DC to Put the Old Streetcars Back on the Streets
May 5, 2010 18 Comments
by Elias Shams
DC is about to become more awesome and super cute. The D.C. Department of Transportation is going to put the old streetcars that was popular in DC from 40s through 60s back on the street of Washington, DC by 2012. They last rolled through 200 miles of tracks in the streets of D.C. in 1962.
If you live in DC metro, you have the opportunity to examine one of the $3 million streetcars. The Czech-made car is on display at the old Convention Center site (9th and H Streets, NW) from now through Saturday (5/8).
Tracks have already been laid along a few roads in N.E. DC, and construction along H Street, N.E. is well underway. The lines are expected to begin operations in 2012. And that’s just the beginning. City planners hope to open six more streetcar lines in the future.
On the first two lines, trolleys will run every ten minutes. The fare will be the same as the city-sponsored bus service, the Circulator. Currently, Circulator fares are a bargain: just a dollar.
The streetcar has about 30 seats aboard, there is a large amount of floor space for standing passengers. City officials estimate, at peak capacity, the streetcars can carry 162 passengers.
A Congressional law passed in late 1800 barred overhead wires for streetcars in the monumental part of D.C. and in Georgetown. Many of the city’s lines used an underground power source accessed through a slot in the ground. Two rails flanked the slot. Abandoned streetcar tracks that remain in Georgetown on “O” and “P” Streets used that old design.
City officials are searching for proposals to build self-propelled streetcars or hybrid vehicles that can run both with overhead wires and under their own power.
What I am more excited about the project is to get on these streetcars with my two boys. When they were little, I used to take them to the streets of Georgetown every weekend and drive over the tracks with my Rover Discovery.