Broadway Bridge Ramp, c1947

Officials of some sort stand on the west end of the Broadway Bridge ramp around 1947. The St. Johns trolley bus is probably continuing south on Broadway; turning right would take it down the Lovejoy ramp.

A2005-001.67 Broadway Bridge Ramp west end bridge 1947(City of Portland Archives)

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10 Responses to “Broadway Bridge Ramp, c1947”

  1. Mike Slama Says:

    I noticed that the second bus isn’t connected to the electrical lines. Is it a gas or diesel bus? Or is it connected to the first trolly bus? They are awful close…

  2. Eric C Says:

    Mike – I was thinking the same thing… perhaps they are at a stop?

  3. Mike G Says:

    I notice differences in that the second bus doesn’t have the nacelle for the electric arms on it’s roof, and no horns under the windshield. Did they hook up unpowered or diesel ‘trailers’ in rush hours? It appears that it’s purpose is intended and not just another driver ‘drafting’ to save electricity.

  4. bailey Says:

    I think the buses are at a stoplight waiting for a greeen.

  5. rod taylor Says:

    The first vehicle in question is a “trackless trolley” and the second is a “gas pot”. And as bailey correctly observes they are awaiting a green light as they are in the left turn lane. The low compression diesel engines that would make possible the conversion to diesel power for this sort of transportation were still fifteen years in the future, Gas prices at the bulk level were about 14 cents a gallon and the electricity’s competitive costs were offset by the infrastructural costs. The diesel engines of the period were difficult to drive and required a lot of training. They had to be “driven” up hill and down and could not be allowed to come down on compression with out serious injury to the engine as one example, and with very very limited range of engine speeds between 1700 and 2100 RPM that required compound gearing. 4 on the floor was more like 12 on the floor in two separate transmissions.Not suitable for a city bus

  6. Brian Caughey Says:

    http://goo.gl/maps/twqz9

  7. Chris Slama Says:

    I searched for “Mack buses in Portland” and found this interesting site: http://www.trolleybuses.net/pdx/pdx.htm

    Thanks for finding these great pictures Dan!

  8. Carter Kennedy Says:

    Thanks, Rod Taylor, for that eye-opener about diesel engines.

  9. Bruce Urmson Says:

    Rod Taylor, is the secondary transmission called a “brownie”?

  10. rod taylor Says:

    @Bruce. Yes although it may not actually be manufactured by Brown Lipe. The nickname stuck in popular use. When I retired (2000) at least a few new trucks were still being built every year with auxiliary transmissions and they are still a option. The modern versions are syncro-mesh and the 1948 models were more likely to have been “crash gears”. They tended to separate the men from the boys,so to speak because everything had to align perfectly and when they didn’t a loud crash was the result of a imperfect match. And yes there were a few ladies out there who could handle the sticks but not many. Also it was possible to “hang up the brownie” by rough handling the gear shift in which case the truck would roll to a stop and the offending driver would be out rolling around underneath with a pry bar to get the linkage freed up again. Usually in the rain or snow in the worst possible place either halfway up a mountain or in a city street in the rush hour. Woe unto the driver who managed to get both trannies out of gear going down a long steep crooked grade with air brakes and the need to steer and keep up the air and you have real excitement.

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