1940-49 EQUIPMENT PHOTOS (Page 2)
© 2008 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 03-18-10 (additions 10-06-11, 08-02-12))
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Detroit D.S.R. (Department of Street Railways)
Key to Our Horizons (1952)
(Internet Archive video)
A tribute to the automobile and
its importance in American life
and the economy. Great views
of downtown Detroit during the
early 1950s featured in this film.
When Stan Sycko, Jr. posed with coach #1034 back in 1968, the bus was already more than two
decades old.  Over the years the DSR fleet of 4008's would undergo a variety of cream and red
paint scheme designs—as evident when compared with coach #1047 in previous photo.  Many
even had their chrome GM front nameplates removed.  Although half of the TDH-4008 fleet was
retired in 1966, a 1967 DSR Annual Report listed 42 of the 20-year-old buses still on the roster.
[slide-photo image courtesy of Stanley Sycko]
This DSR coach also
appeared in 1952 GM film..
Sixteen years before this photo
was taken, DSR coach #1034
made a cameo appearance in
a 10-min. film commissioned
by Chevrolet of General Motors.
(click thumbnail to view video)
In this photo, DSR Transit Bus #7010 is seen boarding passengers along the McNichols East
line.  After comparing the ten Ford 8MB's with the ten Transit Buses, the DSR had no choice but
to place its coach order with Transit Buses after a strike at Wayne Works
(the body builders of
the Ford 8MB's
) prevented Ford from bidding on the DSR's 300-unit bus order.
[Transit Buses, Inc. promotional photo courtesy of Tom's Trolley Bus Pix-Detroit stuff]
Coach #7003 was one of ten (31-passenger) pilot coaches (#7001-7010 — Model 81) delivered
on July 16, 1948, to be tested along-side the Ford 8MB's.  After Transit Buses parted ways with
Ford in 1947, the company joined a partnership with Checker Motors Corp.  Transit buses were
now being built by Checker Motors.  Two DSR employees are seen here inspecting the new fleet.
Note Transit Buses' exclusive green-tinted "Look Ahead Window" above the destination sign.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
Again, more fleets of small-size buses were on the agenda, despite a postwar move toward larger-
size coaches.  The DSR wanted to purchase more small-size coaches for its light service lines.
Meanwhile, Ford and its long-time bus sales agent Transit Buses, Inc. of Dearborn parted ways
in October 1947, with Metropolitan Motor Coaches, Inc. becoming the new distributor of Ford
buses.  A newly designed bus body was supplied by Wayne Works of Richmond, IN.   In August
1948, ten
(27-passenger) pilot Fords (#6001-6010 — Model 8MB) were purchased by the DSR
for trial along-side ten redesigned Transit Buses
(see below). All ten 8MB's were retired in 1954.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
Although not the best quality photo, this xeroxed image shows the interior rear view of a DSR
TDH-4008.  Visible are the two piece (lower stationary, upper raise) split-sash passenger
windows, which weren't included on the GM TD-4506's delivered in 1945.  Also visible is the
center of aisle, floor to roof, grab rail stanchion pole located near the rear of the coach.  Like the
4506's, the interior color decor included green doors, lower wall panels and front dash panel,
and cream above the belt-line.  All GM coaches built prior to 1953 utilized a steel leaf spring
suspension system, which didn't offer as smooth a ride as the later air-suspension coaches.
[DSR Files photo, xerox photo copy courtesy of Kenneth Schramm]
After two years of delays—caused primarily by a back-up of long-standing orders during the
war, compounded even more by a nearly four month long UAW strike against GM in late 1945—
the DSR was finally able to receive the remaining coaches of its diesel coach order.  Beginning in
October 1947, the last 90 coaches (#1031-1120) of its 120 GM bus order began arriving.  This
second fleet of diesels were slightly smaller than the original 30 TD-4506's delivered back in
September of 1945, and were now built to DSR specifications.  One noticeable change
(among a
few others)
was the addition of an air-intake grille up over the destination sign, part of the GM
"Thermo-Matic" heating and ventilation system made standard on GM transit buses in 1946.
[site-owner's collection photo courtesy of the Schramm collection]
Of course, like the postwar Whites and Twins, the Macks were also used to replace the aging
Peter Witt streetcars after their lines were converted to buses, and also saw service on heavier
bus lines.  In the above photo, coach #5393 is working the Depot line
(a former streetcar route)
that operated from the Michigan Central Station Train Depot to downtown Detroit.  Just like the
postwar GMs and Whites, this Mack coach is also missing its decorative chrome and trimmings.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
The next make of postwar large buses to arrive in Detroit were manufactured by Mack Trucks,
Inc.  These gasoline-powered Macks were purchased in two sizes, the C-41's and the C-45's, the
majority of which (#5200 thru 5400–series) were of the 41-passenger C-41-GT model design.
