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Fargo & Moorhead Street Railway Company's Streetcar No. 28

No. 28 was built by the American Car Company in 1923 with a Brill 79E1 truck. No. 28 was one of 16 Birneys acquired for the small Fargo-Moorhead system. The first 15 (Nos. 12 to 14 and 16 to 27) were built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1920 with Cincinnati No. 139 trucks. Until space becomes available at the Museum's Linden Hills or Excelsior Carbarns, the body will be stored in the machine shed of Museum member Ken Albrecht in North Mankato, Minnesota.

The Museum has no immediate plans for the restoration or use of No. 28. Ahead of it on the restoration agenda are continuing work on 1908-built Twin City Rapid Transit Company No. 1300, the Museum's "mother car" and a stalwart at the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, and the restoration of 1913 Saint Louis-built lightweight single trucker No. 10 from the Winona, Minnesota, streetcar system to reduce power consumption on quieter weeknights and in the fall on the Como-Harriet line.

The Museum's 1976 Electric Railways of Minnesota by Russell Olson has scant information mostly obtained from transit directories of the time. One big question is the color of the cars. The black-and-white photo of Birney No. 16 seems to indicate two-tone paint. But there's no record that we've come across as to what those two tones might be.

This small system served the twin cities of Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota on the Red River of the North. The first street railway activities in Fargo, the larger of the two cities, were short-lived horsecar lines built in 1879 and 1882. The Fargo and Moorhead Street Railway Company was formed in 1902, began construction and opened in 1904 serving Fargo via the North Side Loop, the South Side Loop, and the Oak Grove line and Moorhead via a line from Fargo to the Moorhead Normal College (now Minnesota State University at Moorhead). The system opened with seven single-truck closed streetcars and a single-truck, double-end, arch-roofed wedge plow - certainly a necessity in these parts. Additional lines were built in Fargo to the State Fairgrounds and the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University). Additional cars were acquired for new lines, including a number of second-hand streetcars bought from the Twin City Rapid Transit Company as it replaced its first generation with the TCRT standard streetcar, three versions of which are in the Museum's collection. By 1912, the system was at its zenith except for a short 1923 extension to Concordia College in Moorhead when the system reached its peak mileage of 15.81 miles. From 1923 to 1925, the system employed 29 motor cars, 16 trailers, 4 service motor cars, and 2 service trailers. But by 1933, the system was all-Birney except for one passenger trailer and the work fleet.

In 1916, Northern States Power, now Xcel Energy, the Minneapolis-based power company, acquired the Consumers Power Company and, with it, its streetcar line. The 16-car Birney fleet, including No. 28, was part of NSP's modernization of the line. In addition to the usual duties of a small-town trolley, the F&M StRy served North Dakota State University and the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Fargo and Concordia College and Moorhead State University in Moorhead. The system shut down in stages in 1937 - the Moorhead local lines closed on June 30, the "interurban" line from Fargo to Dilworth, Minnesota (home of a major Northern Pacific facility) on July 2, and the last Fargo line, the South Side Loop, on August 21.

F & M #16 in 1924

No. 16, one of the 15 1920-built Cincinnatis, sits outside of the Fargo carhouse on March 4, 1924.
 Note the Twin City Lines-style wire fenders. It's not known whether all the
Fargo-Moorhead Birneys had Twin City Lines-style fenders.

F & M #28 as farm shed

No. 28 where it has rested since the last Fargo car lines closed in 1937.

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