The “Steel City”, as Pittsburgh has long been called, was also one of the great PCC streetcar cities as well. It operated the world’s first PCC carrying passengers, in August 1936. Its 666 PCCs were second in number to Chicago’s 683 among US operators. It operated PCCs until 1999, one of the longest tenures of any PCC operator.
Pittsburgh Railways Company began the PCC era with Car No. 100, which began carrying passengers shortly before Brooklyn’s first PCCs did. Pittsburgh rapidly expanded its PCC fleet in a bid to modernize its extensive streetcar system, which once numbered 68 lines. A hilly city like San Francisco, Pittsburgh’s PCCs routinely climbed grades up to 15%, far steeper than Muni’s PCCs had to handle.
Pittsburgh’s PCCs ran through prestigious neighborhoods, working-class enclaves, past downtown high-rises and factory areas. They even ran along two interurban lines way out into the country, 29 and 36 miles long. (The longer line would be equivalent to a Muni PCC running from the Ferry Building to Palo Alto!)
Streetcar service in Pittsburgh waned rapidly after 1959, and Pittsburgh Railways sold the remaining operation to the Port Authority of Allegheny County in 1964. Like Muni, Pittsburgh opened a downtown rail subway in the 1980s and bought new light rail vehicles to serve the subway and replace the PCCs. A handful of PCCs were rebuilt in-house and served an outlying line until 1999. Muni purchased two of those home-built Pittsburgh PCCs in the early 2000s, but has elected to date not to restore them, given their non-standard features.
So Car No. 1062 now honors Pittsburgh’s extensive PCC operation, after spending its first 21 years in Muni service painted in tribute to Louisville, Kentucky, a city that bought, but never operated, PCCs after World War II.
Originally built for
Philadelphia Transportation Company, Philadelphia PA, 1948 (as car No. 2101)
Acquired by Muni from
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia PA, 1992
St. Louis Car Co.
Morrision-Knudsen 1993, Brookville Equipment Co. 2017
4 Westinghouse 1432J