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Boston Elevated Railway 5645
1923 Laconia Car Co.
by William E. Wood, June 2001
In 1920, the Boston Elevated Railway faced a major car problem. It still had 738, largely decrepit and ancient 25 foot "box" cars on its roster. A new type of one-man, high capacity trolley was needed, and fast. The company's design engineers turned out a design that would become known as the "Type 5" semi-convertible and the best known car the B.E.R. ever had.
The overall length - 45 feet; body length 30 feet 11.5 inches; height rail over boards 10 feet 7.5 inches; width at eaves, 8 feet 2 inches and belt line 8 feet 6 inches. Weight fully equipped 15.5 tons. Each car was to have 16 transverse- reversible seats and 4 longitudinal corner seats of wood slat construction for 48 passengers. Standing capacity was 89, for a total of 137 total load. The cars rode on standard C-35P trucks; 5 feet 2 inch wheel base, 26 inch wheels and 4 W50BA type motors and two K71A controllers. Brakes were Westinghouse 5M3 variable load air brakes and a WDH-16 compressor and auxiliary hand brakes. The gearing was designed for 25.4 MPH at 550 volts.
In 1922 the first 100 cars of the class were ordered and were in service by January 27, 1923. The second order of thirty cars was placed with Brill on November 1, 1922. On November 8, 1922 a third order for thirty cars Nos. 5630 through 5659 went to Laconia Car Company and so #5645 was born. Designated Type 5A, #5645's first car house was Clarendon Hill, with in service date of March, 1924. It was painted in the B.E.R. standard green livery, Dressel electric headlights and single red bulls-eye tail light above the center window of each vestibule. It has bar couplers and two trolley poles with Ohio Brass bases. Total cost of the car, $11,400.
1947 saw a major change in the operation of transit in Boston and a new owner for #5645. On August 29, 1947, the Boston Elevated Railway passed from the scene and the Metropolitan Transit Authority took control. In 1950-1952, 48 cars including #5645 had its original bar couplers replaced with Tomlinson automatic type from junked type 4's for operation in the subways (Tremont, Boylston and Huntingdon Ave.) and to permit them to tow or be towed by PCC's. Starting in 1951, the first of the Type 5 fleet of 471 cars were scrapped. By 1958 nine Type 5's were left working out of Watertown Car House. During the last couple of years, William E. Wood operated for C.E.R. and other friends, trips on car #5645 over all trolley lines left in Boston (C.E.R. member came in full uniform and operated the car in the subway and on the surface lines). He also placed a bid offer for the car which was accepted in April 1959 and moved to the Everett Shops on coming off its last public service trip. A short time later #5645 was moved to to Warehouse Point.
| Controls: 2 - K71
Motors: 4 - Westinghouse 508-A
Brakes: Multi-unit safety air
Compressor: Westinghouse DH-16
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