SEPTA pulls PCC trolleys out of service for at least a year

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,712
The consensus amongst Philly Railfans is that they're done permanently. The federal loan requirement for these cars to run ran out about 6 months ago. So Septa isn't held hostage to run them now.
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,353
The consensus amongst Philly Railfans is that they're done permanently. The federal loan requirement for these cars to run ran out about 6 months ago. So Septa isn't held hostage to run them now.
I suspect you are correct. Part of the issue is that (IMO) there isn't a very compelling case to even run streetcars on Girard Ave. Doesn't connect to the subway-surface tunnel, doesn't serve a touristy area. I love those PCC cars, but I think daily commuters on that stretch would be better served by a bus.

I'm sure if SEPTA kept a few they could run them as occasional excursions, or as a local circulator in Chestnut Hill, or whatever. But yeah, hard to see them coming back in the same way. Depends on local politics somewhat, I suppose.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,746
The campaign to restore all the streetcar lines (including Chestnut Hill) continues. However, it now seems dependent on actually getting the new SEPTA trolley order...
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,032
Frankly the vast surface portion of Phillys trolleys don’t make sense. They take advantage of almost none of the benefits of rail, while being saddled, and saddling the city with, its disadvantages.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,661
Frankly the vast surface portion of Phillys trolleys don’t make sense. They take advantage of almost none of the benefits of rail, while being saddled, and saddling the city with, its disadvantages.
If streetcars don't make sense, how come a lot of cities seem to be building new lines? (Portland, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington DC. -- these are streetcars, not light rail.) Also, if streetcars don't make sense, why did most European cities keep their trams?

For the people who live along the lines in Southwest Philly, it is sure preferable to them to ride through the crowded part of Center City in a tunnel, rather than be in a bus stuck in the heavy traffic. For the point of view of the city, it keeps a whole lot of buses off the street. Powered by electricity with current off-the-shelf technology, it helps the metro area meet their air quality goals.
 

Pere Flyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2016
Messages
421
If streetcars don't make sense, how come a lot of cities seem to be building new lines? (Portland, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington DC. -- these are streetcars, not light rail.)
Follow the federal grants for public transit of the last decade. City DOT’s tend to plan for what they can best convince the feds to award capital for. In the last decade, that’s been streetcars/some kind of surface rail. Willingness to spend money on something doesn’t necessarily mean the project will be useful (e.g. interstate highways in cities, Wayne Co.’s “Fail Jail,” over-compromised streetcar projects) despite our best efforts with bureaucratic procedures.

Also, if streetcars don't make sense, why did most European cities keep their trams?
I’d attribute the European-U.S. difference to each’s cultural values in public transit. In most U.S. cities there just isn’t a broad consensus that public transit is superior to autos, even though fundamental laws of physics indicate otherwise.

Some U.S. streetcars have been successful, based on high ridership data—as you pointed out, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and Milwaukee have done well. Seattle’s will be useful after the planned extension. Cincinnati and Atlanta were over-compromised, St. Louis had no practical use as transit and will almost certainly get torn up (and the feds are asking for a refund) and Detroit was purely a real estate power move (where the feds wisely pulled funding when they saw the plans).
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,807
Cincinnati and Atlanta were over-compromised,
Atlanta also has the extremely frustrating problem of having a completely separate fare structure and no pass products other than a single-day pass. MARTA still runs duplicate bus service over the eastern half of the route as well, even though the route doesn't extend significantly further east than where the streetcar goes (though appears to hit a senior center and a couple other important stops.) Allowing it to function as part of the transit system as a whole would help boost ridership quite a bit, even with the other compromises.
 

iplaybass

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
169
The streetcars in Philly were a part of the overall public transit structure. While Germantown Ave. is narrow for a streetcar, I used to ride from one end of Erie to the other.

Removing streetcars makes room for more autos, it's as simple as that.
 
Group Builder
Top