Dallas Has Nation's First Hybrid Streetcar

At critical points, Dallas' streetcar system runs without overhead cables. Two batteries underneath the car store enough power to propel the train across a mile-long bridge.
December 7, 2015, 10am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Dallas has joined Guangzhou, China as one of the only cities with a "wireless" battery-powered streetcar. Bill Zeeble reports, "Unlike almost every street car in the world – from San Francisco to Strasbourg, France – this one lacks a pole constantly connected to a live wire overhead."

The hybrid system lets the train cross the Houston Street Viaduct, a bridge with some special requirements. "'That bridge is approximately a mile long,' says Mark Ball, a DART spokesperson. 'And obviously we could not build a street car system with overhead wire on a historic structure. So we had to come up with a way to self-propel or push something across that bridge.'"

Detroit and Washington D.C., among others, are interested in hybrid streetcars. Art Guzzetti of the American Public Transportation Association commented: "The wires sometimes interfere with the city. They interfere with the vistas. They interfere with historic preservation issues. They're not a problem in some places but in some certain parts of the city, you don't want wires overhead."

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Published on Friday, November 27, 2015 in Houston Public Media
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