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Re: Is this Bus Bunching or Not?

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  • David
    What a nostalgic picture! Even though I wa one year old when this picture was taken, I remember riding on those White and Twin Coach busses as a child in the
    Message 1 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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      What a nostalgic picture! Even though I wa one year old when this picture was taken, I remember riding on those White and Twin Coach busses as a child in the '50s. I still remember passing the old Northwestern High School on the Grand River bus - the trackless trolley on the way home from a fun and exciting day downtown with my grandmother and aunt.

      How many of you remember Cunningham's Drug Stores? They were the biggest drugstore chain in Detroit in the '50s. I instantly recognized their sign on the building, just above the first Twin Coach in the picture.

      Thanks again for such great pictures.

      Dave Scott
      Johnstown, PA
    • Fred
      Yes, I remember Cunninghams and the Grand River trackless trolleys. I only remember White and Twin coaches on other routes (Greenfield and Plymouth). What was
      Message 2 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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        Yes, I remember Cunninghams and the Grand River trackless trolleys. I only remember White and Twin coaches on other routes (Greenfield and Plymouth). What was interesting was when GM coaches were running on Grand River, at night, when an electric bus would accelerate, the interior lights would dim. When a GM would accelerate, the interior lights would get brighter.

        Then there was a morning at Plymouth Rd. and Grand River where several trackless trolleys were "bunched". Now, remember that the wires were over the first driving lane so the busses could reach the curb lane and the second lane. An additional bus came along in the first lane (poles directly under the wires) and figured that the stopped busses would pick up anyone waiting there, so he could "leapfrog" to the next stop. About a minute later, he was at the next stop and the other drivers were all behind their busses grabbing ropes.

        I saw one in San Francisco with a derailed pole where the rope actually got wrapped around the tie down hook somehow.

        Fred S.


        --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "David" <davescottjst@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > What a nostalgic picture! Even though I wa one year old when this picture was taken, I remember riding on those White and Twin Coach busses as a child in the '50s. I still remember passing the old Northwestern High School on the Grand River bus - the trackless trolley on the way home from a fun and exciting day downtown with my grandmother and aunt.
        >
        > How many of you remember Cunningham's Drug Stores? They were the biggest drugstore chain in Detroit in the '50s. I instantly recognized their sign on the building, just above the first Twin Coach in the picture.
        >
        > Thanks again for such great pictures.
        >
        > Dave Scott
        > Johnstown, PA
        >
      • David
        Hi Fred, ... How were the trolley busses that were behind the first bus at Grand River and Plymouth able to leapfrog ahead of the first bus? Did the driver of
        Message 3 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
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          Hi Fred,

          > Then there was a morning at Plymouth Rd. and Grand River where several trackless trolleys were "bunched". Now, remember that the wires were over the first driving lane so the busses could reach the curb lane and the second lane. An additional bus came along in the first lane (poles directly under the wires) and figured that the stopped busses would pick up anyone waiting there, so he could "leapfrog" to the next stop. About a minute later, he was at the next stop and the other drivers were all behind their busses grabbing ropes.

          How were the trolley busses that were behind the first bus at Grand River and Plymouth able to leapfrog ahead of the first bus? Did the driver of the first bus lower his poles and let a couple of the bunched up busses go ahead to pick up accumulated passengers who would be waiting further down the line?

          > I saw one in San Francisco with a derailed pole where the rope actually got wrapped around the tie down hook somehow.

          When I lived in San Francisco from 1975 to 1991 I rode all of the different types of busses that MUNI had. I was really surprised to see that they had trackless trolleys. I remember riding the same type of St. Louis Car Company busses that Detroit had on Grand River. And, I even had my only ride on an Twin Coach trackless trolley, just before San Francisco got rid of them. Somehow, I never got to ride on the Twin Coach trackless trolley busses that ran on Warren in Detroit.

          Talk about bunching: San Francisco was famous for it. Especially on the Van Ness and Mission lines. I don't think MUNI drivers ever thought of lowering the poles on a lead trolley bus in a bunch so that the following ones could pass.

          Dave Scott
        • H.B.Craig-II
          Hi Dave, I m glad you liked the photo.   I too remember the Cunningham s Drug Store chain, which would continue on as a major drug store here through the 60s
          Message 4 of 15 , Nov 1, 2010
          Hi Dave, I'm glad you liked the photo.
           
