Galveston Island Trolley
|Galveston Island Trolley|
|Status||Service suspended. Resumption scheduled for mid-2018 pending return of the restored trolleys.|
|Opened||July 23, 1988|
|Owner||City of Galveston|
|Line length||6.8 miles (10.9 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Galveston Island Trolley is a heritage streetcar in Galveston, Texas, United States. As of late 2006, the total network length was 6.8 miles (10.9 km) with 22 stations. The Galveston Island Trolley is operated by Island Transit. Operation has been suspended since September 2008 due to heavy damage from Hurricane Ike. Subsequently the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Transit Administration have agreed to fund repairs. In January 2017 a contract was approved to restore three of the trolleys at a cost of $3.8M. The trolleys are expected to be completed in 2018.
Galveston has had streetcars before. The first urban rail public transit system was introduced in 1867. The cars were pulled by mules. In 1891 electric trolleys were introduced. They remained in service until May 1938.
Galveston Island Trolley, a heritage streetcar system, was opened on July 23, 1988. Barry Goodman Associates (now the Goodman Corporation) was a key consultant in the creation of the Trolley, leading the early design studies and helping to secure funding. The project was designed by HNTB, engineers, who were responsible for all aspects of track and vehicle design; Ochsner Associates, architects, who were responsible for the maintenance facility and the passenger shelter (on 20th Street).
Initially, the Galveston Island Trolley connected the historic Strand District on the north side of Galveston Island with the Seawall beach area. It was mainly used by tourists. In the 1990s planning for an extension of the line began and it was extended in 1995. A new branch to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) opened on March 14, 2005. This line was popular among UTMB staff, students and patients.
The Galveston Island Trolley cars look like vintage electric trolleys, but actually they are modern build and diesel-electric powered. Therefore, there are no overhead wires in Galveston. This means that the vehicles are not rightfully referred to as "trolleys", since they do not "troll" for power from overhead wires, but are "streetcars".
There are four cars. All of them are technically identical, though they are painted in different colors. The cars were built by Miner Railcar, Pennsylvania. Each car can accommodate 80 passengers: 40 sitting and 40 standing. Cars are designed for an operational speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). Each car weighs 63,000 lb (29,000 kg).
In 2005, all cars were equipped with air conditioning.
Hours of operation
The service has been suspended pending repairs, but substitute service with replica buses is available. The Trolley formerly operated on a daily schedule using one car on weekdays and two cars on weekends. It is expected that 3 of the restored trolleys will be returned to Galveston in April 2018 with service expected to resume in Summer 2018.
- Rhiannon Meyers. "FEMA to pay $200 million for infrastructure". Galveston County Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- Samantha Ketterer (January 26, 2017). "On the road again: Galveston City Council approves trolley contract". Galveston County Daily News. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- Bryan Kirk (March 24, 2017). "Trolley makes comeback to Galveston Island". Patch.com. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- Darla Guillen (March 24, 2017). "Trolley buses to roll into Galveston by Mid-May". www.masstransit.org. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- "Island Transit Information". Island Transit. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- Wilkins, Van (Spring 1996). "Heritage Trolleys in Memphis and Galveston". The New Electric Railway Journal. Free Congress Foundation. ISSN 1048-3845. Retrieved 2011-05-27.