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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Celebrating 1776 in Electrical Wonder

These top two street cars are of the PCC variety.
The bottom one is a GG1 built by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The "PCC" in these cars' name comes from the name of a design committee formed in 1929 as the Presidents' Conference Committee and renamed the Electric Railway Presidents' Conference Committee (ERPCC) in 1931. This group's membership consisted mostly of representatives of some of the larger operators of urban electric street railways in the United States. The ERPCC goal was to design a new and modern type of streetcar that would better meet the needs of the street railways and their customers. The committee prepared a detailed research program, conducted extensive research, built and tested components, made necessary modifications, and, in the end, produced a set of specifications for a complete vehicle of a set design built with standard parts as opposed to a custom designed car body with any variety of different parts added to it depending on the whims and requirements of the individual customer. A significant contribution to the PCC design was Noise Reduction with extensive use of rubber in springs and other components to prevent rattle, vibration, and thus noise and to provide a level of comfort not known before. Wheel tires were mounted between rubber sandwiches and were thus electrically isolated so that shunts were used to complete ground. Resilient wheels were used on most PCC cars with later heftier cousins known as Super-Resilient.
Gears were another source of considerable noise, solved by employing hypoid gears which are mounted at a right angle to the axle, where three of the six teeth constantly engaged the main gear, reducing play and noise. All movable truck parts employed rubber for noise reduction as well. "Satisfactory Cushion Wheel of Vital Importance; Develop New Truck Design; Generous Use of Rubber" are headings within a paper that Chief Engineer Hirshfeld both presented and published.
After a specification document suitable for purchasing cars was generated by TRC orders were placed by 8 companies in 1935 and 1936. First was Brooklyn & Queens Transit Co. (B&QT) for 100 cars, then Baltimore Transit Co. (BTCo) for 27 cars, Chicago Surface Lines (CSL) for 83 cars, Pittsburgh Railways Co. (PRCO) for 101 cars, San Diego Electric Railway (SDERy) for 25 cars, Los Angeles Railway (LARy) for 60 cars, and then Boston Elevated Railway (BERy) for 1 car.
Most PCCs employed three pedals with a dead man's switch to the left, brake in center, and power pedal on the right. Depressing the brake about half way and then releasing the dead man pedal put the PCC in "park". Lifting the dead man alone would apply all brakes, drop sand, and balance the doors so they could be pushed open easily.
The first PCC cars in Canada were operated by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in 1937. By 1954 Toronto had the largest PCC fleet in the world, including many purchased second-hand from U.S. cities that abandoned streetcar service following the Second World War. Although it acquired new custom-designed streetcars in the late 1970s and 1980s, the TTC continued using PCCs in regular service until the mid-1990s, and retains two (#4500 and #4549) for charter purposes.
The Edmonton Radial Railway Society operates TTC 4612 at Fort Edmonton Park and has cars 4349 and 4367 in storage.
The above information was gleaned from the wikipedia site.
The following information is taken from the website http://www.steamlocomotive.com/GG1/
The GG1 was designed by the Pennsylvania Railroad based on the need for a locomotive that could pull more than 12 to 14 passenger cars. The railroad thought it had designed the perfect electric passenger locomotive, the P-5a, but as the P-5a locomotives arrived, it became necessary to double head them on many trains in order to protect schedules. Two other factors were involved in the development of the GG1. The chassis and wheel arrangement were a result of experiments with a leased New Haven EP3a and the streamlined body and center crew cab were an outcome of concern for crew safety. A tragic grade crossing accident in which a box cab P-5a hit a truck killing the engineer, reinforced the need for better protection for the crew. After the accident, a hold was put on further manufacture of the box cab P-5a and the locomotive was redesigned to include a center crew cab. The GG1 was given a sculptured carbody with contoured hoods that were tapered to provide visibility for the enginemen. As a result, a very aesthetically pleasing design evolved. Raymond Loewy, the renowned industrial designer, reviewed the prototype and recommended welding the shell rather than using rivets. He then suggested adding the famous pin stripes, making the design an award winner.

The railroad built 139 units (#4800 through #4938) between the years 1934 and 1943. Many of them were built at the Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, PA.

This streamlined locomotive, designed for bidirectional operation was mainly used for passenger trains, but a few were regeared for freight service. Lasting from 1934 to well into the 1980s it would be hard to find any other American locomotive design that operated for a longer period of time. The 79.5 foot long 230+ ton GG1 was built on an articulated frame which permitted its 2-C+C-2 wheel arrangement to negotiate tight curves even in congested areas. Power was picked up from an overhead 11,000 Volt AC catenary wire by a pantograph and the voltage stepped-down through an on board transformer to feed the 12 single phase 25 cycle traction motors. Each of these motors developed 385 HP giving the GG1 a total of 4620 HP in continuous operation and allowed speeds up to 100 mph. The body of the locomotive also housed large blowers for motor and transformer cooling, a steam boiler for passenger car heat, electric controllers and sanding boxes.

Of the 139 units built, only 16 survive today. Some have been restored superficially and can be visited as shown below. It is not likely that any of these survivors will ever run again because of the prohibitive cost to rebuild or replace the electrical components.

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