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THE CONVERSION OF D.S.R STREETCAR LINES TO MOTOR BUSES BETWEEN 1937 AND 1956
RAIL LINE
DATE OF BUS SUBSTITUTION
COMMENTS
-MYRTLE
October 11, 1937
 
-VAN DYKE
February 14, 1938
 
-WEST JEFFERSON
April 23, 1938
A major sewer-related pavement collapse resulted in bus substitution
-DEPOT (WOODWARD–DEPOT)
October 3, 1938
Michigan Central Depot branch of Woodward line substituted by buses
-E. LAFAYETTE
March 1, 1939
Last DSR streetcar line to operate small Birney Safety cars
-DAVISON (BAKER–H.P. BRANCH)
March 22, 1942
Highland Park branch of Baker line discontinued because of Davision
Expressway construction. Replaced by Davision Shuttle buses
-OAKMAN
December 9, 1945
First streetcar line after WWII to be converted to buses
-HAMILTON
April 28, 1947
 
-GRAND RIVER
May 5, 1947
First major DSR streetcar line to be substituted with buses
-CROSSTOWN
October 26, 1947
The conversion of the Crosstown and Harper lines to buses allowed the city
to convert portions of Forest and Warren Avenues to one-way traffic
-HARPER
October 26, 1947
North portion of line replaced by Van Dyke-Lafayette coach line
-GRAND BELT
June 24, 1948
 
-FOURTEENTH
July 18, 1948
Replaced by new Linwood coach line
-WOODMERE
July 18, 1948
Replaced by West Jefferson and Springwells Shuttle coaches
-FORT WEST
June 23, 1949
West-side portion of Fort-Kercheval line substituted by Fort coaches
-CHARLEVOIX–BUCHANAN
July 17, 1949
Esat-side portion of route replaced by E. Vernor coaches, west-side
substituted by new Buchanan coach line
-KERCHEVAL
December 15, 1949
 
-TRUMBULL
June 19,1951
Trumbull Avenue portion replaced by rerouted Linwood coaches, service
along 12th Street replaced by new Fenkell coach line
-OAKLAND
June 19, 1951
 
-MT. ELLIOTT
June 19, 1951
 
-CLAIRMOUNT
July 29, 1951
 
-MACK
November 11, 1951
 
-BAKER
April 6, 1952
East-side portion of route replaced by new Chene bus line, west-side
substituted by new Baker coach line
-JEFFERSON
February 7, 1954
P.C.C. OPERATION (1949–1954)
-MICHIGAN
September 7, 1955
P.C.C. OPERATION (1950–1955)
-GRATIOT
March 25, 1956
P.C.C. OPERATION (1949–1956)
-WOODWARD
April 8, 1956
P.C.C. OPERATION (1947–1956)
(Unless otherwise noted above, rail abandonment would result in buses being substituted over the previous rail route under the same route name)
FOR RELATED TOPICS SEE:  THE P.C.C. ERA IN DETROIT
          VIEW D.S.R. RAIL LINE ROUTE MAP: STREETCAR LINES - 1941
FROM STEEL WHEELS TO RUBBER TIRES
(The conversion of the Detroit DSR from streetcars to motor buses)
For Comments and/or Suggestions, Please contact Site Owner at: admin@detroittransithistory.info
© 2007  (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 07-31-10  [redesigned 06-16-12])
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Preserving the History of Public Transportation in and around the City of Detroit, ...from "Steel Wheels to Rubber Tires."
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It was under the leadership of general manager Fred A. Nolan when the DSR first began its "steel wheels to rubber tires" campaign to convert its mostly street railway operation over to an "all bus" operation by 1953. In 1936, the DSR began purchasing hundreds of small-size Ford Transit coaches, many of which would be used to help carry out this rail abandonment program. The first abandonment of the rail lines by the DSR began in 1937, only to be interrupted briefly by World War II. However, the conversion of streetcars over to buses would begin to accelerate after the war.

The following table lists the order DSR streetcar lines were abandoned and converted to motor bus operation.

Even though the DSR would purchase 184 sleek modern PCC style streetcars between 1947 and 1949 to replace the worn-out Peter Witt style cars on its heavier rail lines, DSR management would resume full-speed ahead with its rail-to-bus conversion campaign beginning in 1947. Within nine years, the entire DSR fleet of 186 fairly new PCC's (including two demos purchased in 1945) were also taken out of service. The last day of streetcar operation in Detroit was on Sunday, April 8, 1956. (Streetcars operated along the streets of Detroit from August 4, 1863 to April 8, 1956)
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