Management & Operations

After a 65-year hiatus, a trolley car returns to Charlotte

Posted on June 1, 2004

In 1938, the last electric trolley car in the city of Charlotte, N.C., ran its final route. Now, more than 65 years later, a car remaining from that line has been refurbished and returned to the city with the opening of a new 2.1-mile trolley line through downtown Charlotte. In its first week of service after the reopening, the rebuilt trolley car, currently the only car on the line, carried more than 8,300 passengers. The trolley project, brought together by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Mayor Patrick McCrory, Charlotte Trolley Inc., Charlotte City Center Partners and Historic South End, expected three new replica trolley cars to arrive later this summer. “This trolley provides the city with a new historic cultural amenity and a transportation choice all rolled into one,” said McCrory at the reopening ceremony. Built in 1927, Car 85 was thought to be scrapped sometime in the 1930s when municipal buses began to replace streetcars. The car was discovered in 1987, and Charlotte Trolley Inc. was organized to rebuild and preserve the car. With 10 stations, the new trolley line runs from the city’s Historic South End to Center City Charlotte. McCrory estimated the value of private investments along the corridor at $400 million. In 2006, CATS is scheduled to begin operating the city’s first light rail line in the same corridor.

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