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Charlotte Trolley cars on Lynx Tracks?

Charlotte Trolley cars on Lynx Tracks?   29 members have voted

  1. 1. Should CATS place Antique Trolley Cars on Lynx Light Rail Tracks?

    • No
      18
    • Yes
      11

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23 posts in this topic

I notice that plans are proceeding to place the Charlotte historic Trolleys back into service and they will operate on the same tracks as the modern Lynx Light Rail Trains. (though I think the stations are different) So the question of this poll is do you think this is a good idea? I could be said these cars bring a bit of history back to Charlotte, but on the other hand, there is something also to be said for keeping Lynx new and modern.

Oh BTW, Tober has been hired to oversee this project.

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I say put a fast track on the trolley line to Presbyterian (and eventually the rest of it) and put them in service there. The rail lines will be in the ground once they finish the road work on Elizabeth so why not start using it?

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I personally do not like the idea of the trolleys running on the Lynx line. The trolleys would be better off running perpendicular to the line, my first choice being East Blvd. or even East/West Trade Street. to Johnson C Smith and CPCC. In other words, it would be nice to hop off the north/south Blue Line and jump on an east/west trolley.

Don't get me wrong. I loved the trolleys when they restored them and even made several large donations to help in the restorations. I just think they deserve their own track.

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I say put a fast track on the trolley line to Presbyterian (and eventually the rest of it) and put them in service there. The rail lines will be in the ground once they finish the road work on Elizabeth so why not start using it?

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Anyone know what will be holding back the trolley from going into service on the Elizabeth St. section? The tracks will supposedly be installed with the streetscape improvements so what's the deal? There's no way that this will receive federal funding so it would seem the city/CATS will be funding it and I'm sure it would be fairly minimal costs since the trolleys are already bought.

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I agree. I've often wondered how the heck (or even why the heck) they would run both of these at the same time, on the same tracks. Makes no sense.

Now, running them on a East/West and jump starting the streetcar routes with them, that makes sense.

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My understanding is that the trolleys will only run on Weekends between the LYNX trains (ie, every 20 minutes). Although I certainly wouldn't object to increased lunch time service to Southend on Weekdays...

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My understanding is that the trolleys will only run on Weekends between the LYNX trains (ie, every 20 minutes). Although I certainly wouldn't object to increased lunch time service to Southend on Weekdays...

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I've emailed council before about the possibility of running them down Trade/Elizabeth....I suggest that everyone else do the same.

The biggest hurdle to the plan is there is no trolley barn on this path, and there is no realistic way to connect it to the Lynx tracks so that it could use the existing barn.

Still, I think that the idea has strong merit, and from a historic standpoint, streetcars really did run Elizabeth/Trade, but never ran where the light rail does.

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Kinda funny that the trolley service and its associated nostalgia helped pave the way for the Lynx Blue Line and now that we have the the Blue Line we don't want the trolleys to mess it up.

The trolleys that would be run...would only be the modern ones. They will only bring out the old trolleys (like Car 85) for special occasions.

I think it will be ok on the weekends...but we'll have to wait a few months to see.

The problem with the trolleys is that they are designed as a tourist attraction...not an efficient mode of transit like the Siemens LRT cars on the Lynx line. And since they are tourist attractions it makes sense to me they run where you would take tourists....Uptown and Southend.

I don't know that it will ever make sense to run the replica trolleys on Elizabeth Ave. The routes that currently use Elizabeth Ave have the highest ridership numbers in the entire CATS system of Local Buses. What we need on Elizabeth is a serious transportation solution such as a modern streetcar that will be able to increase the capacity of those routes w/o increasing congestion. I don't think that placing replica "tourist" trolleys on that route will solve any transit problems...in fact I think it would create more problems than it would solve.

I do see where it would be nice to have the trolleys running on Elizabeth and would add some character and charm. But with the limited bucket of money we have I think we should focus on serious and modern transportation solutions before we spend tens of millions on a tourist transit mode.

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I think a second question might need to be added, as CATS does NOT plan to run the antique trolley (except very special occasions as uptownliving mentions), but rather the ones built a few years ago, which are virtually the same as the LRT vehicles except they have a smaller capacity and a design that is nostalgic.

Really, we're in this bind because of all the leg work that was put in by grass roots volunteers to rebuild the trolley system, which exploded in a large scale urban mass transit system. Considering that it is pretty much like running a trolley-looking bus on a street (ie. it is just a trolley-looking light rail vehicle), there really isn't much reason not to run it on the same tracks.

What it does is provide additional service between uptown and southend (the more urban sections of the Lynx line) during off peak hours.

All of that said, I DO think it would be good idea to build a starter line elsewhere, either Elizabeth Ave (where they are already putting in the track base as part of the roadwork) or on a modest extension northest that will be absorbed into the NE extension of the Lynx.

