APTA Streetcar and
Seashore Trolley Museum Logo
Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
Charlotte, NC

[Back to Future Systems]

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte's electric rail transit has gone through an interesting transition. What began as a volunteer heritage trolley operation, using a restored Charlotte streetcar from the 1920s running along the right of way of a future light rail system, transformed as the light rail system was built. Three Gomaco replica heritage cars were ordered by the transit agency as it was felt that the restored car was too fragile to run with the heavier light rail cars. The new replica cars ran for a period of time on the light rail system until funding was eliminated as part of budget cuts in June 2010.

Meanwhile planning had begun for a modern streetcar system separate from but feeding into the light rail system. About 3000 feet of track was laid along the first part of this route and a $25 million Federal grant was secured to allow construction of the intial 1.5 mile segment. Though conceived as a modern streetcar line, the line began service on July 14, 2015 using the three Gomaco cars. Conversion to modern streetcars is planned if the currently contemplated extensions to the line are built.

Charlotte Streetcar at Transportation Center

In February 2016 one of Charlotte's Gomaco replica cars pauses in front of the downtown transportation center. The Blue Line light rail crosses overhead in the rear.

Charlotte Streetcar at Transportation Center

Where the street width is adequate, the streetcar tracks shift lanes to allow for left turns and to reach center passenger platforms.

Charlotte Streetcar at Transportation Center

In narrower sections of the street, the streetcars and general traffic share the same lane.

Prototype Streetcar Visit

In January 2011, Charlotte hosted the unveiing of a prototype modern streetcar developed for the US market by the Japanese firm Kinkisharyo. Members of this subcommittee attended the unveiling as part of a working group meeting held in the city.

Click on the photos below taken in January 2011 to see views of streetcar developments in Charlotte:

Newly laid rails in Elizabeth Ave near the Central Piedmont Community College for the starter streetcar line.

A future streetcar stop along Elizabeth Avenue will allow ADA access for heritage and modern streetcars.

One of the Gomaco replica cars in the light rail shops near one of the new Siemens S-70 light rail vehicles.

All three Gomaco replica cars shown stored in the Charlotte Area Transit System light rail shops.

The Kinkisharyo ameriTRAM prototype giving rides on the light rail system during its official unveiling.

An interior view of the ameriTRAM shows its 100 percent low floor configuration, the first ever to operate in the U.S.


Follow this link for an Overview of the Charlotte heritage trolley line in its original format.

Click on the photos below of the original Charlotte heritage trolley to enlarge them to full size:

Charlotte car 85 shown under generator power. The car was the last to operate in Charlotte in 1938.

Car 85 with Charlotte's skyline in the background. The track has been upgraded for future joint use with light rail.

The generator behind car 85 is the source of power until trolley wire is erected. A concrete pole base is visible in the foreground.

This restored former Fort Collins, CO Birney, shown here under restoration, has since been returned to Fort Collins for operation.

An off-duty policeman, financed by the local transit authority, flags all street crossings.

The trolley barn features exhibits describing history and future development plans.


The following are news notes about developments at Charlotte's heritage trolley and planned modern streetcar systems:

The following references a New Electric Railway Journal article (reproduced in this site's Articles section):

Click below for the museum group's web site:

For more on the Charlotte heritage line click on:



[Back to Future Systems]