Memphis streetcar test run toward service return

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Memphis streetcar test run toward service return
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 25, 2017 12:57 PM
Trolley Lines Return Comes With Technology, Standards Changes
(Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017)


By Bill Dries


 Updated 12:59PM




New trolleys the Memphis Area Transit Authority hopes to have back on the Main Street tracks by the end of this year may sneak up on Main Street Mall pedestrians.


The new trolley car 799 that MATA officials took on a two-block test drive last week sounded much quieter than the fleet of trolleys that came off the tracks more than three years ago. They were taken out of service when two trolleys caught fire and new leadership at MATA discovered there were few maintenance records, no maintenance program and very little training for the upkeep of the system.


“These trolleys all have brand new trucks underneath them – round wheels. No more square wheels going down the rails,” said Gary Rosenfeld, MATA’s interim CEO. “So they will be much quieter.”


Seven people wearing hard hats, safety goggles and yellow safety vests followed on foot as the blue and white trolley pulled out of the trolley barn on North Main Street Thursday, Sept. 21, passed the intersection of Main and Mill Avenue and stopped at Main and A.W. Willis Avenue. Some made notes on clipboards and did the same as the trolley operator pushed a button and the electronic pantograph that makes contract with the overhead wire and its 600 volts was automatically switched to go in the opposite direction on the tracks. That is another change from the previous system in which trolley operators had to manually make the change.




“The test was to see how the car interacts with the systems in place,” Rosenfeld said. “It was to check the alignment of the wires to check the connection between the trolley catenary system and pantograph – make sure that it was at proper heights and make sure it maintained connections at all times. There was an actual camera installed on top of the trolley that monitored the line the whole time.”


The catenaries are the overhead wires.


The video was still to be reviewed after the test, but “all indications are that everything went well,” Rosenfeld said.


All electric trolley service on the system of rails on Main, the Riverfront Loop and Madison Avenue was stopped in June 2014. The fleet of trolleys were old and well-used when they were restored in the early 1990s for the start of the modern trolley line. One of the restored cars from Australia was 100 years old.


The trolley tested Thursday was purchased new and is a “replica style” car. The test was not only for the car, but the track and the electrical system – the first 500 feet of that – with every part of the line to undergo similar testing as it is re-powered.


Then there is what is called “pre-revenue service.”


“The trolleys will operate as if they are delivering services to the community,” Rosenfeld said. “We load them up with sandbags to represent passengers and get the vehicle up to its operating weigh. It’s a day in-day out test. It checks all of the operating training. It checks all of the operations of the trolley. It checks the scheduling. It checks the maintenance procedures that follow up.”


And all of those systems that are tested were basically created from the ground up when the trolley system was shut down in 2014.


The 3.2 miles that is the Main Street trolley line will be the first to come back on line.


“Getting these trolleys on line by the end of the year is within our grasp,” city chief operating officer Doug McGowen said after the test. “It creates value for our community. This is important. … We have lots more work to do to get the transportation system that we need. This is an incredibly important step in that process.”


Rosenfeld said the Riverfront loop will be next, followed by the Madison Avenue line.




[end text]




Edward B. Havens

Tucson, Ariz.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, December 09, 2017 12:09 PM
There will be more testing of the rehabilitated Main Street heritage streetcar line in MEMPHIS, Tennessee, on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 11 and 12, WMC-TV reports:Image result for testing of memphis trolleys



Trolleys will hit Downtown tracks Dec. 11-12...for testing


Published: Thursday, December 7th 2017, 2:19 pm MSTUpdated: Thursday, December 7th 2017, 4:52 pm MST


By Staff






MATA continues to test the trolley lines in anticipation of bringing the vintage trolleys back into operation.


MATA announced it would be testing the lines Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 11-12).


In fact, Downtown Memphis visitors may even see trolley cars operating on the tracks Dec. 12. That's because one of the tests involves making sure two of the trolleys can accelerate at the same time.


This test will ensure that the substation has enough capacity to operate the cars, and that the circuit breakers are working for safety purposes.


MATA announced Dec. 4 that the return of the trolleys would not happened until at least April 2018. MATA said it has everything ready on its end, but the company restoring the trolley cars ran into some unforeseen troubles that delayed repairs.


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Edward B. Havens

Tucson, Ariz

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, December 30, 2017 3:32 PM

Amazing! As a former Memphis (and area) resident, I have to admit that I have not kept up with the goings on with the Trolley Operations in the downtown area.  I lived in the City when they began importing the trolleys for future operations.

   The 'first line' went operational in 1993 and ran the length of Main Street from Butler on the North end, to an end at Calhoun & Main ( where the operator would reverse direction, and trolley pole).    The next addition was to create a loop that ran from the Central (RR) Station to connect with a line constructed(on former ICRR ROW) parallel to Riverside Dr north to where they had a Trolley Car Maintenance Building (at Butler& Main).  The final segment was from Main St and Madison Ave to run East to the area of the Medical Center. {I have not riden that line}. 

 What was really interesting was that all the cars that were purchased for the operations were imported from Europe (Oporto, Portugal, IIRC ) They were mostly single trucked, small Birney-type cars.  There was one that was the largest, a double trucked car. The reason they bought the older cars was economics. Costs to  R&R a car for something like 5 to 10 Million; or buy new ones, for something like 30 to 50 million each.  They had a contractor replacing all the rotting wood in the cars, and repairing the electrical components(?). The cars I rode on, when the line opened seemed to be pretty well done, and looked good.      I suspected that the grade (Northbound from the Central Station area, was going to be problematic for some of the operators.)  Street Crossings, and traffic being what they are.  It is an interesting operation what with those old cars, and using them wih A.D.A. compliant lifts at the stops. I had read about the fires that had happened on a couple of the cars , I think it was (2013/14?). Both of those were formerly from Melbourne, Australia.(?).   

          Some had hoped, at one time, that MATA was going to utilize part of the old NC&StL/CSX line running East to the Cordova Area, for trolley service, but that never happened.   There was also some discussion about maybe picking up some former railroad(nee: Y&MV?) ROW, and running a route to the area of the Casino's at Tunica, Ms. But that ,apparently, is not going to happen either.





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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Saturday, December 30, 2017 5:43 PM

Love that old Greyhound Building in background

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, December 30, 2017 8:05 PM

For what it may be worth - I observed the overhead trolley signals on the Medical Center line were on and working this morning...

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