|Back to the Museum Website||Browse the Collection|
U.S. Department of Transportation SOAC 2
from Washington D.C.
By 1972, urban rapid transit had a seriously shabby image. One of the problems was that, though the original equipment had been largely replaced, new cars embodied little new technology, and were generally perceived to be of poorer quality than what had gone before.
In the hope of duplicating the PCC success story, a federal program undertook the development of the most up to date transit equipment that would embody the best of technological progress. Two so-called State of the Art Cars (SOAC) were built in 1972 by St. Louis Car Company, using the basic body shell design of the recently delivered fleet of R-44 subway cars for New York. These cars proved to be the final vehicles to be produced by America's last traditional car builder. Running as a train, though with different seating arrangements (SOAC II has less seating and more standing room - for shorter lines), the SOACs were operated on all four of the then existing U.S. subways, in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston, as well as on Cleveland's Rapid Rail line. The public liked them, but the SOACs were quietly withdrawn, never to see service again, though some desultory tests of improved hardware were undertaken at the National Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colorado.
Eventually, it became clear that the future experiments would spring from a totally new base, and the SOACs were shipped from Pueblo for preservation at Seashore, where they comprise an updated exhibit attesting the ongoing value of electric traction systems and technology.
Manufacturer: St. Louis Car Co.
Item Type: Rapid Transit Car
Description: Experimental Testbed
|Operation: Single-ended||Seats: 72|
|Brakes: WABCO Experimental||Compressor:|
|Length: 74' 9"||Width: 9' 9"||Height: 12' 2"||Weight: 89000 lbs.|