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Lancaster - May 2008

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Lancaster — Streetcar Company

Rail Transit Online, May 2008

The Lancaster Streetcar Co., a non-profit group formed by local transportation activists, has acquired the rusting hulk of a former Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority PCC streetcar and hopes to restore it for operation along a 2.6-mi. (4.2 km) downtown loop. The car, built in 1946, was purchased for $1,500 at auction in Brooklyn, New York, where it had been stored outdoors for years as part of a now-defunct scheme to restore trolley service to the borough.

"It's in rough shape, but it is salvageable," Jack Howell, president of the Lancaster Alliance and board secretary of the streetcar company, told the Lancaster New Era. He said restoration and upgrading of the car, including new electrical and mechanical systems, a wheelchair lift, and air conditioning, will probably cost between $300,000 and $400,000. "We're pretty serious," Howell told the Lancaster New Era. "We've done our homework and we know that the PCC is the way to go."

The group plans to obtain two more PCCs to operate a 10-min. service on a north-south loop along Queen and Prince streets between the Amtrak station, the Southern Market Center and the Lancaster County Convention Center. Applications have already been filed for $14.1 million in federal and state construction grants, although a previous request by the city under the FTA Small Starts program was rejected. Private-sector contributions would be sought to cover operating costs.


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