|1200||Twin Coach||Model 40TT||40||1929||03/14/34|
|1201||ACF Motors||Model H11||38||1929||03/14/34|
|1222-1271||St. Louis Car||Job 1739||44||1947||1956-59**|
|1272-1331||St. Louis Car||Job 1753||44||1948||1962 (most)**|
|1342-1380||Marmon-Herrington||Model TC48||48||1949||1963-64**||10739-10776, 10778|
|1169-1212||St. Louis Car||Job 1770||48||1951-52||03/26/67 (most)**|
|TC Lines||Began||Ended||Usual equipment assigned|
|Southport Shuttle (SS)||12/02/1929||05/14/1934||1200-1201 (first)|
|Broadway (BY)||11/30/1930||12/13/1964||1202-1212 (first), replaced by 1213-1221 on 3/27/46|
|City Park (CP)||04/03/1949||12/13/1964||1332-1380|
|St. Claude (SCD)||11/06/1949||07/22/1962||1332-1380|
|Tulane (TU)||08/10/1952||12/27/1964||1169-1212 (second)|
NOPSI began to experiment with trolley coaches, or trackless trolleys, in 1929, when they took delivery of a sample coach from Twin Coach and another from ACF Motors. (The ACF coach was the only model H11 that company ever built.) These were used to convert the old Oak Street Shuttle, also called the Southport Shuttle, from streetcar to TC operation. After the 1929 carmen's strike, the Southport Shuttle streetcar line was not restarted, and a TC operation was begun in its place on December 2, 1929. Only one coach was required for the short line, so one of the two was used in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. This operation continued until May 14, 1934, when the line was absorbed into a new Leonidas motor bus line, which operates to this day. The two experimental coaches were retired with the line. (NOPSI records state that the two coaches were retired on March 14, 1934, but available records state that the Southport Shuttle line was terminated on May 14, 1934. It is possible that both of these dates are correct, as the later Cincinnati-built coaches are known to have worked this line. Whether one of these dates is in error, and if so which one, is unclear.)
The experimental line was sufficiently successful that NOPSI decided to create a TC line on Broadway. Service on that avenue had been provided in sections by the Magazine and Freret streetcar lines. The replacement TC service simply ran one line over the complete length of the street. The Cincinnati Car Co. coaches for this service were housed at Arabella Station, along with streetcars for most of the uptown lines, and TC wires were strung along Magazine Street from Arabella to the Broadway terminal on Magazine at the uptown edge of Audubon Park.
That was the extent of TC operations in New Orleans until the end of WW II, when NOPSI began a deliberate program of converting streetcar lines to TC or motor bus operation. In 1945, NOPSI took delivery of nine new ACF-Brill trolley coaches, which were intended to replace the Cincinnati coaches on the Broadway line. The last of the Cincinnatis were retired January 1, 1946, and motor coaches were used temporarily on Broadway as the street was repaved. The Brills took over the route on March 27, 1946.
From 1947 to 1949, 110 new TCs were purchased from St. Louis Car Co., and 70 from Marmon-Herrington. The St. Louis coaches took over from streetcars on several of the lines out of Arabella Station (Magazine, Jackson, and Freret). All rails were removed from Arabella, and both the carbarn and the yard on the river side of Constance Street were paved and organized for trolley coaches. (S. Claiborne and Napoleon streetcars, though evicted from Arabella, survived into the 1950s, but became motor bus lines in 1953.) In 1949, the Marmon-Herrington TCs even replaced motor buses on the City Park line, which had lost its streetcars in 1941, as well as the streetcars of the St. Claude line. These two operations were based at Canal Station. For the purpose, the yard at Canal Station on the downtown side of Iberville St. was paved and wired for TC storage. There was non-revenue TC wire on Broad Street to connect the City Park line to Canal Station.
In 1951, the New Basin Canal was filled in, ultimately providing right of way for the Ponchartrain Expressway and I-10. An underpass was constructed on Carrollton Avenue in place of the old bridge over the canal. This resulted in separation of the St. Charles and Tulane streetcar lines, with Tulane being converted to TCs. St. Louis Car Co. built 44 new coaches, which NOPSI chose to number below 1213 (the old 1200-1212 being long since retired), for use on the new Tulane TC line. Though ordered in 1951, only the first of these coaches was delivered that year, the rest arriving in 1952. Overhead wires were installed from Carrollton Station along Carrollton Avenue to the terminal of the new TC line on S. Carrollton at S. Claiborne to house the line at Carrollton Station. (Owl service on the Tulane line used the pull-out and pull-in wires as an extension of the route.) The most easterly three tracks at Carrollton were converted to TC lanes, with the track flanges filled in. The TC overhead wires on Willow and Jeanette Streets were separate from the streetcar overhead wires.
Curiously enough, the three TC stations (Arabella, Canal, and Carrollton) were each a separate system. No trolley coach wires connected between them.
The Freret TC line and the St. Charles streetcar line shared overhead wire on Carondelet and St. Charles Streets between Howard Avenue and Canal Street. Over most of the system, the left-hand TC wire was the positive side of the circuit, but there were insulators at Howard that reversed the usual polarity, so that the streetcar used the right-hand TC wire.
During the 1950s, the Brills and the 44-seat St. Louis coaches were usually assigned to Arabella Station, and thus to the Broadway, Magazine, Freret, and Jackson lines. The Marmon-Herrington coaches of both sizes were usually at Canal Station, providing City Park and St. Claude service. The 1951-52 48-seat St. Louis coaches were usually found on Tulane, housed at Carrollton Station.
Trolley coach ridership was initially very high. For example, the Magazine line early was assigned 60 coaches. But in the mid-1950s, it began to decline. The Brills were the first TCs retired in this era, in 1956. Some of the 1947 and 1948 St. Louis coaches were next, being retired in the later 1950s.
In October 1960, NOPSI took delivery of its first air conditioned GMC New Look diesel buses. Air conditioning proved to be immediately popular in the hot, humid climate of New Orleans, and made replacement of the non-air conditioned trolley coaches very attractive to NOPSI. However, American-made trolley coaches were not readily available at this time, though later, some cities were able to obtain them in the bus building market.
Thus, trolley coach operations were wound down and terminated in the 1960s. First to be converted was the St. Claude TC line, with last day July 22, 1962. Its Marmon-Herrington coaches were then assigned to Arabella Station to replace the last of the 1947-48 St. Louis coaches, which were retired. The last day for the Freret TC line was June 9, 1963. The next-to-last TC survivor was the Jackson line, ending on March 19, 1967. The last TC ran on March 26, 1967 on the Magazine line. All of the TC routes were converted to motor buses.
Here is a NOPSI map showing all of the New Orleans trolley coach lines (except for the experimental Southport Shuttle line), highlighted in yellow. This map was issued shortly after conversion of the St. Claude line into a motor bus line, but the former TC line followed the exact same route. (Adobe Reader is required to view the map. Download Adobe Reader here.)
As lines and stations were converted, the 44-seat coaches were retired, and the 48-seat coaches, both Marmon and St. Louis, were moved around the system. A photo is known as early as 1959 showing 48-seat St. Louis coaches at Canal Station, signed for the St. Claude line. By 1964, we find the big St. Looies spread around among all three stations, and the big Marmons serving the surviving lines at both Canal Station (City Park) and Arabella (Broadway, Magazine, and Jackson). City Park, Broadway, and Tulane were converted at the end of 1964, and the last Marmons were retired, leaving only the 48-seat St. Louis coaches for the last surviving Jackson and Magazine lines. After their conversion in March 1967, Mexico City acquired 33 of the St. Louis coaches for service there: coaches 1175-1179, 1181-1187, 1189-1196, 1198-1206, 1208, 1209, 1211, and 1212 became Mexico City 3800-3832, renumbered in order. Unverifiable rumors have it that some TCs went to Thailand or to Taiwan, but it seems most likely that all the rest of the TCs were scrapped.
