Here are two pictures especially for trolley geeks. These 4200-series Siemens cars (this one is number 4232) were bought in the 1980s and completely rebuilt in the 2000s. They make up about two-thirds of the fleet. They are very similar to the later CAF cars, but easily distinguished by the two headlights in the center (rather than at the sides) and the “cyclops eye” high beam mounted on the roof. Of course, they are also easily distinguished by being numbered in the 4200 series; the CAF cars make up the 4300 series. This car is southbound on the Red Line, heading for central Beechview.
The picture above gives us a good look at what old Pa Pitt calls the “Pittsburgh door,” the extra street-level doors that have to be added to all Pittsburgh trolleys to deal with our odd combination of platform-level stations and street-level stops.
The unusually deserted interior of a 4200-series trolley (number 4239 in this case) as it runs in the subway between Steel Plaza and Wood Street. The 4200 cars are Siemens SD-400 LRVs built in the 1980s and rebuilt a few years ago; they are almost identical inside to the newer 4300 series, built by CAF.
The entrance to the Gateway station, which as a work of architecture is hard to classify. The best term Father Pitt can come up with is “whimsical.”
A train of two Siemens SD-400 cars, built in the 1980s and rebuilt a few years ago, stops at Gateway on its way to the North Side. Trolley geeks will be interested to know that St. Louis also uses SD-400s; but the St. Louis cars do not have the extra street-level doors—which old Pa Pitt calls the “Pittsburgh doors”—to cope with Pittsburgh’s odd mix of platform-level stations and street-level stops. The newer CAF cars in Pittsburgh had to make the same adaptation. One wonders whether trolley makers groan when they get a call from Pittsburgh, or whether dollar signs pop up in their eyes when they think of what they can charge for customization.
The Gateway station is a feast of strange and slightly unsettling angles. If you like eating angles.
From Father Pitt’s archives, a picture taken before his Web site existed. This is a Philadelphia PCC car, decorated for a birthday party, waiting for passengers at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.
The museum has a large collection of trolleys from all over North America, but the most of the ones from outside Pennsylvania must be modified to run on the museum’s track, which is Pennsylvania Broad Gauge. Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia still use a non-standard gauge, because in the nineteenth century the Pennsylvania legislature, fearing that streetcar companies might do back-door deals with the railroads that would end with huge locomotives running down the middle of the street, made it illegal for streetcar companies to use standard-gauge track. (It seems that Philadelphia trolleys actually use a gauge a quarter-inch narrower than the Pittsburgh gauge, and Father Pitt has no idea how much modification they require to run on the ever-so-slightly broader gauge.)
Another view of the Allegheny station, this time from the Carnegie Science Center. A rush-hour two-car train is waiting on the platform.
The subway is free all the way from here under the Allegheny and through to First Avenue on the other side of downtown Pittsburgh. The extension of the free zone to the North Side is sponsored by the Stadium Authority and the Rivers Casino, so old Pa Pitt cannot in good conscience say that gambling never did anything for him. He still has never set foot in the casino, but he is grateful for the free ride.
Two rush-hour two-car trains wait at the Allegheny station, which is the end of the Red and Blue Lines until somebody gets to work on the next extension toward the airport.