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Charlotte - August 2003
   

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Charlotte, NC — Trolley Lease

Rail Transit Online – August 2003

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is negotiating a one-year lease with Little Rock’s Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) for two of its Gomaco replica Birney streetcars, with a price yet to be decided.  The trolleys won’t be needed in Arkansas until late 2004, when construction of the River Rail streetcar line linking the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock is completed.  CATA already has one trolley on the property for initial testing.  Once CATA approves the deal, the other two cars would be sent directly from Gomaco’s Ida Grove, Iowa, plant to Charlotte sometime this fall, although revenue service is now estimated to begin in February.  A two-mile (3.2 km) line linking Uptown and the South End was to open this summer but the historic streetcars owned by nonprofit Charlotte Trolley Inc. were found to be too delicate and without the proper safety gear to provide all-day service.  The latest delay was caused by a problem during construction of a hotel parking garage, where combined trolley and light rail tracks will be installed.  The contractor is now working to correct the mistake, a job that will take four months and be followed by track and catenary installation.  Meanwhile, the Charlotte City Council has approved has the purchase of three Birney replicas from Gomaco at a cost of $2.1 million.  CATS CEO Ron Tober told RTOL the cars are options held by Tampa’s Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority which have been signed over to Charlotte.  “We are talking to Gomaco about their possibly accelerating the production of our three cars,” said Tober.  They will join No. 85, Charlotte’s own historic streetcar that’s undergoing a $200,000 restoration.

 

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