Canal Streetcar

Canal St. is a broad thoroughfare that travels from the Mississippi River northwest to City Park Ave.  Once upon a time it carried four streetcar tracks in the CBD.  The older Canal streetcar line was abandoned in 1964; that left the St. Charles route as the only one remaining in the city.  But yet New Orleans can still take pride in being one of the very modest number of American cities to retain electric urban surface transit all during the last century. 

Four decades or so after abandonment, the new Canal Streetcar line was born, with the hope that with it, much revitalization would come to the Midtown neighborhood.  Everything seemed to be heading in that direction, until the waters came.

Before the storm, service on both the Riverfront and Canal lines used replica streetcars built by the RTA.  Those cars were all severely damaged by the flooding that hit the storage facility.  Runs on these lines as they returned to service were initially handled by the venerable Perley Thomas cars.  The first group of the repaired red cars returned to service in December, 2008.

This view near Elk Place (Basin St. on the other side of Canal) shows an interesting track arrangement.  When the modern-day Canal Streetcar was planned, it was anticipated that an additional restored line, "A Streetcar Named Desire," would terminate in center city using the same lane, but separate rails, for a block along Canal.  Priorities have surely shifted since.

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