In addition to New Orleans, St. Louis built TCs of the same model for Detroit, Johnstown, and San Francisco. (The San Francisco coaches were the last TCs built by St. Louis Car Co.) Eventually, six of the Johnstown coaches also went to Mexico City, and served as their numbers 3850-3855. Some of the San Francisco coaches were also sent to Mexico City, but they were used only for parts to keep the former New Orleans and Johnstown coaches in operation. All of the St. Louis-built coaches were retired in the late 1980s when they were replaced by new Mexican-built TCs.
|1203 I||SS||1259||FT 12/22/59|
|1204 I||BY||1269||JA 7/29/54|
|1209 I||8/29/42||1273||FT 12/22/57|
|1211 I||BY||1278||BY 7/21/54|
|1170||CP 3/31/64, ARA 11/28/64||1298||FT|
|1173||MG 11/28/64||1304||JA 1961|
|1175||MG 7/65||1305||FT 7/29/54|
|1178||CP 11/29/64||1320||FT 6/1960|
|1190||TU 11/29/64||1350||FT 6/9/63 (last day)|
|1191||JA 1965, MG 7/1965||1352||MG 11/28/64|
|1195||TU||1353||MG 11/28/64, BY 11/28/64|
|1196||TU 11/29/64||1357||MG 11/28/64|
|1200 II||TU 11/29/64||1358||BY 11/26/64|
|1201 II||TU 11/29/64||1359||MG 11/28/64|
|1202 II||TU 11/28/64, 11/29/64||1362||MG 11/28/64|
|1204 II||JA||1364||JA 11/28/64|
|1205 II||TU||1365||ARA 11/28/64|
|1206 II||TU 9/1962||1367||BY 11/26/64|
|1207 II||TU 11/28/64, 11/29/64||1368||JA 11/28/64|
|1208 II||JA||1369||MG 11/28/64|
|1209 II||TU 3/31/64||1371||SCD 1960|
|1210 II||TU||1373||MG 11/28/64|
|1212 II||TU 11/29/64||1374||MG 11/28/64|
|1216||ARA 1949 (old livery), 1950s (new)||1376||FT 1960s|
|1219||BY c. 4/1947 (old livery)||1378||ARA 11/1964|
|1223||CP 1952||1379||CP at Canal Station, MG 11/1962, JA 11/28/64|
|1252||MG 1950s||1380||FT 11/1962, MG early 1960s|
Twin Coach demonstrator 1200, above in front of Carrollton Station signed as run no. 1 Southport, and at left on Carrollton Avenue between Willow and Oak Streets. The visor above the windshield extends the full width of the front of the coach. Stephen Scalzo collection
|The ACF (not Brill) demonstrator, coach 1201. The coach number is displayed on the glass panels on both sides of the operator's seat, similar to the number panels used at that time on the streetcars, except that the streetcar numbers were on frosted glass. George Friedman collection|
|The ACF coach boards a passenger somewhere along the Southport route. The visor over the windshield is not as wide as the one on Twin Coach demonstrator 1200, above. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|The Cincinnati coaches saw some service on the Southport Shuttle, as evidenced here by 1203 on Oak Street. George Friedman collection|
|Here are Cincinnati coaches 1204 and 1211 on Broadway. Note the number 5 on the route sign of coach 1204. This is not the route number, as it would be in most cities, but the run number. NOPSI did not number its routes. The neutral ground on Broadway is very narrow. In streetcar days, there was no neutral ground at all; the street was paved curb-to-curb, with the double track streetcar line in the middle of the paved street. George Friedman collection|
|The ACF-Brill coaches were delivered in a livery that was much lighter above the belt rail than that used on the demonstrators and the Cincinnati coaches. Brill 1216 is peeking out of the door of Arabella Station carbarn about 1949 prior to pulling out to its left into Magazine Street for the trip to Audubon Park and service on the Broadway line. George Friedman collection|
|The same coach, Brill 1216, is showing off the revised livery which was used on all following TC orders. This was taken at Arabella Station in the 1950s. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Coach 1223 is from the first (1947) batch of St. Louis Car Co. TCs. We see it here in 1952 on Canal Street loading passengers to begin an outbound run on the City Park line. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Another coach from the first St. Louis order, TC 1252 is on the Magazine line, a more typical assignment for these coaches. The silver roof has given way to plain cream, and the point on the front panel is somewhat smaller, but the livery is basically unchanged. There is a concrete pad at the bus stop, which New Orleans typically installed to bear the wear and tear of frequent stops better than asphalt. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Coach 1278, from the second (1948) batch of St. Louis TCs, is riverbound on Broadway at Freret, July 21, 1954. This is the end point of the Freret line, which ran around the block and turned here back into Freret Street to begin its inbound runs. The switch and curve in the overhead wire can be seen in this view. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|These two July 29, 1954 pictures of St. Louis coaches on the Freret line illustrate also the connections between the TC and streetcar trolley wires. The upper picture shows coach 1307, run no. 1, turning from Carondelet Street into Canal Street, and the lower picture shows 1305, run no. 3, turning from Canal into St. Charles Street. In both pictures, the single streetcar trolley wire can be seen connected to the right-hand TC wire. At Canal & Carondelet, there was a single contactor astride the left-hand trolley wire, arranged so that when the left hand TC trolley shoe contacted it, a switch in the right-hand wire would be activated to send the right-hand trolley shoe in the correct direction. (There was a similar switch in the overhead wires at St. Charles Street and Lee Circle.) Stephen Scalzo collection|
