Loop Trolley

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Loop Trolley
Loop Trolley logo.jpg
Overview
TypeStreetcar
StatusOperational
LocaleSt. Louis
Stations10
Operation
OpenedNovember 16, 2018 (2018-11-16)
OwnerLoop Trolley Transportation Development District[1][2]
Operator(s)Loop Trolley Company[1][2]
Technical
Line length2.2 mi (3.5 km)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification600 V DC[3][4]
Route diagram

Missouri History Museum/
Forest Park
Forest Park–DeBaliviere MetroLink (St. Louis)
Crossroads School
Delmar & DeBaliviere
Hamilton Avenue
Operations & maintenance facility
Delmar Loop MetroLink (St. Louis)
The Pageant
City Limit
Leland Avenue
University City Library

Handicapped/disabled access
all stops
accessible

The Loop Trolley is a 2.2-mile (3.5 km), 10-station heritage streetcar line in St. Louis, Missouri. Opened in November 2018, it connects the Delmar Loop district and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, serving parts of University City and the St. Louis neighborhoods of DeBaliviere Place, Skinker/DeBaliviere, and the West End. It also serves two MetroLink light-rail stations: Delmar Loop and Forest Park–DeBaliviere.

As of October 2019, the line operates from noon until 6 p.m. on Thursdays through Sundays.[5] Passengers are carried on two replica-historic streetcars.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District owns the line and trolley cars, which are operated by the non-profit Loop Trolley Company.[2] Operating funds come from a one-cent sales tax collected by businesses along and near the line, and from fares and advertising.[2][3]

History[edit]

The Delmar Loop was named for the streetcar turnaround that occupied two oblong blocks on the north side of Delmar east from Kingsland Avenue. This loop was used by two lines of the St. Louis Public Service Company — the Olive-Delmar and Creve Coeur lines — and a private line west to what is now University City's City Hall. Streetcar service ended in St. Louis in 1966, but the Loop retained its name.

An ex-Milan Peter Witt streetcar on display in St. Louis, to publicize the project when it was only proposed

Years later, the idea of bringing back streetcars found a champion in Joe Edwards, the owner of Blueberry Hill, The Pageant, and other Loop businesses. Edwards secured the purchase of two Peter Witt-type streetcars that once operated in Milan, Italy. The two Peter Witt cars were cosmetically refurbished by the Gomaco Trolley Company in 2005 and placed on long-term display along the route – one on Delmar by Commerce Bank, and the other at the Missouri History Museum – to publicize the proposed Loop Trolley line.[12] Originally, the two were slated to carry passengers if the project came to fruition, but plans to restore them to operating condition were deemed too expensive in 2015, in part because they had deteriorated during their years on outdoor display.[13]

Track construction under way on Delmar Blvd. in November 2015

In July 2010, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Urban Circulator Grant Program approved a grant of $25 million for the project.[14][15] Other money came from the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District and elsewhere.[1] The overall construction budget was $51 million as of 2015.[1]

Construction began in March 2015 and was completed in November 2016.[16] During construction, some shops and restaurants saw decreased foot traffic and sales. Some businesses moved; others closed permanently. One business owner called the Loop Trolley "a solution in need of a problem". [17][18][19]

The first of three streetcars being refurbished and modified for the line was delivered on February 16, 2017,[4] and the second on March 30, 2017.[20] On March 26, 2017, car No. 001 was towed along the line to check the tracks and clearances at station platforms, becoming the first streetcar to be moved along the Loop Trolley line, though not under its own power.[21][22]

Loop Trolley car 001 in service on Delmar Boulevard in December 2018

The line's opening was delayed several times as completion of a third trolley fell behind schedule. Eventually it was decided to operate a temporarily reduced schedule with two trolleys until the third is delivered.

In November 2018, the Loop Trolley Company announced that the line would open on November 15, 2018.[23] Snow delayed the opening one more day,[24] and service began on November 16, 2018. But service was initially limited to the portion between the Missouri History Museum terminus and the Delmar Loop MetroLink station due to a failure to obtain an operating permit from University City.[9][25] The permit was obtained and service was implemented along the entire line one week later, on November 23, 2018.[10]

Operation and funding[edit]

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, which managed the project, is the owner of the line and trolley cars, but the service is operated by a separate, non-profit entity called the Loop Trolley Company.[2][26] A one-cent sales tax collected by businesses along and near the line provide the largest source of revenue to fund the service. Other revenue sources include fares and advertising.[2][3]

