Philly cream cheese trolley spreads joy in San Francisco

MUNI 1060 (ex-SEPTA 2715) recently returned to service after rebuilding and 1,000 miles of “burn in” operation. (Jeremy Whiteman photo.)

By Roger DuPuis II

One of Philadelphia’s lost transit treasures continues to serve the public nearly 3,000 miles away.

Ex-SEPTA PCC car 2715, now numbered 1060, recently returned to service for the San Francisco Municipal Railway after a 1,000-mile burn-in following complete rebuilding by the Brookville Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania.

Car 2715 was delivered to the Philadelphia Transportation Co. in February 1947, one of 25 Westinghouse-equipped cars (2701-2725) that were among the first 100 postwar all-electric PCCs built for PTC by the St. Louis Car Co.  (Sisters 2726-2800 were GE-equipped vehicles).

The car would make history in 1979, when PTC successor SEPTA chose it to be the pilot vehicle for a new overhaul program. Sporting the new red, white and blue livery applied to SEPTA’s trolleys and buses, 2715 would serve in that guise for only eight years, after which it was retired. In 1992, it was among a group sold to San Francisco for use on the city’s F-Market line.

The F-Market line opened to the public in September 1995, and continues to operate using vintage trolley cars from around the world. Among them are 13 ex-SEPTA PCCs, including car 1060, wearing tribute liveries representing North American cities that operated PCC cars.

SEPTA PCC 2715 is seen at 10th and Erie in 1985 as a Route 56 pull-out car. (Harry Donahue photo).

As the Market Street Railway’s 1060 page explains, the car initially entered service in San Francisco in 1995 wearing former Newark, N.J. colors. Following an accident in 2002, the car was rebuilt and repainted in an interpretation of the silver, cream and blue colors worn by Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co.’s first PCC cars in 1938. The resemblance to Kraft’s famous cream cheese boxes earned the car its new nickname.

Initially rehabilitated by Morrison-Knudsen for use in San Francisco, the ex-Philadelphia cars are in the process of undergoing second rehabs by Brookville, located in western Pennsylvania.

Brookville also was the contractor chosen to rebuild 18 PCC car shells with new propulsion, interiors, air conditioning and wheelchair lifts for SEPTA in the early 2000s. Dubbed PCC-II cars, they continue to serve Philadelphians on Route 15-Girard.

The rebuilt San Francisco cars, meanwhile, are being outshopped with fittings and equipment that are much closer in design to their original 1940s configuration.

For more on Philadelphia’s much-travelled postwar PCC cars, see: