When Muni created its F-line PCC streetcar fleet in the early 1990s, they decided to paint the streamliner streetcars in the liveries (paint schemes) of some of the 30 North American cities that once operated this great streetcar design. Storage limitations at the time restricted the “palette” of colors they could use to eight. That meant choices had to be made. Everyone wanted a streetcar to pay homage to Chicago, because the Windy City had one of the largest PCC fleets ever. But the best-remembered paint scheme used by the Chicago Transit Authority, nicknamed the “Green Hornet” livery, required an unusual shade called Mercury Green. So it was decided to use the later darker green scheme, which was pretty close to Muni’s old livery and was not distinctive.
But five years ago, No. 1058 went out of service after a bad accident, when a trolley bus swerved directly in front of it. With short-staffed maintenance crews, it has taken a long time to get the extensive body repairs done. Since it needed an entire new paint job anyway, the paint shop, led by Carole Gilbert, agreed to add the Mercury Green color to their palette (which has expanded significantly). The exact shade was determined through a check with the Illinois Railway Museum, which has an original Chicago PCC in that livery. The trim colors, which come from Muni’s existing palette, are very close matches to the original Chicago colors of “Croydon Cream” and “Swamp Holly Orange.” The Muni painters who did this great job are Willie Alexander, Leon Bernal, Arthur Leary, and Carlos Montes. Thanks to all of them!
No. 1058 is still a few months from returning to the streets, with electrical work still to be repaired in the operator’s cab, but we got a sneak peak recently during our streetcar decorating party at the Geneva Yard and share it here. (The car number, which will be in the original Chicago Railroad Roman font, and the orange CTA logo, are on hand and will be applied when No. 1058 is ready to return to service.)