On page 20 of Dr. Harold E. Cox’s classic 1963 book PCC Cars of North America, we find the following statement about Chicago’s PCCs:
“Approximately 12 cars are believed to have been renumbered but renumberings are not known.”
The story we’ve heard goes like this. CTA contracted with the St. Louis Car Company, starting in 1953, to take parts off of 570 postwar PCC streetcars, so they could be used in building an equivalent number of new rapid transit cars. CTA sold the PCCs to St. Louis in numbered blocks, and there were several such contracts.
The original contract, which involved the Pullman-built cars, did not make provisions for substitutions of cars, but later contracts did. Apparently, when the time came to send some of the Pullmans down to St. Louis, CTA discovered that a few cars, which were involved in accidents, could not be moved, since there was either pending litigation or insurance claims that were not yet settled.
Once the contracts permitted such substitutions, CTA simply renumbered another car to take the place of the one that could not be sent immediately. The three photos posted here are documentary evidence of at least one such renumbering, since the “7270” on this car has been stenciled on, in a manner unlike any car seen in service. We are fortunate that the late Bill Hoffman took these photos, and thank the Wien-Criss Archive for sharing them with us.
So, as part of our ongoing “Transit Trivia” series, we will hold a contest for our readers. Which cars were renumbered, and why?
We will award a prize for the best answer received by midnight Chicago time on July 7, 2014. The winner with the best overall answer will receive a copy of our new Complete ERHS Collection on DVD data disc.
The photos do seem to back up the idea that these renumberings involved cars damaged in accidents, since the front end of “7270” has been bashed in.
We must have stumped everybody, since there were no entries in this contest. So, here is the list of renumbered postwar Chicago PCC cars. The information comes from the files of the late James J. Buckley, and was shared courtesy of Roy Benedict.