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1930-39 EQUIPMENT PHOTOS (Page 2)
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FOR D.S.R 1930's MOTOR-BUS PHOTOS (PAGE 3) CLICK-ON "NEXT" (Below)
© 2011 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 08-29-11)
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PLYMOUTH ROAD TROLLEY-COACHES (TWIN COACH COMPANY)
After the last major new streetcar track extension was completed in 1929, the DSR management
turned its focus toward an increasingly popular form of electric-powered transportation that was
less-costly than constructing new rail lines—electric "trackless" trolley-coaches.  The Plymouth
Road line would soon become Detroit's first bus line to implement this new mode of public transit.
Detroit D.S.R. (Department of Street Railways)
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Beginning in 1930, the DSR would launch a new service in Detroit, as trackless trolley-coaches
replaced gas-powered buses on Plymouth Road.  On Saturday, June 14, 1930, six Twin Coach
Co. built trolley-coaches (#401-406) began their first day of operation on the new 5.6 mile-long
"Plymouth Electric" coach line.  The initial line operated from Grand River via Plymouth Road
to the west-end of Rouge Park near Outer Drive, charging the 10¢ motorbus fare.  This photo
shows series coach #401 east on Plymouth Road at the western end of the line, where the buses
looped between Rouge Park Dr. and Outer Drive in Rouge Park, along-side a large water tower.
[photo courtesy of Illinois Railway Museum, Ohio Brass Collection (via trolleybuses.net)]
In this 1935 photo, coach #406 is westbound along Plymouth Road while boarding passengers
at Northlawn Avenue.  The east end of the Plymouth line looped via north on Northlawn, south
on Grand River and west on Plymouth Road.  By 1932,  service to Rouge Park had been cut to
AM and PM peak hours only, while regular service "wye-turned" at Archdale
(west of Southfield
Road)
.  In 1936, the DSR decided to abandon future electric bus service plans and the Plymouth
Electric line was discontinued on August 11, 1937.  All six Twins were later sold to the Cincinnati
Street Railway (CSR), where the coaches would run until shortly after World War-II.
.HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Visible in the distant background is the tower of the former Sears, Roebuck &
Co. Dept. Store building (at 10750 Grand River—built: 1928/demolished: 1983) which would become
the anchor store to a thriving Grand River-Oakman Blvd. retail district.  Also visible in the distance is
the Robert Oakman Bldg (Grand River-Oakman) and the nine-story Leonard-Detroit Storage Co. Bldg.,
which later became the John F. Ivory Storage Co. Bldg.  Both buildings are still standing today.
[photo courtesy of Illinois Railway Museum, Ohio Brass Collection (via trolleybuses.net)]
Although trolley-coach technology had been around for a few decades, electric-powered buses
were new to regular service in Detroit.  To inaugurate the new service, a special parade was held
(complete with a band) to introduce Detroiters to the new coaches.  One of the crowd-pleasers
featured on the new buses were  individual leather seats.  The Plymouth electrics were well liked
by Detroiters, and the DSR had plans to convert more bus routes to trolley-coach operation.  
But the Depression and declining revenues would cancel the DSR's plans to expand the service.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
In this photo, taken along Plymouth Road east of Ohio Street—across from the Bell Telephone
Building
(right), Twin Coach #405 demonstrates the flexibility of trolley-buses to maneuver
through traffic, a feat not possible with streetcars.  Similar to streetcars, a trolley-coach draws
its electricity from suspended overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles.  But a trolley-
bus requires two wires and two poles to complete its electrical circuit, while a streetcar normally
uses the track as the return part of the electrical path and therefore needs only one wire and one
pole.  These rubber-tired trackless vehicles are also able to offer Detroiters curb-side service.
[photo source:  Detroit's Street Railways – Vol. II: City Lines 1922-1956 (Dworman photo)]
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HISTORY FOOTNOTE: Visible in the distant background is the tower of the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. Dept.
Store building at 10750 Grand River
(built 1928 – demolished 1983), which would become the anchor store to
a thriving Grand River-Oakman Blvd. retail district.  Also visible in the distance is the Robert Oakman Bldg.
(Grand River-Oakman) and the nine-story building housing the Leonard-Detroit Storage Co., which would
later become the John F. Ivory Storage Co.  Both buildings are still standing today.
Almost identical in appearance to the fleet of Twin Coach buses purchased by the DSR between
1928-29, these electric-powered (Model 40TT) coaches were 30-feet long and came equipped
with two Westinghouse 1426 motors.  Just like their gas-powered counterparts, these buses also
seated 40-passengers.  All six coaches were housed at the Coolidge Garage, where access to
Plymouth Road was provided via non-revenue overhead along Schaefer Road.  In this June 5,
1930 promotional photo, electric coach #406 poses for the press along Merrill Plaisance Street
in Palmer Park while sporting its DSR paint scheme of cream with green trim and striping.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
THE 1920's
1  2  3  4
THE 1930's
1  2  3
THE 1940's
1  2  3  4  5
THE 1950's
1  2  3
THE 1960's
1  2  3
THE 1970's
1  2  3
THE 1980's
1  2  3
THE 1990's
1  2  3
THE 2010's
1   2
THE 2000's
1   2