          I too remember the Cunningham's Drug Store chain, which would continue on as a major drug store here through the '60s and '70s. According to Wikipedia, the Cunningham stores became Apex Drugs in 1982, they were later sold to Perry Drugs which was bought out by Rite Aid in 1995.
           
          The Cunningham's in that photo was one of a series of storefront businesses facing Grand River that stretched the entire block from W. Grand Blvd to Lothrop, including a S.S. Kresge that was located about mid-block and a National Bank of Detroit branch at the corner of Lothrop. There was also a Charles Furniture Store adjacent to Cunningham's along the Blvd side to Dexter.
           
          I've included another photo of that same intersection from a different angle, this time from the W. Grand Blvd side while looking north along Grand River during the 1950s. Note the electric trolley-coach overhead wiring has now been added....dating the photo after 1951, when electric buses were added to Grand River. Sadly, most of the businesses along that block, including S.S. Kresge and Charles Furniture, were completely gutted by fire during the 1967 riots. Today, only one building in that block of storefronts remains.



          From: David <davescottjst@...>
          To: DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Mon, November 1, 2010 11:02:30 AM
          Subject: [DSR-2-DOT] Re: Is this Bus Bunching or Not?

           



          What a nostalgic picture! Even though I wa one year old when this picture was taken, I remember riding on those White and Twin Coach busses as a child in the '50s. I still remember passing the old Northwestern High School on the Grand River bus - the trackless trolley on the way home from a fun and exciting day downtown with my grandmother and aunt.

          How many of you remember Cunningham's Drug Stores? They were the biggest drugstore chain in Detroit in the '50s. I instantly recognized their sign on the building, just above the first Twin Coach in the picture.

          Thanks again for such great pictures.

          Dave Scott
          Johnstown, PA

        • Fred
          ... No. The last bus, apparently by being directly under the wires, cleaned them off as he managed to go by without derailing himself. Fred S.
          Message 5 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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            >>>> How were the trolley busses that were behind the first bus at Grand River and Plymouth able to leapfrog ahead of the first bus? Did the driver of the first bus lower his poles and let a couple of the bunched up busses go ahead

            No. The last bus, apparently by being directly under the wires, "cleaned them off" as he managed to go by without derailing himself.

            Fred S.


            --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "David" <davescottjst@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > Hi Fred,
            >
            > > Then there was a morning at Plymouth Rd. and Grand River where several trackless trolleys were "bunched". Now, remember that the wires were over the first driving lane so the busses could reach the curb lane and the second lane. An additional bus came along in the first lane (poles directly under the wires) and figured that the stopped busses would pick up anyone waiting there, so he could "leapfrog" to the next stop. About a minute later, he was at the next stop and the other drivers were all behind their busses grabbing ropes.
            >
            > How were the trolley busses that were behind the first bus at Grand River and Plymouth able to leapfrog ahead of the first bus? Did the driver of the first bus lower his poles and let a couple of the bunched up busses go ahead to pick up accumulated passengers who would be waiting further down the line?
            >
            > > I saw one in San Francisco with a derailed pole where the rope actually got wrapped around the tie down hook somehow.
            >
            > When I lived in San Francisco from 1975 to 1991 I rode all of the different types of busses that MUNI had. I was really surprised to see that they had trackless trolleys. I remember riding the same type of St. Louis Car Company busses that Detroit had on Grand River. And, I even had my only ride on an Twin Coach trackless trolley, just before San Francisco got rid of them. Somehow, I never got to ride on the Twin Coach trackless trolley busses that ran on Warren in Detroit.
            >
            > Talk about bunching: San Francisco was famous for it. Especially on the Van Ness and Mission lines. I don't think MUNI drivers ever thought of lowering the poles on a lead trolley bus in a bunch so that the following ones could pass.
            >
            > Dave Scott
            >
          • fairedhairedgirl@aol.com
            there were still trolley tracks on Woodward in 1974 when Cynthia boozer worked Woodward in 1974 badge 10922
            Message 6 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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              there were still trolley tracks on Woodward in 1974 when Cynthia boozer worked Woodward in 1974 badge 10922
            • David
              ... Hi Fred, ... I d have liked to have seen that maneuver. It s hard for me to visualize. It sounds like the driver of that last bus went past all the other
              Message 7 of 15 , Nov 3, 2010
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                --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <fgstcf@...> wrote:
                Hi Fred,

                > No. The last bus, apparently by being directly under the wires, "cleaned them off" as he managed to go by without derailing himself.
                >
                I'd have liked to have seen that maneuver. It's hard for me to visualize. It sounds like the driver of that last bus went past all the other busses, knocking their poles down.

