[17] DDOT originally planned to purchase diesel multiple unit cars (self-propelled rail cars powered by diesel engines) from Colorado Railcar. [67], Another streetcar line was proposed for Maine Avenue SW. As part of the merger, the Capital Traction generating plant in Georgetown was closed (and, in 1943, decommissioned) and Capital Transit used only conventionally supplied electric power. ", Smith, Will and Wellborn, Mark. Find need-to-know information about traveling the DC Streetcar corridor, including guidelines for safety and courtesy. And local historian John DeFerrari’s new book, Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, D.C., takes us on a joyride through that century. Wants Streetcars to Roll By Mid-2013.'. Meanwhile, wage freezes held labor costs in check. [10] Noting its diminished ambitions, it became the Washington Interurban Railway on October 12, 1912,[1] and changed the Railway to Railroad in 1919. [30] Two years later, the last streetcar line was built.[43]. In 1904, it became its own corporation. The company built a car barn and stable on the east side of 15th Street just south of H Street at the eastern end of the line. It completed its track in August 1895. On July 1, 1864, a second streetcar company, the Metropolitan Railroad, was incorporated. ", Schwartzman, Paul. A streetcar would touch this electric wire with a long pole mounted on its roof. Washington, one of many American cities that built new electric streetcar systems, began converting from horse and cable cars in 1888. In 1895, the company removed its overhead trolley lines in accordance with its charter and attempted to replace them with batteries. History of Streetcars in Washington, D.C. Streetcars were a common mode of transportation in the District from 1862 until 1962. [12] After 1888, many cities, including Washington, turned to electric-powered streetcars. Taxis based and operating in the boundaries of the District of Columbia charged their fares with a zone system instead of taximeters, which is still in use. [23], On August 22, 2011, DDOT announced the first streetcars would roll on the H Street line in the summer of 2013. ", Kravitz, Derek. [7] The compressed-air motors were a failure and in 1899 the company switched to the standard underground electric power conduit. ", Emerling, Gary and Ward, Jon. In Washington, D.C., the last streetcar ran in 1962. [7] After completing a bridge over Rock Creek at Calvert Street on July 21, 1891, the line was extended through Adams Morgan and north on Connecticut Avenue to Chevy Chase Lake, Maryland. As improvements, such as balloon tires, were made, buses became more popular. Barry argued that the rider subsidy was too high and that the $800 million planned for construction of the remaining lines could be better used for road maintenance and school construction.[24]. Falls Barn, near Georgetown University, was demolished between 1948 and 1958. [1] Construction began by March 22, 1908. In 1956, following a strike, Congress forced the streetcar’s operator to shut down all streetcars and replace them with buses.. "Cash-Strapped Local Officials Balk At Metro's Capital Expenditures", "New Transit Board Would Manage Streetcars", "Streetcar Backers Gather Ammo to Sway Skeptics", Neibauer, Michael. [27][28] The second set of streetcars, initially numbered 13-001 through 13-003 (subsequently renumbered 201–203), were built in the U.S. in 2013 by United Streetcar,[26] of Oregon, based on a Skoda design (model Skoda 10T) that was originally developed jointly by Inekon and Skoda, and the shared design history explains the similarity between the two designs. [42], In 1932, the Arlington and Fairfax Motor Transportation Company was established to replace the streetcar service of the Arlington and Fairfax which lost the right to use the Highway Bridge. ", O'Connell, Jonathan. [29] In 1898, the Brightwood was ordered to switch to underground electric power on pain of having its charter revoked. [6][60], On August 26, 2010, DDOT officials ordered construction of the Anacostia Line shut down after city officials refused to extend the construction contract or give a new contract to another firm. [1], After the Herdic Company went under, the Metropolitan Coach Company began running horse-drawn coaches in conjunction with the Metropolitan Railroad, carrying passengers from 16th and T Streets NW to 22nd and G Streets NW. [1] By 1903 it ran from the Capitol along Pennsylvania Avenue SE to Barney Circle, and by 1908, it went across the bridge to Randle Highlands (now known as Twining) as far as 27th St SE. [13] This technically ended "trolley" cars in D.C. as only conduit operations remained. The Greater U Street Historic District is a Victorian-era neighborhood, developed largely between 1862 and 1900. A barn was built at 2411 P Street NW by the Metropolitan around 1870 and served as stables, a power house, car barn and repair shops. 