If You Happen to See a Streetcar Downtown Today, No, You're Not Hallucinating

Categories: Transportation
Kinkisharyo-ameritram-2.jpg
Via.
Downtown denizens, do not be alarmed when you see one of these rolling through the city in about three hours.
There's an intriguing item on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit's board agenda this morning: "DART Board of Directors' Streetcar Tour." Which is exactly what it sounds like: At 11:30 this morning, the DART board -- and some city of Dallas officials, says DART director of media relations Morgan Lyons -- will hop aboard an honest-to-God streetcar for an extended tour of downtown. Here's the schedule:
1. Streetcar departs DART Headquarters at Akard Station to Victory Station at 11:38 a.m. and returns to Akard Station at 11:55 a.m.

2. Streetcar departs DART Headquarters at Akard Station to Baylor Station at 11:56 a.m. and returns to Akard Station at 12:25 p.m.
DART spokesman Mark Ball tells Unfair Park this morning they'll put the train on the tracks at the DART light-rail yard, then bring it through downtown for the morning show-n-tell. Lyons tells Unfair Park this morning it'll be a Kinkisharyo ameriTRAM, like the one seen here (and here).

"It's a example, a prototype," says Ball. Alas: No one other than DART board members and city officials will be allowed aboard. The future is now. Well, in three hours. And only for an hour. But, still.

Update at 9:10 a.m.: On the other side is DART's media release that went out shortly after I posted this, in which the transit agency explains: "The ameriTRAM is electric and is powered by either overhead catenary, like DART Rail, or on-board lithium-ion batteries. The vehicle can travel up to five miles on a full charge. It is 100% low floor and fully accessible."
Streetcar demonstration set for today

News media representatives are invited to join DART officials for a demonstration of the ameriTRAM streetcar on Tuesday, March 8. The ameriTRAM prototype, manufactured by Kinkisharyo, the maker of DART's light rail vehicles, is scheduled to make a test run between Akard and Victory stations on the Green Line.

Since this is a prototype vehicle, rides will be limited to no more than eight passengers per trip and only two trips will be made. The demonstration trips are being made during regular DART Rail revenue service. DART Rail schedules will not be affected by the demonstration.

The ameriTRAM is electric and is powered by either overhead catenary, like DART Rail, or on-board lithium-ion batteries. The vehicle can travel up to five miles on a full charge. It is 100% low floor and fully accessible.

DART is working as a technical advisor with the City of Dallas on a number of streetcar projects, including the planned connection to Oak Cliff, a connection with the McKinney Avenue Trolley and a future downtown streetcar network.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
Stacy Phillips1980
Stacy Phillips1980

what the hell is that?? When I 1st heard of this street car thing I immediately thought of San Francisco trolleys and the wonderful McKinney Ave trolley.....Not some big ugly smurf version of the Dart train....come one Dallas....for 35 million can we get something a lil more fun...

JustH
JustH

I was kinda hoping for more old-school trolleys like we have on McKinney.Oh wait,For a moment I totally forgot Dallas' habit of throwing history under the bus...

Schluderstrip
Schluderstrip

Hmmm, it just drove by... alot smaller than I expected.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

As someone suggested How about bringing back the old HOP-A-BUS ?

http://dallasmorningviewsblog....

One heck of a lot cheaper than what is being show now.

Flexible routes . Corners like a bus. And can complete the Maiden trip to Bishop Arts and beyond in weeks not years.BTW the Stopping Street Car at Lake Cliff &Colorado might be a sign that the main growth will be in another direction.The lack of ridership over the bridge will cause a loss of that section.Going on to the Hospital will bring riders !

Haretip
Haretip

I don't know if this vehicle would be usable on the existing McKinney Avenue Transit line as their turning radius is pretty tight in places. Need to find me some vehicle specs. The only modern production car capable of running on MATA is the Bombardier heritage tram being built for Toronto, but they didn't seem to have any interest in producing more and there is the US content requirement (ask Houston about that).

Justin B.
Justin B.

Hopefully this is a sign of some solid progress on the streetcar front. Also makes me wonder if they are planning on replacing the old McKinney Avenue trolleys since it will someday connect to the Arts District loop.

Ethno Centric
Ethno Centric

That thing looks Japanese with big anime eye headlights.

Kinkisharyo ameriTRAM.

Is that anything like the Kananyonya yankeeWOK?

Landon J. Harris
Landon J. Harris

Ah... well they should have said that in the store... I say you apply for a job Haretip, as a write for Unfair Park!

Haretip
Haretip

Li-ion battery for when you can't or don't want overhead wires. Pantograph for recharging when you are under the wire.

It's a streetcar, not Light Rail. Made for slower runs, shorter distances, can turn tighter curves. Not the same as the big bertha light rail cars.

Ted C. Howard
Ted C. Howard

I feel like I'm missing something here. How is this any different than the current light-rail trains?

Syd_Nancy
Syd_Nancy

Coolness, I thought all street cars were electric, why does it say Hybrid on the side, does it run on weed?

Downtowner
Downtowner

It's smaller because it is meant to share the street with other vehicles, not its own ROW like DART rail.

zobzerto
zobzerto

Part of the advantage of streetcars is that they DON'T have flexible routes. A fixed path encourages investment, since a business owner doesn't have to worry about the route being changed.

Also, a streetcar will last a hell of a lot longer than a bus.

cp
cp

Because people don't like buses. MATA tried that with Chance "trolley buses" when they opened the M-Line- a downtown circulator along Main Street that connected with the streetcars at St. Paul and Ross. The ridership was dismal. Worse than that, cornering like a bus meant passengers being slung all around, and the drivers were rude and non-responsive to tourists queries.

Haretip
Haretip

Cause nobody rode the hop-a-bus then and nobody will ride it now.

cp
cp

Haretip.... please talk slower.

cp
cp

And it has low floors, so doesn't need an elevated platform. That's a main difference too, right?

JGon
JGon

Well, the distinction lies in how they operate, not so much how they're built. They're kind of the same in that manner. But light rail (in America) has fewer stops, is much faster, holds more passengers, almost always has a dedicated corridor, and normally needs a dedicated station for boarding/alighting. A streetcar almost always runs in mixed traffic (I.e. On the street with car traffic, like the M-Line), it's slower, it has many more stops and generally can be boarded anywhere - even in the middle of the road. DART in the downtown transit mall blurs the line between streetcar/light rail.

Landon J. Harris
Landon J. Harris

My thoughts exactly... tell us why this is "sooooo cool"...

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Shhhhhhh Its like No one is bright enough to know Superman and Clark Kent are the same person...And I don't know if I should be telling anyone

Ted C. Howard
Ted C. Howard

I know of the sentiment, but logically it makes no sense. Why does a train have more appeal than a bus for mass transit? The bus is definitely easier to implement an more flexible as far as adjusting routes.

Kennetron
Kennetron

Because it wouldn't go on the light rail tracks. It would be more to connect downtown to uptown and deep ellum, etc. etc. It would be true street cars to get around town.

Ebh015
Ebh015

One reason is that with a bus, you have to research the route schedules to see where they're going--it's much easier to recognize a streetcar route by seeing the tracks in the road.

Downtowner
Downtowner

Haretip, tell them how Houston got in trouble for not adhering to "buy American" requirements for their latest rail project and ended up wasting millions of $$.

cp
cp

Please explain what the Bombardier heritage tram is, and why we should ask Houston about "content requirement".

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...