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The PCC Graveyard at Wychwood

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Text by James Bow, photos by Brett Lamb

PCC 4504

For generations, the Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) car was the primary streetcar of the TTC fleet. From 1938 until 1996, these distinctive “red rockets” served hundreds of millions of passengers. They were almost going to be the last streetcars to grace the streets of Toronto, but a concerted effort by community groups in 1972 convinced the TTC to retain streetcar service. The commission rebuilt its fleet of PCCs and looked for a long-term replacement. This came in the form of the CLRV and its cousin the ALRV

The PCCs rebuilt in the mid-1970s operated alongside its “replacements” for twenty years. As the lives of these cars wound down, the TTC considered rebuilding them yet again, for use on its planned Harbourfront streetcar line, as rebuilding was cheaper than purchasing new equipment. This additional rebuild added many more years to the lives of 19 streetcars, many of which had been in service since 1951. The remaining streetcars weren’t so lucky. As the eighties came to a close, these cars were decommissioned, stripped of usable parts, and put out to pasture.

That pasture was St. Clair carhouse on Wychwood; ironically, a facility that itself had been decommissioned from regular use. After catching sight of some PCCs out of the window of my streetcar trundling past on St. Clair Avenue, I finally paid a visit to this site one summer afternoon in 1989, taking along a low quality Disc camera. Scans of these pictures were among the first streetcar photographs to appear on the fledgling Transit Toronto website in 1998. The fact that the picture quality was poor and the scans were low resolution didn’t matter at the time.

Brett Lamb also paid a visit to the Wychwood car pasture in the early nineties, and he has been kind enough to donate his own scans, at much higher resolution. So, in refreshing this page, I now supply you with his photographs.


Walking south along Wychwood, this is the first sight you see of the carhouse and the graveyard. At the time of Brett’s visit, Toronto’s trolley buses were also on the way out, with derelict vehicles in storage alongside the PCCs.


In the late 1980s, the PCCs were likely driven to their final resting place and left. The tracks were taken up in front of them. The trolley buses would have to have been towed.


A number of reusable parts were stripped from these vehicles, including doors and rollsigns, but a number of these vehicles have most of their parts intact. The site must be discretely patrolled (and eyed by the neighbourhood watch). There are broken windows to be found, and graffiti, but this vehicle is in surprisingly good condition after being left out in the rain for so long.


4301 is missing its headlight and mirror. 4366 managed to keep both.


This scene (and the others) are an eerie mimic of an active carhouse. One half expects the cars of this shot to be ready to trundle back into service. Alas, they’ve picked up and delivered their last passengers.


A closeup of 4350(?)’s water-bumper and missing headlight.




Close-up of a windshield wiper.


Hopping on board… (note broken window pane)


Close up of the dashboard. A full list of the switches and a partial explanation of their function can be found here.


Empty rollsign housing.


The view from out front.


View of the inside of car 4424 from the back.


One streetcar has managed to keep one of its rollsigns.


PCC 4507 has dropped off its last passengers

Many thanks to Brett Lamb for these photographs.

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