Monday, January 11, 2016

Visit to Plano

In the town of Plano, just north of Dallas, is the Interurban Railway Museum, located in a substation building of the Texas Electric. 

Outside the building is the body of car 360, a parlor/RPO combine built in 1911.  After the line quit, it was reduced to a farmer's shed for many years, but has been cosmetically restored, and the partly-restored interior is open for guided tours.   

The building itself holds a number of excellent displays on various aspects of interurbans, including an operating model layout with buildings carefully patterned after those in early Plano.

They've done their best to restore the interior.  There are three of these parlor car bucket seats, for instance, which I assume were obtained locally, to give an idea of what the interior would have looked like.  Some aspects of the car are open to question, I suppose, but on the whole this is quite an impressive achievement for a small town.   The museum is located a block from the DART station, and the line from Dallas has some definite interurban-like aspects.  It's well worth a visit.


Anonymous said...

Hi Randy,
My brother and I visited this fine little museum a few years ago as participants in an Association of Railroad Museums conference. I think if you look carefully at the trucks under that interurban car, you'll find they came from a Chicago South Shore & South Bend car.
Keep up the good work. Dan Buck

Randall Hicks said...

Frank and I were discussing this backchannel a little. The car's trucks, couplers, controller, and other equipment all appear to be from the South Shore. They may have acquired these parts from Bob Harris, we're not sure. We're also not sure about the seats, at least they look like they could be original TE.

Anonymous said...

Are the coupler and air compressor still mounted upside down?

Randall Hicks said...

It's funny you should ask that. I noticed the compressor, but didn't focus on the couplers enough to tell, and it's not obvious from my pictures. I would guess the answer is yes. The compressor is sitting on a home-made cradle welded together from angle iron by some local craftsman.

I really don't like to be too critical about these details. We, for instance, went to considerable trouble and expense to replace a D3-F compressor with a D3-EG on the 308 because it was historically correct. But 998 out of a thousand people are never going to notice this level of detail, and for the majority of visitors who have no idea what an electric interurban might be, the museum at Plano is a great asset.

Brian L. said...

Looking closely at the photos, yes; it appears both couplers are mounted upside down.