To prevent transit disruption, Congress on June 5, 1900, authorized the Washington and Great Falls to acquire the stock of any and all of the railways and power companies owned by Washington Traction. [7], The last streetcar company to begin operation during the horsecar era was the Capitol, North O Street and South Washington Railway. On March 14, 1914, it changed its name to the Washington and Maryland Railway. Later that year, the Eckington and Soldier's Home purchased the Maryland and Washington. [32] In April 2009, DDOT announced that the Anacostia streetcar line would not be complete until at least 2012. [7] The streetcars traveled from the Arsenal and crossed the Navy Yard Bridge to Uniontown (now Historic Anacostia) to Nichols Avenue SE (now Martin Luther King Avenue) and V Street SE where a car barn and stables were maintained by the company. ", Smith, Candace. Two days after the groundbreaking, CSX announced it would abandon the railway track but refuse to allow the city to use it for the streetcar project. By 1932 it was carrying 4.5% of transit customers. [1], The gasoline-powered bus was invented in Germany in 1895 and motorized buses were introduced in New York City in 1905. He wound up in Richmond, Virginia, where, on February 2, 1888, he put into service the first electric-powered streetcar system. ", Broom, Scott. North American began to acquire stock in Washington Railway in 1922, gaining a controlling interest by 1928. [7] The compressed air motors were a failure, and in 1899 the cars were equipped with the standard underground power system. Farther from D.C., D.C. [1] The Metropolitan switched the rest of the system to electric power on July 7, 1896[1] In 1895, the Metropolitan built a streetcar barn near the Arsenal and a loop in Georgetown to connect it to the Georgetown Car Barn. In 1909 the Metropolitan Coach Company began to switch from horse-drawn coaches to gasoline-powered coaches - replacing its entire system by 1913 - becoming a precursor to the bus companies. The loop tracks of the former Capitol Transit connection, behind the closed restaurant on Calvert Street NW, immediately east of the Duke Ellington Bridge, are extant under asphalt. [9], In April 2014, DDOT estimated that the H Street Line would open in the fall of 2014. It was chartered by the state of Maryland on February 13, 1905, and authorized to enter the District on February 18, 1907. In the year following the successful demonstration of the Richmond streetcar, four electric streetcar companies were incorporated in Washington, D.C. Articles with dead external links from December 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with self-published sources from March 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The Washington and Georgetown Car Barn (later known as the M Street Shops) at 3222 M Street NW, which had served as stables for, The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company Car Barn at 1346 Florida Avenue NW, originally built in 1877 and sold in 1892, is known today as the west building of the Manhattan Laundry. In 1892, one-horse cars were banned within the city, and by 1894 Congress began requiring companies to switch to something other than horse power while continuing to disallow overhead lines within the city. the Seventh Street-Wharves Barn) and the adjacent shops on 4th Street SW were torn down in 1962 to make room for the Riverside Condominiums. Each car is eight ft (2.438 metres) wide and 66 feet (20.12 m) long, and each car consists of three connected sections,[32] a design known as an articulated streetcar. Meanwhile, wage freezes held labor costs in check. [1][32] This was the last horse-drawn streetcar to run in the District.[1]. [1], Between 1896 and 1899, three businessmen purchased controlling interests in the Metropolitan; the Columbia; the Anacostia and Potomac River; the Georgetown and Tennallytown; the Washington, Woodside and Forest Glen; the Washington and Great Falls; and the Washington and Rockville railway companies, in addition to the Potomac Electric Power Company and the United States Electric Lighting Company. Capitol, North O Street and South Washington Railway, Two more Washington D.C. streetcar companies operating in Maryland, Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway, East Washington Heights Traction Railroad, Washington, Spa Spring and Gretta Railroad, Washington, Alexandria, and Mount Vernon Electric Railway, Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railroad, American Sight-Seeing Car and Coach Company, Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electric Railway, Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America, Arlington and Fairfax Motor Transportation Company, Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis interurban, Here's a General Electric ad about PCC cars in Washington, North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, D.C. [5][13] In 