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The Growing Attraction of Historic Streetcars

As cities across the country build and revive their streetcar networks, a sense of nostalgia for the time when they could be found in cities across the country is leading to a thriving business in refurbishing old streetcars.
February 26, 2012, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Surprisingly, aficionados and cities have been saving elegant old streetcars for decades in the hopes of their future revival. With that revival in full steam in cities like Philadelphia and Portland, restoring old streetcars has become a booming business, writes Tod Newcombe.

Newcombe writes that, "Retrofitting period streetcars may seem like a frivolous idea, especially with local government budgets so tight. But many city planners disagree. In Philadelphia, where a discontinued streetcar line on Girard Avenue is being brought back to life, officials decided to use restored streetcars 'at the request of certain advocacy groups,' according to Byron Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority."

Cities such as San Fransisco, who have been running refurbished streetcars from other cities along its Market Street line since 2000, have seen these unique cars become a hit with tourists and locals alike.

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Published on Friday, February 24, 2012 in Governing
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