This photo shows the #5200-series Mack C-41-GT's arriving at the DSR Highland Park Shops
via railroad flatcars from Mack's Allentown, PA plant 5C during the fall of 1947.  Initially, all of
the Mack coaches arrived with front decorative chrome, which was later either painted over or
removed by the DSR. Note the MACK route sign conveniently displayed on the roll-sign curtain.
[photo courtesy of the Carl D. Dutch transit photo collection]
The very first Mack buses delivered were three C-41-G's (#5301-5303) purchased for trial that
arrived on January 2, 1947.  They were followed by 164 of the model C-41-GT's (#5304-5467).
These 33-foot long, 96-inch wide coaches began arriving in April of 1947.  Coach #5432, seen in
photo, already had its paint scheme redesigned and its decorative chrome painted over by the
time this photo was taken.  A fleet of 100 additional
C-41-GT Macks would also begin arriving in
October 1947.  Oddly, these were numbered beginning at a lower numbering sequence (#5201-
5300) than the first C-41's.  The DSR purchased a total of 267 of the 41-passenger C-41 Macks.
[site-owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
In March of 1949, 300 Transit Buses (#7011-7310 — Model 91) began arriving and were placed
into service on light service lines, replacing the oldest of the rear-engine Ford Transits delivered
back in 1939.  The DSR Transits also sported the cream with red trim livery, but also came with
a silver roof.  In this photo, coach #7267 is seen at the DSR Highland Park Terminal loop while
working the Davison Shuttle route.  The Transit Buses were retired between 1956 and 1957.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
Upon the arrival of the 1940's, the DSR motor-bus fleet consisted almost exclusively of small-
size buses manufactured through the Ford Motor Company.  But the arrival of the 1950's would
paint an entirely different picture.  After WW-II, the DSR would purchase hundreds of buses
from seven different manufacturers, including GM Coach, White Motors, Ford, Twin Coach,
Mack Truck, Transit Buses, and Checker Cab.  In this early 1950's photo, a hodgepodge of buses
can be seen parked at the DSR Highland Park Terminal on Second Avenue in Highland Park.
[photo courtesy of the Carl D. Dutch transit photo collection]
Oddly, the Macks were originally delivered sporting an unusual paint scheme of cream and blue
with a silver roof that extended around the destination sign.  Eventually, the fleet was later
repainted into the standard DSR livery of cream and red.  Although hard to tell in this black &
white photo, coach #5465 is still sporting its original cream, blue and silver roof livery.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
Originally, these TDH-4008's arrived sporting a cream and red livery, along with a silver roof.  
During their early years, most of these GM diesels were assigned to the busy Dexter line, the
DSR's heaviest bus route.  The Dexter line, along with most of the 4008's, were later transferred
to the Gilbert Terminal when it opened on June 6, 1948.  However, a smaller number also saw
service city-wide on a number of the express bus routes launched after the war.  In this photo,
Dexter coach #1047 is southbound along Woodward Avenue, just south of W. Elizabeth Street.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
The DSR's new fleet of GM diesels — Model TDH-4008 — were 33-feet long, 96-inches wide and
seated 40 passengers, compared to the slightly longer 45-passenger GM buses delivered in 1945.
Another noticeable change with the 4008's was the inclusion of split-sash passenger windows, as
seen on coach #1034 in photo. Supposedly, this feature was to help protect the arms and elbows
of the passengers.  The 4008's, and the #1200-series GM's delivered in 1953, were the only DSR
buses to include this option.  Coach #1034 is seen parked at the Shoemaker Terminal in 1968.  
[slide-photo image courtesy of Stanley Sycko]
This photo shows again the cream with red trimming paint scheme these postwar GM diesels
sported their entire service life.  In this 1968 photo, coach #1034 is photographed (during its
last days) at the DSR Shoemaker Terminal.  Although the paint design varied somewhat over the
twenty-plus years these coaches were in service, only a very few were ever repainted with the
ivory and green trim livery introduced on the larger 1956 GM diesels
(visible in background).
The last 38 reminding TDH-4008's were retired by the DSR in 1968, after 21-years of service.
[slide-photo reproduction courtesy of S. Sycko]
The 45-passenger Macks — Model C-45-GT — were the other size Macks purchased by the DSR.
These were slightly longer, with one additional passenger window added.  The first 43 C-45's
(#5501-5543) actually arrived in May 1947—a little over a month after the first fleet of C-41's.
However, the last twenty-two C-45's (#5544-5565) didn't arrive until January of 1948.  These
coaches came with single seats on the street side, and as a result only seated 38-passengers.  A
total of 65 Mack C-45's were purchased by the DSR.  When this photo was taken at the Highland
Park Shops, newly delivered coach #5508 was sporting its original cream and blue paint
scheme.  In total, 332 Macks operated along the streets of Detroit.  All were retired by 1962.
[site-owner's collection photo, courtesy of the Schramm photo collection]
THE 1920's
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THE 1930's
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THE 1940's
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THE 1950's
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THE 1960's
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THE 1970's
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THE 1980's
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THE 1990's
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THE 2010's
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THE 2000's
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