San Diego adds historic trolley to fleet

Posted on March 4, 2014

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) took delivery on Monday of a 1946 Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) car that is destined to be restored for service on the San Diego Vintage Trolley’s Silver Line. 
The 68-year old PCC car was acquired as part of a trade with the United Transportation Corp. (UTC)/Rail Air Sources (RAS), a manufacturer of parts for rail and light rail, in exchange for two decommissioned Siemens U-2 light rail vehicles (LRV). San Diego’s LRVs will be displayed at UTC/RAS affiliated rail museums, one in Suisun City, Calif. and the other in Rockhill Furnace, Pa.  

“The addition of another PCC car to our vintage trolley fleet means that MTS can offer more reliable service to passengers who want to experience a piece of San Diego’s transportation history firsthand,” said Harry Mathis, chairman of the MTS board of directors. “This PCC car is similar to the ones that provided service in San Diego from 1936 until the last car was retired in 1949.  Riding one is like stepping back in time.”

The trade, which was approved by the MTS board of directors last September, will provide the San Diego Vintage Trolley with more flexibility and the ability to maintain service if PCC #529, currently the only vintage trolley in operation, needs to be taken out of service for repair or maintenance.  

The restoration of the newly acquired trolley will be completed by MTS personnel and involve mostly cosmetic refurbishments such as paint, interior, console, and body work. Once the restoration is complete, the car will join the fleet as PCC #530.

The San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) Co. is contributing $50,000 to the restoration costs for the trolley, which will be named the “Centennial.” When finished, the trolley’s interior of will include historic SDG&E photos related to history of electric transportation in San Diego.

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