1) February 8, 1808 Washington Bridge Co. authorized by an Act of Congress to construct the "Long Bridge" as a toll crossing. [87], The C Street NW/NE tunnel beneath the Upper Senate Park remained in use as a one-way service road adjacent to the Capitol, but since 9/11 it has been closed to the public. At the same time, the Chesapeake Beach Railway and the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis interurban ceased operations. ), During the 1930s, city newspapers began pushing for streetcar tunneling. [2], The Washington and Georgetown's monopoly didn't last long. Public transportation began in Washington, D.C., almost as soon as the city was founded. [32] In April 2009, DDOT announced that the Anacostia streetcar line would not be complete until at least 2012. Pleasant Line in December 1961, the Dupont Circle streetcar stations were used as a civil defense storage area for a few years and then left empty again. And like the city today, Congress tried to meddle. [66] It is included in the Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan. The Washington, Alexandria, and Mount Vernon Electric Railway began operating between Alexandria and Mount Vernon in 1892. The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company was the first streetcar company to operate in Washington, D.C. [63] In March 2011, the Washington Business Journal said that the city's reuse plan for its portion of the Walter Reed Campus included a retail hub serviced by a streetcar line. [31] Visually, the United units differ from the Inekon cars in appearance with different fiberglass driver compartments, and cowling, but the overall dimensions are identical. Because the Rockville line in Maryland was one of the lines that was closed, the Capital Transit Community Terminal was opened at Wisconsin Avenue NW and Western Avenue NW on August 4, 1935. It was the main source of transportation to Suburban Gardens, known as "the black Glen Echo", the first and only major amusement park within Washington. [58] Service Alerts. [7] The line was built during the Panic of 1896 despite 18 months of opposition from the Anacostia and Potomac River. Tracks are still visible on the 3200, 3300, and 3400 blocks of O St NW and P St NW. When Washington Traction defaulted on its loans on June 1, 1901, Washington and Great Falls moved in to take its place. [41], Further consolidation came in the form of the North American Company, a transit and public utility holding company. Three of the Ft. Worth cars are held in storage by North Texas Historic Transportation with plans to place them in a yet-to-be-built museum. On October 17, 1910, the Washington and Arlington, by then the Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railroad, and the Washington, Alexandria and Mount Vernon merged to form the Washington–Virginia Railway. On August 23, 1894, it was given permission to enter the District of Columbia using a boat or barge. [20] In 1897 it experimented with the "Brown System", which used magnets in boxes to relay power instead of overhead or underground lines, and with double trolley lines over the Navy Yard Bridge. The last cable car in the city ran the next day. The strike, only the third in D.C. history and the first since a three-day strike in 1945, lasted for seven weeks. 4:41 PM . The streetcars are the first to run in the District of Columbia since the dismantling of the previous streetcar system in 1962. Frustrated, employees went on strike on July 1, 1955. Image by Fototak on Flickr, used with permission.. DDOT applied for a $20 million National Infrastructure Investments — Consolidated Appropriations Act grant to assist it in building the extension. In 1892, one-horse cars were banned within the city, and by 1894 Congress began requiring companies to switch to something other than horse power while continuing to disallow overhead lines within the city. By 1919, the paper company was using a different power house and this one was purchased by the Capitol Traction Company, to use as a store room. [52][53] He said that none of the reported causes for delay were considered "fatal", but the DDOT had not yet responded to the report with a prediction as to when all the problems would be attended to. Waterfront Proposal Shaping Up. Maps of each historic district are available online at the links below. "D.C. ", "Third Time's A Charm? By the afternoon of the 28th, workers began tearing out the streetcar tracks and platforms along 14th Street. Although initially planned to go as far as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the line never ran further than an extension to Berwyn Heights, Maryland. [6][7] A third line ran down 14th Street NW from Boundary Street NW (now Florida Avenue) to the Treasury Building. After the March 2, 1889, law passed, the Washington and Georgetown began installing an underground cable system. [42] But the streetcars were also under increasing threat from competition. In the year following the successful demonstration of the Richmond streetcar, four electric streetcar companies were incorporated in Washington, D.C. [1][7] In 1897, it began construction on a line, known locally as the Dinky Line, that began at the end of the Brightwood spur at 4th and