Meet Me in St. Louis

Judy Garland’s great singing made the 1944 movie “Meet Me in St. Louis,” about the 1904 World’s Fair. The film debuted two original songs with enduring popularity. “The Trolley Song,” as in “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley…” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” now a part of the holiday music canon. The film also produced … Liza Minnelli, because Garland met her future husband, Vincente Minnelli, on the set (he was the director).

Anyway, it’s fitting that “The Trolley Song” was written for a film about St. Louis, because it was a great streetcar town longer than almost any other. In fact, Muni bought 70 PCCs from St. Louis second-hand in 1957 to finish the conversion from two-operator “Iron Monsters” to one-operator cars. Those St. Louis cars, numbered from 1101-1170, comprised two-thirds of Muni’s streetcar fleet. One of them, Muni 1128, was painted back to St. Louis red and cream livery and given back its St. Louis number, 1704, to operate during the 1980s in the Market Street trolley festivals, the proof of concept that led to the permanent F-line. Muni still has 1704 and eleven other ex-St. Louis PCCs in storage, and it’s hoped that red and cream livery will be seen on Market Street again.

In the meantime, take a look at St. Louis PCCs, and some Peter Witts too, in their native environment. Some great shots here:

Comments: 5

  1. I heard the St. Louis PCCs have different brake arrangements or something like that, and would require extra operator training. And the front doors on some St. Louis PCCs aren’t wide enough to support wheelchairs, even though they’re wide as normal.

  2. The St. Louis PCC’s have two instead of three pedals, and as I recall, at the bottom of each pedal is a plate that has to be depressed for the car to run (takes place of the “deadman” pedal). There was some talk about rebuilding them to the more common three-pedal layout.
    I remember riding St. Louis “retro” PCC 1128/1704 during the Trolley Festivals in the 1980’s. It had some help from the local Anheuser-Busch distributor, and had car cards advertising various A-B malt beverages. One of the cards showed the Budweiser Clydesdales, and I remember telling one visitor that if this car broke down, a team of sturdy draft horses would haul it back to the barn. (add horse laugh sound here)

  3. If Muni rebuilds the ex-St. Louis PCCs, they’ll almost certainly have their pedals changed to conform to the set up found on the other PCCs Muni runs. It’s no big deal if you’re doing a thorough renovation. They’ll also replace the front “blinker” doors that have a fixed centerpost with folding doors that provide ample ADA clearance.

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