                Regards,

                Dave Scott
              • rtm330@gmail.com
                You know, the rear bus cleaning them off sounds a lot like something that would be very hard to do successfully. First -- the stationary buses will have
                Message 8 of 15 , Nov 4, 2010
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                  You know, the rear bus "cleaning them off" sounds a lot like something that would be very hard to do successfully.

                  First -- the stationary buses will have stationary poles and shoes on the wire, under compression (that is, pushing up on the wire).  The trailing bus will come along ... at speed ... and hit the stationary poles and knock their shoes off?  The physics don't work that way -- the trailing bus's poles will for sure be knocked off the wires, and probably the stationary buses'.  And with not just one bus, but a whole line?  That would be pretty hard to do.

                  Second -- all the drivers would be out of Coolidge Terminal, if this was on Grand River.  I'll let those of you who sit in the seat in real life mull this question -- what would your reaction be to a following driver, who by his actions, made three of you get out of the bus and repole at rush hour on Grand River?  In traffic. That maneuver looks a lot like this

                  http://www.daytontrolleys.net/pictures/htm/usa_h_day_eti_9824_firsti75_20061026_02_rtm.htm

                  I'm thinking the following driver would have a lot of explaining to do back in the Drivers' lockerroom.  And for the rest of his career, as others would likely not miss an opportunity to pull his poles off, and let him practice repoling.

                  It should be noted that the pictured driver is improperly and unsafely repoling the trolley.  The hot wire in Dayton is the inside (left) wire.  Poling that wire first (without the ground) makes the coach potentially "hot" -- if there is an improper or unsafe ground on the coach, you stepping on the coach and completing the ground can cause you to be hurled violently away from the coach as 600 VDC courses thru your body.  Proper procedure is to wire the ground (right wire) first, then the power wire. 

                  My guess would be that in order for the following coach to become first, a street supervisor would have to be involved.  Maybe he got out of his car or booth, and started pulling poles.  I'd be more apt to believe that.

                  -------------------------

                  Now, for Fred's comment on wrapping a rope around a hook -- it's mostly about retrievers and catchers.  Most trolleybuses of the previous generation had Ohio Brass retrievers.  When the retriever sensed the rope being pulled out too fast, it trips, and a tightly wrapped spring in the retriever reels the rope back in, thus saving the pole from fouling (and maybe bringing down) the overhead.  A problem with that generation of retriever is that the reeling action can be pretty violent, and if the geometry is unfavorable, the pole can whip around a bit and get caught up on the hook or the rope guides.

                  http://tinyurl.com/ElectricRailwayJournal-pg573

                  A similar device to a retriever on some streetcars was a "catcher", which stopped the rope from moving up too far,  Catchers were cheaper than retrievers.  Retrievers, due to the powerful spring inside can be dangerous for the untrained to use.  Modern versions of the same devices also work differently than the old Earlls.   Where on an Earll, in order to "wind" it, you had to unreel all the rope out of the retriever, and to gently walk it back to the bus, modern European retrievers are spring wound, and pulling the rope all the way out can be a fast method for a broken arm.

                  C'ya
                  Tom
                  Tom's Trolleybus Pix



                  On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 8:28 PM, David <davescottjst@...> wrote:
                   



                  --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <fgstcf@...> wrote:
                  Hi Fred,



                  > No. The last bus, apparently by being directly under the wires, "cleaned them off" as he managed to go by without derailing himself.
                  >
                  I'd have liked to have seen that maneuver. It's hard for me to visualize. It sounds like the driver of that last bus went past all the other busses, knocking their poles down.

