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Dallas - April 2001

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Dallas — McKinney Extends, Buys Buses

Rail Transit Online, April 2001

The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) expects to open an extension to the CityPlace DART light rail station by early 2002, when it could also be operating a fleet of eight vintage buses.  Up until now, MATA has operated four restored historic trolleys along McKinney Avenue in the city’s Uptown district, which has been undergoing rejuvenation into a fashionable shopping and restaurant area.  In addition to the CityPlace expansion, there are plans to extend the line on the other end to the West End LRT station, making MATA a key transit link for the area with regular service on 10-minute headways.  “It’s becoming more than a tourist attraction, it’s an alternate means of transportation,” City Council member Veletta Forsythe Lill, who represents Uptown, told the Dallas Morning News.   The CityPlace terminal will feature a turntable to reverse single-ended cars.  It was created from a surplus Southern Pacific railroad bridge that once crossed the old Texas Electric Railway interurban line.  MATA is also looking for sponsors willing to invest $150,000 each for the restoration of three more Dallas antique cars, two of which are 88 and 89 years old.

The buses, however, are a new wrinkle for MATA, the idea coming from Authority volunteer Tim Logan.  He found the 1950s-era GMC 31-passenger “Old Look” coaches in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where they spent their last days of revenue service.  They reportedly had once serviced southern cities where Duke Power Co. ran the transit systems, a vestige of the days when electric utilities operated streetcars.  The coaches, which were in dead storage since 1976, were purchased with the financial help of the Central Dallas Assn.  They are now in Dallas, and MATA plans to restore them, convert their fuel systems from gasoline to propane and paint each in a different color scheme representing long-defunct private operators.  MATA intends to use the old buses for a shuttle from the West End LRT station to the trolley's southern end, at least until the rail extension is completed.  Other uses could include downtown circulators, as charters to connect downtown hotels with Uptown and to augment the trolley route. 


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