Brookville to restore, modernize El Paso PCC streetcars

Written by Carolina Worrell
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The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA), working with the City of El Paso, Tex., has agreed to terms with Brookville Equipment Corp. for the complete overhaul, restoration, and modernization of six Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars originally manufactured in 1937. This agreement is for the forthcoming 4.8-mile El Paso Streetcar Project, which will return the City of El Paso’s PCC vehicles to service for the first time since 1974.

The contract, valued at $18.8 million, includes completely stripping down the vehicle frames, repairing and replacing structural carbody components, a complete rewiring, truck remanufactures, door upgrades, and integration of modern technologies to “provide a modern transit solution wrapped in a nostalgic, historical package,” Brookville said. Key modern amenities will include the integration of HVAC units, a wheelchair lift system to ensure ADA accessibility, WiFi hotspot access, bike racks, and fareboxes.

The PCC restorations will begin in November 2015 at Brookville’s manufacturing facility in Brookville, Pa. As currently envisioned, the six streetcars will be refinished in El Paso’s original paint schemes from the 1950s (green, orange and white), 1960s (blue and white), and late 1960s and early 1970s (light blue, red and white), with two of each scheme included in the order.

“We are eager to partner with the CRRMA to return these streetcars to service for the City of El Paso and its citizens,” said Brookville VP of Business Development Joel McNeil. “By retaining the charms of yesteryear, while also integrating the latest technologies for passenger accessibility and convenience, we are hopeful these restored streetcars will serve as a reminder of El Paso’s unique history and become iconic symbols of its future.”

El Paso’s fleet of PCC streetcars was originally manufactured in 1937 by the St. Louis Car Company for the City of San Diego. Later, the cars serviced El Paso and crossed into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, before being removed from service in 1974. Since that time, the streetcars have been in outdoor storage, but now will be transported to Brookville for a complete remanufacture at the industry’s leading PCC streetcar rebuilder, with over 30 PCC streetcars in service in the United States and over 70 rebuilt or originally manufactured streetcars operating on American streets.

Currently, Brookville is working through a PCC streetcar end-of-life rebuild project for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA), after having completed 16 original rebuilds from 2004 through 2011. In the early 2000s, the company also modernized and rebuilt 18 PCC streetcars for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). At the completion of these and all current projects, Brookville will have made contributions to 56 PCC streetcars, and 88 total heritage streetcars in the United States.

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