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Charlotte - July 2003
   

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Charlotte, NC — Streetcars Coming

Rail Transit Online – July 2003

A deal is expected to be announced soon that would bring two Gomaco replica historic streetcars, built for the River Rail line in Little Rock, to Charlotte for about a year.  Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) CEO Ron Tober told Rail Transit OnLine at the APTA rail transit conference in San Jose that negotiations are progressing smoothly and that the two cars, now at Gomaco’s Ida Grove, Iowa, plant, could arrive in North Carolina in August.  CATS would then order two identical cars, modeled on the Birney safety car, and would return Little Rock’s cars in time for the opening of River Rail, tentatively scheduled for October 2004.  Charlotte had planned to open a two-mile (3.2 km) line between Uptown and the South End this summer but found that the historic streetcars owned by nonprofit Charlotte Trolley Inc., all of which are over 70 years old and maintained by volunteers, are too delicate and lack sufficient safety gear to provide all-day service.  Tober said when CATS found that the old trolleys were in poor condition last fall, he was promised they would be fixed up in time.  But in the end the work was not carried out, forcing CATS to seek substitutes.  Tober said car No. 85, which is more than 70 years old and served Charlotte until 1938, will be restored at public expense and will supplement the Gomaco cars.  Another of Charlotte Trolley’s antiques will be fixed up with money from a private fund-raising campaign.  Meanwhile, officials in Little Rock are warning that the Gomaco cars, if they are leased to CATS, must be returned in mint condition. 

 

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