Streetcar track going in Downtown after 66 years

New streetcar track glistens among construction on a new Main Street bridge, the city’s first new streetcar track since 1947.

Mayor Sly James and councilmen Russ Johnson and Jim Glover were there Thursday at the bridge taking shape at Truman Road.

“…It’s real, you can touch it,” James said of the line. “It is a physical, tangible, real sign we are getting closer and closer to the dream of having streetcar transportation again.”

The last new rail was installed in 1947 and the last streetcar run was a ceremonial one through Midtown in 1957. That is when streetcars died in the city that had among the most miles of line in the nation.

The two-mile downtown starter line from the River Market to Union Station will just be the beginning of their return, the officials said.

Johnson, a leader in the streetcar project, says the city council next week will consider plans for extending the line down Main Street possibly to Waldo, along Independence Avenue to about Benton and along either 31st Street or Linwood Boulevard for more than a mile.

James said, “Think about how Waldo and Brookside grew up adjacent to those streetcar tracks – we’re just going back to where everything started and doing it again.”

After the streetcars prompt development along Main Street, he said, they will be extended east-west to tie more neighborhoods into the system.

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