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the most popular tram in the world - PCC, part 1: USA

Commonly used name for the high-speed tram waggon is the abbreviation "PCC" (Presidents' Conference Commttee), which is unfortunatelly in Poland falsely interpreted as a conference under the auspices of the United States president. The full name is exactly ERPCC (Electric Railway Presidents Conference Committee), which stands fot the Conference of the Commitee of Tram companies chairmans.

the beginings

In 1929 during the AERA (American Electric Railway Association) convention, an ERPCC committee was established. It's first and foremost role was to construct and build a standard-track, modern tram waggon, which would stand up to a growing competition from vast expanding individual motorisation. Dr Thomas Conway was chosen as a chairman of the ERPCC, along with dr Clarance F. Hirshfeld as his assistant for technique matters. Finally in the year 1933 ERPCC had a final list of project's demandings and assumptions and a green light was given to research and test the trams components.

The main assumption fot the PCC project was to create a better acceleration than pcurrently used in trams, better speed and breaking, comfort of passengers and also the overall design of the tram. The highest effort was put in the construction of a new running gear, which would minimize the level of vibration and noise simultaneously saving it's durability.

Clark B2 silent bogie.

Pullman B3 Super Silent bogie.

Inquiry form's were sent to numerous tram companies in oderd to meet the future user's demands. Finally an extensive research had been carried out in Brooklyn in the state of New York using the bogies borrowed directly from tram companies from all over the United States. To ensure that the adequative electric system would be supplied for the future tram, GE (General Electric) and Wetsinghouse comapany's were invited to cooperate in the project.

Westinghouse XD-323 drum accelerator.

GE 17KM12A1 commutator accelerator.

GE whirl converter. Pulley belt for the air compressor can be seen at the end of the shaft.

Westinghouse 1432 railway motor.

In parallel to the ERPCC project, but not waiting for it's results, the biggest american tram company CSL (Chicago Surface Lines) ordered two prototype waggons in Pullman-Standard i JG Bril.

#7001 Brill tram cab for CSL.

Specially interesting unit was the one from the Pullman's company. The waggon was entirelly biuld from alluminium along with the bogies, which made the tram 55% lighter than others. Westinghause company delivered the electrical system for the tram, along with the prototype of the XD-223 drum accelerator, build with all the ERPCC requirements. The tram was given the #4001 number in the CSL company (likewise as the Krakow 405N-Kr tram a century later).

Pullman prototype tram #4001 constructed for Chicago Surface Lines.

Pullman #4001, view of the rear part of the tram.

As a prototype it had many faults. Some of them were eventuallu eliminated, but still it was nick-named by the CSL workers "Queen of the garage". The tram stayed in service untill the year 1944, when after a whirl starter fauld it was converted to a training room for bus drivers. In 1955 the bogies were removed and scraped. The body of the tram was handed over to a shipyard, where it served as a office room. Finally in 1970 it was bough back by transport fans and handed over to IRM (Illinois Railway Museum).

Current condition of the Pullman-Standard prototype.

ERPCC for research and tests used a specially adapted a classic waggon of the Twin Coach Co. production, designated as a ERPCC model A. Waggon was used in Brooklym with a #5200.

Model A ERPCC waggon build from a classic Twin Coach Co.

Finally in 1934, a first prototype model B was build in the workshops of the Pullman company, which was used also in Brooklym with a #5300.

Prototype ERPCC waggon model B.

24th of Sepetember 1934, ERPCC waggons model A, model B, PULLMANN (CSL) #4001, BRILL (CSL) #7001 were officially presented to the ERPCC delegates in Cleveland.

Trams presented during the ATA conference in 1934 on the Washington Park Boulevard in Cleveland.
First is the ERPCC model B, second BRILL (CSL) #7001, PULLMANN (CSL) #4001 and the last ERPCC model A.

In 1936 after the work of the ERPCC comision was ended a TRC (Transit Research Corporation) was founded. All the projects were handed over to the newle created corporation along with the patents and the author's copyrights. Between 1936 and 1945 a series of waggons was mounted, currently designated as "pre-war" or PCC Air-Electric. This series featured a pneumatic type of brake system and also a pneumatic door system as well as pneumatic wipers system. After the II World War a modernised series was introduced, designated as All-electric, where the pneumatic instalation was eliminated.

PCC "pre-war".

Eventually the production of PCC waggons ended in the USA in the year 1952. As a result of various acts and a ctivities made by National City Lines and Pacific City Lines companies, which were closelly connected with GM, Firestone, Standard Oil motorisation companies a vast number of tram systems were taken over and in the end closed down. Only the tram systems in Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, Pittsburg and San Fransico remained.





San Francisco.


The Company TRC sold licenses:

» Crompton-Parkinson LTD., England in 1945.
» Belgian Electrorail Consortium, including the Benelux countries on August 29, 1946.
» Ab Svenska Jarnvagsverkstaderna, including Scandinavia and Poland in February 1947.
» Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board of Australia, including Australia, New Zealand and Asia excluding Japan and the Soviet Union in July 1947.
» Tatra-Smichov, Czechoslovakia in 1948.

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