Tuesday, July 6, 2010

PDP #246: Designed By Committee

Every once in a while, everything goes right - and every once in a while, a racehorse-designing committee actually designs a racehorse and not a camel. That was what happened with the Presidents' Conference Committee streetcar, a triumph of Art Deco styling that served in cities across North America and the world and was the foundation of the Toronto streetcar system for decades. At its height, thanks to cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Kansas City abandoning their own lines, the TTC was able to assemble a vast fleet of new and used PCCs. Back then the canard "always a streetcar in sight" was practically truth - at its height, the TTC ran seven hundred and forty-five PCC streetcars on a network not vastly longer than today. The current fleet, for purposes of comparison, stands at two hundred and forty-seven.

There are two left in Toronto. PCC #4549 was brought out of the barns last month as part of the St. Clair Feet on the Street festival, providing free service between St. Clair West station and Oakwood Loop, the northern limit of the system. Steve Munro probably has better pictures of this, though; he had a better camera.

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