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The Old Pueblo Trolley is a heritage streetcar system operating in Tucsonmarker in the U.S.marker state of Arizonamarker.

Service is provided Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons and evenings, and Sunday afternoons on over a mile of line recovered from Tucson's original street railway. Starting at 8th Street in the Fourth Avenue Business District, with its eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, the trolley proceeds north and turns east onto University Boulevard, passing homes and boutiques, to near the University Marriott and the Main Gate of the University of Arizonamarker.

History

Tucson's original streetcar system

Electric streetcars began operating in Tucson on June 1, 1906 and replaced the horse- and mule-drawn cars as a mark of Tucson's "modernity". The event drew quite a crowd including the mayor, L.H. Manning and C.K. Durbin, owner of the new line. The Tucson Citizen ran an article "Electric Cars Running in Old Pueblo" in its Friday, June 1, 1906 edition.

It reported that two new electric cars left the corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street at 2:00 P.M. for the University of Arizona filled with dignitaries and invited guests while an orchestra played a few tunes at the corner. The return trip was to Elysian Grove via Seventeenth where Emanual Drachman provided seats and refreshments for the banquet that followed. One car wore the banner, "The Goods Are Delivered L. H. M.", demonstrating that Mayor Manning had come through on his campaign platform to "promote and establish an electric streetcar system." Hence, Tucson was brought up to date, into the electric transportation era.

The streetcars were replaced by buses on December 31, 1930.

The heritage streetcar line

Revival of the line began as the dream of Ruth Cross, director for the University of Arizona's Centennial Celebration in 1983, to see the historic street cars returned to the Old Pueblo for the University's centennial. The dedication of a core of enthusiasts made that dream a reality, with the grand opening of today's Old Pueblo Trolley on April 13, 1993.

At 4:00 PM on August 20, 2009 the new 4th Avenue Underpass and 5th Avenue Loop were opened for traffic. The new 5th Avenue Loop runs west along Congress Street to Fifth Avenue, south on Fifth Avenue to Broadway Boulevard and west on Broadway Boulevard to the intersection of Congress Street and Fourth Avenue. New Car Stops on the Fifth Avenue Loop are at Ninth Street, Fifth Avenue and Congress Street.

Future Plans

In May 2006, the Regional Transportation Plan was adopted by a vote of almost 60% in favor. This election also passed a 20-year, 1/2-cent sales tax to finance the transportation improvements. Among the items in the plan was 75 million dollars for a modern streetcar system along the present Old Pueblo Line, with extensions west to the developing Rio Nuevo area immediately west of downtown, and an extension through the north side of the University of Arizona campus to the north side of the Health Sciences Center at the University. The approved funds are a match to an equal amount of Federal Transit Administration funding. The street railway system will be double-tracked, replacing the original OPT single track. A maintenance facility will be located just west of the present OPT car barn and yard on 9th Street west of 4th Avenue. Historic trolley operation will continue during weekends and special events, supplementing the modern streetcars.

This longer term project will not begin construction until at least fall of 2009.

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