Friday, April 5, 2013

Dallas Railway & Terminal Birney 661

Last year while searching for a house I came across the body of an old streetcar.  My wife and I were being shown this house and I happened to look out one of the windows and noticed this old streetcar body laying in the yard of the house next door.  It looked as if it had been used as a storage shed or something like that.  The windows were covered up with tin but the contours and outline of the body were obvious to me as those of a Birney single truck safety car.  Being a streetcar fan and model builder of the same I know what a Birney is and looks like.  I was very excited.  We did not end up buying that house as It was not what we were looking for but the streetcar weighed heavy on my mind. All last year I thought about it and wished that it could be preserved.  But I was very busy with repairs to the new house that we bought and also getting established in a new job so I did not have much time left over.  But I contacted a few of the other local DFW area traction fans and showed some photos of the car.  Author and streetcar/interurban historian Johnnie J. Meyers went over to Seagoville and checked out the car and talked to the owner.  He was able to inspect the car and found that it was in fact car number 661.  This was the last of a series of Birney single truckers that Dallas Railway Company later (DR&T) bought from the J.G. Brill Company of Philadelphia PA in 1920.      This car originally was equipped with the Brill type 79E1 truck.  This was the last car of a 50 car order.

I am now a member of the Texas Traction Company.  This is a electric traction historical preservation organization focusing on the preservation of electric traction history in north Texas. Our organization has been offered this car 661 to be preserved.  Hopefully it will be and future generations of north Texans will be able to learn about and enjoy this transportation artifact.

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