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Happy Holiday Railway - Weekends through Dec. 18

Streetcars

American 1921 Illinois Terminal 170
American 1921
Illinois Terminal 170
Description:Double-end arch-roof Birney car

Equipment Information

Illinois Terminal 170 is the only Birney streetcar at IRM. The Birney was a single-truck, one-man, lightweight streetcar developed after the First World War to help smaller streetcar systems that were trying to control spiraling costs in labor and electricity. Though popular with streetcar lines, Birneys were unpopular with the public due to their rough ride and utilitarian amenities. Car 170 was built for use in Galesburg, Illinois and was later transferred to Alton, where its street railway career ended in 1936. Between then and 1957 it served as an office in the St. Louis subway.

COMPARE ME WITH: NKEL&R 116, a pre-Birney single-truck streetcar that like car 170 was designed for small-town use. The NKEL&R car lacks some of the more innovative features of the Birney including its design for one-man operation.

Illinois Terminal 170 Details

Builder: American Car Company
Year Built: 1921
Seats: 30
Length: 27ft 9in
Width: 8ft
Height: 10ft 2in
Weight: 13000 lbs
Brakes: SME
Motors: 2 GE 264
Control: K10
Compressor: DH-16
Trucks: Brill 79E1
Description: Double End / Single Truck / Arch Roof / Birney
Arrived: 1957
Condition: Incomplete / cosmetically restored / not operational

Photo gallery

IT 170 Ownership History

1921-1923 – Galesburg Railway Lighting & Power #7
1923-1932 – Illinois Power & Light #7
1932-1957 – Illinois Terminal
1957-present – Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL