Pacific Electric PCC 1061 Headed Back to Muni

Rolling through Ames, Iowa today on the back of a trailer, one of our watchful members, Mike Joynt, spotted newly rebuilt PCC 1061, painted to honor Pacific Electric, on its way back to San Francisco following rebuilding by Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania. Mike wasn’t able to snap a photo, but here’s one of the car body emerging from Brookville’s paint shop a couple of months ago before its regular trucks were installed and the finishing touches applied. (Thanks to Jack Demnyan for the photo.)

Pacific Electric was the mighty Southern California interurban and electric freight railway involved with the even mightier Southern Pacific Railroad. P-E even painted its small fleet of double-end PCCs to evoke S-P’s red and orange “Daylight” passenger trainsets. The restored 1061 has a more accurate orange — Daylight Orange, actually — that provides more contrast with the red than the color did on the original restoration, performed in the early 1990s. That extra contrast led one member, who saw this photo in Inside Track, to complain that the paint scheme is “wrong” because there’s “too much orange” above the windows. In fact, the paint design is identical to what has been on the car since the early 1990s. The relative lack of contrast between the body red and the trim red-orange meant that this member didn’t notice anything “wrong” for 25 years. You can see the original this great shot by Rich Panse.

In fairness, this paint scheme in particular is tough to replicate because P-E’s PCCs were unique, double-ended with front and center doors and no standee windows.  The side windows were much taller instead, leaving little room between the top of the windows and the main roof as shown below.

We’ll post photos of the finished car when it arrives in San Francisco early next week.

 

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“Boston” is Back!

 

PCC 1059, honoring Boston Elevated Railway, is back in San Francisco, photographed by MSR Member Traci Cox at Muni Metro East in the wee hours of Monday, April 24. Like many of the 17 first-generation F-line streetcars (numbered from 1050-1063, plus 1007, 1010, and 1015), the colors on the tribute livery adorning 1059 were a little off. At that time, Muni only allowed a relative handful of colors in the palette for the PCC tribute paint schemes, but now, there are many more colors available, so we have been working with Muni to improve the historical accuracy of the colors.

The previous color limitation led to the 1059 being originally painted in a red-orange color, at odds with the actual Boston hue. We’ve got it pretty close now as indicated by the photo below (apologies, we can’t find the photographer credit…please let us know if you know who we should credit).


No, Muni didn’t install left-hand doors on 1059 as the Boston PCCs had (this anomaly was and is required by Boston’s 1897 subway. But we did take a look at what Boston logo would be most appropriate: the Boston Elevated Railway lettering that the Beantown PCCs were delivered in, or the later “MTA” logo or map logo. We stuck with the Boston Elevated
Railway lettering both because that was original and because where possible we lke to have authentic exterior lettering or logos that provide clues to the origin of the tribute livery. That logo will be installed before the car goes into revenue service.

Here are two more views of 1059’s arrival at Metro East, courtesy of Traci Cox.

(The night lighting does skew the orange color somewhat.)

[Update] After unloading the 1059, the trailer returned to Brookville with various parts, rather than with another car. [We erroneously reported Pacific Electric 1061 had gone to Brookville. Not yet. Sorry.] Market Street Railway is working with Muni to tweak the colors on that iconic Pacific Electric paint scheme as well, when 1061 does go to Brookville. (It and Brooklyn 1053 are slated to be the next cars to go back east for restoration, though in what order is not clear.) Comments on the first version of this story suggest that the Boston orange might work very well as a more accurate trim color on the 1061. We’re checking that out, and always appreciate comments from knowledgeable fans on colors, as long as they come to us in time to do something about them.

MSR Members: those who receive the hard copy of our newsletter, Inside Track, it should reach US mailboxes in the next couple of days, overseas by the end of next week (we hope…postal services around the world seem to be falling apart).

 

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Disney Makes Big Red Car Little

An upgrade of Disney’s California Adventure, its second (to Disneyland) theme park, has been under way for over a year now. The first incarnation didn’t capture the “pixie dust” or magic people associate with Disney parks. So they tweaked some things and added a huge new attraction in “Cars Land” after the animated film. It opens to the public March 15.

But to our eyes, the coolest addition are two Pacific Electric streetcars, installed on Buena Vista Street, itself remodeled to suggest Hollywood around 1923, when Walt Disney arrived in Southern California. They’ll run between the park entrance and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction.
Like many Disney attractions, the “Big Red Cars” are scaled down, but they look great in publicity materials so far. We’ve heard they were built under deep secrecy by Brookville Equipment Company, the same who restored Muni Car No. 1 and are renovating 16 Muni PCCs.


pe396.jpeg

Pacific Electric "Hollywood" car, 1953. A.M. Payne photo. Click to enlarge.

Back in the Trolley Festival years of the 1980s, we set our sights on getting Muni a real Pacific Electric car of this type, known as a “Hollywood” for the route they often ran, but the real thing is just a big too long and wide to clear the Muni system. Of course, the classic “Daylight” P-E livery of orange and red is represented in the F-line fleet by Muni No. 1061, paying tribute to the unusual double-end, center door PCCs P-E ran on the Glendale-Burbank line.
Nice to see a tribute to the (sorta) Big Red Cars close to their original back yard.
UPDATE: We had a glitch with our comment feature and lost a few in the past week. Apologies. To answer one question raised about the Disney attraction, the power source for the cars is batteries. Interesting, though, that they still mounted trolley catchers on the end, with the rope tied off to a corner stanchion.
Check back next week for our post on a real Red Car back in transit service in Southern California.

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“Big Red Car” Back on Track

In Southern California, they called them “the Big Red Cars,” the streetcars and interurbans of the famed Pacific Electric Railway, that once connected downtown Los Angeles to destinations as far-flung as San Bernardino and Newport Beach.
PE, as it was widely known, only had a handful of PCC streamliners, honored by the eye-catching livery on Muni’s car No. 1061. That paint scheme was inspired by the “Daylight” steam train colors of PE’s big brother Southern Pacific (as modeled by preserved locomotive 4449 in this video clip). PCC No. 1061 has been out of service for an extended period while specific parts were on order. In the meantime, it was freshly repainted and had roof repairs completed.
Today, it’s back on the street in all its glory…the red right in tune with the season.
Ho ho ho!

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