Darren Barefoot wrote to me out of the blue in Vancouver. I hadn't heard of him until now, but the communal nature of blogging gave him courage enough to share this piece of memorabelia.
Psst... ahem... guys? Your official website and you don't have online .pdfs of flyers or Quicktime movies of your ads? Gee, Eves certainly is spending those tax dollars wisely, isn't he? I do appreciate the border wait times, however...
The Tandy Centre Subway was a privately built subway line in Fort Worth, Texas. It started in the early 1960s when Leonard's Department Store realized that there was insufficient parking for his customers, and built huge lots at the edge of the downtown. To save his customers a long walk (and thus encourage them to remain customers), used streetcars were purchased, and a mile-long line was built from the parking lots to the basement of the department store. Proposals were made to expand this little line through the downtown, but neither the other businesses nor the taxpayers were willing to come up with the cash.
When Leonard's Department Store was bought out by Radio Shack and eventually renamed the Tandy Centre, the short subway kept running. However, in August of last year, Radio Shack finalized plans to move its headquarters out of the building, to a new corporate campus built over part of the parking lot site. The aging line was closed down, and the heavily rebuilt streetcars mothballed. Railfans were left to wonder, what Radio Shack was going to do with all of that surplus equipment.
The answer, according to Slashdot, was to start a line of full scale model railroading equipment. Not many such models exist, but few people model 1:1 scale anyway. So, if you want your very own streetcar-subway, mosey on over to eBay and plunk down $5000 US dollars for one of these beauties.
The eBay link probably won't stay up forever, which is a shame. However, I did take this screenshot.
Incidentally, Leonards' Department Store purchased old PCC streetcars from Washington DC in order to equip its subway line -- yes, the same make of cars that patrolled Toronto's streets for so long (of which two are still on TTC property). The models seen here are the same cars, heavily rebuilt (and I do mean heavily). You can recognize some PCC features if you look, however...
This site has a comprehensive history of the Tandy Subway, and is well worth your attention.