New Canal Line Equipment

DTAR 2001-2024  47' 6¼" OA
8' 5¾" W
Brookville Trucks Regional Transit Auth. 2003-04
BLT 1997
24 cars

A roofless pseudo-monitor conceals air conditioner tower and trolley bases.

RTA's Elmer Von Dullen, Supt. Vehicle Assy., supervised building these magnificent streetcars.  The 24 are really a new category of streetcar not seen before.  The “PT2000” is a synthesis of light rail technology and Perley A. Thomas streetcar design, mirroring his 900 class built 1924 for New Orleans.

Much technological data and car performance published in Technology Forums II “Return of the Streetcar” p. 2 & many P.

The trucks follow principles upon which the PCC type follows.  Larry Conrad's Brookville Equipment Corp., Brookville, Pa. (estab. 1918 to build small locos & mining eqpt.) produced the trucks.  The company recently restored many PCC trucks for S. E. Penn. Trans. Auth., Philadelphia.  The N. O. trucks are quieter than earlier PCC types and appear to the eye to be heavier & more substantial.  Resilient wheels.  Originally AC inverters to allow AC motors considered, but instead opted to use 4 - 60 hp. GE DC traction motors per car, reducing costs considerably.  Regenerative and antilock braking, manual sanding.  DC controls are Saminco Electric Traction - 300 v. DC differentials.  Interior lighting 600 v. DC to 120 v. AC.  Top speed 35 mph on Canal, 45 mph on Riverfront.  Acceleration 3.4 mph/sec, which was chosen to match the 900 cars.  Capability to operate in 8" standing water at reduced speed.  96% American contents.  100 improvements on Perley Thomas 1924 cars.

Body uses Corten® plate, stainless steel, forged aluminum, marine aluminum sheet, marine plywood.  Seats: Mahogany, side panels still 1/8" steel plate (Corten® instead of carbon steel).  Aluminum forgings instead of wooden front window posts.  These windows do not open & have windshield washers.  Passenger windows open 3". 

Air conditioning: “10 ton” dual compressor.  Door mechanisms same as used on Salt Lake City light rail cars.

ADA accessibility via middle door lift each side, designed by Von Dullen.  Each car seats 40 and accommodates 70-75 standees comfortably.

20 “PT2000” streetcars do the work of 29 buses — each carry 21% more and are 20% faster.  Oper. and maint. costs $56.53/hr. vs. bus $72.59/hr.

2001 was the prototype, BLT 1997 with Czech controls, ran on Canal with Tatra car — Baronne to foot of Canal, connecting with the St. Charles and Riverfront Lines.  Riverfront RG to 5'2½" in 1997.  2001 only one of the 24 w/o Saminco controls (poss. now changed to Saminco).  Gave free rides at first betw. Baronne & River, later 25 cent fare.

Not in 50 years has a transit corp. or auth. built a fleet of 24 or more cars, new streetcars, OS.

First car to run entire length new Canal Line - 2017 on 10/17/03 (after 39 years!), Mr. Von Dullen operating, slow for testing, almost a walking trip.

2004 first official “revenue” trip on new Canal Line, leaving Randolph SIS at Canal & Gayoso for Cemeteries at 3:20 a.m. 18 Apr. 04, one week before Jazz Fest.  Original plan to open the line in 2001 in fall met many delays mainly due to track & road work, extensive landscaping problems.

2013 followed 2004 on first run.

Official opening ceremony 31 May 04 — 40th anniversary of first Canal Line bus substitution — used three cars, 2004, 2019, 2024.

