Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas
Built 1948 • Out of Service • Tribute livery
This car is painted in tribute to Kansas City, which ran PCC streetcars from 1941 to 1957. Kansas City’s PCCs - 184 in all - were painted to emphasize their modern lines, with a black ‘swoosh’ on the sides to highlight the logo of Kansas City Public Service Company (KCPS), which featured Frederic Remington’s famed sculpture “The Scout” on a red heart.
KCPS initially planned for a PCC fleet of 371 cars, but only 24 had been delivered by America’s entry into World War II. As in other cities, war production priorities deferred dreams of all-PCC service in Kansas City.
After the war, KCPS took delivery of 160 more PCCs, though they almost cancelled some of those because of shaky finances.
Kansas City is actually two municipalities split by the Missouri-Kansas border. KCPS streetcars served both, but rapidly lost ridership as people moved to the suburbs, beyond the ends of the lines. Kansas City’s 25 streetcar lines dwindled to three, which finally ceased service in 1957. One of the three was the famous 56-Country Club—known as the ‘Club Line’—which wound south from downtown on an old steam railroad right-of-way, sharing its tracks with electric freight trains.
Kansas City streetcar no. 1056 at Fisherman’s Wharf. Bill Storage photo.
Many of Kansas City’s PCCs were scrapped after unsuccessful attempts to find buyers. (Muni was approached to buy the last 41 PCCs in 1957, but declined, lacking the funding.) But some Kansas City PCCs were sold to other cities, including Toronto. Eleven of these ended up at Muni after all, coming third-hand in 1970 to help carry streetcar passengers on the J, K, L, M, and N lines on detours that were required to build the Market Street subway. These ex-Kansas City PCCs ran in San Francisco between 1973 and 1979, as Nos. 1180 to 1190, before being retired. Most were subsequently scrapped.
One ex-Kansas City streetcar that ran in San Francisco was sold to the Western Railway Museum in Solano County. It was later returned to Kansas City and is now on display at Union Station, signed for the 56-Country Club line, of course.
Of the 14 streetcars acquired by Muni from Philadelphia for initial F-line service, No. 1056 probably has the lowest mileage. That’s because it was out of service for six years, from 2001 to 2007, following a major accident. It went down again in 2011 when cracks were discovered in a key part under the car.