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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

07-04-17 PHOTOS: McKinney Ave Transit Authority

Look! It's a trolley museum, NO, its a transit line! Actually, it's a little of both. The self styled McKinney Avenue Transit Authority is a heritage trolley operating in Dallas along, you guessed it, McKinney Ave. It runs from the Arts district on St. Paul St to the West Village, which is a trendy area fully of shoppes, restaurants and residential buildings. The line has been expanded several times including a spur to the DART Cityplace station, for which DART can provide the trolley museum with a subsidy as a part of a "contract" to provide a connection to DART. Just this year the FTA provided funds to allow the McKinney Ave Trolley to expand into the arts district, possibly as far as the DART surface line. Just this year a bond issue for matching local funds was passed and construction is set to begin this fall.

The McKinney Ave trolley has grandfather status when it comes to the ADA and its status as a Museum, instead of a "real" transit system expects it from all sorts of other regulations so it can keep its operating costs low. All of the operators appear to be trolley foamer volunteers and I am sure that most of those keeping the cars in working order are as well. The rolling stock comes from a variety of systems including Melbourne, the Tandy Subway in Ft Worth as well as local Dallas traction companies.

I rode and photographed the line on two separate afternoons and was able to experience all of the cars in regular service. Typical service is done in a loop fashion with 3 cars in operation running on 20 minute headways. Cars must change ends at both the St Paul and Cityplace terminals. The three cars in regular service are the single trucked #122, the large 369 Melbourne car (which is also the one used for parties, the floor was redone so that it can be hosed out easily) and the hometown 636 car, which is interesting in that the operator sites in a passenger bench while operating the vehicle.

All in all the McKinney Ave Trolley is a quality operation providing a good experiences for both transit riders and railfans alike. Much like the CMSL, the McKinney Ave trolley shows one how much can can be done for amazingly small sums of money when you don't have to worry about paying your workforce or building your LIGHT Rail lines to freight railroad standards.

You can view all of my trolley pictures at:

If you don't wish to view them all, here are a select few.

Pole being change on #122 in the rail at the St Paul terminal.

Inside #122.

#369 ready to depart Cityplace.

#636 getting the old switcheroo at Cityplace.

The comfortable driving position on #636.

 Operating controls of #636.

 #186 at the Carbarn

Inside the cramped carbarn.

#186 and #636 at the Carbarn.

Running on McKinney Ave where the West village loop splits.

Inside #636

#369 passes the carbarn lead.

End of the line at Cityplace.  Change here for the DART light rail network.

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