Boston PCC cars slated for refurbishing after mechanical problems

RELATED TOPICS: LIGHT RAIL | HISTORICAL | EAST | NORTHEAST
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Mattapan
A late December crash removed two of Boston's remaining PCC cars from service. Parts from those damaged cars will be used to repair others taken out of service for propulsion failures.
Justin Franz
BOSTON — Two Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority PCC streetcars have been moved to a repair facility in Everett, Mass., in an effort to maintain service on the historic Ashmont–Mattapan High Speed Line in Boston.

The repairs come as the Boston transit agency evaluates the future of its last PCC-run route, a 2.6-mile line through the Dorchester neighborhood. MBTA has struggled to maintain service with the 70-year-old streetcars.

There are just five PCC cars in service on the Mattapan line and five others are out-of-service. Three were sidelined due to mechanical issues in recent years and two more were sidelined following a collision in December. According to Feb. 5 Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting, shop forces in Everett will be using the propulsion and mechanical equipment from the two wrecked PCCs to repair two other cars. The repaired cars are expected to be back on the Mattapan line by summer 2018.

Meanwhile, the rest of the PCC fleet will be rotated through the Everett shops starting later this year to receive upgraded trucks, propulsion systems and paint in an effort to extend the cars’ usefulness by another decade. The rebuild program is expected to cost $7.9 million. The rebuild program is expected to be complete sometime in 2019.

Earlier this month, buses replaced the PCCs for nearly a week after four of the in-service streetcars were sidelined with “propulsion failures.” According to an MBTA report, the failures were the result of power fluctuations on the line that damaged the car’s electrical components. The PCCs returned to service on Monday.

Meanwhile, a consultant hired by MBTA to study the future of the Mattapan line is putting the finishing touches on its draft report. The study is expected to look at whether or not MBTA should replace the PCCs with more modern streetcars or buses.
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