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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Vinyl on a Tram - in Toronto

A wintry trip to Toronto quite some time back brought close acquaintance with that city's amazing tram/streetcar system - then exclusively PCC operated which goes to show just how long ago this encounter refers to.

The Toronto Transit Commission or TTC as it was more familiarly known was then considered to be one of the finest if not the best managed urban transit system in North America. It was certainly the largest operator of PCC cars by far having taken advantage of the rundown in US trolleycar systems and premature withdrawal of modern (for those times) cars. Cleveland, Birmingham, St Louis were among sources of second hand PCC cars to augment the Toronto fleet in the 1950s and 60s.

In due course of time fleet renewal introduced the Swiss designed replacement four axle cars (still high floor loading) and the later articulated version - both unique to Toronto. Currently these classic cars are themselves being replaced by Bombardier Flexity modular low floor deliveries of the type introduced in Blackpool (although with different end design and interior detail).

During those bitterly cold few days exploring Toronto, in addition to close encounters with the shoals of conservatively styled PCC cars dominating services, I also found one example acquired by an enterprising firm as a static vinyl record shop. Without close encounter it was not possible to determine original number or origin but these hurried 'snaps' at least record the record as it were. It is worth noting that when first introduced in Toronto the new PCC cars were given the nickname the 'red rockets'. Which may have something to do with the store's branding from a no doubt enthusiast owner...

It was damn cold and the images fail to convey the wind chill factor!

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