Falls Barn, near Georgetown University, was demolished between 1948 and 1958. Later that year, the Eckington and Soldier's Home purchased the Maryland and Washington. To get electricity to the streetcars from the powerhouse where it was generated, an overhead wire was installed over city streets. The line from Friendship Heights to Rockville (formerly the Washington and Rockville), the P Street line (Metropolitan), the Anacostia-Congress Heights line (Capital Railway) and the Connecticut Avenue line in Chevy Chase (Rock Creek) were all replaced with buses. Washington’s streetcars were a microcosm of the city, a great mixing bowl. [14] At the same time, an extension was built along Michigan Avenue NE to the B&O railroad tracks. A 1940s souvenir from the underground club. After a strike in 1955, the company changed ownership and became DC Transit, with explicit instructions to switch to buses. Horses needed to be housed and fed, created large amounts of waste, had difficulty climbing hills and were difficult to dispose of. [34] In 1906, the Long Bridge's road and streetcar tracks were relocated to a new truss bridge (the Highway Bridge), immediately west of the older bridge. DC’s first streetcar system opened in the middle of the Civil War after taking only six months to build. [24] The Washington Interurban switched next and its tracks were removed when Bladensburg Road was repaved. ", "Third Time's A Charm? There are more than fifty historic districts in Washington, including the monumental civic complexes of the National Mall and Federal Triangle. This article is about the streetcars that existed in Washington prior to 1962. [36], In 2003, then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams unveiled a draft Strategic Development Plan which proposed redeveloping and revitalizing six blighted areas of the city, including H Street NE and Benning Road. It expanded to full operations from the Navy Yard to Georgetown on October 2, 1862. ", Broom, Scott. [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. Tracks can still be seen in the floors in some locations of the Bureau.[89]. It was incorporated on March 3, 1875, and began operation later that year. Other remnants include the Potomac Electric Power Company, the electric portion of Washington Traction and Electric Company, which remains the D.C. area's primary electrical power company; some streetcar-related manhole covers that remain in use around town; and four tall lampposts for Capital Traction's overhead wires on the Connecticut Avenue Bridge over Klingle Valley in Cleveland Park. It ran from the Treasury Building along H Street NW/NE to the city boundary at 15th Street NE. The Pennsylvania Avenue NW trackwork between the Capitol and the Treasury Building was removed during the street's mid-1980s redevelopment. A second line would run along Good Hope Road SE to the District boundary. Though the two companies legally acted as different entities, they traveled identical routes on identical rails and shared a car barn (owned by WRECo) on Wisconsin Avenue NW at the District boundary. Articles with dead external links from December 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with self-published sources from March 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The Washington and Georgetown Car Barn (later known as the M Street Shops) at 3222 M Street NW, which had served as stables for, The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company Car Barn at 1346 Florida Avenue NW, originally built in 1877 and sold in 1892, is known today as the west building of the Manhattan Laundry. Three other cars owned by the Trolley Museum were destroyed in a fire on September 28, 2003. Transit 1101 and 1540, Capital Transit 509, 522, 766 and 1430, and Washington Railway 650, are preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum in the Washington suburbs. [11], In the late 1990s, Metro began considering a series of rapid bus, light rail, and streetcar projects throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region as a means of providing intra-city and intra-regional mass transit and to meet the transit needs of the quickly growing population of the area. Roads by Late Next Year. "Southwest D.C. 