                  Regards,

                  Dave Scott


                • Fred
                  ... I knew someone in Minneapolis that helped start a stalled streetcar that had become isolated (and hot ) by having all of its wheels on ice. He completed
                  Message 9 of 15 , Nov 5, 2010
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                    --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "rtm330@..." <rtm330@...> wrote:

                    > It should be noted that the pictured driver is improperly and unsafely
                    > repoling the trolley. The hot wire in Dayton is the inside (left) wire.
                    > Poling that wire first (without the ground) makes the coach potentially
                    > "hot" -- if there is an improper or unsafe ground on the coach, you stepping
                    > on the coach and completing the ground can cause you to be hurled violently
                    > away from the coach as 600 VDC courses thru your body. Proper procedure is
                    > to wire the ground (right wire) first, then the power wire.

                    I knew someone in Minneapolis that helped start a stalled streetcar that had become isolated (and "hot") by having all of its wheels on ice. He completed the circuit with a snow shovel. Didn't do the shovel any good, but they got the streetcar moving.


                    >>>Most trolleybuses of the previous generation had Ohio Brass retrievers.

                    This would have been a San Francisco Muni bus in 1989. Don't know the make or model and, unfortunately, my film based slide is not digitized to post here.

                    Fred S.
                  • H. B. CRAIG,2nd
                    ... only remember White and Twin coaches on other routes (Greenfield and Plymouth). What was interesting was when GM coaches were running on Grand River, at
                    Message 10 of 15 , Nov 5, 2010
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                      --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "Fred" <fgstcf@...> wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > Yes, I remember Cunninghams and the Grand River trackless trolleys. I only remember White and Twin coaches on other routes (Greenfield and Plymouth). What was interesting was when GM coaches were running on Grand River, at night, when an electric bus would accelerate, the interior lights would dim. When a GM would accelerate, the interior lights would get brighter.
                      >
                      >

                      Fred S., I'm sure you're correct in your recollections.
                      From my understanding, when the gasoline powered buses first replaced the streetcars on Grand River in 1947, the gas powered Twins, Whites and Macks were used on Grand River and other former streetcar routes, while most of the other lines were still being serviced by the smaller-size 31-passenger Fords and Transits. If I'm not mistaken (and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong), after the last of the post-war GM diesels arrived in 1947, most were reserved for the Dexter line, while the excess were used for express service on other lines, including the Grand River Express.

                      When the St. Louis Car built electric buses took over Grand River "local" service in 1951, this freed up nearly 100 Twins, Macks and Whites for service on other heavier secondary lines such as Baker, Hamilton, Plymouth, Second, Fort, etc., pushing the small-size buses to the less heavier routes.

                      Today, DDOT assigns coaches indiscriminately, and any make of coach can be assigned on any line. However, during the 1950's the DSR tended to assign coaches to lines based more on "type" of equipment more so than "make," although the make did play a part to some degree.

                      For example, a June 1954 DSR Analysis Report breaks down the coaches assigned to lines based on the following four "types" of equipment:
                      31-passenger (Fords, Transits, Checkers)
                      44-passenger (GM, Macks, Twins, Whites)
                      51-passenger (GM "king-size" diesels)
                      TC  (trolley-coaches used on Grand River and Crosstown)

                      The make would come into play because some makes were assigned more to one terminal than another. This would help cut down repair, maintenance and parts issues that were common with so many makes of coaches in the fleet. 

                      By the late 50's, after the larger 40-foot GM diesels had arrived and the small-size Fords, Transit and Checkers were gradually being retired, the king-size (51-passenger) GMs took over the heaviest routes, while the 40-plus passenger Macks, Twins, Whites and post-war GMs were assigned to the secondary lines. The 31-passenger Transits and Checkers found themselves limited to light service duty and school runs during their last years. Of course, by the mid-1960's things had settled down somewhat as the fleet became GM dominated.

                      -HBCraig,II

                    • rtm330@gmail.com
                      Fred: 1989 Muni equipment was almost entirely Flyer E800. As depicted here: http://www.trolleybuses.net/sfo/sfo_sub_50035150.htm There were also two E700s in
                      Message 11 of 15 , Nov 5, 2010
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                        Fred:

                        1989 Muni equipment was almost entirely Flyer E800.  As depicted here:

                        http://www.trolleybuses.net/sfo/sfo_sub_50035150.htm

                        There were also two E700s in the mix, along with 343 E800s.