After more than six months in operation, the Loop Trolley, which had cost $51,000,000 and has an annual operational budget of $1,300,000, had raised a mere $22,283 in fares. Its projection for the first year was $394,433, though trolley officials said that was based on seven-day-a-week operation.[27]

Route and schedule[edit]

A trolley stop on Delmar Boulevard, with map and ticket vending machine

The line starts at the Missouri History Museum and runs north on DeBaliviere Avenue in St. Louis, past the Forest Park–DeBaliviere MetroLink station.[28] It then turns west on Delmar Boulevard to the Delmar Loop MetroLink station and crosses the St. Louis city/county boundary to University City to serve the Delmar Loop district, terminating at the University City Library on Delmar Blvd., west of Kingsland Avenue.[28]

Service is currently provided four days a week, from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, and noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.[23] After the third trolley car becomes available, service is expected to expand to seven days a week[29]; hours of operation are also anticipated to expand.[30]

Rolling stock[edit]

Loop Trolley service is currently provided by two faux-vintage streetcars acquired used from Portland, Oregon, with an additional vintage streetcar from Seattle[31] anticipated to join the fleet in 2019.[32]

Blue car 002 (ex-Portland 511) at the Missouri History Museum stop in the first month of service
Interior of one of the ex-Portland cars

In December 2013, the Loop Trolley district acquired from Portland transit agency TriMet two Gomaco-built Brill-replica streetcars which were then in operation on the Portland Vintage Trolley service,[33] which use continued until mid-2014.[34] Those two cars were designed to look like 1903 streetcars but were actually built in 1991 (car 511) and 1992 (car 512), and feature steel frames under their wooden bodies and more-modern propulsion equipment (including rebuilt 1940s trucks). For St. Louis, they were modified for wheelchair accessibility, to meet ADA regulations, with the installation of wheelchair lifts (one per side).[35] Gomaco was hired to carry out those and other modifications, and the work began at Gomaco's Ida Grove, Iowa, plant in August 2015.[13]

In January 2016, it was announced that the Loop Trolley district had purchased three ex-Melbourne, Australia, W2-type streetcars from Seattle, which had operated on Seattle's Waterfront Streetcar line until it shut down in 2005.[36] Only one of the three was planned for immediate refurbishment, modification and use due to funding limitations.[35] The necessary modifications included restoring doors on one side of the car, restoring steps to the doors (Seattle's line used high-platform stations which didn't necessitate steps), installing two wheelchair lifts, one on each side,[35] and replacement of the car's trolley poles with a pantograph. The three cars were moved from Seattle in early June 2016.[31] Cars 482 and 518 were taken to St. Louis and put in indefinite storage for potential future restoration and use. Car 512 was taken to Gomaco in Iowa, which had been awarded a $676,750 contract to restore and modify the car.[37][37]

Ex-Melbourne trolley of the same type as the three acquired from Seattle for eventual use on the Loop Trolley line, shown in Seattle in 1994

The operational fleet is due to comprise three cars by sometime in 2019:[38] two ex-Portland Brill replica cars (Portland Nos. 511–512) and one ex-Seattle, ex-Melbourne car (Seattle No. 512).[31][37] With two cars numbered 512, a renumbering of the cars was necessary. Ex-Portland cars 511–512 were renumbered 002 and 001, respectively,[4] and ex-Seattle, ex-Melbourne car 512 was renumbered 003.[39] Car 001 is painted red and cream, car 002 blue and cream and car 003 orange and cream.

At the time of the line's opening, car 003 was still at Gomaco's Iowa plant, with its renovation and modification more than a year behind schedule, partly due to delays in getting parts from Germany.[38][30] Car 003 was delivered to the Loop Trolley's maintenance facility on January 29, 2019.[40]

Maintenance facility[edit]

