Refurbished Street Cars A Hit In North American Cities

Do any old salvageable street cars exist in Montreal?

Photo Thomas Hawk

Hot tram! Old trolleys are the new classic cars [SLIDESHOW]

A Brookville-restored streetcar in San Francisco. While they have the look and feel of historic streetcars, the restored trolleys are equipped for modern day needs, can have air conditioning, are ADA compliant and meet modern safety standards. Photo credit: Rick Laubscher.

Restored Streetcars Now Desirable

To the delight of many, old streetcars are being restored to their former glory and put back into transit service in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Portland.

“A unique industry is flourishing in Brookville, Pa., an old lumber town about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The sounds of buzzing saws are emanating from a modern-looking warehouse on the grounds of the Brookville Equipment Corp. (BEC). Inside, workers are cutting through the body of a streetcar that’s clearly seen better days. Sitting next to it on the factory floor is an old yellow streetcar, polished to look new. It basically is. BEC is in the business of restoring old streetcars, and these days, that’s a booming business.”

“Behind many of these streetcar projects is the desire to revitalize neighborhoods. When Portland built its line in 2001, the city hoped it would encourage transit-oriented development. The line has done just that. Today, it is credited with leading to $3.5 billion in new construction, 10,000 residential units, and more than 5 million square feet of office and hotel space. Even though it’s still under construction, the New Orleans Streetcar project has already stimulated hotel renovations, new apartment construction and retail projects along Loyola Avenue. The city currently operates three streetcar lines using vintage and replica trolleys, which the city’s transit authority calls “a piece of movable New Orleans history.””

Full story.

2 responses to “Refurbished Street Cars A Hit In North American Cities

  1. In Montreal-they BURNED nearly all the streetcars- couldn’t WAIT-to get RID of them(the 25 Notre Dame line on D’Eglise-was among the very FIRST -to go(in 1952)……

    1950s Montreal-COULDN’T WAIT-to “Modernize’…………( and ‘get rid of the UNSIGHTLY OVERHEAD WIRES……”)(what was supposed to take TEN years- they did in only 7-years-)……………(even a proposal to keep HALF the streetcar system got rejected…..)

    (Oh yes-a number of the San Franscisco Streetcars- originally came -from-TORONTO(Our PCC cars-( in Montreal the 3500-3517 PCC cars-seen on the Outremont line)( and we(Toronto) bought OURS ( from places like Cleveland Kansas City Birmingham…..( we kept ours running until 1996( and kept 2 of them for sightseeing tours etc( they STILL run too…)

    The PCCs are like the ‘1965 Ford Mustangs”of the streetcar business(almost like sportscars)-(they can be upgraded and modernized(Toronto streets saw them for close to
    60 years…..)….we eventually had an all PCC fleet……….(they are incredibly FAST too(speedwise)(not for NOTHING-did Toronto call them ‘Red Rockets).
    (I rode them-almost daily-for over 20 years…..really comfortable too)(seatwise)
    (plus I lived behind the St.Clair streetcar yards(full of PCCs
    Montreal did not have enough of them-(they would have fit easily through the Wellington Tunnel-too(long past April 1957)……
    The Montreal and Southern Counties line( which ran for an incredible 47 years) could easily have been modernized and expanded-( especially with the crumbiing Champlain and Mercier Bridges……)..LRTs could have worked well on the South Shore………

    (and they Very quickly paved over ALL-the streetcar tracks( to look as if Montreal had NEVER had streetcars….ever…..)

    Montreal could have had buses streetcars subways( which has worked well in Toronto…….(in fact we are adding more LRT lines…..)(not Less)

    But Noooooooooo!

    I remember the old noisy Brill buses(the 90 out to Lachine(along Upper Lachine Road(I rode a lot) or the Bannanatyne Bus………..

  2. THe PCC cars- are like the 1965 Mustangs( or ’57 Chevys) of streetcars…..
    (they keep rebuilding and modernizing them…(and they go on forever…)…
    The streetcars Toronto has now ‘look like spaceships”(those were introduced in 1979-(and are now being replaced) the new ones that will replace them(built by Bombardier(by the way) look like giant metal slugs-moving along the ground…)(we begin seeing those in 2014)….
    The PCCs are over 50 years old-(and still very useful!)

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