                        You can faintly see a retreiver here:

                        http://www.trolleybuses.net/sfo/htm/usa_h_sfo_flyer_5128_market_1976_etb.htm

                        I might note that the driver was none too happy about having to repole.  If he had had to do so as a result of another operator's action, I would guess he'd be that much more annoyed.

                        C'ya
                        Tom M.


                        On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 1:14 PM, Fred <fgstcf@...> wrote:
                         



                        --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "rtm330@..." <rtm330@...> wrote:

                        > It should be noted that the pictured driver is improperly and unsafely
                        > repoling the trolley. The hot wire in Dayton is the inside (left) wire.
                        > Poling that wire first (without the ground) makes the coach potentially
                        > "hot" -- if there is an improper or unsafe ground on the coach, you stepping
                        > on the coach and completing the ground can cause you to be hurled violently
                        > away from the coach as 600 VDC courses thru your body. Proper procedure is
                        > to wire the ground (right wire) first, then the power wire.

                        I knew someone in Minneapolis that helped start a stalled streetcar that had become isolated (and "hot") by having all of its wheels on ice. He completed the circuit with a snow shovel. Didn't do the shovel any good, but they got the streetcar moving.


                        >>>Most trolleybuses of the previous generation had Ohio Brass retrievers.

                        This would have been a San Francisco Muni bus in 1989. Don't know the make or model and, unfortunately, my film based slide is not digitized to post here.

                        Fred S.


                      • DetroitBusFan
                        FYI--The photo which originally launched this thread has now been added to the GRAND RIVER AVENUE: THE PUSH TOWARD RUBBER-TIRED TRANSIT web-page, over at the
                        Message 12 of 15 , Nov 6, 2010
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                          FYI--The photo which originally launched this thread has now been added to the "GRAND RIVER AVENUE: THE PUSH TOWARD RUBBER-TIRED TRANSIT" web-page, over at the Detroit Transit History website.
                           
                          For those who may have forgotten, this is the web-page which looks back at the battle that ensued over the removal of the streetcars along Grand River in order to help improve the flow of motor traffic along that thoroughfare. Also included are a number of photos of Grand River from back in the day.
                           
                          The Grand River page can be viewed at:
                        • Fred
                          ... That s the one. My photo is of #5217. ... ....... Ok, so if the right pole derailed, and the bus was potentially hot , how would you remove the left pole
                          Message 13 of 15 , Nov 7, 2010
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                            > 1989 Muni equipment was almost entirely Flyer E800. As depicted here:
                            >
                            > http://www.trolleybuses.net/sfo/sfo_sub_50035150.htm

                            That's the one. My photo is of #5217.



                            >> It should be noted that the pictured driver is improperly and unsafely
                            > > > repoling the trolley. The hot wire in Dayton is the inside (left) wire.

                            .......
                            Ok, so if the right pole derailed, and the bus was potentially "hot", how would you remove the left pole before repoling the right pole?

                            Fred S.
                          • rtm330@gmail.com
                            Yank on on the left pole rope ... hook the left pole down ... put the right pole up ... unhook the left pole and put it back up. In the case of this operator,
                            Message 14 of 15 , Nov 8, 2010
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                              Yank on on the left pole rope ... hook the left pole down ... put the right pole up ... unhook the left pole and put it back up.

                              In the case of this operator, both poles had dewired, and he put the wrong one up first.  In his defense, the likelihood of somebody entering or leaving the bus (besides him) was small, as this wasn't a street stop.  Nevertheless unsafe.

                              C'ya
                              Tom



                              On Sun, Nov 7, 2010 at 5:46 PM, Fred <fgstcf@...> wrote:
                               



                              > 1989 Muni equipment was almost entirely Flyer E800. As depicted here:
                              >
                              > http://www.trolleybuses.net/sfo/sfo_sub_50035150.htm

                              That's the one. My photo is of #5217.


                              >> It should be noted that the pictured driver is improperly and unsafely
                              > > > repoling the trolley. The hot wire in Dayton is the inside (left) wire.

                              .......
                              Ok, so if the right pole derailed, and the bus was potentially "hot", how would you remove the left pole before repoling the right pole?

                              Fred S.


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