With restoration about to begin on 16 historic PCC streetcars for the popular F-Market & Wharves line, Muni has asked Market Street Railway for thoughts on historic paint schemes, or “liveries,” for 3 of the double-ended “torpedo” cars. The final decision belongs to Muni, which of course owns the streetcars about to be restored.
We’re taking a look at the different possibilities being considered, with our first focus on cities that actually ran double-end PCCs at one time. The first post looked at Dallas, Texas (which ran double-ended PCCs from 1945 to 1956) and in this second installment we’re going to look at Boston, Massachusetts (which actually bought Dallas’ PCCs second-hand in 1958-59).
Soon after going into service in Boston, October 1960, showing “MTA” logo. Hal Greenwald photo, Joe Testagrose collection through nycsubway.org
These streetcars, which in Dallas were called the “gliding beauties”, became the “Texas Rangers” in Boston where they ran from 1959 until 1981. At that point, thoroughly worn out, the double-end cars were retired. Several have been preserved by museums, but today their underframes are virtually nothing but rust. During their service for the Boston Metropolitan Transit Agency (replaced in 1964 by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency, MBTA), these streetcars spent most of their time on the short, isolated Mattapan-Ashmont line.
Their first livery conformed to the Boston standard of the late 1950s: orange with cream trim, dark red striping under the windows, and a silver roof, with a small “MTA” logo on the side, with no wording indicating Boston or Massachusetts.
Boston double-end PCCs in red livery, 1970s David Pirmann collection through nycsubway.org
This color scheme is basically what should be on Muni’s single-end PCC No. 1059, honoring earlier Beantown streetcar operator Boston Elevated Railway, but the orange turned out red-orange in Muni’s version and will be corrected when No. 1059 is next fully repainted.
By the 1970s, Boston color-coded its streetcar lines. Most of the ex-Dallas cars, assigned to the Mattapan-Ashmont line were painted bright red, with white trim and gray roofs, symbolizing that isolated streetcar operation as an extension of the Red Line subway.
Boston double-end PCC in green livery, 1970s David Pirmann collection through nycsubway.org
Some ex-Dallas cars, which served the other streetcar lines, were painted green with white trim and gray roofs. All carried MBTA’s logo: a black “T” in a white circle. And there may be the rub for those two liveries. It is widely expected that the new double-enders will open Muni’s E-Embarcadero line from the Wharf to Caltrain, the southern portion of which will be shared with Muni’s T-Third Street line. Having a big “T” painted on the side of a PCC may be misleading, to both intending E-line and T-line riders.
Current logo on a Mattapan-Ashmont PCC. Richard Panse photo.
One other possible option for a Boston livery, though less than wholly authentic: in the early 1950s, before the “Texas Rangers” arrived, and again in recent years, Boston PCCs in the orange and silver livery wore a map-style logo (the picture shows the current version, on today’s rebuilt single-end PCCs serving the Mattapan-Ashmont line).
This large logo on an orange and silver PCC would certainly make it clear which system the car honored, though remember except for the logo, the “Boston Elevated Railway” tribute livery on No. 1059 would be virtually identical once it is repainted into the correct shade of orange.
Whew! So the question is: should one of Muni’s double-end PCCs up for restoration be repainted in a Boston livery, and if so, which one? Comment below, or If you’d prefer to comment privately, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org