Built 1948 • Operational
The 'City of Brotherly Love' first ran PCC streetcars in 1938 (Muni No. 1060 wears the original silver paint scheme).
Philadephia PCC streetcar no. 1055 in front of San Francisco's Ferry Building. Steve Ferarrio photo.
After World War II, Philadelphia Transportation Co. (PTC) ordered 210 more PCCs from St. Louis Car Company. This car, numbered 2122 in Philly (now Muni No. 1055), was delivered in 1948 wearing this livery of green, cream, and red. The city later added 90 secondhand PCCs from Kansas City and St. Louis in the 1950s.
But National City Lines, owned by bus, tire, and gasoline companies, gained control of PTC and began gradually converting the system to buses. Between 1954 and 1958, almost 1,000 Philadelphia streetcars were scrapped as three quarters of the city's streetcar lines were either converted to buses or discontinued altogether. In the process, many surviving PCCs were reassigned to new lines. This car was shifted in 1955 to the 15-Girard line.
But with PTC spending as little as possible on streetcar maintenance, service steadily deteriorated, a decline that continued after the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA, a public agency) took over the transit system in 1968. Several lines, including the 15-Girard, "temporarily" converted to buses, conversions that lasted for years or forever, because of a lack of operable streetcars.
In the early 1980s, SEPTA replaced PCCs on its subway-surface routes with new light rail vehicles built by Kawasaki of Japan. By the early 1990s, all of Philadelphia's PCCs had been retired from service.
Muni bought and rebuilt 14 of SEPTA's PCCs to inaugurate F-line service in 1995, at a time when no PCCs were left running in Philadelphia. But inspired in part by the F-line, some Philadelphians demanded restoration of PCC service in their own town, and got it in 2005 on the 15-Girard line (albeit with heavily modified streetcars using a different propulsion system). The Girard cars are painted in a version of No. 1055's historic livery.