Painting Torpedoes (Part 1: Dallas, Texas)
September 12, 2009
In their original service lives, from 1948 to around 1980, Muni’s biggest PCC streetcars were called “torpedoes,” because of their shape. Now, restoration is about to begin on four more of these double-end cars, which will retain their original Muni numbers of 1006, 1008, 1009, and 1011. Three other cars of this class, Nos. 1007, 1010, and 1015, are already in service on the F-line.
Muni Car No. 1006 in 1951 at Chestnut and Fillmore, in its original green and cream “Wings” livery, during a fantrip on the old F-Stockton line. Fred Mathews Photo.
As a celebration of this most successful streetcar type in American history, Muni has painted its PCCs in the paint schemes, or “liveries,” of cities that once ran PCCs. But double-end PCCs were rare. The only systems that ran them were Muni, Philadelphia’s Red Arrow Line, Illinois Terminal Railroad serving suburban St. Louis, Southern California’s Pacific Electric (which ran double-end cars with front and center doors, much different looking than Muni’s), Dallas, and Boston (which bought Dallas’ cars second-hand).
Muni has already honored its first group of double-end modern streetcars, acquired in 1939, with the blue and gold livery on No. 1010. (One of those 1939-vintage streetcars, with different controls than PCCs, survives at the Western Railway Museum in Solano County.)
Muni has already decided that the first double-end true PCC delivered to it in 1948, No. 1006, will be restored to its original green and cream “Wings” paint scheme (shown above). That leaves three “torpedoes” for which liveries have not yet been finalized. We want to emphasize that the final decision on these belongs to Muni, which of course owns the streetcars, and could decide to paint all four torpedoes in its “Wings” scheme or in some other Muni livery.
But Muni has stuck to the multi-livery approach so far, and has asked Market Street Railway as its non-profit preservation partner for our thoughts on liveries for the torpedoes. We, in turn, want to open it up to get our blog readers’ feedback as well.
We want to do this in a series of posts, taking one livery possibility at a time, starting with Dallas.
The Texas town ran PCCs from 1945 to 1956. Dallas Railway & Terminal Company’s 25 double-enders were built by Pullman-Standard and had narrower rear doors and a narrower body than Muni’s torpedoes, built by St. Louis Car Company. Of historical interest, when Dallas retired its PCCs, they tried to sell them to other streetcar operators, with New Orleans Public Service apparently giving them serious consideration for its Canal and St. Charles lines, but ultimately rejecting them because the narrow rear doors would be a hindrance for passengers, who then boarded at the rear in New Orleans.
Original 1945 Dallas Railway & Terminal Company livery, predominantly red.
Dallas’ PCCs arrived from the factory in a predominantly red livery with cream and silver trim. As that city’s first (and last) modern streetcars, they were dubbed “gliding beauties.” According to the book PCC Coast to Coast, Dallas Railway & Terminal picked the colors but didn’t tell the builder how to apply them, so Pullman-Standar used the diagrams for its earlier Pacific Electric PCCs as a guide.
Second Dallas livery, predominantly cream.
So the question in this post: should one of the restored torpedoes be repainted in a Dallas livery, and if so, which do you prefer - red or cream - and why?
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