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. It wasn't given approval by Congress until February 18, 1875, but it was constructed that year. They ran up and down the street for exactly 100 years until buses replaced them in 1949. The Exorcist Stairs. [56] The last scheduled run, filled with enthusiasts and drunken college students, left 14th and Colorado at 2:17 am and arrived at Navy Yard ten minutes late at 3:05 am. 0.02 miles. area. "From Seedy to Sought-After: D.C.'s Mount Vernon Triangle Becoming Urban Village. It was built along 7th Street NW from N Street NW to the Potomac River and expanded to the Arsenal (now Fort McNair) in 1875. Washington DC, District of Columbia 13,370 contributions 595 helpful votes Great way to connect This street car line is the first street car to open after the original line was closed in 1962. [1], The Anacostia and Potomac River switched from horses to electricity in April 1900. One branch ran to Kenilworth, and the other, built in 1900, connected at Seat Pleasant with the terminus of the steam-powered Chesapeake Beach Railway. Over the years, their numbers expanded. [1], In 1883, Frank Sprague, an 1878 Naval Academy graduate, resigned from the Navy to work for Thomas Edison. One last special trip, carrying organized groups of trolley enthusiasts, set out after that and returned at 4:45 am. [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. Announces Construction of Streetcar Infrastructure", "DDOT Best-Case Scenario Targets November Opening For D.C. Streetcar", "D.C. fails to make good on promise to open streetcar project by end of year", The D.C. Streetcar's Latest Problem: Catching on Fire, "Transportation director: DC streetcar may never open", "APTA Peer Review Finds DC Streetcar Can Open", "District streetcar line can open following fixes, industry group says", "33 things DDOT must fix to open the DC Streetcar", "American Public Transportation Association, Peer Review, for District Department of Transportation, Washington DC", Ginsberg, Steven. 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. ", Neibauer, Michael. D.C. to Again Seek $20M in Federal Streetcar Aid", "Trains, buses, new lanes for cars and bikes—highlights from the 2016 CLRP Amendment", Template:Attached KML/H Street/Benning Road Line, D.C. Dept. Several hundred cars were scrapped, cut in half at the center door and junked. It was incorporated by Colonel Arthur Emmett Randle on March 2, 1895, to serve Congress Heights. [9], In April 2014, DDOT estimated that the H Street Line would open in the fall of 2014. [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. [1][32] This was the last horse-drawn streetcar to run in the District.[1]. Streetcars followed 23 years later, creating a successful business center and encouraging development in the neighborhood. [54], As part of the deal selling Capital Transit to O. Roy Chalk, he was required to replace the system with buses by 1963. [1][5] Another line opened on November 15, 1862. By early 1946, the company would place in service 489 of the streamlined, modern PCC model and, in the early 1950s, become the first in the nation to have an all-PCC fleet. Electric streetcars remained a popular transportation option when many preferred not to drive to avoid a wartime gasoline tax during World War II. Meanwhile, wage freezes held labor costs in check. The East Capitol Street Car Barn, at 1400, The Decatur Street Car Barn (a.k.a. The city began holding public hearings on construction of the line ahead of schedule, due to the imminent 2011 closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Back at the powerhouse, big steam engines would turn huge generators to produce the electricity needed to operate the streetcars. By the mid-1890s, there were numerous streetcar companies operating in the District. [10] On June 24, 1908, the first streetcars began service to Union Station along Delaware Avenue NE and by December 6 cars of both Capital Traction and Washington Railway were serving the building along Massachusetts Avenue NE. [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. [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. [10], The Anacostia and Potomac River Railroad was chartered on May 5, 1870. [30], During this time the streetcar companies continued to expand both trackage and service. It was incorporated and started operations in 1862, using horse-drawn cars on tracks between Georgetown and the Navy Yard. In October 2010, the D.C. government unveiled its long-awaited, $1.5 billion development proposal for the city's southwest waterfront district. The two lines would thus form a cross-city streetcar line, although not directly. [1] In 1912, it was incorporated into the new Washington and Old Dominion Railway and became the Great Falls Division of that company. But as in most cities, the majority of D.C.