PCC Car Ride For Scottish Elected Councillors
Perhaps one of the more interesting tasks I was asked to manage during my years as Marketing Director for the Scottish Development Agency in the USA was to coordinate a US fact finding mission by representative Members of various Scottish regional and local governments. Within the timeframe allowed we fitted in meetings with companies and agencies in the north east including Pittsburgh. With my continuing interest and awareness of US urban transit developments at the time (this was during the 1970s) it was pertinent (I felt) to at least sample one American streetcar system during their visit, and Pittsburgh provided the best example available. Plans for retaining and upgrading its remaining services had been announced and the operator (PAT) was happy to provide a special trip with dedicated bus and trolleycar use for the visitors.
Accordingly we were assigned one of the regular PCC cars for a run out on the mostly reserved track line from Pittsburgh's central district which provided for a photo stop at South Hills where this group picture was taken for the record. Senior Council Members from both Strathclyde, Glasgow and Lothian Region were part of the delegation - hopefully gaining some inspiration from this brief encounter with a US transit operation. The term 'light rail' and new streetcar development had yet to emerge but the opening of a new system in San Diego was a few years away - a harbinger of the next chapter in North American urban transport modernisation. In those days only Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Cleveland and Pittsburgh retained streetcar operations - how massively this has since changed even in the auto friendly USA. And of course Toronto continued as the exemplar of tram operation in North America - as it does today,
I am standing behind senior Council Members from Strathclyde and Highlands to the far right of the group. Photo : John Woodman Archive