1889, the line was extended along T Street NE, 2nd Street NE and V Street NE to Glenwood Cemetery, but the extension proved unprofitable and was closed in 1894. None remain in active daily use, although one Capital Transit PCC car sold to Sarajevo has been restored and operates occasional special service in Sarajevo. The area consists of a coherent group of row houses constructed overwhelmingly by speculative builders and real estate developers along streets established by the L'Enfant Plan. 4:41 PM . [17] The first line to be built would be a 7.2-mile (11.6 km) "starter" streetcar line in Anacostia. Rider’s Guide. [52][53] He said that none of the reported causes for delay were considered "fatal", but the DDOT had not yet responded to the report with a prediction as to when all the problems would be attended to. [58] [41], At first, business was good for the new company. You may have heard D.C. referred to as the “City of Magnificent Distances”? The full $35 million plan to depress streets as trenches for exclusive streetcar use never materialized, but in 1942 an underground loop terminal was built at 14th and C Streets SW under the Bureau of Engraving and [51] on December 14, 1949, the Connecticut Avenue subway tunnel under Dupont Circle, running from N Street to R Street, was opened. [1] In 1893, a line was added through Cardozo/Shaw to 7th Street NW. Nothing happened until Capital Transit took over. Buyers were hard to come by, but on September 12, 1949, Louis Wolfson and his three brothers purchased from North American 46.5% of the company's stock for $20 per share and the Washington Railway was dissolved. [42] (Here's a General Electric ad about PCC cars in Washington. You can read the actual line at the National Archives. 4:41 PM . During World War II, gasoline rationing limited automobile use, but transit companies were exempt from the rationing. [9] To help move the K Street line forward, the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District (Downtown BID) proposed in March 2012 to fund a plan that would lay out how K Street should be reconfigured for streetcars, and how a K Street streetcar line would be planned, constructed, maintained, and serviced. It was incorporated on February 28, 1892, with the right to run a streetcar from the train station at 6th Street NW and B Street NW to Virginia across a new Three Sisters Bridge. [42], In 1932, the Arlington and Fairfax Motor Transportation Company was established to replace the streetcar service of the Arlington and Fairfax which lost the right to use the Highway Bridge. The Wolfsons began paying themselves huge dividends until, in 1955, the war chest was down to $2.7 million. Finally, two of the Barcelona cars are privately owned and stored in Madrid, Spain, and Ejea de los Caballeros, Spain, and another two are in the Museu del Transport in Castellar de n'Hug, Spain (Photo of one).[62]. Transit "...came under fire from a group of its black drivers for discrimination in promotions and assignments". [18], Two more Washington D.C. streetcar companies operating in Maryland were incorporated by acts of Congress in the summer of 1892. A closer look at the railcar that runs along H Street NE, from where to board to how to ride. [18], Financing for the plan proved problematic. Washington DC, District of Columbia 13,370 contributions 595 helpful votes Great way to connect This street car line is the first street car to open after the original line was closed in 1962. After a more than a 50-year hiatus, the DC Streetcar, one of the city’s first modes of public transportation made its triumphant return in 2016, transporting riders through the revitalized H Street NE corridor. The new D.C. streetcar between 5th & H and Union Depot stations. [90] The section from the aqueduct to Foxhall Road was purchased by the District of Columbia in the early 1980s to construct a crosstown watermain. The District of Columbia began laying track in 2009, for two lines[6][7] whose locations in Anacostia and Benning were chosen to revitalize blighted commercial corridors. For example, the Washington and Georgetown experimented with a steam motor car in the 1870s and 1880s which was run on Pennsylvania Avenue NW near the Capitol several times, but was never placed in permanent use. [1][5] Another line opened on November 15, 1862. The space was once considered for a columbarium. A car barn was built in Mount Pleasant around 1892. On February 4, 1902, Washington and Great Falls changed its name to the Washington Railway and Electric Company, reincorporated as a holding company and exchanged stock in Washington Traction and Electric one for one for stock in the new company (at a discounted rate). The first United car was delivered to DC Streetcar in January 2014[30] and the third and last in June 2014. [1], Horsecars, though an improvement over horse drawn wagons, were slow, dirty and inefficient. The history of streetcars in Washington, D.C. has been approached before, but never in narrative format, and never by a gifted writer. Barry argued that the rider subsidy was too high and that the $800 million planned for construction of the remaining lines could be better used for road maintenance and school construction.