-area residents prefer to drive alone in their cars from their homes to their workplaces. [54] In the previous summer of 1970 D.C. North American began to acquire stock in Washington Railway in 1922, gaining a controlling interest by 1928. The Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway was approved on July 28, 1892, to build an electric streetcar line from the Aqueduct Bridge to Cabin John Creek. The route was planned to promote development of company-owned land adjacent to the tracks, but it never successfully competed with established rail lines in the same area. The space was once considered for a columbarium. The complex trackwork on Capitol Plaza in front of Washington Union Station was removed in the mid-1960s. By 1901, a series of mergers dubbed the "Great Streetcar Consolidation" gathered most local transit firms into two major companies. [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. Public transportation began in Washington, D.C., almost as soon as the city was founded. [1], The company ran the first streetcar in Washington, D.C., from the Capitol to the State Department starting on July 29, 1862. [54] After serving in the US Army he joined DC Transit as a bus operator. That makes it a good time to look back at the history of Washington's once-grand system of electric streetcars. 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. 'Is it really happening? A streetcar would touch this electric wire with a long pole mounted on its roof. In 1904, it became its own corporation. [34][35] This span was removed in 1967. [17], Initially, the line was planned to run along the abandoned CSX railway tracks (known as the Shepherd Industrial Spur) from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station to the Anacostia Metro station, then cross the 11th Street Bridges before connecting with the Navy Yard–Ballpark and Waterfront Metro stations. In 1890 they bought the former Boundary and Silver Spring line from the Metropolitan, but continued to operate it as a horse line. "D.C. [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. They built a new cable car barn and began operating the system on March 9, 1895. of Transportation video of the first DC Streetcars arriving on Dec. 15, 2009, Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland, Second-generation streetcar systems in North America, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=DC_Streetcar&oldid=997655140, Articles with dead external links from July 2015, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2017, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 1 January 2021, at 16:25. [28] [45], When electric streetcars began, several lines also delivered freight on rail cars running on their lines. And like the city today, Congress tried to meddle. 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. As improvements, such as balloon tires, were made, buses became more popular. In Washington, the streetcars were privately owned and run. Finally, two of the Barcelona cars are privately owned and stored in Madrid, Spain, and Ejea de los Caballeros, Spain, and another two are in the Museu del Transport in Castellar de n'Hug, Spain (Photo of one).[62]. [18], Financing for the plan proved problematic. 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. 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. [1] Construction began by March 22, 1908. [63] The streetcar line was part of a proposed $500 million, 62-acre (25 ha) mixed-use housing, office, and retail development that would begin construction in 2013. [42] (Here's a General Electric ad about PCC cars in Washington. [3], By 1888, Washington was expanding north of Boundary Street NW into the hills of Washington Heights and Petworth. Streetcar Lines criss-crossed the city from 1862 to 1962. [17] By 1900, the tracks had extended to Rockville. Transit 1101 and 1540, Capital Transit 509, 522, 766 and 1430, and Washington Railway 650, Booker T. Washington Public Charter School, Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Connecticut Avenue Bridge over Klingle Valley, "Beginning of Street Railways in the National Capital", "Shaw on the Move Part II: Milestones in Shaw Transportation", "Historic Survey of Shaw East Washington, D.C.", "Washington Heights National Register of Historical Places Application", "H Street: A Neighborhood's Story Part II", "Anacostia Corridor Demonstration Project - Environmental Assessment", "Timeless Machines:Trolleys could make a homecoming to Richmond as the city eyes mass transit options", "Eckington & Soldiers' Home R CO v. McDevitt, 191 U.S. 103 (1903)", "Historical Overview Of Mount Rainier, Maryland", "The District's Frontier in 1884: Tradesmen Join Visionary to Shape Washington's First True Suburb", https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1983/10/11/hero-of-1812-remembered/7f7a0a00-0106-43e7-ae07-c1625ccc9c75/, "Terminal