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The Pneumonia Cars

Portland Vintage Trolleys

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No.'s 241-251 : "Pneumonia Cars"
ca. 1902
Portland Railway Co. (1st)
Two, Portland Railway
Two, GE-58 (37.5 h.p.)
 Two, GE K-10 (later some K-11)
National straight air J
36' 6"
7' 6"
24,900 lbs.
20 cross bench, 2 longitudinal
As open cars: 44 passengers (63 with standees),
As closed cars: 36 passengers (standees same).
Narrow (42")

Comments:   These were originally center aisle open cars built by the first Portland Railway Company.  They were featured in a 1904 article in the Street Railway Journal.  Hagenah's inventory referred to them as having originally been cable cars, but their length proves that wrong (unless they were built from spliced cable cars, a fact which would not have have been omitted from the SRJ article).  Perhaps the inventory confused them with Portland Railway's unique hybrid electrified cable cars.  They originally had Fuller type dual lever hand brakes similar to those used in cable cars (see No.'s 303-310).  Original numbers were 85 (No. 241), 101-04 (No.'s 242-245) and 105-110 (No.'s 246-251). 

Their nickname comes from later years.  They were hastily enclosed in 1919, but the lack of bulkheads and underseat heaters apparently made them very drafty, cold trolleys during winter months.

The photo above was taken at the Piedmont Carbarn (odd, since it is known that they were used on the Willamette Heights Line on the other side of the river in early years).  The photo below, taken in 1925 at N. Williams and Oregon on the Irvington-Jefferson Line, shows what these cars looked like after enclosing.  They do have a drafty appearance. 

Retirement:  1927 

Technical Notes:  No. 251 seems to have been the guinea pig for enclosing this series, although precisely when is unclear.  It was listed as closed in a 1910 inventory (11 years before the others), but this may be an error.  It is more likely that the car became available for experimental rebuilding following extensive damage in a 1912 accident.  This may explain a conflicting note that indicates this car was to be enclosed for a one-year experiment in 1916.

All received Nelson fenders in 1912. 

Several changes were made during conversion to closed cars in 1919;  the cars were remodeled for one-man operation, doors, steps and heaters were added to each vestibule and seating capacity was reduced to 36.  The lower seating capacity was due to removal of the short longitudinal seats in each vestibule.  These seats were small since they had been installed in an unusual back to back position with space in between for the motorman.

No.'s 248-49 and 251 had G.E. K-11 controllers early on, with the rest of this series changed to K-11 by 1924.

Motors from several of these cars were removed and placed in No.'s 431-39 in 1926.

A 1922 field check describes this series as having been built in 1903 rather than 1902.  They were also said to have hand brake levers at this time.


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