[24]. In 1873 it purchased the Boundary and Silver Spring Railway (chartered on January 19, 1872) and used its charter to build north on what is now Georgia Avenue. [36], In 1902, the railroad moved its station, as the Belt Line's tracks were circling the block containing the site of a planned new District Building (now the John A. Wilson Building). The board of directors of the Downtown BID proposed a self-imposed $258 million tax on hotels and commercial property within the district to fund BID projects, which included the streetcar design proposal. The Anacostia and Potomac River Car Barn at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and V Street SE is gone. Wants Streetcars to Roll By Mid-2013.'. In 1956, following a strike, Congress forced the streetcar’s operator to shut down all streetcars and replace them with buses.. [30], After Capital Traction's powerhouse at 14th and E NW burned down on September 29, 1897, the company replaced the cable cars with an electric system. DC Streetcar 2007-built Inekon car 101 on H Street, from a passing bus (2017).jpg 4,070 × 2,848; 1.91 MB DC Streetcar car 203 arriving at H Street Line's Union Station terminus (2017).jpg 4,241 × 2,804; 1.88 MB It would link with the H Street/Benning Road Line at Union Station via a pedestrian bridge which would require passengers to alight at Union Station and board an unconnected line. [19] Metro proposed allocating half the total amount to build the D.C. streetcar line, complete the Silver Line, build a streetcar line on Columbia Pike in Arlington County in Virginia, and build a Purple Line light rail link between Bethesda and New Carrollton in Maryland. By December 31, 1933, it owned 50.016% of the voting stock. It was the main source of transportation to Suburban Gardens, known as "the black Glen Echo", the first and only major amusement park within Washington. [1] In 1896, Congress directed the Eckington and Soldier's Home to try compressed air motors and to substitute underground electric power for all its horse and overhead trolley lines in the city. [55] DDOT officials say they believed that only the city and CSX owned the land under the tracks, but a legal review found that CSX was not the only private owner. As D.C. continues to wait for the official launch of the H Street Streetcar, local historian John DeFerrari takes readers on a joyride through the history of D.C. streetcars with his new book, "Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington." [1][2], Streetcars began operation in New York City along the Bowery in 1832,[3] but the technology did not really become popular until 1852, when Alphonse Loubat invented a side-bearing rail that could be laid flush with the street surface, allowing the first horse-drawn streetcar lines. DC Streetcar runs free, daily trips along the H Street NE Corridor and Benning Road from Union Station to Oklahoma Avenue. One last special trip, carrying organized groups of trolley enthusiasts, set out after that and returned at 4:45 am. Taxis based and operating in the boundaries of the District of Columbia charged their fares with a zone system instead of taximeters, which is still in use. Testing of the system would take several weeks, and then the system would need to be certified for operation by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which would take another 60 to 80 days. [34] A new contract was awarded to United Streetcar in April 2012, for two streetcars,[35] and the order was expanded to three cars in August 2012. These lines were later extended down 11th Street SE to the waterfront and up 7th Street NW to L Street NW. [56] The last scheduled run, filled with enthusiasts and drunken college students, left 14th and Colorado at 2:17 am and arrived at Navy Yard ten minutes late at 3:05 am. [1] [1], The next attempt at public transit arrived in the spring of 1830, when Gilbert Vanderwerken's Omnibuses, horse-drawn wagons, began running from Georgetown to the Navy Yard. On August 2, 1894, Congress ordered the Metropolitan to switch to underground electrical power. There was a streetcar station in the center of Barney Circle but it was removed in the 1970s. [48] In early March 2015, DDOT suggested that the project may be scrapped entirely, if an outside review being conducted by the American Public Transportation Association found "fatal flaws",[49] but the findings, released on March 16, found no "fatal flaws" in the project. [6][60], On August 26, 2010, DDOT officials ordered construction of the Anacostia Line shut down after city officials refused to extend the construction contract or give