Metro Streetcar

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Metro Streetcar
River Rail streetcars.jpg
Two Metro streetcars pause at the HAM stop in June 2005
Type Heritage streetcar
System Rock Region Metro
Locale Little Rock, Arkansas
Termini North Little Rock (north)
Presidential Library (south)
Stations 15[1]
Daily ridership 340
Website METRO Streetcar
Opened November 1, 2004[2]
Owner Rock Region Metro
Operator(s) Rock Region Metro
Rolling stock 5 cars
Line length 3.4 mi (5.5 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 600 V DC, overhead trolley wire
Route map
Main St. at 7th
Trolley barn
Maple St. at 6th
Main St. at 5th
Maple St. at Broadway
Verizon Plaza, 120 Main
Main St. Bridge over Arkansas River
Main Street Bridge stop
Blue line only to North Little Rock
Markham at Scott
West Markham at Spring
President Clinton Ave. at Commerce
2nd at Spring
2nd at Scott (Historic Arkansas Museum)
Service to Presidential Library only until 5:45 pm
Commerce at 3rd
3rd at Commerce
Presidential Library/Heifer Intl.

The Metro Streetcar, formerly known as the River Rail Streetcar, is a heritage streetcar system operating in Little Rock and North Little Rock in the U.S. state of Arkansas. It has operated since November 1, 2004.[2][3] After the 2007 expansion of the system, the Metro Streetcar network is 3.4-mile (5.5 km).[1] The Metro Streetcar is operated by Rock Region Metro.


By the 1890s, Little Rock, had begun to grow out into the countryside of Pulaski County, in large part, due to the construction of a street railway system. Similar to many other cities in the South after the Civil War, Little Rock’s lack of development attracted businessmen eager to take advantage of expected economic growth in real estate, banking, and other merchant ventures. Little Rock's first horsecar line (horse tramway) opened in 1876. Horsecars operated until 1895. Steam-powered streetcars operated between July 3, 1888, and 1889. The construction of street railways in the United States began to overlap with real estate and banking enterprises as the lines electrified in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Electric traction in Little Rock was introduced on December 23, 1891, after consolidation by a company formed to run the streetcar system exclusively.[4] Eventually, that company was bought by Arkansas Power & Light. Electric streetcars operated until September 1, 1947, extending as far west as the city's Hillcrest and Stifft's Station neighborhoods.

Streetcar crossing the Arkansas River

What is now named the Metro Streetcar opened on November 1, 2004, as the River Rail Streetcar, operated by the Central Arkansas Transit Authority.[2][3] Phase I consisted of a single 2.5-mile (4.0 km) long line that connects two cities, Little Rock and North Little Rock, situated on opposite sides of the Arkansas River.

The line carried 200,000 passengers in its first year of operation.

In January 2006, construction began on Phase II, which was a 0.9-mile (1.4 km) extension to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International headquarters. This section opened on February 16, 2007, with a ribbon cutting by Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, and North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays. The extension increased the length of the line by about 33%, making the total mileage 3.4 miles (5.5 km).

In 2015, the Central Arkansas Transit Authority changed its name to Rock Region Metro,[5] and in line with this rebranding, the River Rail Streetcar was renamed the Metro Streetcar.


Additional extensions to the system are under discussion, the most ambitious of which is a 2.5-mile (4 km) extension to Little Rock National Airport. If the expansion is completed, the status of the line could take a role in some form of light rail line, instead of its current role as a heritage trolley. It, among others in Savannah and Tampa are considered a hybrid form of transport known as "rapid streetcar".[6] The expansion of the River Rail Streetcar line, turning it into a more effective rail rapid transit line, would be the first example of such a system in the United States.

Rolling stock[edit]

Metro Streetcar initially used three replica vintage electric trolleys. Two more streetcars were added as a part of the new Phase II extension. The design of these cars is generally similar to Birney-type streetcars used in Little Rock until after World War II. The original number series for those cars was 400–407. The present cars continue that number series, albeit 60 years later, with the current cars being numbered 408–412. All of the cars in the present fleet were manufactured by the Gomaco Trolley Company.


