Several weeks ago my wife and I were travelling south on Hwy. 6 on our way to dinner with my brother and his family in Waterdown. On the east side of the highway, just south of the 401, I spotted what had been, sometime in its past, a proud Toronto streetcar.
Upon closer inspection, I could make out the badly faded number 4427 on the front of the vehicle. That identified it as one the 100 cars in the A-7 Class of PCC streetcars purchased by the TTC in 1949.
Some readers may remember this type running in "multiple-unit" trains (two PCCs coupled together) along Bloor St. then, after the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in 1966, on the Queen line.
The history of the PCC as a public transit vehicle is fascinating.
Designed in the early 1930s as a replacement for the inefficient and out-dated streetcars then in service the PCC was the creation of a committee made up of representatives assigned to the project by the presidents of a number of North American electric streetcar line operators (including Toronto).
This explains the term that was applied to their new vehicle, the Presidents' Conference Committee streetcar. Because of their futuristic (for the day) design many referred to them as simply the Streamliner.
First introduced to the travelling public in Brooklyn and Baltimore in 1936 the TTC began taking delivery of its initial order of 140 PCCs two years later.
Over the following years additional orders were placed for new PCCs. And on several occasions the Commission even purchased used PCCs from cities such as Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio, Birmingham, Alabama and Kansas City, Missouri that had opted to replace their electric vehicles with buses through, some suggest, controversial deals arranged by General Motors.
Toronto's PCC cars remained in regular service until late 1995.
Now, to find out how old 4427 got into a farmer's field off Hwy. 6, I contacted John Bromley who keeps an incredibly detailed database that contains the comings and goings of old streetcars. John explained that PCC 4427 was involved in an accident in March of 1980 while operating on the 506 Carlton route.
The vehicle was subsequently sold to the owners of the Langford Inn and moved on Sept. 23, 1980, to a location on the south side of Hwy. 2 east of Brantford.
In 1992 the inn was closed and 4427 was moved again, this time to the intersection of Grand Ave. and Charing Cross streets in Brantford where it served for a time as a rather unique refreshment stand.
PCC 4427 was moved once again to a location on the north side of Hwy. 2 west of Highway 54 in Cainsville.
Then in late 1996 the much travelled streetcar was on the move again this time to its present location, the Nipponia Farm on the east side of Hwy. 6 just south of the 401.