Baltimore Streetcar Museum Acquires NJT #26



The Baltimore Streetcar Museum took delivery on a piece of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Newark, New Jersey transit history on January 15, 2014.  Former Twin Cities Rapid Transit #415/Public Service Coordinated Transport-New Jersey Transit #26 P.C.C. car arrived at the Museum around Noon that day.


Here is a short history of the car.  Twin Cities Rapid Transit ordered this car, along with other P.C.C.’s, from the Saint Louis Car Company in October 1947 and took delivery between May and July 1949.  As was all too common, Minneapolis sold the entire fleet of P.C.C.’s to three separate operators in 1953.  The first 20 cars went to Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, 30 went to Public Service Coordinated Transport and the remaining cars were shipped to Mexico City.  All the cars were considered to be in excellent condition and an tremendous investment.


The Minneapolis P.C.C.’s that operated in New Jersey had a long and dependable life in Newark.  Newark received the P.C.C.’s in Summer 1953; the first P.C.C. (Car #21) entered service in January 1954 with the remainder following.  All during the cars’ operational history, the P.C.C.’s were meticulously maintained and stored indoors in the system’s underground shop, located at the end of Newark’s Pennsylvania Station Loop.  After more than 47 years of service, New Jersey Transit retired the P.C.C.’s on August 24, 2001 and replacement light rail vehicles entered service on August 27, 2001.


When it was taken out of service, car #26 was carefully “shrink wrapped” and stored for more than 12 years, until 2014.  This wrapping protected the car well, which was observed when the car arrived in Baltimore, having its wrapping removed prior to shipment.


The Museum is proud to have obtained this artifact.  It will have to undergo numerous inspections and repairs before the car can be safely put under live wire, turned on and operated.  The body is in good condition, with the usual surface rust and some deep rust, all of which can be repaired.  The interior is in remarkable condition, looking much like it did on its last day of service.


We will have updates on the progress of getting the car operable once more.  Consider joining the Museum and be a part of history by helping to put this car back in service.  No previous experience is required!

Here is a sampling of pictures of January 15th’s activities.  Please enjoy them!
Getting ready: A Baltimore gauge P.C.C. truck is moved around to be put into its designated place by the Museum’s sweeper #C-145. JUST A LITTLE CLOSER: Another Baltimore gauge truck is put into place using a forklift.
IT’S HERE: Car #26 arrives at the Museum via flatbed truck. IN THE RIGHT PLACE: The flatbed is positioned exactly in place for unloading.
UNLOADING COMMENCES: Number 26 starts its descent onto the Museum’s temporary (snap) track. ALMOST THERE: Unloading the car is almost done.  The rear truck is already on the snap track.
IN PLACE: Number 26 now rests on the Museum’s property on "snap track." More work is yet to come. JACKS IN PLACE: Electric jacks are put into place in order to lift the car body up high enough in order to swap out the trucks.
THE INTERIOR: The car’s interior is in remarkably good condition.  The seat’s upholstery dates to the mid-1980’s which was used on all NJT buses.  An upholstery steamer system will work wonders. P.C.C.TRUCK ON THE MOVE: One of the "on delivery trucks" is moved out from under the car.  Because of the truck's roller bearings, this was a relatively easy task.
KING PIN: The typical P.C.C. car body frame’s king pin is being lowered onto a truck. ALMOST DONE: With the car resting on its “proper” trucks, the electric jacks are in the process of being removed.
PUTTING THEM AWAY: The “delivery” trucks are being positioned into place for temporary storage. TAKEN FOR A RIDE: Car #26 is towed out the Museum’s streetcar line to check clearances with great success.  There were no problems.  Remember … this car is wider than the “standard” P.C.C. car.
OUT FOR A SPIN: Several B.S.M. members take their first ride on #26 although it was towed.  The interior lights could not be turned on, but who cared? HAULING IT AWAY: The car’s shrink wrap is removed from the car for disposal.
WRAPPING THE DAY UP: Car #26 is moved into place after a day’s worth of hard work.

The Museum is indebted to all of those who assisted in the delivery of P.C.C. car #26.  For further reading of the history of P.C.C. cars, please consult the following sources.  Unfortunately, they are no longer in print but may be available on the Internet.

  •  Seymour Kashin and Harre Demoro, An American OriginalThe P.C.C. Car, Glendale, California: Interurban Press, 1986

  • Fred W. Schneider III and Stephen P. Carlson, P.C.C. From Coast to Coast, Glendale, California: Interurban Press, 1983
  • Stephen P. Carlson and Fred W. Schneider III, P.C.C.The Car That Fought Back, Glendale, California: Interurban Press, 1980
All pictures © 2014, Mark A. Hurley, all rights reserved.  Reproduction in any form is prohibited without express permission of the author.