K is for Kenosha

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Big celebration in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, September 12, “Streetcar Day,” as they welcomed their newest PCC streetcar for their two-mile loop line from the commuter rail station to the new housing developments along Lake Michigan.

Local angle? Just look at the paint job! Like San Francisco, Kenosha paints its PCC streetcars in different liveries that pay tribute to some of the 30 North American cities that operated this, the most successful streetcar design in history. For their latest car (which, like most of the fleet, came from Toronto), they’re honoring — San Francisco, adopting the classic mid-century green and cream “Wings” livery, modeled in San Francisco on several Muni cars, including No. 1040, the last PCC built in North America.  In a clever touch, the head sign (route and destination listing above the windshield) says K-Kenosha/Beach.  (It does in fact loop through a beach park on the lakefront.)

In a collaborative gesture, Market Street Railway and Muni sent materials, including the old Muni logo (the initials S.F. circled by the words “Municipal Railway”) and F-line maps for display inside to the Kenosha Streetcar Society, our counterpart in Kenosha.  They’ve done a great job there.

Market Street Railway members: look in your mailbox in about a week, and you’ll see an exclusive story on the plucky Kenosha streetcar operation, with great photos, part of the latest edition of our member newsletter, Inside Track. You can join Market Street Railway now and get that issue, plus the last three, to catch up on exclusive coverage.

Congratulations to Kenosha, our Wisconsin PCC cousins! แผนที่นำทาง

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Comments: 5

  1. Many thanks to MSR for posting this story and photo. We appreciate their help in getting the word out about our latest accomplishment. We are honored to be your Wisconsin PCC cousins!

    The transformation of TTC 4617 into MUNI 4617 is the result of two years of work by Brad Preston, Kenosha Transit Streetcar Technician, and John DeLamater, his youthful apprentice. Car 4617 needed body work to repair rust, big and small dents, and deteriorating past repairs. The work included replacing sections of body panels, reshaping corners, replacing the doors, and many smaller things. Since car 4610 is also painted in TTC livery, we decided to repaint 4617, choosing 1950s MUNI “wings.” John attended high school in San Francisco, and was a frequent rider on the K and L lines in the 50s. He became good friends with operator Havard Clarke, who often operated evening runs on the N line. John was happy to help transform 4617’s appearance. Brad and John really appreciate the contributions of MSR and Karl Johnson to the transformation.

    Car 4617 arrived in Kenosha via East Troy Electric Railroad, East Troy WI. When TTC sold the A-15 PCC cars in 1996, Tom Matola, PCC enthusiast and East Troy member, purchased 4617 and had it shipped to WI. Tom maintained and operated it and SEPTA 2185 there, with help from his young apprentice John DeLamater. John took over care and feeding of the two cars after Tom died in 1999, with help from others, especially Rudy Puerzer and Ed Susterich. John was sometimes over his head, and reached out to Karl Johnson on several occasions. Karl was a great source of moral support, technical advice, and a few parts, Brad began volunteering at East Troy and played a key role in keeping both cars operating. East Troy officials decided to deaccession the PCCs in 2011. John purchased them and arranged to donate them to Kenosha Area Transit. Thanks to Brad, Kenosha Transit Director Ron Iwen, and Mayor Keith Bosman for their willingness to expand the Kenosha PCC fleet.

    So quite a few people share in the credit for PCC 4617 operating on Kenosha City streets on Saturday, September 12, 2015 dressed in MUNI “wings.” Our gratitude and thanks to all of them!

    John DeLamater

  2. This was a great post and led to me reading up on the Kenosha system. I had no idea they had one, much less one with PCC’s. Very cool!

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