Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chicago Transit Authority PCC electric streetcar # 4391. The Illinois Railway Museum. Union Illinois USA. August 2006.

I took this photo on an August 2006 visit to the Illinois Railway Museum, located in the town of Union Illinois.

Seen here boarding and alighting visiting passengers, is 1948 built electric streetcar # 4391 from the Chicago Transit Authority. This car is the only survivor from the last order of modern electric streetcars delivered to the CTA.

Prior to and just after the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority in November of 1947, Chicago was in the early stages of phasing out electric streetcars and replacing them with motor buses. Electric streetcar routes and equipment were gradually being phased out, a task that was completed by June of 1958. The CTA subway and elevated rapid transit system was in desperate need of new equipment and upgrading, and these modern steamlined streetcars had little service milage on them.

The PCC or President's Conference Commitee streamlined electric streetcars, wich had made their debut in several North American citties begining in 1936, were the last new streetcars ordered and in service on Chicago city streets. Their short service life due to impending bus conversion of existing electric streetcar routes in Chicago, made them ideal candidates for a major transit vechicle recycling program. Upon their respective retirements from service, these cars were scrapped, and their electrical components, power trucks, and body panels, were recycled into the "New" 1950's era 6000 series rapid transit cars used on the subways and elevated lines.

Car # 4391, was restored to it's original as delivered 1947 era CTA color scheme and markings.
Today, this car is demonstrated on the museum's trolley loop for visiting patrons. The car is seen wearing the sign for the Route # 49 Western Avenue line, wich ran streetcars untill 1956.

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