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1940-49 EQUIPMENT PHOTOS (Page 5)
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© 2008 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 06-19-10)
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CROSSTOWN "TRACKLESS" TROLLEY-COACHES (TWIN COACH CO. – Model 48-TT2)
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By the late '40s, the DSR general manager
had become convinced that electric buses
would last longer and cost less to maintain
than gasoline buses.  A conversion of some
streetcar routes to trolley-buses was being
considered by the department.  By the fall of
1950, plans were in the works to expand
electric trolley-coach operation to other
routes, including the Baker and Trumbull
car lines, and the Fourteenth, Woodrow
Wilson and Van Dyke-Lafayette bus lines.
PHOTO: DSR Twin Coach trackless trolley-bus #9012
(GM Andersen Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)
With a new decade approaching, DSR management continued to seek economical ways
to update its fleet.  As a result, the DSR began investigating the use of electric powered
buses as one means of cutting operating costs.  During the late 1940s, the trolley-
coaches that were available were both longer and wider than the largest existing motor
buses of that day.  One of the last vehicles to be purchased by the DSR during the 1940s
were a fleet of electric "trackless" trolley-coaches built by the Twin Coach Company.
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All Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University photos posted with permission.
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Although partial trolley-coach service had been in operation on the Crosstown line as early as
October, the "official" launch date — amid considerable fanfare and opening day ceremonies —
occurred on Thursday, December 15, 1949. In this 1960 photo, coaches #9012 and 9045 can be
seen laying-over at the Pierson Street Loop, which served as the west-end terminus of the line.
FOOTNOTE: Service to the Pierson Loop in Rouge Park began in 1929, after the Crosstown line
was extended westward along W. Warren from Manor on November 10, 1929.  This extension
was the last major new streetcar track construction under the DSR.  
(click photo for larger image)
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: GM Andersen photo]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
In this 1959 photo, Twin trolley-coach #9022 is eastbound along W. Warren Avenue, just west
of Grand River—having just passed under the Grand Trunk Railroad viaduct seen in the distant
background.  Unlike a number of the St. Louis built trolley-buses which were repainted cream
with green, the cream with red trim livery remained with the Twins throughout their service life.
FOOTNOTE: The approaching W. Warren and Grand River intersection was the only location
where the city's two trolley-coach lines intersected, with no connecting curves between them.
  
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: GM Andersen photo]
In this 1956 photo, former DSR coach operator, Stan Sycko, Sr. (badge #3213) is seen posing in
front of  Twin trolley-coach #9055 at the St. Jean loop, the east-end terminus of the Crosstown
line. The St. Jean loop was opened shortly after the city took over the rail lines from the former
Detroit United Railway (DUR) in 1922.  The loop was used as a turn-around for the Grand Belt
streetcar line after the city extended that line from Warren and Bewick, which until 1918 served
as the old city limits.  The Crosstown line began using the loop sometime around 1932.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
FOOTNOTE: Service to the Pierson Loop in Rouge Park began in 1929, after the Crosstown line
was extended westward along W. Warren from Manor on November 10, 1929.  This extension
was the last major new streetcar track construction under the DSR.  
(click photo for larger image)
FOOTNOTE: The approaching W. Warren and Grand River intersection was the only location
where the city's two trolley-coach lines intersected, with no connecting curves between them.
The 60 Twin Coach Company coaches (#9001-9060 — Model 48-TT2) were one of only two
fleets of postwar trolley-coaches built by Twin Coach (the other fleet went to San Francisco and
ran there until 1977).  The DSR Twins were 38-feet 3-inches long and were equipped with G.E.
1213 motors, and seated 48 passengers. Thirty of these coaches were housed at the east-side
Shoemaker Terminal and the other thirty housed at the Wyoming Terminal in Dearborn.  The
above photo of coach #9002 was taken by The Detroit News on a cloudy December 14, 1949—
just one day before the official launch of Crosstown trolley-bus service.
[Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University photo #48421 — see disclaimer below]
In April of 1949, sixty (60) Twin Coach Company built "trackless" trolley-coaches were
purchased by the DSR for service on its 14.15 mile-long Crosstown (Warren Avenue) line.  This
new service would make the Crosstown line, which covered 28.47 round trip miles, one of the
longest trolley bus lines in the country.  These new rubber-tired electric powered coaches would
replace gas-powered buses that were used to replace that line's Peter Witt cars back in October
of 1947.  Series coach #9001 was one of the first of the fleet to be delivered in the Fall of 1949.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko photo collection]
Another view of the Pierson Loop turn-around with coach #9054.  Although the streetcars that
operated on the Crosstown line prior to 1947 never traveled farther west than the Pierson Loop
in Rouge Park, the electric trolley-coaches, which later replaced them, did travel a bit farther
west for a few years.  In 1955, trackless trolley-coach service on Crosstown was extended from
the Pierson loop to about 1½ miles west to Hines Drive, just past Ann Arbor Trail.  But service
to Ann Arbor Trail was discontinued in March 1959, and service again terminated at the loop.
[photo source: www.trolleybuses.net, William Luke photo courtesy Joe Testagrose collection]
This photo shows car #9015 east along Warren Avenue between Grand River Avenue and
Fourteenth Street. At Wabash street (one block east of 14th) the line would travel via Wabash to
Forest Avenue for five miles of eastbound operation—as Warren became a one-way westbound
street beginning at Wabash.  Also note the "King Cole" sign in the background, signifying the
nearby location of one the city's major supermarket grocery store chains during that time.  
 
[photo courtesy of
Tom's Trolley Bus Pix—www.trolleybuses.net]
This photo shows the Warren Avenue (south) side of the DSR Shoemaker Terminal, which was
adjacent to the St. Jean Loop turn-around.  At both the Shoemaker and Wyoming terminals,
trolley-buses were stored outside year-round. Initial plans for a network of trolley-coach routes
across the city were later scrapped, and plans to build new storage garages to house the trolley-
coach fleet were never implemented.  Although the Shoemaker property at the time was in the
process of being modified to accommodate 100 trolley-buses, only 30 were ever housed there.
[photo courtesy of Tom's Trolley Bus Pix—www.trolleybuses.net]
To service the DSR's new trolley-coach fleet, construction began on a new maintenance garage
building on the Shoemaker Terminal property, sometime around 1950.  Two service pits, two
hydraulic hoists, a stock room and a maintenance office were included in the new building.
Similar work was done to modernize the Wyoming Terminal location. In this photo, Twin Coach
trolley-buses can be seen parked at the new building.  However, during the late 1970's, this
building was demolished to make way for a larger, more modern vehicle maintenance facility.
[Scalzo collection photo, courtesy of Tom's Trolley Bus Pix—Detroit]
In 1952, the DSR conducted a public opinion poll, with the survey results revealing that 87% of
riders were in favor of the trolley-coaches, with 78% wishing that more were purchased.  Those
polled considered the electric buses to be smoother, cleaner, faster, roomier and quieter.  But in
the end, the DSR opted in favor of GM diesel buses.  In this photo, trolley-coach #9044 is on its
return trip back to Rouge Park while westbound on E. Warren Avenue, just west of Cadillac.
[photo courtesy of the Illinois Railway Museum, Ohio Brass Collection]
Beginning Sunday, March 11, 1956, the trolley-coach service hours on the Crosstown line were
reduced to eliminate higher operating costs during nights and weekends.  Trolley-coach service
now operated only during weekday daytime hours.  After only eleven years of service, Warren
Avenue trolley-coach service would come to an end on Friday, March 31, 1961.  After attempts
in 1961 to sell the Twin trolley-coaches to Seattle, WA failed, the fleet was eventually scrapped.
[photo courtesy of the S. Sycko 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