“PT2000” signs: Center roller sign, Route: CANAL, CITY PARK, DESIRE, RIVERFRONT, CARROLLTON, (RTA logo)
Above lists verified by EWH Jan. 2009.  It is possible that prototype car 2001 originally had different sign indications.
RTA is still (as of 2009) rather casual in the use of these signs.  For example, a car assigned to the N. Carrollton branch line to City Park may carry a route sign Canal, Carrollton, or City Park, with no apparent consistency.
About the first of May 2013, with the new Loyola/UPT line in operation, and additional lines being planned, new roller signs were installed:

2004-04-18-scan0065a On the first day of the restored Canal Line, April 18, 2004, Canal-Cemeteries car 2017 is at the foot of Canal Street, passing the “pocket track”, heading out Canal toward the Cemeteries terminal. — Earl Hampton photo

2004-04-18-NORTA2003+2004-Canal-Cem The Cemeteries terminal, a single stub-end track, showing car 2004 waiting its turn to reverse, as 2003 starts its run toward the River, April 18, 2004.  Car 2003 is taking the track in the left-hand automobile lane for the short trip over the narrow part of Canal Street to the wider street at Anthony Street, where it will enter the neutral ground. — Earl Hampton photo

2004-04-18-scan0052b This is the first day ever for streetcar service on Carrollton Ave. from Canal Street to Beauregard Circle.  Car 2022, signed for Canal - City Pk/Museum, is turning from Canal into the left traffic lane on Carrollton; the track was built in the traffic lane because the neutral ground was not wide enough for double track.  Passenger loading is from the left side of the car, with the loading platforms in the neutral ground. — Earl Hampton photo

2004-04-18-scan0063b The two-track terminal of the Carrollton branch line at Beauregard Circle.  Car 2008 is preparing to depart toward Canal Street; 2023 has just arrived.  Both are displaying the destination sign City Pk/Museum, but while 2023 has the Canal route sign on display, 2008 is showing City Park as its route.  No one seems to care. — Earl Hampton photo

The flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina drowned the Canal SIS site where the PT2000 cars were stored, ruining their electronic motors and controls.  RTA brought some of the Perley Thomas 900 cars down from Carrollton Station to operate the Canal and Riverfront lines.  See the discussion of the rebuilding of the PT2000 cars and the 457-463 Riverfront cars on page aa.  The 2000s were rebuilt first, starting in early 2008 with cars 2004 and 2008; as of mid-January 2009, cars 2004 and 2008 through 2015 were back in service, and the last few cars (2003, 2005, and 2006) were completed in the summer of 2009.  Work then commenced on the 457-463 cars, extending into 2010.

2009-01-07-Image042 By early January 2009, enough of the PT2000 cars had been returned to service to partially operate the Canal and Riverfront Lines.  Due to the need for left-side doors (which the 900 cars cannot provide) on the Carrollton Avenue branch to City Park, that route was filled first by PT2000s.  Here, Perley Thomas car 962 is on the Canal-Cemeteries run (though without a meaningful route sign), passing replica car 2008 signed for the City Park branch. — George Friedman photo

2009-01-07-Image065 The 2000s were also used on the Riverfront line in 2009, before the 457-463 group of cars had been refurbished.  Here is 2012 in Riverfront service at the Dumaine Street stop. — George Friedman photo

Other Riverfront & RTA Equipment

DT Open 1794  Ex Chattanooga Choo Choo, ex Warehouse Pt., ex Rio de Janiero (Brill Narragansett type) - never operated - SLD Main Street Trolley, Memphis with the Australian cars - is operating, but RB.
PCC Cars RTA bought nine SEPTA PCC cars, dismantled for parts (electrical equipment, controls).  The cars arrived 4 Jan. 95.  Cars' gauge was 5'2¼", just ¼" less than RTA.  Car 2147 did make one round trip Carrollton Station - Lee Circle, and tiny difference in gauge caused two minor derailments.  No other trips made!  One and only trip, 5 Jan. 95.  See S p. 181 re. PCCs in N.O.!
All ex-SEPTA PCCs were St. Louis Car Co. products, BLT as ff:
1947: Nos. 2737, 2749, 2751, 2779, 2788, and 2791.
1948: Nos. 2147, 2166, 2183.
2147 & 2183 re-SLD by NORTA in March 1997; disp. of 2749 unkn; rest, bodies SCR, March 1997.
Tatra Car One Czech car exhibited on Canal St. - used connect St. Charles & Riverfront Lines 1997.  Studied for use in designing the “PT2000s” or possibly ordered for new Canal Line.  The car has new computerized controls that caused problems passing circuit breakers.  Car arrived with 2 prs. trucks, one 4'8½" gauge, the other 5'2½".  Attempt to sell car to San Francisco fell through.  Car returned to Czech Republic.
29 The 1897 Ford Bacon & Davis car - ex Canal & Claiborne RR Co. - has been lovingly RB, not as passenger service car (unfortunately - but RB as revenue car not difficult) but as work car.  Ed Branley and Earl W. Hampton, Jr. observed 29 on 30 Nov. 04 in advanced state of RB.  Car is now in regular work car service.