of New Electric Road Booms Building in the Northeast", "Anacostia and Potomac River electric streetcar", "Remarks at the Arlington Historical Society Banquet", "History of the Long Railroad Bridge Crossing Across the Potomac River", "Washington City to Mount Vernon: Stations And Distances", "At the End of the Line, An Opportunity Lost", "Historic American Buildings Survey:Columbia Railway Company Car Barns", "Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Brochure", "NCTM: Washington, D.C. Street Car Scenes", "DC Transit Company PCC Streetcar (1945)", "Organizations Preserving North American Railway Cars", "District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites", "Developer Buys 'Blue Castle' in Southeast", "Madison Marquette, National Community Church close the Blue Castle deal", "Jemal Captures 3 High Profile Tenants in D.C.", "The Tenleytown Historical Society of Washington, D.C.", "Historical American Building Survey: Capital Traction Company Powerhouse", "D.C.'s first 'flex building' built in 19th century", Historic Preservation review board application for historic landmark or historic district designation for the Brightwood Street Railroad Company Car Barn, "Foulger-Pratt to turn Georgia Ave. car lot into new mixed-use project", Historical Society Scrutinizing Plans for High-Rise on Former Car Lot in Brightwood, "Wal-Mart plans to open 4 stores in the District", "Photos: Demolition of Brightwood Car Barn begins", "What It's Like To Be A Walmart Architect", "Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission Special Meeting", http://www.thewashcycle.com/2016/06/from-the-archives-get-out-of-your-wigwams-and-support-the-watermain-bike-path.html, "Palisades Trolley Trail Feasibility Study", Last Streetcars Run Today on 3 Major Lines: Changeover Cuts City Mileage To Half of the Total in 1956, "The Historic Car Barn, 3600 M Street, NW, Washington, DC", "Hoorah for WRECo. It complied, installing the underground sliding shoe on the north–south line in January 1895. Later that year, it bought the Columbia and Maryland Railway, which ran from Mount Rainier to Laurel. [19] At its southern terminus it connected to the Eckington and Soldier's Home. (Opens in a … The first formal bus company in Washington, the Washington Rapid Transit Company, was incorporated on January 20, 1921. ", "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. Bridge #1 at Georgetown University was removed in 1976. In 1909 the Metropolitan Coach Company began to switch from horse-drawn coaches to gasoline-powered coaches - replacing its entire system by 1913 - becoming a precursor to the bus companies. He wound up in Richmond, Virginia, where, on February 2, 1888, he put into service the first electric-powered streetcar system. [39] In 1916 Capital Traction took ownership of the Washington and Maryland and its 2.591 miles of track. [7] The compressed air motors were a failure, and in 1899 the cars were equipped with the standard underground power system. In 1892 it was ordered by Congress to switch to overhead electrical power and complete the line. ", Wilgoren, Debbi. Testing of the system would take several weeks, and then the system would need to be certified for operation by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which would take another 60 to 80 days. [61] In 2014, DDOT said it was planning to spend $64 million to begin construction on the Anacostia Line Extension from the Anacostia Metro station to the 11th Street Bridges. 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. Built in 1917 by the D.C. Paper Manufacturing Company, the three-bay brick-and-steel structure was built to serve as the power house for the paper company. "DC's Streetcar Project Halted For Now. 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] Chalk fought the retirement of the streetcars[41] but was unsuccessful, and the final abandonment of the streetcar system began on September 7, 1958, with the end of the North Capitol Street (Route 80) and Maryland (Route 82) lines. 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. 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. About 20 streetcars remain of the hundreds that once plied the streets of Washington. Over the next decades, the streetcar system shrank amid the rising popularity of the automobile and pressure to switch to buses. 