Peter Witt Car Restoration And Operation
Meeting Date: June 20, 2001
Subject: Peter Witt Car Restoration And Operation
It is recommended the Commission receive and approve this report noting that:
1. Cost estimate and overhaul schedule for the restoration of the Peter Witt car (Witt car), are included in Appendix A.
2. The protocol for the operation of the Witt car is included as Appendix B.
3. It is recommended that the Witt car be used only for special events and withheld from charter or tour service.
4. If indoor storage is required, it is recommended that the Witt car be parked in the Davenport Garage.
5. It is recommended that a review of the costs for maintaining this vehicle in an operational condition be conducted after one year of service. This review should take into account the operating costs, training costs and the condition of the vehicle.
Funding of $100,000 has been included in the 2001 Operating Budget for the restoration of this vehicle. Funding of $25,000 will be added to the 2002 Streetcars Department Operating Budget for the maintenance and training that will be required for this vehicle. The yearly operating cost will be reviewed at the end of each season to determine if a reduction or increase in operating costs is required.
At the Commission Meeting of October 18, 2000, the Commission directed staff to report back on the restoration and operation of the Peter Witt car.
The Toronto Transit Commission operated a Witt car charter service in conjunction with Toronto Tours (1983) up until the end of the 1988-operating season. At this time the service was terminated as a result of the worsening condition of the vehicles and a continuing problem with the supply of spare parts, as well as a reduction in maintenance expertise for these vehicles. Two vehicles were involved in this service (2424 a large Witt car and 2766 a small Witt car). The large Witt 2424 was rebuilt at Harvey Shop during 1989 and returned to its owner, the Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association (OERHA). This vehicle along with a number of other vintage TTC streetcars are presently operated and maintained by this association at their Halton County Museum Complex. This museum does an excellent job of preserving TTC rail-vehicle history and is approximately a 45-minute drive from downtown Toronto. The small Witt vehicle number 2766 was retained by the Toronto Transit Commission in anticipation of refurbishment and donation to a static museum to be developed by the City of Toronto. It is this vehicle that the Commission has directed staff to restore to an operating condition at an upset limit of $100,000.
Technical and Operating Issues - Many of the same problems that resulted in the termination of the operation of the Witt car charters during 1988 will affect the restoration and operation of this vehicle in 2001. It should be noted that in addition to the problems of operating just one of these vehicles, the Witt car technology is now 90 years old. The requirement of finding the parts and the expertise to restore this vehicle to an operating condition and maintaining it in a safe and reliable condition will present a unique challenge. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) will have to be developed for the training of Operators and Service/Repair Mechanics. Technical documents will have to be procured as to the operation and repair of vehicle systems and again SOP’s developed for the repair and inspection of this vehicle. Agreements will have to be reached with the Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association for the supply of parts and in some cases the rebuilding of components.
Safety and Service Considerations - The Witt car is equipped with only one (1) non fail-safe braking system unlike the PCC, CLRV and ALRV which have fail-safe air brake, back-up electric and track braking systems. This braking system is an air applied tread brake and the emergency stopping distance is approximately 60 percent longer on dry/good rail than a CLRV. In addition the brake is not fail-safe and a random failure of the air system could lead to the car having no brakes available for stopping. The body configuration of the Witt vehicle is not compatible with the CLRV or ALRV and a collision could result in extensive damage or injury. In addition, the vehicle contains no low voltage logic and all controls are 600 Volt. This presents a unique challenge for the operators in that they are their own current control system. If a mistake is made and the operator accelerates too quickly this could cause an overload and damage to the main controller. This damage could result in a fire or electrical injury to operators if they are not properly trained and aware of this risk.
It is as a result of the above safety and service considerations that it is not recommended that this vehicle be operated in charter or tour service.
Storage - The recommendation of storing this vehicle at the John Street Roundhouse during the winter months is not practical. A method does not presently exist for transporting the vehicle to the site other than trucking. In addition, space is not available as the development team has plans to display its own Witt car 2300 at this site. If it is determined that indoor storage is required for this vehicle, it is recommended that it continue to be stored at the old Davenport Garage during the off season.
Rebuilding and operation of Witt car 2766 will preserve the history of streetcars in the City of Toronto.
May 28, 2001
Attachments: Appendix A