The Loop Trolley's administrative headquarters and maintenance facility are located at 5875 Delmar Boulevard,[22] in a building that had been Delmar High School until 1980.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Loop Trolley FAQ". Loop Trolley Transportation Development District. 2015. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Thorsen, Leah (September 23, 2016). "Loop Trolley hours of operation set, but fares still unknown". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  3. ^ a b c Leahy, Joseph (March 21, 2017). "Upcoming street tests first of many for Loop Trolley's public debut". St. Louis Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  4. ^ a b c d "Worldwide Review [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association. April 2017. p. 152. ISSN 1460-8324.
  5. ^ "The Loop Trolley - Map & Schedule". The Loop Trolley. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  6. ^ "St. Louis — Heritage Cars from Portland". APTA Streetcar and Heritage Trolley Site (Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum). January 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-07.
  7. ^ "Major track work completed in Delmar Loop prior to holiday shopping season". Loop Trolley TDD. November 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  8. ^ "Loop trolley construction complete, but months of testing is ahead". KMOV. January 2, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  9. ^ a b "Loop Trolley opens to public, is unable to operate in Delmar Loop". KMOV. November 16, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  10. ^ a b Nicholson, Marvin (November 23, 2018). "The Loop Trolley starts running in Delmar Loop Friday at noon". KMOV. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  11. ^ Suntrup, Jack (November 24, 2018) [online date November 23]. "Loop Trolley finally hisses and honks its way into the Loop". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. pp. A1, A6. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  12. ^ "Systems News [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Ian Allan Publishing/Light Rail Transit Association. October 2005. p. 412. ISSN 1460-8324.
  13. ^ a b "Worldwide Review [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association. November 2015. pp. 450–451.
  14. ^ "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces $293 Million for New Transit Solutions, Economic Development Nationwide". Federal Transit Administration. July 8, 2010. Archived from the original on August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  15. ^ "Urban Circulator/Bus and Bus Livability Project Descriptions". Federal Transit Administration. July 8, 2010. Archived from the original on August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  16. ^ Westerman, Hannah (November 25, 2016). "U City Loop trolley construction completed and testing to start in December". KWMU. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  17. ^ Raymond Strickland (December 15, 2017). "Business owners remain skeptical of Loop Trolley, amid big donation". KSDK. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  18. ^ Barker, Jacob (August 10, 2018). "Delmar Loop novelty retailer Phoenix Rising to close". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  19. ^ Walker, Melody (November 1, 2018). "Delmar Loop Trolley takes toll on businesses after years of delays". KWMU. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  20. ^ Regnier, Chris (March 30, 2017). "Second Loop Trolley car arrives in St. Louis". KTVI. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  21. ^ Hoskins, Kelley (March 26, 2017). "Trolley cars make debut for testing in Delmar Loop". KTVI. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  22. ^ a b Thorsen, Leah (March 24, 2017). "Loop Trolley testing to start early Sunday". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  23. ^ a b Schlinkmann, Mark (November 12, 2018). "Loop Trolley to begin rolling Thursday morning". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  24. ^ Schlinkmann, Mark (November 15, 2018). "Snow-go: Loop Trolley opening pushed back. Again". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  25. ^ Hunn, David (November 20, 2018). "Loop Trolley leaders scramble to get route fully opened". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  26. ^ Rizvic, Veneta (November 15, 2018). "Loop Trolley delayed; officials host dedication ceremony". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  27. ^ Schlinkmann, Mark (July 3, 2019). "Loop Trolley ridership and fare revenue lag — it's raised just $22,283 in fares since Nov. 16". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  28. ^ a b "Route Map". Loop Trolley TDD. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  29. ^ Blume, Brett (November 15, 2018). "Loop Trolley Dedicated; Still Hasn't Made 1st Public Run". KMOX. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  30. ^ a b Schlinkmann, Mark (April 23, 2018). "When Loop Trolley finally opens, it will be on reduced-hours basis at first". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  31. ^ a b c "Seattle trolleys arrive in St. Louis for Loop Trolley". Loop Trolley Transportation Development District. June 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  32. ^ "The Loop Trolley finally starts operating full route". KSDK. November 23, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  33. ^ Bowen, Douglas John (December 13, 2013). "TriMet sells heritage trolleys to St. Louis". Railway Age. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  34. ^ "Vintage Trolley Has Ceased Operation". Portland Vintage Trolley website. September 2014. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  35. ^ a b c "Worldwide Review [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association. May 2016. p. 193.
  36. ^ Green, Josh (January 14, 2016). "Seattle's old waterfront streetcars will live on - in different ways". KING-TV. Archived from the original on January 25, 2016. Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  37. ^ a b c "Worldwide Review [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association. August 2016. p. 312.
  38. ^ a b Madden, Roche (November 16, 2018). "Long awaited Loop Trolley finally on the move". KPLR-TV. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  39. ^ "Worldwide Review [regular news section]". Tramways & Urban Transit. UK: Light Rail Transit Association. September 2017. p. 353.
  40. ^ Baumer, Stephanie (January 29, 2019). "3rd Delmar Loop Trolley car delivered Tuesday". KMOV. Retrieved 2019-01-29.

External links[edit]