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. [1], The East Washington Heights Traction Railroad was incorporated on June 18, 1898. [9], The third electric streetcar company to incorporate, the Georgetown and Tenleytown Railway, was chartered on August 22, 1888. The Eckington and Soldiers' Home Railway was the first to charter, on June 19, 1888, and started operation on October 17. But the holding company had borrowed too heavily and paid too much for the subsidiaries and quickly landed in financial trouble. [1] It used the Union's charter to expand into Georgetown. Tracks are still visible on the 3200, 3300, and 3400 blocks of O St NW and P St NW. A streetcar passes the once ubiquitous Peoples Drug Store on 14th Street, NW, one of the District's busiest streetcar lines, circa 1935. [9] City officials said all platform stops had been constructed along the route, but overhead electricity lines, turnarounds at each end of the line, a streetcar overnight holding facility ("car barn"), maintenance facility, and three power substations remained to be built. [91] In 1980 and 1981, the three other bridges along the right-of-way - Bridge #3 at Clark Place, Bridge #4 next to Reservoir Road, and Bridge #5 over Maddox Branch in Battery Kemble Park - were removed during the construction of the water main. [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. The last new streetcar company to form was the Washington, Spa Spring and Gretta Railroad. [68], The change included the abandonment of previously-adopted plans to build several new heavy-rail Metrorail lines throughout the region. [23][24][25] By 1917 it had been extended out Pennsylvania Avenue past 33rd Street SE.,[26] but the company ceased operations by 1923.[27]. [5], With further bustitution, the Columbia Railway Company Car Barn was converted to a bus barn in 1942.[47][48]. The 2.4-mile DC Streetcar line services eight stops from Union Station to Oklahoma Avenue at RFK Stadium’s parking lot. [30] Two years later, the last streetcar line was built.[43]. [17] DDOT originally planned to purchase diesel multiple unit cars (self-propelled rail cars powered by diesel engines) from Colorado Railcar. The DC Streetcar is a surface streetcar network in Washington, D.C. As of 2017[update], it consists of only one line: a 2.2-mile segment running in mixed traffic along H Street and Benning Road in the city's Northeast quadrant. The East Washington Heights became the first streetcar company to switch,[44] replacing its two streetcars and one mile of track with a bus line. An early streetcar passes the Treasury. [6][7] A third line ran down 14th Street NW from Boundary Street NW (now Florida Avenue) to the Treasury Building. Their 7th Street line switched to cable car on April 12, 1890. ", Kahn, Michael W. "Streetcars Returning to D.C. in Updated Form. ), During the 1930s, city newspapers began pushing for streetcar tunneling. Just as the horse cars had replaced carriages and the electric streetcar replaced horse cars, so too were buses to replace the electric streetcars. The City and Suburban and the Georgetown and Tennallytown operated as subsidiaries of Washington Railway until October 31, 1926, when it purchased the remainder of their stock. "Streetcars Return to D.C.", Young, Joseph. [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. [62], In October 2010, D.C. officials unveiled tentative plans to build a streetcar line up Georgia Avenue. Wants Streetcars to Roll By Mid-2013.'. Sometime after conversion of the Mt. Service Alerts. The first threat to the streetcars came with the introduction of gasoline powered taxicabs. [32] In April 2009, DDOT announced that the Anacostia streetcar line would not be complete until at least 2012. [9], By 1888, it had built additional lines down 4th Street NW/SW to P Street SW, and on East Capitol Street to 9th Street. ", Smith, Will and Wellborn, Mark. The DC Streetcar hours of service are below: This article is about the streetcars that existed in Washington until 1962. [5] On January 3, 1960, the Glen Echo (Route 20), Friendship Heights (Route 30) & Georgia Avenue (Routes 70, 72, 74) streetcar lines were abandoned and the Southern Division (Maine Avenue) Car Barn was closed. 4:41 PM . The right-of-way of the Glen Echo line is mostly extant from the Georgetown Car Barn all the way to the Dalecarlia Reservoir filtration plant in DC and from the District line to Cabin John in Maryland. The D.C. government owns six streetcars that serve the system, built by two manufacturers to very similar designs. In the year following the successful demonstration of the Richmond streetcar, four electric streetcar companies were incorporated in Washington, D.C. 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. On August 2, 1894, Congress ordered the Metropolitan to switch to underground electrical power.

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