March 24, 2017
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MBTA Plans Overhaul of Historic PCC Cars

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston has announced plans to invest $7.9 million in a complete overhaul of its historic Presidential Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars that have operated on the 2.6-mile Mattapan-Ashmont Station High Speed Line since 1955; the vehicles date to 1945-46.

MBTA has 10 of the PCC vehicles in its fleet, of which seven operate in revenue service. Because of their age, the streetcars require constant repair and replacement of parts that are no longer available on the market and either must be manufactured by MBTA machinists or obtained from museums, all adding to the overall cost of repairs.

“These historic vehicles are among the very last of many thousands that operated in major cities across the United States and are beloved by many residents in the communities they serve,” said MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve.

Over the next two years, MBTA will install new propulsion, brakes and power supply systems in the PCC cars, which should keep them operating for another decade, and will consider options for the future of the line. The capital project should be completed by late 2018.

MBTA will invest an additional $1.1 million to review operations, track, bridges, vehicles and other infrastructure and will study future vehicle options for the route including light rail (with PCC cars, replica trolleys or light rail vehicles), BRT and alternative propulsion technologies.

The Mattapan High Speed Line opened in 1929, converting a former steam railroad to a rapid transit line.

One of MBTA's PCC streetcars in operation on the Mattapan line.

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