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 Post subject: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:40 pm
Posts: 125
Location: San Francisco, CA
I was reading the June 1957 issue of the (then) Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

It contained notes about the Cleveland Transit #0800. The Birney had been in operation as a rail grinder until purchased by the then new museum group for parts to restore the body of the Illinois terminal #170 Birney car.

Sadly most or all of the parts were taken by a local scrap dealer. Today the IT#170 is a body on a truck at the Illinois Railway Museum.

But I have not heard of any Birney cars in revenue service after June 1957.

Does anyone have a later date of operation for a Birney car?

Ted Miles, IRM Member


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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birney

it notes Australia having current cars running, some heritage systems running them, you may be thinking about the old real streetcar systems tho.


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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 5:52 pm
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Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota
Dinwitty is referring to the stable of single truck Birney cars operating on the Bendigo Tramways system. Bendigo Tramways is a municipal transit system that morphed into a tourist system. But it still carries regular local passengers so I would say that the "Bendigo Birneys" qualify as a regular transit vehicle operating up to the present. Bendigo Tramways also has quite a collection of trams from several cities in Australia & New Zealand in addition to the Birney cars.

I think that Kansas City had a couple of Birney cars that remained in operation into the mid-late 1950s.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:35 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Winters, TX
In going through Frank Hicks' Preserved North American Electric Railway Cars list, it looks like Illinois Terminal 170 was the last single truck birney in service. Johnstown Traction 311 was the last double truck birney in service lasting until 1960 when it went to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. Another North American contender is Montreal Tramways 200 which was converted into a workcar in 1945 and lasted in that service until 1963. It's at the Canadian Railway Museum.

While I had the list handy, I counted up the number of preserved birneys. Of the 80 preserved birneys, 52 are bodies or bodies on trucks. 23 are complete cars. One was preserved as a complete work car. And 4 are bodies that have been restored to operation. These are approximate numbers and are probably accurate to within one or two cars. It gets a bit confusing at times. For instance, Kansas City Public Service 1545 was preserved as a complete car but was stripped of parts and is now a body on truck.


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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:15 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:57 pm
Posts: 55
Would this qualify? Car #21 isn't in revenue service (although it does bring a modest revenue from its passengers) but is still operational. Car #25 is also owned by the FCMR but is undergoing restoration according to the website.
http://www.fortcollinstrolley.org/welcome.html


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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Charlie wrote:
In going through Frank Hicks' Preserved North American Electric Railway Cars list, it looks like Illinois Terminal 170 was the last single truck birney in service. Johnstown Traction 311 was the last double truck birney in service lasting until 1960 when it went to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. Another North American contender is Montreal Tramways 200 which was converted into a workcar in 1945 and lasted in that service until 1963. It's at the Canadian Railway Museum..


The 170 really wasn't in "service" when IRM acquired it. It had been de-trucked and turned into an office down in the IT's St. Louis subway terminal, complete with a wooden office door in place of the folding doors at one end. The 170 had bounced around to various IT-controlled local streetcar lines like Galesburg and Alton. The Great Depression killed off the last of the local Birney car lines operated by Illinois Power/IT.

The Kansas City or Ft. Collins cars were probably the last ones in regular passenger-carrying service in North America.

KCPS 1533 is at the Museum of Transportation and volunteers have started working to restore the car. 1545 went to the ill-fated Ohio Railway Museum where it was set on fire by vandals. It was later sold to the group in Ft. Smith, AR who used the trucks and other components to restore their Birney car.

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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 389
Location: Winters, TX
Another possibility on Frank's list is Dallas Railway & Terminal 123 whose body is with the North Texas Historic Transportation group. It is listed as being in service until 1954. I don't know much about it or the Dallas system.

Speaking of birneys, several years ago I briefly followed the progress of Andy Nold's efforts to manufacture trucks for birney bodies. Anyone know how that came out?


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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Suffolk, UK
Jim Vaitkunas wrote:
Dinwitty is referring to the stable of single truck Birney cars operating on the Bendigo Tramways system. Bendigo Tramways is a municipal transit system that morphed into a tourist system. But it still carries regular local passengers so I would say that the "Bendigo Birneys" qualify as a regular transit vehicle operating up to the present.


I don't think the Bendigo Birneys get used too much in "normal" service, as the bogie cars of various types were the sole ones in use when I went there a few years back. I was there on a special event day, and they had put a some on display in the main street as part of the event, but they weren't being used.
The system remains basically a "Tourist" service, despite a couple of attrempts to restart a regular "commuter/passenger" service in recent years.

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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:34 pm
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Location: Union, IL
Charlie wrote:
Another possibility on Frank's list is Dallas Railway & Terminal 123 whose body is with the North Texas Historic Transportation group. It is listed as being in service until 1954. I don't know much about it or the Dallas system.

DR&T 123 is another double-truck Birney, so it would fall under the same category as Johnstown 311. David is correct about IT 170, which lived out its last two decades in IT ownership as a grounded body (full history here). Elsner's book on KCPS states that the last revenue operation of Birneys in Kansas City was in 1949, suggesting that Fort Collins was indeed the last city to operate Birneys for revenue passengers, in 1951. As for non-revenue service like Cleveland 0800 in the original post, it may depend on how late Montreal 200 ran. If it ran until 1959 then it may win the prize, at least for North American Birneys.* But I'm not entirely sure.
Quote:
Speaking of birneys, several years ago I briefly followed the progress of Andy Nold's efforts to manufacture trucks for birney bodies. Anyone know how that came out?

I spoke with Andy at the ATRRM convention a year or so ago and as of that time the project was still alive, but on something of a temporary hiatus.

*One preserved American Birney ran in passenger service until 1952, but not in America: an ex-Boston car built in 1920 remained in service until that year in Curitiba, Brazil!

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 Post subject: Re: Last Birney car?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 5:45 pm
Posts: 248
There has been some discussion on making some Brill half ball hanger wear cups in the past couple of weeks, but I have been in Tokyo and haven't followed up since getting back. I sent a request to ATTRM parts newsletter to call for participants but I haven't seen it circulated yet. Otherwise, the next batch of parts to be produced would be along the lines of spring cups and springs, I think.

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