Chicago's PCC streetcars, where they ran.
Date: January 31, 2014 05:55PM
The Chicago PCCs, the Blue Geese and Green Hornet cars as they were called by many.
All of Chicago's PCC cars were ordered by the Chicago Surface Lines, the first order of 83 pre-WWII cars, which came to be known by many as 'Blue Geese', was delivered in 1936 and placed in service on route 20 Madison St. the size of the CSL system was said to be the largest street-railway system in the world. These 83 cars were enough to equip just one line and further orders would not come until after the second world war.
After WWII, CSL ordered a total of 600 post WWII cars which would include a number of improvements such as standee-windows and all electric braking (rather than the usual air brakes), these cars were referred to as the 'Green Hornets'. The newly created Chicago Transit Authority was poised to take over operations by 1946 and tried to cancel the large order with the St. Louis Car Company but as the order was well underway way CTA had no other options but to accept delivery of these cars. Unfortunately It seems the new CTA management from the very begining planned to phase out all streetcar service from early on. Indeed from the beginning, the CTA modernisation program was to replace as many car lines as possible with diesel and propane buses as well as a large number of trackless-trolley buses. As I've listed below, CTA did place the new green-hornets on heavily traveled lines for a for a short time before being removed from service to be re-incarnated* as series 6000 'L' Subway rolling stock. The CTA also continued to operate the blue-geese on several lines before being scrapped in the end.
*several hundred of the Green-Hornet cars were sent back to St. Louis Car Co. to be stripped down and the trucks, motors, electric controllers, window sash and such were used build the series 6000 rapid-transit cars, that series which was used to modernise 'L' - Subway rolling stock did have a sort of PCC car look with the hand-crank windows and standee-windows.
An interesting 'factoid' about the green hornet and blue geese streetcars built for Chicago Surface Lines, is that these cars were the widest and longest of all the PCC type streetcars built between the total PCC production years from 1936 to 1951 at St. Louis Car Co.
The devil-strips, the distance between parallel sets of tracks set in the pavement, on Chicago streetcar trackage were narrower then many other systems - so narrow in fact that when Chicago Surface Lines engineering team originally ordered their first-generation PCC cars, they specified cars that were 4'5"longer and 5" wider than "standard" off the shelf PCCs then being built for Brooklyn, N.Y., Chicago PCCs were engineered and counter-weighted to be offset mounted on its trucks from the cars-centerline, with the cars right side (as facing forward) overhanging the track-centerline by three inches more than the left side, this was to allow for approximately the same passing distance between the PCCs as between narrower standard cars. As the PCCs were single ended, unlike most of CSL's older cars, the PCCs would always travel with the left sides to the devil-strips.
Route rt.name----------in service
20 Madison-Fifth Ave.----1936-1953
20 Madison shuttle am---1949-1951
20 Madison shuttle pm---1949-1951
4 Cottage Grove--------1952-1955
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2014 01:58PM by robspost.