Wed, May 24, 2017
Equipment : Replicars
Replicars refers to streetcars manufactured in recent years that are built to the specifications of streetcars that operated many years ago in various U.S. cities.
Replicars built by Gomaco
Gomaco Trolley Company, located in Ida Grove, IA, builds a line of streetcars to the specifications of the double-truck Birney streetcars that ran in a number of cities in the 1920s. Physically the cars look like Birney streetcars, but are built with contemporary materials and utilize modern electric motors and trucks.
Gomaco supplied cars for the streetcar line connecting downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock, AR. It was subsequently extended to the William Clinton Presidential Library.
Gomaco supplied cars for the streetcar line in Tampa, FL connecting downtown Tampa and the Ybor district, which includes the cruise ship docks.
New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
New Orleans' St. Charles Streetcar Line is the world's oldest continuously operated electric railway line. Electric operation began in 1893, when streetcars took over after 20 years of horsecar operation. In 1922, operation of all New Orleans streetcar lines was taken over by New Orleans Public Service Inc., or NOPSI for short. In 1923, the current streetcars, designed and built by the Perley Thomas Car Company of High Point, North Carolina, were introduced. Beginning in the 1930s, streetcar service in the Crescent City followed the national trend of gradually diminishing service, with rubber-tired vehicles coming into favor as replacements. With the closing of the Canal St. Line in 1964, the St. Charles Line became New Orleans sole surviving streetcar line.
In 1973, the St. Charles Line and the remaining fleet of 35 Perley Thomas cars received national recognition when they were named to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1983, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) completed the buyout of NOPSI. Between 1988 and 1992, RTA completed a $47 million renovation of the St. Charles Line, including a complete rebuilding of all 35 streetcars and the Carrollton maintenance facility. (http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/neworleans.htm)
In 1988, the RTA opened a new streetcar line, the Riverfront Line, on a 1.5 mile section of railroad track. The line was very successful; it was extended another one-half mile, and the line was double-tracked. As the demand grew the RTA decided it needed new streetcars. It built seven new cars that physically match the Perley Thomas cars in appearance,and incorporate modern PCC streetcar-type motors and electrical gear.
Beginning in 1999, the RTA has gradually reintroduced streetcar service on Canal Street. In April 2004, service began on the full route. Again, to meet the need for more streetcars, RTA constructed 24 replicars that are similar in appearance to the Perley Thomas cars.