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The River Rail Streetcar is a heritage streetcar system operating in Little Rockmarker and North Little Rockmarker in the U.S.marker state of Arkansasmarker. It has operated since November 1, 2004. As of February 17, 2007, the system is long after its first extension was put into service. River Rail Streetcar is operated by Central Arkansas Transit Authority.

History

Little Rock's first horse tramway opened in 1876. Horse tramways operated until 1895. A steam tramway operated between July 3, 1888 and 1889. Electric traction was introduced December 23, 1891. Electric streetcars operated until September 1, 1947, extending as far west as the city's Hillcrestmarker and Stifft's Station neighborhoods.

The River Rail Streetcar opened on November 1, 2004. Phase I consisted of a single long line that connects two cities, Little Rock and North Little Rock, situated on opposite sides of the Arkansas Rivermarker.

The River Rail Streetcar carried 200,000 passengers in its first year of operation.

In January 2006, construction of the Phase II began. Phase II is the extension to the William J.marker Clinton Presidential Centermarker and Heifer International headquarters.

On February 16, 2007, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, and North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays cut the ribbon marking the official opening of the River Rail extension to the Presidential Center and Heifer International, adding almost a 33% increase in new track to the system. The total mileage is now .

Expansion

Additional extensions to the system are under discussion, the most ambitious of which is a extension to Little Rock National Airportmarker. 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 Savannahmarker and Tampamarker are considered a hybrid form of transport known as "rapid streetcar[178317]." 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

River Rail 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 Two. 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 present cars are manufactured by Gomaco Trolley Company.

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