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Kenosha’s Streetcars

Kenosha’s Streetcars


            Beginning in 2000, Kenosha began operating five former Toronto PCCs on an oval shaped line. The five cars had been refurbished in Iowa and painted in liveries that operated PCC streetcars in the past.  The cars retained their original Toronto numbers 4606, 4609, 4610, 4615, and 4616. The cars were delivered in the following order: 4610-4616-4606-4615-4609. They later acquired three more PCCs from the East Troy Electric Railway: Former Toronto PCC 4617 and former SEPTA PCCs 2120 and 2185.


What follows is a collection of photos of the cars.




            PCC 4606 is painted in the Chicago “Green Hornet” paint scheme. Chicago had a few hundred PCCs and many wore that scheme. Chicago’s PCCs were unique as they had three sets of doors instead of the usual two sets as well as having an operator and a conductor. One Chicago Green Hornet PCC survives at the Illinois Railway Museum while the rest were scrapped and had several components used in CTA’s 1-50, 5000, and 6000 series El cars. I got to ride 4606 in Kenosha in 2008.







            Here is a Corgi model of 4606. Corgi has made a whole series of PCCs, but 4606 is the only car in Kenosha that they have done. The model of 4606 didn’t sell as much as it was hoped.





            Car 4609 is painted in Pittsburgh colours. It was originally to be painted in Louisville, Kentucky colours, but the people in Kenosha thought the scheme was ugly, even though San Francisco’s MUNI has an ex SEPTA PCC in that scheme. Louisville bought an order of PCCs, but as the cars were being delivered, the company changed its mind and bought buses. The cars were subsequently sold to Cleveland and later to Toronto. At least one original Louisville PCC survives at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum, but is in rough shape.


            Pittsburgh ran a pretty large fleet of PCCs, and at one time in the 1970s, many cars wore different liveries; it was almost that no two cars were painted alike. Over time, the fleet shrank. A few cars were rebuilt and ran until 1999. Today, many of Pittsburgh’s PCCs survive in museums.


            Car 4609 was the only car I didn’t see in 2000 when I first visited Kenosha. I would have to wait three years to see it on the way home from SAIT. It was one of the main reasons I wanted to go back to Kenosha. When I was in Kenosha in 2000, they were undecided at the time what livery to paint 4609 in. I suggested Detroit, but they said they were interested in Midwest systems aside from Toronto; yet they did Pittsburgh. I remember seeing 4609 in service in Toronto, but never rode it. I rode 4609 in Kenosha in 2013.












            PCC 4610 retained its Toronto livery. The TTC had the largest fleet of PCCs in North America: 745 cars. 512 were bought new and the rest were second hand cars. Toronto used PCC streetcars in regular service between 1938 and 1995. Even after 1995, four PCCs were used in Toronto. Two were used as rail grinders until they were retired in 2002. Two more are kept as historic cars which can be chartered and recently, they have been used in service on the route 509 streetcar on certain holidays.


            I actually rode 4610 in service when it was in Toronto on one occasion. I also rode the car in Kenosha in 2000. When 4610 first arrived in Kenosha, it didn’t have its TTC logos. The people in Kenosha later added the TTC “keystone” logo.






            The following photo is courtesy of Greg Stepanek.



            The next two shots show 4610’s interior in Kenosha. The car’s seat cushions were replaced prior to arriving in Kenosha. Cars 4606 and 4609 also have similar seat cushions.






            PCC car 4615 is painted for Kenosha. However, the livery is identical to Johnstown Pennsylvania. Prior to purchasing the five Toronto cars, Kenosha never ran PCCs. Johnstown was the smallest trolley network to buy PCC streetcars. Despite the fact some streetcars that were operated by Johnstown survive, not a single PCC from there was saved.


            I rode 4615 when it was running in Toronto and on the first three times I visited Kenosha.










The next two views shows 4615’s interior in Kenosha. Car 4616 has similar seat cushions.






            PCC 4616 is painted in the livery of the Cincinnati streetcar system. Cincinnati’s PCCs were unique as they ran under double wire like a trolleybus than the usual one. Most of Cincinnati’s PCCs were sold to Toronto where they were modified to operate under single wire. 4616 was not one of the cars and none of the original Cincinnati PCCs survive. 4616 was delivered to Kenosha with its original seat cushions which were subsequently replaced with ones similar to what’s on car 4615. I rode 4616 in Kenosha in 2012.










            In 2011, Kenosha acquired former Toronto PCC #4617 from East Troy. #4617 wasn’t used a lot at East Troy because there were no loops or wyes to turn the car around. To facilitate back up moves, the people at East Troy installed a second trolley pole at the front. The pole was removed in Kenosha, but the area where the pole was installed still shows where it was.


            Car 4617 was in its original Toronto livery when I rode it in 2012.





            Here’s PCC #4617 at East Troy back in 2000.



            Here are two interior shots showing the unmodified interiors of the cars. 4617 still has its original seat cushions and when I rode it in 2012, it hadn’t had a wheelchair lift installed yet.




            In 2013, the people in Kenosha were preparing to paint 4617 into San Francisco colours. San Francisco was the last North American city to buy PCCs brand new. A number of original San Francisco PCCs survive. They also have a line that uses PCCs from Philadelphia and Newark painted in liveries of many cities that ran PCCs. This may have served as an inspiration for Kenosha’s system.







            Car 2120 was acquired from the East Troy Electric Railway. The members at the museum were at one point considering painted it in Chicago Green hornet colours (like 4606 in Kenosha). However, they eventually sold it to Kenosha. This view shows PCC 2120 in the Kenosha car house in 2008. The car may be restored to operation in the future.




            This view shows 2120 at East Troy in 2000.





            At the same time Kenosha bought former Toronto PCC #4617 from East Troy, they also bought former SEPTA PCC #2185 as well. Like 4617, #2185 is also single ended and had a second trolley pole installed at the front. Unlike its sister #2120, 2185 is operational.




            Here are two interior photos of 2185. Presumably, 2120 has similar seats.




            Here is a picture of it at East Troy in 2000.



Multiple cars:


            This view shows cars 4615 and 4616 outside the car house.



            This view shows all five cars lined up in numerical order. This picture is actually of a picture I saw in 4606.



            This view shows cars 4606 and 4615 in the car house.



            Here’s 4610, 4606, and 4616 in the car house.



            Now here are cars 4609 and 4616 in the car house with a peek of car 4610.


            Here are cars 4609 and 2185 in the yard.





            I bought this postcard when I visited Kenosha in 2003. It shows all five cars.



            When I visited Kenosha in 2003, I saw a GM Old Look bus stored in the car house. I am unsure why it was there, but I believe it was being restored.