HO Scale, Kit No. PRT-4000
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|The Suburban PC and Suburban K type cars were two of the most famous classes ever used in Philadelphia, being commonly known as the Hog Island cars. They represented highly specialized equipment built for a specific purpose - the movement of as many workers as possible in as limited a time as possible to and from the industrial centers of Philadelphia.|
|A-10 SUBURBAN PC CONTROL - SPC|
|The Suburban PC is the only group which properly
bears this name, since the SPC cars were originally built for
service in MU trains to the Hog Island shipyard in extreme Southwest
Philadelphia, below where the International Airport is now located.
The original SPC cars were purchased in two groups:
Group 1: 100 cars (Nos 4000-4099) on January 28, 1918 by the Emergency Fleet Corp. Brill No 20513
Group 2: 30 cars (Nos 4100-4129) on June 26, 1918 by the US Housing Corp. Brill No 20589
Note: none of these cars were purchased by PRT, although the cars bore the PRT symbol with two lines of small print below which read UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD and EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION. The new cars, designed jointly by PRT and the EFC, were strongly reminiscent of the Near-Side in their lines, especially the double-end Near-Side. The cars were double-end so that they could be used on the Chester Short Line and turned at any point. Because of stopping problems, no train longer than three cars was ever placed in passenger service. They were exclusively assigned to Route 45, the Hog Island line. The Hogs were unique in Philadelphia, being the only MU surface cars ever operated in the city. They were also the only four-motored cars bought between 1907 and 1938 by PRT. Their design completely disregarded passenger comfort by maximizing standing room. They were the heaviest cars ever used by PRT.
The equipment of the SPC cars was uniform, with all cars having Brill 77E1 trucks, GE 247C motors and GE 129MC controllers with PC-5 type line breakers. One unusual item of equipment on the Hogs of both the 4000 and 5000 series was the signal-light system. This consisted of two large lights, one red and one green, located one above the other on the right side of the dash and connected with control apparatus. When the car was stationary or coasting with the power off, vehicles following the car were warned by an illuminated red light. When the controller was in series or half speed position, both lights were illuminated. When the controller was at full-multiple or full-speed position, the green light alone burned. Ultimately, the operation of these signals was deemed unsatisfactory and the green light was removed, leaving a red stop light which remained until the cars were scrapped.
The position of the conductor was at a stand located in the center of the step from the rear platform to the car body. The conductor's position was not enclosed, rather he stood behind his control stand or sat on a collapsible stool fastened to the stand, which would be folded up against the stand when the station was not in use. Doors on the SPC cars were air operated, using a system of push buttons. The door circuit was so arranged that the conductor could operate both the entrance door of his own car and the front exit door of the car behind. Signals were given to the motorman through signal lights located to the left of the air gauge.
Following the end of WW I and the liquidation of the government transportation business, the cars were purchased second hand by PRT for about 50% of their original cost. The SPC cars were used on lines requiring large two-man equipment in West Philadelphia. They were also used on the Chester Short Line. With the coming of the depression, the sharp reduction of service caused double-end cars to become surplus and the SPC cars were placed in storage. The mechanical peculiarities of the SPC cars, largely because of their being MU, made them unpopular on the system. Little was done towards changing them until 1935 when all those remaining in service were rehabilitated. All cars on Route 70 were rebuilt in 1935 and the couplers removed. The position of the SPC cars as the poor stepchild of the system changed dramatically with the coming of WW II. Everything moveable on the property was rushed into service, including the SPC cars. PRT was so anxious to get the cars back into service that part of the first fleet was rebuilt at the 69th St. elevated shops. It was necessary to tow the cars to Frankford and Bridge, place them on the elevated and tow them through the subway tunnel to 69th St. They were taken out the same way after reconstruction. Eight SPC cars and one SKR car were scrapped in 1946. In 1947, the entire SPCT class was scrapped along with four more SKR cars. At the same time that the trains were retired, the remaining SPC cars were retired from passenger service and converted into ice breakers, designed to keep the lines open during storms. The SKR fleet was reduced gradually until only 9 cars remained in 1955.
|A-10 SUBURBAN PC TRAIN - SPCT|
|Twenty of the cars that formally operated on Route 70 were rebuilt and couplers restored to one end for operation as two-car MU trains. This group came to be known as Suburban PC Train cars (SPCT), again without changing the class number. The SPCT cars were apparently never too successful. It appears that they had many of the same mechanical and braking problems that had plagued the car originally - only now they were 25 years older.|
|A-10 SUBURBAN K REMODELED - SKR|
|All cars converted at 69th St, like those
rehabilitated earlier, had their couplers removed. The PC-5 control
system, for which the cars were named, was removed and replaced with
K type controllers from stock. The end result was given the name
Suburban "K" Remodeled (SKR), but the class number was not changed.
Three SPC cars were sold to Philadelphia Suburban Transportation
Company in 1942, where they became cars 20, 21 and 22. They were
renumbered 25, 26 and 27 in 1949. The three cars sold to Red Arrow
are the only cars purchased after 1911 by PRT, which were resold for
use on another system. There are a number of reasons for this. Old
PRT cars were seldom put up for sale but were stored until they were
unfit for use.
After the end of WW II, the need for the 4000-series cars declined. SKR cars remained in service on Routes 79 and 81 in South Philadelphia while the SPCT class was retired and the SPC cars stored. At the end of the war, PTC owned 101 cars of the 4000-series, of which 54 were SKR, 20 were SPCT and 25 were SPC, Two cars, 4017 and 4057 were never rehabilitated and were scrapped in December 1945.