El Paso Streetcar
Work is underway on a project to return vintage streetcars to daily use in El Paso for the first time since 1974. But the El Paso Streetcar project isn’t just a novelty — it’s an important part of the El Paso region’s growing multi-modal transportation portfolio.
The El Paso streetcar system will link the International Bridges, downtown retail areas, convention center, ballpark, Cincinnati Entertainment District, and the University of Texas at El Paso, among other area attractions. Construction consists of approximately 4.8 miles of track, 27 streetcar stops, related street improvements, traction power system, and a vehicle maintenance and storage facility near the existing Sun Metro Downtown Transfer Center.
The CRRMA is tasked with constructing the project, including re-manufacturing six of the City’s available streetcars (the same Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcar vehicles that ran in the area until 1974), and constructing various infrastructure improvements required for the 4.8-mile route including track, overhead contact system lines, power stations and a maintenance and storage facility. The project’s anticipated completion date is late 2018. Once operational, the City’s Mass Transit Department (Sun Metro) will operate and maintain the streetcars and associated facilities.
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The project includes the construction of 4.8 miles of track, 27 stops, a maintenance and storage facility and associated infrastructure, along with the remanufacture of streetcars that used to serve El Paso.
The 4.8-mile route consists of two loops, connecting the International Bridges, downtown retail areas, government buildings, Convention Center and downtown ballpark with the medical center, University of Texas at El Paso, and several historic neighborhoods.
The Downtown Loop will run clockwise on Santa Fe Street, Franklin Avenue, Kansas Street, and Father Rahm Avenue. The Uptown Loop will run counter clockwise on Stanton Street, Glory Road, Oregon Avenue, and Franklin Avenue.
All streetcars will begin and end service at the streetcar’s Maintenance and Storage Facility which is being built adjacent to Sun Metro’s Downtown Transfer Center on Santa Fe Street.
The route will be serviced by Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) streetcar vehicles – the same streetcars that ran on El Paso streets from the 1950s until 1974. The Brookville Equipment Corporation was selected to remanufacture the PCC streetcars. The company has extensive experience in remanufacturing vintage streetcars for daily use — including PCC streetcars. Among others, Brookville has returned cars for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Three of El Paso’s historic PCC streetcars began their journey at the Brookville facilities on the back of flatbed trucks on November 12, 2015. Three additional PCC streetcars were placed on trucks and sent to Brookville for restoration on December 10, 2015.
When the PCC streetcars are returned to service, they will be painted in one of the three historic color schemes used in El Paso from the 1950s, 1960s, and late 1960/early 1970s.
The El Paso streetcars will be ready for riders in late 2018. Work began on the streetcar project in late 2015 and is progressing in the following three general phases:
Phase I: Underground. Improvements and relocations of existing utilities to ensure there are no conflicts with the new streetcar construction.
Phase II: Civil/Track. This includes removing existing roadway, curbs and sidewalks to install the rail, concrete trackslab and associated new street and sidewalk improvements.
Phase III: Overhead Contact System. This work includes the erection of the poles and installation of the contact wire that will power the streetcars.