Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lone streetcar returns to Canal St.

New Orleans CityBusiness:
"Getting Car 930 to what the Regional Transit Authority hopes will be its new home was not an easy job.

Both of the agency's tow trucks were lost in the flood, so the 37,000-pound car was first hitched to a dump truck, but the hitch broke as the car turned out of the barn. A new hitch and different truck finally got the streetcar under way 20 minutes later.

The RTA spent a week cleaning storm debris from the tracks but the truck bogged down once in mud along the way. Then, when the car began the downtown portion of the trip, police had to clear trucks parked along the tracks to make deliveries or collect garbage.

It took a little more than an hour for the trip, with onlookers, like Roche cheering and waving as the old car went by.

Officials said numerous tests are needed before the car can begin carrying passengers.

'Now that we have the car here we can play with it and see what works and what doesn't work,' said Gerald Robichaux, the RTA deputy general manager of operations.

The RTA is shooting for limited restoration of service by Christmas Eve, Robichaux said. The streetcars would cover the entire Riverfront line and a short distance on Canal Street, if all goes right. The total distance for both lines will only be about 1 1/2 miles, Robichaux said. When the entire system was operating, streetcar routes covered around 18 miles."

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