Fri, May 25, 2018
Boston MA has continuously operated PCC streetcars since 1937. The then operator, Boston Elevated Railway, took delivery of the first car, 3001, promptly nicknamed the "Queen Mary." It was built by the St. Louis Car Company. About 350 additional PCC cars of several body styles were purchased between 1941 and 1958, replacing all of the older streetcars. The Metropolitan Transit Authority took over the operation in 1949; it gained national recognition when a 1949 song, "M.T.A.," was recorded by the Kingston Trio and became a big hit. (Link below).
The Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) took over the operation in 1964. It created an ambitious overhaul program that rehabilitated many PCC cars from the late 1970s through early 1980s. At the same time the MBTA began to purchase light rail vehicles to replace the aging PCCs and increase capacity. By the early 1990s, most of the PCCs were stored out of service. Most were scrapped starting in 1995.
The exception was service on the Mattapan-Ashmont line, also known as the M Line. It is an almost entirely grade-separated streetcar line that connects the Red Line (subway) at Ashmont with the community of Mattapan. It is 2.5 miles long and serves 8 stations. PCC cars began operating on the line in 1955 and continue in service today, making it the longest continuous PCC operation (62 years in 2017) in the United States! The cars serving the line were restored between 1999 and 2005, to their appearance in the 1950s.
The MTA song, also known as "Charlie and the MTA."
At least one dozen American cities have built trolley lines through the central business district or downtown pedestrian malls in recent years. Five of these cities are San Francisco, CA, Kenosha, WI, Memphis, TN, Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. For detailed information on each city, click on the links to the left.
The first phase of a streetcar system for Cincinnati opened for service Sept. 9, 2016. It is a 3.5 mile line It travels on a loop from Second Street (at The Banks on the riverfront) to Henry Street (just north of Findlay Market in Over the Rhine). It is branded as the Cincinnati Bell Connector. For more information, click on Cincinnati.
M-1 Rail, a consortium of private and public businesses and institutions in the Detroit region, developed a plan in 2012 for a 3.3-mile-long streetcar line serving Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit. Woodward is a major thoroughfare, and provided access for the major streetcar lines in Detroit in the 1940s to the downtown. The route operates from Congress Street to Grand Boulevard. The system, branded as the QLine, opened in May 2017. Service is provided by 6 Liberty Modern Streetcars (Brookville Equipment). For more information, click on Detroit.
Kansas City, MO
The Kansas City streetcar, branded as RideKC Streetcar, began operating in May, 2016. It operates a 2.2 mile route from Union Station to River Market via Main Street, through the central business district. There are sixteen designated stops. Service is provided by four CAF Urbos vehicles operating on about 12 minute headways during the day. Cars operate from 6:00 AM (7:00 AM Saturday and Sunday) until 11:00 PM or later. The service is free, and has a daily ridership of 6,800 passengers.
San Diego, CA
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System operates an extensive light rail system. The three lines of the system were constructed so that they create a loop of track around the Downtown core. The Silver line is a 2.7 mile line operating around this loop. It was introduced in 2011 utilizing a lovingly restored PCC Car, #529. The car was built in 1946. It was joined in 2015 by a second restored PCC, #530. In part because of the limited number of cars, the service operates only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends for limited hours.
Sun Link streetcar service opened in July 2014. It connects the University of Arizona with the downtown; there are 21 stops along the route. Streetcars were provided by United Streetcar. For more information, click on Tucson, AZ.
The first 2.2 miles of a planned 17 mile system is operating on H Street in Washington, DC. The route runs from Union Station (2nd St, NE and H Street) to Benning Rd NE and Oklahoma Avenue NE. Service is provided by Union Streetcar vehicles operating on a 12 minute headway.during the day. For more information, click on Washington DC.