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Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
New Orleans - December 2006

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New Orleans — Feds Fund Streetcar Repair

Rail Transit Online, December 2006 

A $43-million grant to help finance repair of the Canal Street line's 24 replica heritage streetcars has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The money, along with contributions from the state of Louisiana, is enough to fix all of the streetcars at a cost of $800,000 to $1 million each.  Their electrical and mechanical systems were destroyed when they were inundated in five feet (1.52 meters) of flood water during Hurricane Katrina.  About half of the federal grant has been allocated to the streetcar program, with the remainder going toward replacement of more than 200 flooded buses, said Regional Transit Authority spokeswoman Rosalind Blanco Cook.  “Now we can get to work, repairing the streetcars and ordering the buses,” Cook told the Times-Picayune.  “We plan to soon start calling back some of the craftspeople we laid off.”  The work will be completed in the RTA’s Carrollton Shops where the cars were built during 2002 and 2003.  The job will be complex because the replicas, unlike the St Charles line’s historic Perley Thomas streetcars, are equipped with air conditioning and wheelchair lifts.  Cook said the first rebuilt car should be ready by next summer and “…then we'll have one roll out every two months.”   

Meanwhile, the inner portion of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line should be back in service by Christmas.  Rewiring of the traction power system, much of which was decimated by falling trees during Katrina, is nearing completion on the downtown loop along Lee Circle, Carondelet Street, Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue.


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