Built 1948 • Operational • Tribute livery
This car is painted to honor Baltimore, which ran PCC streetcars from 1936 to 1963.
One of the first cities to operate PCCs, Baltimore began with an order of 27 in 1936. The privately owned operator, Baltimore Transit Company (BTC) subsequently placed seven additional orders for the streamliners, eventually acquiring 275 PCCs. They made up just over a quarter of BTC's huge streetcar fleet, which also included a variety of old-fashioned cars and 150 lightweight high-speed Peter Witt cars ordered in 1930.
The Baltimore system included some spectacular trackage, including lots of private right-of-way, viaducts, and a drawbridge. PCCs served all of it, in part because BTC would mix PCCs in with older streetcars on every line. Most companies tried to operate complete lines with PCCs to take advantage of the streamliners' quicker acceleration. In Baltimore, motormen had to rein in their PCC "steeds" lest they catch up to the "old plug" wooden streetcar filling the run ahead of them.
National City Lines bought up BTC stock during World War II, assuming operational control in late 1945. Soon after, many of BTC's 29 streetcar lines started converting to buses (made by NCL owner General Motors). While it is true that 16 of those lines used antique wooden streetcars and had worn out tracks and car barns, it is also true that BTC cancelled an order for 100 multiple-unit PCCs in 1946. It is true as well that flight from the inner city to suburbs proceeded faster in postwar Baltimore than in most other U.S. cities.
These factors combined to doom Baltimore's streetcar system. After steady attrition, the end came on November 3, 1963, when car No. 7407 (now at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum) limped into the barn to close out Baltimore's PCC era.
An early Baltimore PCC livery featured a blue lower body, cream window area, gray roof, and orange belt rail. Later in their life, to save money while keeping the cars visible, BTC painted the cars all yellow, keeping the gray roof.
This yellow paint scheme was used during the term of Baltimore Mayor Tom D'Alesandro, Jr., whose daughter Nancy rode cars like this as a child. She grew up, moved to San Francisco, and is today Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.