But frankly, I don't think the money is really there any more. It was fine to spend some city money on a starter line before we had transit, to help build up imaginations and create a tourist draw, but now, we have the real rail line that meets our needs, so why not just run the nostalgic trains intermixed when operationally practical, and build a modest museum to help support the tourism aspect of it all. The bottom line is that the trolley didn't really pull in many people during commuting hours, it was mainly a weekend tourist attraction. So by running the cars during the weekends can serve that function just as it always did, just like running a horse-drawn carriage through Historic Fourth Ward on the weekend does.

But I'll abstain on the poll while it still refers to the Antique trolley, since that is not a good idea if the Feds consider it a safety hazard.

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The 3 replica birney trolleys that Gomaco built for CATs have the following specifications:

  • Top speed - 30mph

  • Seating - 44

  • Total capacity - 88

Does anyone know if they will used the same ticketing system as Lynx, or will it still just be $1/ride. As mentioned above, Car 85, which is a restored trolley from Charlotte's turn of the 20th century trolley system was deemed too unsafe by the FTA to operate on the same tracks with Lynx so, my guess, is that it will be rarely used.

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This might be crazy from a logistical standpoint, but why not run them up and down Tryon to replace the Orange Line? Imbed the tracks in the street, and the only difference between it and a Gold Rush bus is that it doesn't need to do a loop in order to turn around. Provided, of course, that it can operate safely in mixed traffic -- can it?

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2 Comments-

1) Atlvr- you make a good point about the problem that there is no storage facility for them with access to Trade/Elizabeth. However, thinking abou it- eventually they will have to have it anyways, they mine as well invest into it now, or are they suppose to be stored at Gateway Station (future). Anywho- sounds like the largest problem to make this happen isn't too big of a problem.

2) The trolley's are already expected to open Spring 2008. There are signs all over some of the LRT stations. Originally they were aiming for a February opening, but I also think that they weren't expecting so many weekend riders. It would be my assumption to think that they may be watching ridership before getting into anything, because obviously the LRT has much more capacity.

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Another issue to deal with is the motive power. Unless the overhead lines are also installed, they would need to bring that diesel generator out of storage they used previously.

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1) Atlvr- you make a good point about the problem that there is no storage facility for them with access to Trade/Elizabeth. However, thinking abou it- eventually they will have to have it anyways, they mine as well invest into it now, or are they suppose to be stored at Gateway Station (future). Anywho- sounds like the largest problem to make this happen isn't too big of a problem.

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There were two options for a storage/maintenance facility for the streetcar line. If I remember correctly, one was by Beaties Ford and Brookshire, the other was on the north side of Central where the streetcar crossed over. If your going to build to these points, then you may as well go through with the original streetcar plan.

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The fact is, none of those ideas are very practical. Why would spend another 25 million to build up a stub line that will get wiped out again just to have the nostalgia and tourist factor that they could get from running it on the Lynx tracks?

The 30mph max speed is fine, as that is just under the speed limit CATS has gone with for Lynx vehicles between uptown and Southend. It doesn't have much capacity, but they opt to run it in between Lynx cars on the weekend, so people who need transit will ride the Lynx, but people who want nostalgia and a more historic feeling (and the tour) can wait. Or, the people who hapen to be in a hurry and happen to get there as the trolley does, they can hop on that rather than waiting for the Lynx (but only if they are going between Uptown and Southend).

All in all, the money spent on the trolley line was fine before, because it was a pilot or proof of concept for rail travel here, but now, we have bought on to a real transit process. If you could run it on tracks like Elizabeth Ave without spending much extra money, then that would be great, but the fact is, it can't really happen. There is just not the extra money for such a thing.

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I still say if the tracks are in the ground (on Elizabeth) we should use them and not let them sit and "waste away." Seems the only real cost would be installing the overhead wires and figuring out where to store the trolleys.

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All in all, the money spent on the trolley line was fine before, because it was a pilot or proof of concept for rail travel here, but now, we have bought on to a real transit process. If you could run it on tracks like Elizabeth Ave without spending much extra money, then that would be great, but the fact is, it can't really happen. There is just not the extra money for such a thing.

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Only the trackwill be added to Elizabeth Ave, not the electrical system. They are pretty much making sure that when they repave it, they add the proper foundation for the streetcar tracks, and I think they'll just snap in the tracks when they're at it (althoug they might even be waiting on that part too, I'm not sure). It was an investment to avoid their streetscape money from being thrown away when the streetcar line ends up getting built in the end, but it is hardly everything needed to pop on the trolleys.

Don't get me wrong though, I could get behind spending $20m to add those wires and electrical systems, and complete the trackwork between Kings and the Lynx tracks (it is only .7mi from Kings). I even think it would be interesting if they built a tie into the Lynx tracks either by doing a loop around the Ritz block (Trade to College to 5th) or possibly down Brevard to tie into the Lynx tracks on MLK.

The fact is, though, that they can get all the tourist and nostalgic benefits of the Trolley by keeping it where it has been for years by simply coordinating it with the Lynx, so why spend that extra money at all?

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