This makes a fleet of 8 PCCs in all, with one being store inoperable. The original five cars, all ex-Toronto circa 1951, and representing different cities, were lined up outside the Joseph McCarthy Transit Center for photos. Kenosha’s streetcars retain the numbering from their prior homes.
Cars 2185 and 4617 were acquired from the East Troy Electric Railroad. East Troy decided to stick with double-ended cars, rather than construct expensive turning loops at both ends of their line.
The people of Kenosha are very friendly, and the line was operating on a 15-minute headway the day I was there. They are even railfan-friendly. There were several photographers along the trolley loop, and our operator was happy to oblige with a photo stop now and then, especially when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for about a minute. The PCC rolled along at a leisurely pace of about 10-12 mph for the most part.
Kenosha streetcar mechanic Bradley Preston gave us a grand tour of the shops, including a demonstration of how a PCC’s traction motor works:
PCC 2185 rounds a bend near the Kenosha METRA station on March 16, 2013:
A fine time was had by all. It was a kick to ride car 2185, and it’s entirely possible I already rode the car before on the streets of Philadelphia, 25 years ago or more. Even more interesting, this car had its trucks exchanged and now rides on former Chicago PCC trucks. Car 4617, also acquired from East Troy, also runs and together, the two cars are a nice addition to a well-maintained fleet.
It appears Kenosha’s system is going to expand, as we were told they have now secured funding for an additional 22 blocks of trackage in a north-south loop line. Construction may begin in 2014. As the word “streetcar” slowly creeps into the lexicon of American cities once again, it looks to have a very bright future in Kenosha.
(All photos and videos were taken by the Author on March 16, 2013 unless otherwise noted.)