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Detroit - November 2003
   

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Detroit — Historic Trams Mothballed

Rail Transit Online – November 2003

The city has decided to end service on the downtown heritage streetcar line this month, replacing eight vintage trolleys with rubber-tire replicas.  The reason given for scrapping the rail service by officials is a $20 million road rebuilding and repaving project that will include Washington Boulevard, on which the old trams have run from Grand Circus Park to Hart Plaza since 1975.  However, ridership has been extremely poor and there have been expensive maintenance and dependability issues.  In addition, the quarter-mile (0.4 km) of 900 mm-gauge track has deteriorated and is need of renewal.  Officials said it would be too expensive to restore the trolleys, which cost about $300,000 annually to operate, after the repaving is completed.  “We do not want to lose the historic trolleys, so we will look at every possibility to continue their service somewhere else,” George W. Jackson Jr., president and chief executive of the quasi-public Detroit Economic Growth Corp., told The Detroit News.  This appears to indicate that the cars will not be sold or otherwise disposed of, and streetcar supporters have already suggested building a new line along the revitalized east riverfront.

 

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