Picture 16-9.

This undated photo was taken in the car storage yard at Canal Station.  Car 906 in the foreground illustrates several obsolete signs.  The route sign Canal is itself unusual.  In the period before the end of the West End line in 1950, the route sign Cemeteries was usually displayed for what was later called the Canal line.  The Canal route sign was used for the Canal Belt line, paired with the Esplanade Belt, until Esplanade went to buses in 1934.  In the destination sign window, we read “2 Car Train”.  This was last used in the early 1930s, when specially equipped “Palace” cars pulled trailers during rush hour service.  Perley Thomas cars such as 906 never pulled trailers, nor were they equipped for multiple-unit operation (operation of two coupled motor cars from a single set of controls).

In the window below that sign, we see paper signs that appear to have been intended for use on buses.  The upper one says “To Gentilly Rd Only”, and was apparently intended for short-turn runs on the Gentilly (later Franklin) line, which replaced the Gentilly streetcar line in 1948, or on the Frenchmen (later Elysian Fields) bus line.  The lower sign, “Barracks”, was probably used as a temporary route sign for the Barracks bus line which was created in 1949 when the St. Claude streetcar line ceased to operate in the area east of the Industrial Canal and riverward of St. Claude Avenue.

In the background of the photo, we see cars 897 and 884 signed Tulane, with Car House destination signs.  There are at least two possible explanations for their presence at Canal Station.  It is known that during the late 1940s, some tripper runs on the Tulane/St. Charles Belt line were dispatched from Canal Station rather than Carrollton Station, perhaps because there was not enough capacity at Carrollton to house all the necessary cars for the Belt line.  The other possibility is that the photo was taken after termination of streetcar service on Tulane in 1951, and that these cars are awaiting transfer to Napoleon Yard for scrapping as surplus.

Even the run number sign seems to have been tinkered with.  A run number as high as 70 seems quite unlikely.  The numeral 7 seems very bright, as if it has never been used before.

These considerations date the photo to no earlier than 1949.

My thanks to Morris Hill for part of this analysis.


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