1940s.  Following orders being placed in 1935 and 1936 by seven operators totaling 398 cars the first PCC car began to be delivered on May 28th, 1936, to Brooklyn & Queens Transit by St. Louis Car Co.  St. Louis was to build 101 cars while Pullman - Standard was to build 296 cars and Clark building 1 car (also for B&QT).  The B&QT had the distinction of being the first operator to place their initial group of cars in October 1, 1936, with other operators following soon after.  Total combined production would total 4978 cars by 1952.

Even after the initial designs were determined work continued to progress bringing additional changes with the cars being built after World War II being "improved" versions of the original design.  And similar efforts to produce PCC-based cars overseas lead to many foreign cars to be build.  And the cars showed that they had longevity, with some of the earliest operators who exited their operation selling their cars to other operators, with some remain in service to this day while the large roster of cars in the Chicago area had the distinction of being rebuilt into elevated cars ("El" cars), seeing continued use for even more years, as well. 

In addition to a variety of museums who have acquired and restored PCC cars there are cars that see use in Boston, Ma., Kenosha, Wi., Philadelphia, Pa., San Diego, Ca. and Toronto, On., with Dallas, Tx. scheduled soon to begin using rebuilt PCC cars as well.  Most notable of the cars that still see service are those operated by Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with the surviving cars being rebuilt with AC-propultion by Brookville.  Brookville has also restored cars for the Municiple Railway of San Francisco and will be involved with the cars that will be placed back in service in Dallas, offering several different rebuilding packages for surviving cars. 

In addition to links for PCC cars are links for various Brilliners and other Brill contemporaries that were built around the same time.  While effort has been made to find links they are not nearly as extensive as the PCC cars because the cars were not so-well covered by the various photographers of their time. 

My own interest in PCC cars comes from extensive use of the cars that were in use in Boston on Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's Green line, which I had nearly a year's worth of weekends to ride.  Memories from the mid-70s from when I was in school for the Army remain of how the cars rocked and squeeled while in the subway and how interesting it was to ride them into neighborhoods along the southern portion of the line.  While I availed myself of all sorts of MBTA routes (rail and rapid transit) it was the PCC cars that I remember the most and still one of my most memorable loves.  It is these memories that have motivated me to expand coverage of passenger equipment links to PCC cars. 

Years of experience with the Passenger Car Photo Index has taught me that broken links are likely to occur.  Sometimes it is simply an error on my part that can be quickly fixed, but, unfortunately, at times this is something that can never be avoided since so much changes for the many folks who do have websites on which the images are hosted.  A number of folks have helped to keep me straight on my errors as well as letting me know about broken links, far to many to name, but I do appreciate any help on this!!!  I cannot promise you that all links will remain working since I have no control over this.  I will say, though, that if a link isn't working I will see about it (and if possible, report it to the owner of the site) and if necessary, remove it from future updates.nbsp; To contact me my email address is jmlaboda[at]passcarphotos.info. 


 
 
Some important changes that have been made at Flickr.com that affects how a person views images and I felt it is important enough of a change to mention it here.  In the past clicking on an image or right clicking on an image provided for larger sizes to be chosen, and, as it is with the vast majority of shots linked to from this website, a considerably larger image could be seen.  Now left clicking on the download icon (shown at left) in the lower right corner of the screen will bring up the available sizes for all images, all one has to do now is to choose the size and it will load.  I hope that this info will help in viewing images at Flickr.

When viewing images that are hosted by various Universities and Libraries keep in mind that with most you can click on the icon that looks like the image to the left to view larger sizes of the image.  While size still is limited in some larger sizes the image will be considerably larger than if it were viewed in the original pane, which helps greatly in seeing detail on various cars. 

Recommended Sites:

  • Photographer's Rights.  In these changing times there has been lot that has affected railfans' ability to document on film and in written records the continuing chronicles of today's railroads.  Since the tragedy of the 9/11 the rights of individuals to take photographs in public places have come under attack, and this has become especially true of those who take pictures of trains.  Attorney Bert P. Krages II has compiled information on what should and shouldn't be done when taking photographs in public... to visit his site just click the icon to the left.  Additionally the American Civil Liberties Union has some great information on their website that helps define the law even more. 

  • Don Ross' website features a large collection of cars, locomotives and maintenance of way equipment images that is one of the most extensive on the web, which includes a large number of street car and Interurban operators. 

  • Central Electric Railfans Association is the premiere organization dedicated to preserving the rich history of Chicago, Ill., street car and Interurban operations.  Founded in 1938, the organization has been actively involved in all aspects of rail preservation and is actively working to expand what is being saved from a by-gone era.

  • The Trolley Dodger blog sends out messages several times a month that include a wealth of photos, often shots not previously published to the web.  Definitely a valuable resoure for any interested in Interurban railroading.

  • The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society is committed to preserving the rich history of the P.E.  Among the features of the site is a huge archive of photos from all over the P.E. system, as well as coverage for the Los Angeles Rwy.  This is a great site well worth taking time to visit!!! 




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