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Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
New Orleans - December 2005

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New Orleans — Streetcar Update

Rail Transit Online, December 2005  

The St. Charles streetcar line will probably remain shut down for about a year while the damage from Hurricane Katrina is cleaned up.  Although the historic Perley Thomas trolleys stored at Carrollton Station were largely undamaged, the right-of-way and overhead system was heavily impacted by the storm and its aftermath.  Restoring traction power to the streetcars is not a high priority because so much of the city is still without electricity.  The newly-built replica heritage cars for the Canal Street line, which opened last year, were inundated under five feet (1.52 meters) of water at the A. Phillip Randolph carbarn and will have to be rebuilt, according to Superintendent of New Vehicle Assembly Construction Elmer von Dullen.  

“It was really sad,” von Dullen told The Associated Press.  “It (the flood water) was very corrosive.  All the metal rusted.  Even the plastic had white bubbles.  If you had a shiny piece of plastic, it blistered the surface.  We're going to have to have all the undercarriages replaced.  We'll have to go in there and tear out all the old wiring, rip out the paneling, rip floor out, treat for corrosion.  Then we have to put the wiring and flooring back.  Then the seats and interior paneling.  It's almost like building new ones.”  Von Dullen said it will probably take as long to overhaul each of the 24 cars as it took his shop forces to build them, 142 days, at an estimated cost of $1 million apiece.  The Regional Transportation Authority may try to run the Perley Thomas cars on the Canal Street line, which could be restored before St. Charles.  However, because the old trolleys have been designated national historic monuments, a federal waiver will probably be required.


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