The Metro Streetcar begins operations at approximately 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturdays and at 10 a.m. Sundays, while it ends at approximately 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesdays, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and at 5:30 p.m. Sundays. It consists of two lines: the Blue Line and the Green Line. The Blue Line operates seven days a week, with extended service on Friday and Saturday nights and runs between Little Rock and North Little Rock, while the Green Line operates six days a week only with no Sunday service and runs in a circulator. Frequencies per line consist of 25-minute headways during the day, with 20-minute headways during evening and night-and-weekend service periods.


The trolley stops at many downtown attractions, from the Clinton Library to the historic River Market.[1] The stops include the Marriott Hotel, Heifer Intl., and the Historic Arkansas Museum. Stations continue into the rapidly rejuvenating area of North Little Rock known as Argenta. Stops there include access to the USS Razorback (SS-394) WW II submarine, trolley barn, Verizon Arena, and the Dickey-Stephens Park (home of the Arkansas Travelers).

The stops are indicated with 10-foot (3.05 m)-tall black signs and yellow sidewalk "bumps" curbside with the system map posted at each stop. Trolleys cannot be hailed between stops.

Both stops and cars can be sponsored for a donation.

Stop list[edit]


     Blue Line
     Green Line

Highlighted stops indicate daytime only service

No. Stop Jurisdiction Line(s) Notes
south and east bound
1 Main Street and Bishop Lindsey Avenue North Little Rock      First stop located past the streetcar garage
Serves Argenta Historic District
2 Maple and Sixth Streets     
3 Maple and Broadway Streets     
4 120 Main Street
(Verizon Plaza stop)
     Serves North Little Rock City Hall, Riverfront Park and Verizon Arena
5 Scott and Markham Streets
(Main Street Bridge stop)
Little Rock      Serves Little Rock Chamber of Commerce
6 President Clinton and River Market Avenues           Serves Breciding Riverfront Park and Junction Bridge
7 River Market Avenue and Third Street           Serves River Market District
8 World Avenue and Third Street
(Clinton Presidential Center/Heifer International stop)
          Serves Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International
west and north bound
8 World Avenue and Third Street
(Clinton Presidential Center/Heifer International stop)
Little Rock           Serves Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International
9 Third Street and River Market Avenue           Serves River Market District
10 Second and Rock Streets
(Central Arkansas Library System Main Branch stop)
          Serves Central Arkansas Library System Main Library
11 Second and Scott Streets
(Historic Arkansas Museum stop)
          Serves Historic Arkansas Museum
12 Second and Center Streets          
13 West Markham and Spring Streets           Serves Robinson Auditorium
14 West Markham and Scott Streets
(Little Rock Marriott stop)
          Serves Little Rock Marriott Hotel, Capital Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center
5 Scott and Markham Streets
(Main Street Bridge stop)
     Serves Little Rock Chamber of Commerce
4 120 Main Street
(Verizon Plaza stop)
North Little Rock      Serves North Little Rock City Hall, Riverfront Park and Verizon Arena
15 Main and Fifth Streets      final stop before streetcar barn

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "River Rail Route Schedule [& Map]" (PDF) (pdf). Rock Region Metro. January 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  2. ^ a b c "Little Rock's River Rail electric streetcar system officially opens". Light Rail Now. November 3, 2004. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  3. ^ a b "About - Facts". Rock Region Metro. 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  4. ^ Patty, William Jordan (2003). "The Great Civic Improvement: The Journey Towards Electric Traction in Little Rock". Pulaski County Historical Review. 51 (1): 2–16. 
  5. ^ "Central Arkansas Transit Becomes Rock Region Metro". Central Arkansas Transit Authority/Rock Region Metro. August 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  6. ^ Lyndon Henry (February 2007). "Rapid Streetcar: Rescaling Design and Cost for More Affordable Light Rail Transit". Light Rail Now. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 

External links[edit]