APTA Streetcar and
Seashore Trolley Museum Logo
Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
Charlotte - July 2004

[Back to Charlotte]

Charlotte, NC — Trolley Inaugurated

Rail Transit Online – July 2004

The long-awaited debut of heritage streetcar service took place on June 28 using Charlotte car No. 85, which underwent a $200,000 overhaul to make its running gear and electrical system safe and reliable.  The approximately two-mile (3.2 km), 10-station route connects the Historic South End to Center City Charlotte and includes a new glass tunnel through the Charlotte Convention Center.  It serves numerous traffic generators including Uptown restaurants, theaters, museums, art galleries and the library.  “This is the coolest thing to ever happen to Charlotte,” Gaines Brown, former president of the nonprofit Charlotte Trolley Inc., told The Charlotte Observer.  The volunteer organization operated the route with No. 85 for years using a towed generator.  The group owns two other historic cars which were originally destined to operate the heritage route but they proved unsuitable.  An attempt to lease two newly-built Gomaco replica Birney trolleys from Little Rock fell through because liability issues could not be resolved.  Meanwhile, the Charlotte Area Transit System has ordered three Gomaco cars which are scheduled to be delivered later this summer. 

The streetcar project, which cost about $32 million and is now about two years behind schedule, is strongly supported by the business community because merchants believe the picturesque cars will bring in customers.   “Charlotte has rich history of rail in this area and we are honored to bring back a piece of nostalgia to Charlotte,” said CATS CEO Ron Tober.  The trolleys operate Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.  Hours will be expanded once the new vehicles arrive but the line will remain single-track — with passing sidings — until the South Line light rail project to near Pineville begins operating in 2006.  The in-town segment will then be double-tracked, so LRVs and trolleys can share the rails, and electronic controls will operate traffic signals and two large doors in the convention center tunnel that allow delegates to cross the line.  In the meantime, flagmen on each car will stop traffic at cross streets and convention center employees will open and close the garage-type doors.


[Back to Charlotte]