Butternut Streets NW, traveled south on 4th Street NW to Aspen Street NW and then east on Aspen Street NW and Laurel Street NW into Maryland. The city's first motorized streetcars began service in 1888 and generated growth in areas of the District beyond the City of Washington's original boundaries. DDOT also said it needed to take delivery of a sixth streetcar, likely in June, before any testing could begin. Early on the morning of Sunday, January 28, 1962, preceded by cars 1101 and 1053, car 766 entered the Navy Yard Car Barn for the last time, and Washington's streetcars became history. In 1881, the route was extended north and south on 11th Street West and tracks were rerouted across the Mall. They ran up and down the street for exactly 100 years until buses replaced them in 1949. [7] The streetcars traveled from the Arsenal and crossed the Navy Yard Bridge to Uniontown (now Historic Anacostia) to Nichols Avenue SE (now Martin Luther King Avenue) and V Street SE where a car barn and stables were maintained by the company. [10], Ground was broken for the Anacostia Line on November 13, 2004. "D.C. [50] In 1936, the system introduced route numbers. ", "D.C. strikes new deal for two streetcars", "D.C. buying third streetcar from Oregon Iron Works", "Shaw on the Move Part II: Milestones in Shaw Transportation", "D.C. 650: The Long Road Home", Articles about street cars in Washington, DC, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Streetcars_in_Washington,_D.C.&oldid=994146066. [49] In 1935, it closed several lines and replaced them with bus service. In 1888, the first electric-powered streetcar was put in service and overhead wires were installed around the city. [55][56] CSX disputed these claims, saying that it had the legal right to lease the tracks and land in perpetuity to the city for $16 million. Previously this had been done using Capital Transit's steeple-cab electric locomotives operating over a remnant of the Benning car line. [92] Bridge #6 over the Little Falls Branch Valley was removed sometime prior to 2000. Transit. [1], Using electricity from the power plant built to power its cable operation, the Columbia won permission in 1898 to build a line east along Benning Road NE, splitting on the east side of the Anacostia. None remain in active daily use, although one Capital Transit PCC car sold to Sarajevo has been restored and operates occasional special service in Sarajevo. After a strike in 1955, the company changed ownership and became DC Transit, with explicit instructions to switch to buses. Capital Traction abandoned this service in 1931. [55], The remaining system, including lines to the Navy Yard, the Colorado Avenue terminal, and the Bureau of Engraving (Routes 50, 54) and to the Calvert Street Loop, Barney Circle, and Union Station (Routes 90, 92) was shut down in January 1962. "Streetcars Return to D.C.", Young, Joseph. On March 14, 1914, it changed its name to the Washington and Maryland Railway. Rider’s Guide. Another line ran up 4th Street NE to Michigan Avenue NE. DC Streetcar 2007-built Inekon car 101 on H Street, from a passing bus (2017).jpg 4,070 × 2,848; 1.91 MB DC Streetcar car 203 arriving at H Street Line's Union Station terminus (2017).jpg 4,241 × 2,804; 1.88 MB [41], On December 29, 1954, Capital Transit lost one of its last freight customers when the East Washington Railway took over the delivery of coal from the B&O to the PEPCO power plant at Benning. [54] After serving in the US Army he joined DC Transit as a bus operator. Founded on July 16, 1790, Washington, DC is unique among American cities because it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital. In 1977, the tracks on M and Pennsylvania in Georgetown were paved over. [1], The first electric streetcar to operate in Anacostia was the Capital Railway. ", Kahn, Michael W. "Streetcars Returning to D.C. in Updated Form. [1], Between 1896 and 1899, three businessmen purchased controlling interests in the Metropolitan; the Columbia; the Anacostia and Potomac River; the Georgetown and Tennallytown; the Washington, Woodside and Forest Glen; the Washington and Great Falls; and the Washington and Rockville railway companies, in addition to the Potomac Electric Power Company and the United States Electric Lighting Company. [38] The former Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railroad reemerged as the Arlington and Fairfax Railway[38] and continued to serve the city on the Washington-Virginia route until January 17, 1932, when the Mt. It changed its name to the Belt Railway on February 18, 1893.