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New Orleans - June 2008

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New Orleans — Streetcar Return Complete

Rail Transit Online, June 2008

The city's streetcar network is whole once again, nearly three years after being devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The last section of the St. Charles line, from St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton to Carrollton and Claiborne, was returned to service early on the morning of June 22 using its iconic Perley Thomas streetcars. There are 12 cars running on the St. Charles route, seven on the Canal Street and two on the Riverfront Line. The re-opening was not marked by any special ceremony but the Arts Council of New Orleans is planning festivities for June 28.

The Regional Transit Authority spent $13 million to restore the line in phases beginning in December 2006. Much of the money was used to replace the traction power system, which was essentially destroyed by the hurricane. The return of the St. Charles line, which first operated in 1835 with horse cars, has been eagerly awaited by residents as a sign that New Orleans is returning to normal.

Meanwhile, the RTA has hired management consultant Anthony Mumphrey to evaluate presentations from three companies seeking a contract to operate the streetcar and bus systems. The contenders are First Transit Inc., Veolia Transport and Transit Management of Southeast Louisiana, an in-house employee group which has managed daily operations for the past six years. Mumphrey is expected to make a recommendation at the RTA's June 26 board meeting.


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