Savannah — $81,000 Streetcar Overhaul Approved
As reported by the savannahnow.com site, on June 27 the Savannah City Council approved a contract with Penn Machine Company of Pennsylvania to make needed repairs to the city's ex-Melbourne tram number 756. The 1930s car had been equipped with a diesel-electric drive about four years ago to enable it to operate along River Street without overhead wire.
However, it turned out that the carbody with air-conditioning, handicapped lifts, and the hybrid drive were too heavy for the wheels and its unique belt drive led to an axle failure. The city contracted with Penn Machine, a fabricator of streetcar wheels and other parts, to make the needed repairs for $81,000.
In 2007, Electrical Motor and Supply, also of Pennsylvania, had overhauled the car and installed the hybrid drive at a cost of $207,000.
Operating expenses for the streetcar are not paid from the city's general operating funds, but rather come from a parking fee and hotel tax. A Mobility Management Board, set up by the city and the tourism industry, use the tax revenue to pay for operating costs as incurred. To date about $90,000 has been paid to the city from this source.
Only this single car is available for use on River Street, so when it needs work, service is suspended. The Chatham Area Transit system plans to extend the streetcar line throughout the city and has applied for Federal funding to make that possible.