[1][2][7]. The last old DC Transit streetcar still in service, in Sarajevo. These proved too costly and the company replaced them with horses in the central city. "Proposed Hike in Downtown D.C. BID Tax Rate Will Fund 100-Item To-Do List. A 1940s souvenir from the underground club. "On D.C. Streetcar: Possible Fare, Barry's Angst, National Harbor's Joy and More on the Launch Date. In the late 1950s and early '60s, as Washington's original streetcar system slowly converted its rail lines to buses, owners sold or gave away nearly 200 of DC's best railcars to any city that would take them. By 1916 streetcar use was reaching its peak in Washington, D.C. Streetcars were unionized in 1916 when local 689 of the Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America won recognition after a three-day strike. "Feds Give District Better Acreage for Walter Reed Redevelopment. [1] By 1898, the streetcar line ran along Nichols Avenue SE to Congress Heights, ending at Upsal Street SE. [4] The technology began to spread and on May 17, 1862, the first Washington, D.C., streetcar company, the Washington and Georgetown Railroad was incorporated. This is the story of rail-bound public transportation in the nation’s capital, told on a time line that begins with the Civil War and ends (for now) during the Kennedy administration. [7][8] The next year, the streetcar tracks reached Takoma Park via a spur along Butternut Street NW to 4th Street NW. It was incorporated on February 28, 1892, with the right to run a streetcar from the train station at 6th Street NW and B Street NW to Virginia across a new Three Sisters Bridge. It was incorporated by Colonel Arthur Emmett Randle on March 2, 1895, to serve Congress Heights. Washington, DC’s H Street NE corridor was built in 1849. [1][32] This was the last horse-drawn streetcar to run in the District.[1]. [14][15] The project received Metro's backing. [5] On December 3, 1961, the streetcar lines to Mount Pleasant (Routes 40, 42) and 11th Street (Route 60) were abandoned. [9], The Columbia decided to try a cable system, the last cable car system built in the United States. A car barn was built in Mount Pleasant around 1892. [15] In 1890 it was extended across the Maryland line to Bethesda. The D.C. government owns six streetcars that serve the system, built by two manufacturers to very similar designs. Tracks also exist under Ellington Place NE, 3rd Street NE, 8th Street SE, and elsewhere. Two days after the groundbreaking, CSX announced it would abandon the railway track but refuse to allow the city to use it for the streetcar project. [18], Two more Washington D.C. streetcar companies operating in Maryland were incorporated by acts of Congress in the summer of 1892. Each car is eight ft (2.438 metres) wide and 66 feet (20.12 m) long, and each car consists of three connected sections,[32] a design known as an articulated streetcar. Vanderwerken's success attracted competitors, who added new lines, but by 1854, all omnibuses had come under the control of two companies, "The Union Line" and "The Citizen's Line." [1][2], Streetcars began operation in New York City along the Bowery in 1832,[3] but the technology did not really become popular until 1852, when Alphonse Loubat invented a side-bearing rail that could be laid flush with the street surface, allowing the first horse-drawn streetcar lines. So that spring, when employees asked for a raise, there was no money available and the company refused to increase pay. Climbing the hills to the new parts of the city was difficult for horses, but electric streetcars could do it easily. In 1862 the Washington & Georgetown Railroad Company opened Washington, DC's first streetcar line running nine horse-drawn cars on tracks extending from the US Capitol to the State Department. Washington D.C. Street Car Collection DC TRANSIT SYSTEM (DCTS) 1101 ☆ ... Short History of DC Street Cars STREET CARS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, a concise illustratetd history from omnibus to 1962, by Wesley Pauslon & Ken Rucker, 1995. A streetcar passes the once ubiquitous Peoples Drug Store on 14th Street, NW, one of the District's busiest streetcar lines, circa 1935. [10], Between 1862 and 1962, streetcars in Washington, D.C., were a common mode of transportation, but the system was dismantled in the early 1960s as part of a switch to bus service. the Capital Traction Company Car Barn or Northern Carhouse), at 4615 14th Street NW, was built in 1906 and is now used as a, Benning Car House, the red brick building at the northeast corner of Benning Road & Kenilworth Avenue on the grounds of PEPCO's. "Turning Northeast's H Street Into Main Street. From the waiting station it used the Belt Line Street Railway Company's tracks on 14th Street NW to reach the Long Bridge, a combined road and rail crossing of the Potomac River. [9] To help move the K Street line forward, the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District (Downtown BID) proposed in March 2012 to fund a plan that would lay out how K Street should be reconfigured for streetcars, and how a K Street streetcar line would be planned, constructed, maintained, and serviced. Transit "...came under fire from a group of its black drivers for discrimination in promotions and assignments". [1] In 1896 it extended service along East Capitol Street and built the East Capitol Street Car Barn,[31] and extended its service to Mount Pleasant. In 1914 a failed attempt was made to have the Federal Government purchase all of the streetcar lines and companies. The first United car was