2002.3.1.8-SEPTA_2147-StCharlesAve-1995-01-05 On January 5, 1995, SEPTA PCC car 2147 made a single non-revenue experimental trip down the St. Charles car line from Carrollton Station to Lee Circle and return.  This blurry copy of a snapshot is the only known photo of that trip.  It was the only time a PCC car ever operated in New Orleans. — Louis Hennick Collection of The Historic New Orleans Collection

1995-08-slide095 In August 1995, one of the 1948 Philadelphia PCC cars, 2166, in SEPTA livery, sits in the Willow Street doorway to Carrollton Station between two older cousins, FB&D car 29, and one of the Perley Thomas 900s. — George Friedman photo

1995-08-slide093 A 1947 Philadephia PCC, 2791, is seen from Jeanette Street inside Carrollton Station, August 1995. — George Friedman photo

1997-12-Czech-05 The Tatra car in December 1997, at the Esplanade Ave. end of the Riverfront Line, awaiting its return trip to Canal & Baronne.  The lettering on the side of the car reads, “Manufacturer: CKD DOPRAVNI SYSTEMI, a.s. / CZECH REPUBLIC / DEMONSTRATION VEHICLE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY”. — Earl Hampton photo

1997-12-Czech-14 The Tatra car and prototype car 2001, dressed for Christmas, side by side at the pocket track at the foot of Canal Street in demonstration Canal Line service, December 1997.  Car 2001 had a painted CANAL route sign, not a roll sign.  The Tatra car sported a small paper route sign with the printed words “CANAL / ESPLANADE” on this end; the other end had a similar sign reading “ESPLANADE / CANAL”. — Earl Hampton photo

NOPSI__29-1971-CarrolltonSta Car 29 in “zebra stripes” livery in 1971 on Jeanette Street at Carrollton Station.  The yellow VW behind the car belonged to author Louis Hennick. — Earl Hampton photo

NOPSI__29-vacuum_cleaner The pipe hanging out of the side of car 29 was the working end of a vacuum cleaner (failed experiment) that was supposed to suck leaves into a cage inside the car...didn't work. — Earl Hampton photo

NOPSI__29-01 Car 29 is seen here in early 1983 along St. Charles Avenue assisting with cleanup after a Mardi Gras parade.  The car sides and doors are now green, with dash striping and white or cream front window posts.  Rear view mirrors have been added for one-man operation. — Earl Hampton photo

NORTA__29-rebuilding-2003-06-3 After a controller fire badly damaged car 29, Carrollton Station Shops, under the direction of Elmer Von Dullen, dismantled and completely rebuilt the venerable car.  Here we see the work in progress, June 3, 2003. — Earl Hampton photo

2005-03-19-Image017 Work car 29 in rail-sanding duty, March 19, 2005, on Carrollton Ave. at Claiborne, awaiting its turn to reverse ends and return down the St. Charles Line.  This shows the results of its 2003-04 rebuilding and repainting.  Note the dash striping and the color of the doors.  Compare to the car's 1983 dress, above. — George Friedman photo

Copyright © 2009, 2010 Louis C. Hennick.  Photos by George Friedman copyright © 2010 H. George Friedman, Jr.  Photos by Earl Hampton copyright © 2010 Earl W. Hampton, Jr.  Picture captions copyright © 2010 H. George Friedman, Jr.  All rights reserved.


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