Friday, January 8, 2016

Visit to McKinney Avenue

We spent the past week on vacation in Dallas, and there were lots of varied attractions to see.  The first thing we did, however, was to visit the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, courtesy of my friend Lynn Fleming.  Several members of MATA are also members of IRM, and visit us once a year or more.

McKinney Avenue is not a railway museum, but a heritage trolley line running through an upscale section of downtown Dallas, partly on original streetcar tracks.  They operate every day for 15 hours or more, with at least two cars at any time, I believe.  Most of the operators are paid employees, and the operation is funded partly by DART and partly by the local business association.  Some of the cars are originally from Dallas, others from overseas.  Various modifications to the equipment have been made to make maintenance easier and to attract riders.  It's quite a tourist attraction, and reliable enough that many people use it to get to work.   Obviously a completely different situation from IRM.

But enough talk, let's see some pictures!  

Here comes an original Dallas car, a single-truck Birney that has just passed under a large skyscraper.  It has the world's largest car card attached to the side; advertising brings in a lot of revenue.  All of the cars have fanciful names, such as Petunia.  And since the cars have to keep running, there isn't always time to fix accident damage.

Here's the entrance to the shop building:

Inside, as it happens, we have three Dallas cars lined up.  On the left is the double-ender which was stored at IRM for several years, and finally transported to MATA a couple of months ago.  On the right is a classic Stone and Webster design.

Here are some pictures of the 3334.  Work has barely started, but it is definitely slated for restoration.

All of the cars need air conditioning to attract today's riders during the hot Texas summers, and the Green Dragon is no exception.  Small separate units are mounted on the roof of each car.

 This ancient Portugese single-trucker has many interesting features.


Here's the Melbourne car.  At right it's on the turntable, with Lynn in the foreground.  The turntable is needed for single-ended cars, but used for the others too.  It's easier than changing ends.

 Since speed bumps on a streetcar track are impractical, we have this.


When the Johnstown streetcar system was abandoned, about a dozen of its PCCs were bought by Brussels.  But when the cars got to Belgium, it was found that they were too wide for the narrow streets of an ancient city.   Duh.  The Belgians eventually equipped them with new, narrower bodies, and here's one coming down the street in Dallas.

And when the Dallas Birney got back to the barn, Lynn lets me take some more pictures of it.

Maintenance of these old cars is a constant struggle. 

(To be continued...)


Anonymous said...

From the information that I obtained a number of years ago, the Johnstown PCCs were not shipped to Belgium - the trucks and electrical equipment was stripped from the PCC bodies after which the bodies were scrapped, and the stripped parts were sent to Belgium where that equipment was installed on new bodies.

The same thing happened with the Kansas City PCCs - trucks and electrical equipment was stripped from the bodies and the bodies were scrapped in the US after which the equipment was installed on new bodies built in Belgium.

Anonymous said...

The book "PCC - the Car That Fought Back" by Stephen P. Carlson and Fred W, Schneider (released in 1980) indicated that the car builder La Brugeoise (acting for Brussels) in early 1956 thru early 1957 purchased 79 used PCCs from Kansas City - the cars were stripped in Kansas City of their trucks, motors, control equipment, brake gear and other components (including operator seats and destination sign box mechanism), crated and shipped to Belgium where that equipment was installed on new PCC fabricated non-articulated car bodies.

The same thing happened with all of the Johnstown PCCs.

Chris said...

And the same thing happened with Chicago's PCC's, but the parts were shipped back to Chicago in cans.

Randall Hicks said...

But that's not what Emma herself has to say. And she ought to know. :)

Anonymous said...

Where is the McKinley Avenue system storing it streetcars - the carbarn/repair shop appears too small to hold everything not in use (with the arrival of the Boston double end PCC originally from Dallas, the Brussels PCC, etc)?

Anonymous said...

Most of the Chicago PCC streetcars were shipped to the St. Louis Car Company where all reusable parts were taken off and the bodies scrapped in the junk yard under the McKinley Bridge in St. Louis. Then those streetcar parts were installed on new bodies and the completed PCC rapid transit cars were shipped back to Chicago for almost immediate service on the elevated/subway system.