|St. Louis coach 1324 is run number 1, outbound on the Freret line on St. Charles Street in front of Gallier Hall, the old City Hall. George Friedman collection|
|Marmon-Herrington 44-seat TC 1334 is seen here assigned to Broadway at the turnaround shared with the Magazine line at the upriver edge of Audubon Park. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Have a few Marmon-Herrington TCs! Coach 1338 in the front center of this view of the TC yard at Canal Station is one of the 44-seat coaches (6 windows between the doors), and other Marmons of both sizes are lined up in the yard. (The 48-seat Marmons have 7 windows between the doors.) Iberville Street is in the foreground. These coaches are assigned to the City Park and St. Claude lines. Bill Volkmer photo, George Friedman collection|
|Marmon-Herrington 48-seat coach 1371 is leaving the bridge over the Industrial Canal on St. Claude Avenue. The big Marmon sports a silver roof. There is no sun visor above its windshield. George Friedman collection|
|Here are big Marmons 1373 (above) and 1351 (below) on the St. Claude line. Coach 1373 has a silver roof, while the roof of 1351 is cream. Both pictures date from October 1958. Both coaches have had sun visors added over their windshields. Sun visors were added to the Marmons and the 48-seat St. Louis coaches in the late 1950s and early 1960s to try to reduce the heat from the sun. Illinois Railway Museum, Strahorn Library, Ohio Brass collection|
|Big Marmon 1350 is run no. 4 working the Freret line on its last day, June 9, 1963. Freret was the second TC line to be converted to motor bus, after St. Claude. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Marmon 1352 is serving the Magazine line, passing Arabella Station downbound (inbound) on its way from Audubon Park to Canal Street on November 28, 1964. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Coach 1374 at the Canal Street end of the Magazine line on March 31, 1964. The Marmon coach is turning from Camp into Canal. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Marmon-Herrington 48-seat TC 1346 is on the Jackson line, riverbound on Jackson Avenue, having just crossed the streetcar line on St. Charles Avenue, March 31, 1964. Jackson Avenue is another example of a street that once had a neutral ground wide enough for a double-track streetcar line, but which was greatly reduced in width when the streetcars were taken off. However, the double track crossing at Jackson & St. Charles remained in place for many years, until the eventual retracking of the St. Charles line, with the St. Charles streetcars banging across the crossing at every passage. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|This Jackson coach 1368 is on Dryades Street approaching Howard Avenue, with the ramps leading to the Mississippi River Bridge in the background. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Coach 1353 is Broadway run no. 1 on Pine Street at the north end of the Broadway line, taking a layover at the terminal point, November 28, 1964. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Broadway coach 1367, run no. 2, is just crossing the St. Charles streetcar line on its way to Magazine Street, November 26, 1964. The big Marmons seem oversized for the needs of the small Broadway line, but at this point, only the big 48-seat coaches remain active in the system. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|The Broadway and Magazine lines shared a loop at the upriver (western) edge of Audubon Park. In this November 28, 1964 photo, we see Broadway coach 1353 taking its layover, and just a glimpse of a Magazine coach as it pulls out into Magazine Street. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|This is a St. Louis Car Co. builder's photo of one of the 48-seat coaches that company delivered to NOPSI in 1952. There is no sun visor over the windshield. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, NOPSI added sun visors, which can be seen in the following photos. The cream triangle on the nose of the coaches in this order is somewhat smaller than on the older coaches. In operation, this coach probably never ran on the Freret line. