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Lancaster - July 2008

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Lancaster — PCCs Purchased for Streetcar Project

Rail Transit Online, July 2008

An ownership dispute that ended up in court and blocked the sale of a dilapidated PCC trolley to the Lancaster Streetcar Co. (LSC) turned out to be a stroke of luck. LSC purchased the former SEPTA car, stored outdoors in Brooklyn, New York, last December at auction for $1,500. But when the deal was blocked, LSC found that the Baltimore Streetcar Museum had three former Philadelphia PCCs for sale and snapped them up for $30,000 in early July.

These cars are in much better shape than the Brooklyn hulk (which has since been scrapped), having been stored under cover. LSC, a non-profit group formed by local transportation activists, hopes to restore the three trolleys for operation along a 2.6-mi. (4.2 km) downtown loop.

The first car has been trucked to the Gerhart Machinery Co. near Brunnerville, Pennsylvania, for an exterior repaint and other cosmetic work. LSC board member Jack Howell said the vehicle will then become a three-dimensional brochure" to generate interest in the project and help with fundraising.

Applications have been made to the federal and state governments for some of the estimated $14.1 million needed for construction; the FTA has already rejected one grant request. However, Howell remains hopeful the second attempt will ultimately be successful.

The group estimates restoring the cars to full operating condition will cost up to $400,000 each. "Our goal is to have something that looks like a PCC but uses new electronics and technology," Howell told the Lancaster New Era.


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