delivered to DC Streetcar in January 2014[30] and the third and last in June 2014. The D.C. government owns six streetcars that serve the system, built by two manufacturers to very similar designs. It was a financial failure though and on August 13, 1915, the company ceased operations. Local media reports indicated that the D.C. developers were impressed by the effect streetcars had on Portland's economic development. Washington’s streetcars were a microcosm of the city, a great mixing bowl. To prevent transit disruption, Congress on June 5, 1900, authorized the Washington and Great Falls to acquire the stock of any and all of the railways and power companies owned by Washington Traction. About 20 streetcars remain of the hundreds that once plied the streets of Washington. North American tried to purchase Capital Traction, but never owned more than 2.5% of Capital Traction stock.[30]. Their 7th Street line switched to cable car on April 12, 1890. "$12 Billion Metro Plan Has Trolleys, Rapid Buses. [34] A new contract was awarded to United Streetcar in April 2012, for two streetcars,[35] and the order was expanded to three cars in August 2012. The Exorcist Stairs. [18], Financing for the plan proved problematic. [95] The poles likely date back to the bridge's construction in 1931. On October 18, 1888, the day after the Eckington and Soldier's Home began operation, Congress authorized the Brightwood Railway to electrify the Metropolitan's streetcar line on Seventh Street Extended NW or Brightwood Avenue NW (now known as Georgia Avenue NW) and to extend it to the District boundary at Silver Spring. RAILROAD HISTORY TIMELINE. [44] Testing on the H Street-Benning Road Line began in August 2014, with a planned opening date for the line in late 2014. The first threat to the streetcars came with the introduction of gasoline powered taxicabs. ", DeBonis, Mike. The two lines would thus form a cross-city streetcar line, although not directly. [22] Later, between 1903 and 1917, a line was added running south on 3rd St NW and west on Kennedy St NW to Colorado Avenue where it connected to Capital Traction's 14th Street line. [28] [1] In 1896, Congress directed the Eckington and Soldier's Home to try compressed air motors and to substitute underground electric power for all its horse and overhead trolley lines in the city. It would link with the H Street/Benning Road Line at Union Station via a pedestrian bridge which would require passengers to alight at Union Station and board an unconnected line. The Wolfsons began paying themselves huge dividends until, in 1955, the war chest was down to $2.7 million. In 1910, it began running cars along a single track from a modest waiting station and car barn near 15th Street NE and H Street NE along Bladensburg Road NE to Bladensburg. In May 1800, two-horse stage coaches began running twice daily from Bridge and High Streets NW (now Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW) in Georgetown by way of M Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW/SE to William Tunnicliff's Tavern at the site now occupied by the Supreme Court Building. [1], The Anacostia and Potomac River switched from horses to electricity in April 1900. [15], DDOT issued a favorable report, and the D.C. Council approved an expenditure of $310 million for the streetcar project in September 2002. [24] The Washington Interurban switched next and its tracks were removed when Bladensburg Road was repaved. [57] The new deadline for completion of the now-$10 million, 1.1-mile (1.7 km) line was set for the spring of 2008. ", Broom, Scott. Office Hours Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, except District holidays Connect With Us 1100 4th Street, SW, Suite 650 East, Washington, DC 20024 By December 31, 1933, it owned 50.016% of the voting stock. DC Streetcar The DC Streetcar started passenger service Saturday, February 27, 2016, with the H Street/Benning Road, NE, line. [9], The third electric streetcar company to incorporate, the Georgetown and Tenleytown Railway, was chartered on August 22, 1888. [37] On January 20, 2006, the District of Columbia Department of Transportation announced that it would build a $13 million streetcar line on H Street NE, from Union Station to Benning Road and the Minnesota Avenue Metro station as part of its Great Streets initiative,[38][39] on much of the same route established by the Columbia Railway Company in 1870. [23] The goal of the trip was to investigate whether streetcars had the intended positive economic consequences and whether the return on investment seemed worthwhile. Electric Railway began operating the system on its own Anacostia neighborhood streetcars began, lines. Flickr, used with permission the north–south line in 1897, with long. [ 12 ] after serving in the neighborhood engine, created a new of... Did n't last long 19, 1872 ) along 14th to Park Road NW Lena ``... To electric-powered streetcars power and complete the line black drivers for discrimination in promotions assignments... 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