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|The big 48-seat St. Louis coaches were originally purchased to operate the Tulane TC line. One reason for converting Tulane from streetcars to trolley coaches was the need for this underpass at the site of the old New Basin Canal where it crossed S. Carrollton Avenue. In this November 29, 1964 view of St. Louis coach 1196, we see in the background the expressway which was built on the old canal right-of-way. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|Another November 29, 1964 view of Tulane coach 1196, as it turns from S. Carrollton Avenue into Tulane Avenue for its run to Canal Street. In the right background we see the overpass taking traffic across the railroad lines, and connecting Tulane Avenue traffic with Airline Highway. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|The highest numbered St. Louis 48-seat coach, 1212, is working as Tulane run no. 4 on Tulane Avenue near Jefferson Davis Parkway, November 29, 1964. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|St. Louis coach 1202 is on Canal Street at Elk Place, near the terminal of the Tulane line, November 29, 1964. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|As TC ridership declined, the big St. Louis coaches were eventually assigned all over the city. Here is coach 1171 and some of its sisters at Canal Station, assigned to the St. Claude line, December 22, 1959. Bill Volkmer photograph|
|Coach 1177 is seen here on the City Park line, working out of Canal Station, on November 29, 1964. In the upper picture, it is on Dumaine Street just about to cross N. Rampart Street to enter the French Quarter. In the second view, the coach is on Orleans Avenue at Moss. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|St. Louis coaches 1178 and 1187 and friends awaiting the call to City Park service in the yard at Canal Station, November 29, 1964. They are sharing parking space with some of the air conditioned diesel buses that are replacing them. Stephen Scalzo photo, George Friedman collection|
|It is now July, 1965, and only the Jackson and Magazine lines remain in TC service. The big St. Louis coaches are the only TCs remaining in New Orleans. Here are 1175 and 1191 passing on the Jackson line as they cross St. Charles Avenue. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|St. Louis coach 1191 is showing off the much advertised ability of a TC to swerve around obstacles in the road, unlike the streetcars they replaced. Unfortunately, the date is 1965, and the TCs are themselves shortly to be replaced by motor buses. Jackson is the next-to-last TC line in New Orleans. Coach 1191 is destined for a second career in Mexico City. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|The St. Louis coaches were initially put into service in Mexico City with minimal changes, such as new cream and green paint. Only the front leaf of the doors was used in Mexico City. Coach 3821, formerly New Orleans 1199, is signed Ciudad de los Deportes, and is southbound on San Juan de Letran at Hidalgo, crossing streetcar tracks. In the lower picture, coach 3802, ex New Orleans 1177, is signed Politecnio, northbound on San Juan de Letran at Les Nera. Both pictures were taken July 15, 1968. Stephen Scalzo collection|
|In the early 1970s, the ex-New Orleans coaches in Mexico City were extensively rebuilt and were repainted in this red scheme with cream and silver trim. The doors were changed, with the unused rear leaf replaced by a solid panel having one more window. Body panels were replaced with new metal, and new battery boxes were installed. External rear view mirrors and turn signals were added. The front ends were repaired, and one of the front air vents was removed. The interior floors were given new rubber, new plastic seats were installed, and the interior as well as the exterior was repainted. The coaches were operated in this form until replaced by Mexican-built coaches in the late 1980s. Here we see coach 3809 (ex-New Orleans 1185) signed Unidad V. Guerrero southbound on Plutario at Republica, November 25, 1972; coach 3816 (ex 1193) signed Ciudad Deportiva eastbound on Xola at Universidad, November 23, 1972; and coach 3831 (ex 1211) signed Universidad y Taxquena, July 1, 1972. Stephen Scalzo collection (first two pictures), George Friedman collection (third picture)|
Text and picture captions copyright © 2010, 2018 Louis C. Hennick and H. George Friedman, Jr. Pictures copyright © 2010, 2018 by the persons credited. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Stephen Scalzo for much of the information and many of the photographs on this page, as well as the yellow-highlighted map of the TC lines. His help is most gratefully acknowledged. Many of the photographs were downloaded from the Scalzo Collection at Tom's North American Trolley Bus Pictures, www.trolleybuses.net, which web site is greatly appreciated and gratefully acknowledged.
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