APTA Streetcar and
Seashore Trolley Museum Logo
Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
Seattle, WA

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Seattle, WA

Seattle has had varied streetcar projects in recent years. The first was a heritage operation opened in 1982 but suspended indefinitely in 2005. Next came a modern streetcar line that opened in December 2007. That has been followed by a second modern line opened in January 2016.

The first modern line, known as the South Lake Union Streetcar, was intended as the first phase of a system that would serve much of downtown. Click on the following link for a descirption of possible future routes as reported in 2007:

Follow this link for an Overview of Seattle's waterfront heritage trolley operation. Though this line ran successfully for decades, as of Autumn 2005 operation was suspended. The carbarn site (picture at left below) was taken so that it could be included in a museum's sculpture garden. A replacement storage facility was promised but not delivered (See November 2005 and April 2008 news notes below) and construction of a replacement and resumption of operations is unlikely on the original route. Transit agency policy in recent times appears to favor permanent closure of the line, partly to ease a major highway reconstruction project.

Nonetheless operation began on a first new, modern streetcar system serving South Lake Union in late 2007 then a second serving First Hill in early 2016. A third line, called the Center City Connector, to tie these two routes together, is now under construction. See below for more about these projects.

Finally, the neighboring city of Everett has studied the possible use of streetcars along its waterfront.

Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge views of Seattle's Waterfront Streetcar taken when that line was in operation:

One of Seattle's ex-Melbourne cars in front of the former carbarn for the Waterfront Streetcar. A new barn is planned at another location.

An extenstion to the line carries it away from the former railway line along the waterfront and through city streets to the main rail station.

These unobtrusive stations provide wheelchair accessibility by means of a ramp to a platform at the same level as the cars' floor.

One of Seattle's cars runs free of traffic along its private right of way next to an elevated highway.


Click on the thumbnail images below to enlarge views of Seattle's South Lake Union streetcar line:

New construction along Seattle's first modern streetcar line with Lake Union in the background.

A car approaches the northern terminus of the line with an island platform.

The routing is in mixed traffic except for this short stretch of reserved track.

The downtown terminus of the line is adjacent to the monorail terminus overhead and the light rail terminus out of sight underground.


When the South Lake Union plan was being developed a variety of funding sources were identified. Click on this link for information about funding plans as perceived in 2005:

The following news notes give an overview of   planning and developments relating to the Waterfront and modern streetcar lines:


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