Cowtown Underground (Part 2): The Fate of the M&O Rolling Stock

What became of the M&O subway’s rolling stock after the Leonard’s Department Store subway carried its last passenger in 2002 (see Part 1)?

The streetcars that Leonard’s Department Store had bought from D.C. Transit Co. of Washington in 1962 had the body style called “PCC” (Presidents’ Conference Committee), which dated to the 1930s. This postcard shows two M&O subway cars in their PCC prime.

After Tandy took over the subway Tandy replaced the PCC-style car bodies with a boxier style called “Radio Shack Modern.” The nonprofit organization North Texas Historic Transportation, which is dedicated to preserving historic transportation artifacts, has rescued three of the cars. (NTHT restored interurban car no. 25, on display at the Intermodal Transportation Center downtown.) McKinney Avenue Transit Authority in Dallas also has a Tandy car, which MATA has named “Winnie” because of the body style’s resemblance to a Winnebago motor home.

Each subway car has two “trucks” like this one. Each truck contains not only two pairs of wheels and axles but also an electric motor and a differential and driveshaft to transfer power to each pair of wheels.

The Tandy Center cars are stored at the T transit system headquarters at Lancaster and Pine streets. The former streetcars should feel right at home there: That location once was the site of the car barns and repair shops of the interurban.

Two PCC-style subway cars stayed in the family: They belong to Marty Leonard, daughter of store founder Marvin Leonard. Car no. 1, shown here, escaped boxification. (Photo by Jamie Terrell of NTHT.)

subway panelIn 2014 M&O subway car no. 1 was restored and is on display at One City Place downtown.

All aboard!

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9 Responses to Cowtown Underground (Part 2): The Fate of the M&O Rolling Stock

  1. Jerri says:

    The highlight of my brother’s and my week was going downtown on Friday nights with our parents and riding the subway to the store. We begged our parents to park at the furthest stop so we could ride longer. Then we’d go to the restaurant for dinner where I’d usually get the vegetable soup. We loved going to Leonard’s!

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