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Cleveland Rapid Transit System High Platform Cars
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Cleveland Transit System

High Platform Rapid Transit Cars

CTS logo The Cleveland Transit System was formed in 1942 when the city took over streetcar operations from the failing Cleverland Railway Company. Following World War II operations were modernized by converting the existing streetcar lines to rubber tired vehicles. By 1945 Cleveland's streetcars were gone, but it was not the end of rail transit for the city. In 1952 ground was broken behind the former Windermere Carbarn on the east side for a new rail transit line that would run from there to the city's busy Terminal Tower complex.

The line features high-platform boarding at all stops and stub end terminals at the ends of the line. Power is collected from the catenary-style overhead using roof-mounted pantographs and can be distributed through the car's multiple-unit couplers, allowing a single motorman to control a train of several cars.

Service began in early 1954 and by the end of that year the line would reach West 117th Street. Four years later the line was extended yet again to reach the growing West Park community. In 1968, with the help of Federal grant monies, an additional four mile extension to Hopkins International Airport was completed, making Cleveland the first city in the country to offer direct rail transit service to its major airport.

The first sets of cars purchased for the line came from the St. Louis Car Company and were similar in design to many modern subway type cars. With the extension of the line to Hopkins Airport, CTS purchased two sets of additional cars from the Pullman Standard Company. The newer cars were longer and had a higher seating capacity. The Museum is fortunate to have examples of both of these types of cars in our collection. Use the links below to learn more about each.


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Cleveland Transit System St. Louis Car Company Rapid Transit Cars

The first cars purchased for the line came from the St. Louis Car Company are mechanically similar to the PCC cars seen elsewhere in these pages, but unlike their streetcar style cousins the rapid transit cars are double-ended and equipped with sliding doors for fast loading and unloading. Power is collected from the catenary-style overhead using roof-mounted pantographs and can be distributed through the car's multiple-unit couplers, allowing a single motorman to control a train of several cars. Their striking blue and silver paint scheme quickly earned them the nick-name "Bluebirds," although some remeber them perhaps less-fondly as "Spam Cans."

Cleveland Transit System # 201-202

201 and 202 are permanently coupled single end rapid transit cars sharing some electrical and air equipment. The cars are joined at the non-cab end by a draw bar. This configuration is often referred to as a “married pair”. Cars 201-202 were in the first order of married pair sets purchased for the opening of the line. In peak hours of operation they were often used in multiple unit trains.

CTS 201-202 Specifications:

Type:    Rapid Transit Car

Description:    Single End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Rapid Cars

Builder:    St. Louis Car Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Year Built:    1954

Retired:    1985

Acquired by NORM:    1988

Dimensions:    Length: 97ft., Width: 10ft. 4in., Height: 11ft. 9in.

Weight:    107,100 lbs.

Seats:    108 Total

Controls:    WH Cineston

Trucks:    CSC

Motors:    8 WH1432H, 55 HP

Lines Served On:    Cleveland Transit System, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Click an image to enlarge it



Here is married pair 201-202 at the Museum on track #1 next to the Bennett Carhouse. (B. C. Gage)


This view shows the cab end of 202 and the end of track #1. (B. C. Gage)



Cleveland Transit System # 109 & # 112

Cars 109 and 112 are single unit cars purchased in 1955 to augment the fleet of married-pair sets. They were used in multiple unit trains with the earlier cars as well as in single unit service in off-peak hours. After retirement from passenger duties Car 109 was re-assigned to maintenance service on the RTA. 109 was restored to its original configuration in 1990 and placed in the RTA's Historical Vehicle Fleet.

CTS 109 & 112 Specifications:

Type:    Rapid Transit Car

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Rapid Car

Builder:    St. Louis Car Company, St. Louis, Missouri

Year Built:    1954

   

Acquired by NORM:    109 - 2013, 112 - 1988

Dimensions:    Length: 48ft. 6in., Width: 10ft. 4in., Height: 11ft. 9in.

Weight:    56,000 lbs.

Seats:    52

Controls:    WH Cineston

Trucks:    CSC

Motors:    4 WH1432H, 55 HP

Lines Served On:    Cleveland Transit System, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority


Cleveland Transit System # 109

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Car 109 is new in this photo taken at the Windermere Terminal in March of 1955. (Museum Collection)
Car 109 at the RTA's East 55th Street shops after re-assignment to the maintenance fleet. (S. Heister)

This December 2009 photo shows car 109 in storage at the RTA's Tower City Station complex after its restoration. (S. Heister)
Just a few more feet to NORM rails, September 2013. (C. Legree)

Fall of 2016 finds the car on display in the Bennett Carhouse. Steps have been costructed to allow visitor access to the car's interior. (N. Gage)
This photo shows the motorman's compartment at one end of the car. Unlike the earlier 'married pair' cars 109 is designed to operate as a single unit and is equipped with motorman's controls at both ends. (N. Gage)

This photo shows the Car's interior. The lights are powered from the overhead test wire above track two using the car's pantograph. (N. Gage)

To see a short video of the car in transit to the Museum Click Here.

Cleveland Transit System # 112

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Here is car 112 awaiting restoration on track 5 at the Museum. (B. C. Gage)

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Pullman Car Company Rapid Transit Cars

The "Airporters," as these cars came to be known, were built in 1967 and 1970 by the Pullman Standard Company. The first set of 25 of these cars, numbered 151-170, was purchased to inaugurate the extension. An additinal 10 cars were purchased in 1970 and numbered 171-180. The cars had a short service life on the line. After consolidation into the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in the 1980's, new cars were ordered from the Tokyu Car Company of Japan to replace all of the older equipment. The Museum is fortunate to have two of these cars in its collection.

CTS 161 & 172 Specifications:

Type:    Electric Rapid Transit Car

Description:    Double End, Double Truck, Arch Roof, Steel Rapid

Builder:    Pullman Standard Car Company, Chicago, Illinois

Year Built:    161 -1967, 172 - 1970

   

Acquired by NORM:    161 - 2003, 172 - 2009

Dimensions:    Length: 70ft., Width: 10ft., Height: 12ft.

Weight:    64,000 lbs.

Seats:    80

Controls:    GE Cineston C3A

Trucks:    LFM MPT-2

Motors:    4 GE1250K1, 100 HP

Brakes:    WH E-2-S

Compressor:    WH D3F

Lines Served On:    Cleveland Transit System, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Cleveland Transit System # 161

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This photo shows 161 switching other cars of the same series onto the scrap line at the RTA Brookpark yard in 1998. (Museum Collection)
This photo shows 161 on the Prunkard Maintenance Building lead shortly after its arrival at the Museum. (Museum Collection)
Here is 161 on track #1 outside of the Bennett Carhouse at in September of 2010. (B. C. Gage)
A side view of 161 in the Spriing of 2015. (B. C. Gage)

Cleveland Transit System # 172

Click an image to enlarge it

A snowy day in early March of 2010 finds 172 spotted on the loop track at NORM. (S. Heister)
This May 2010 photo shows 172 on track #1 just south of 161. (B. C. Gage)
This view shows 172 on display outside of the Bennett Carhouse. (B. C. Gage)

To see a short video of the car in transit to the Museum Click Here.

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Last updated 11/19/2016