Since 2014, Brookville Equipment Corporation has been rebuilding 16 PCC cars for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The final cars are expected to be completed this year. The recent rehabilitation program marks the second time that Brookville and SFMTA have teamed up; The Pennsylvania-based manufacturer restored 16 other PCC cars between 2004 and 2012.
The most recent batch of cars to travel to Pennsylvania for rehabilitation included 13 single-ended cars built in the late 1940s that were purchased by SFMTA from SEPTA in the mid-1990s.The other three cars are double-ended PCCs originally built for San Francisco.
As an added bonus, SFMTA is working with Brookville to paint the rebuilt cars in historically accurate paint schemes that pay tribute to other cities that used PCCs. In the mid-1990s, when SFMTA began painting the cars in tribute schemes, it only had so many different shades of paint available for the effort. That resulted in a number of cars appearing in tribute schemes that were not true to the original. Among them was No. 1059, painted in tribute to the Boston Elevated Railway, which was too red when it first arrived in San Francisco in the 1990s, and No. 1061, the Pacific Electric car, which previously featured a two-toned red scheme instead of the more accurate red and orange. Both cars have since been painted in the correct schemes. Other cars got new paint jobs entirely, including those that paid tribute to Pittsburgh, Baltimore and St. Louis.
But paint is not the only thing that’s new on San Francisco’s PCC cars. Upon arrival at Brookville, the cars are stripped down and rebuilt with new axles, wheels and motors. The cars also get some modern upgrades, including new wiring, door sensors and backup cameras.
The PCCs are used daily on the F and E lines and work alongside a number of other historic streetcars, including 11 built for service in Milan, Italy.