a new contract to another firm. [1], The Anacostia and Potomac River switched from horses to electricity in April 1900. History of Streetcars in Washington, D.C. Streetcars were a common mode of transportation in the District from 1862 until 1962. The wide median of Pennsylvania Avenue SE from the Capitol to Barney Circle was built in 1903 to serve as a streetcar right of way. ", Wilgoren, Debbi. The first streetcar was horse-drawn and ran from the Capitol to the State Department. About 20 streetcars remain of the hundreds that once plied the streets of Washington. [1] In 1896 it extended service along East Capitol Street and built the East Capitol Street Car Barn,[31] and extended its service to Mount Pleasant. [15], DDOT issued a favorable report, and the D.C. Council approved an expenditure of $310 million for the streetcar project in September 2002. [41] In 1945 Capital Transit had America's 3rd largest streetcar fleet. [9] On December 17, 2012, DC Streetcar officials said only 20 percent of the H Street line remained to be completed, and that they anticipated streetcars to be rolling in October 2013. Transit 1101 and 1540, Capital Transit 509, 522, 766 and 1430, and Washington Railway 650, are preserved at the National Capital Trolley Museum in the Washington suburbs. The new station (address: 1204 N. Pennsylvania Avenue) extended along 12th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to D Street NW, near the site of the present Federal Triangle Metro station and on the opposite side of 12th Street from the Post Office building.[34][37]. [54] He then attended Virginia State College. [1], The first electric streetcar to operate in Anacostia was the Capital Railway. We had the Hollywood at Ninth and U, Crystal Caverns across the street, Club Bali at 14th Street. When Washington Traction defaulted on its loans on June 1, 1901, Washington and Great Falls moved in to take its place. The American Sight-Seeing Car and Coach Company started running tourist cars along Washington Railway streetcar tracks in 1902 and continued until it switched to large automobiles in 1904. However, the railroad never actually used any such watercraft. This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 08:33. 1) February 8, 1808 Washington Bridge Co. authorized by an Act of Congress to construct the "Long Bridge" as a toll crossing. Local media reports indicated that the D.C. developers were impressed by the effect streetcars had on Portland's economic development. [1] Passengers could travel to Great Falls, Glen Echo, Rockville, Kensington and Laurel in Maryland; and to Mount Vernon, Alexandria, Vienna, Fairfax, Leesburg, Great Falls and Bluemont in Virginia. [55][56] CSX disputed these claims, saying that it had the legal right to lease the tracks and land in perpetuity to the city for $16 million. 1835 Long Bridge rebuilt across Potomac River 2) August 25,1835 Washington Branch of the Baltimore & Ohio RR (B&O) opens for service. [43] (A map of the system in 1948), In 1946 in a decision by the United States Supreme Court in North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission,[52] the Supreme Court upheld the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and forced North American, because it also owned the Potomac Electric Power Co., to sell its shares of Capital Transit. By early 1946, the company would place in service 489 of the streamlined, modern PCC model and, in the early 1950s, become the first in the nation to have an all-PCC fleet. "New Residences, Stores To Transform H Street. It began operations on May 1, 1897, with a car barn at 1914 E Street NW. [1][13] In 1892, they extended their track along 14th to Park Road NW. Find need-to-know information about traveling the DC Streetcar corridor, including guidelines for safety and courtesy. [29] In 1898, the Brightwood was ordered to switch to underground electric power on pain of having its charter revoked. Previously this had been done using Capital Transit's steeple-cab electric locomotives operating over a remnant of the Benning car line. [89], The Bureau of Engraving and Printing underground loop is now part of a parking structure and storage area that is located directly underneath 14th Street SW. [15] In 1890 it was extended across the Maryland line to Bethesda. On July 18, 1956, after Wolfson dared the Senate to revoke his franchise claiming no other entrepreneur would take the company on, the Congress did just that. Forty years after streetcars vanish, efforts begin to bring them back. [19] At its southern terminus it connected to the Eckington and Soldier's Home. The East Washington Heights became the first streetcar company to switch,[44] replacing its two streetcars and one mile of track with a bus line. Although initially planned to go as far as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the line never ran further than an extension to Berwyn Heights, Maryland. Horses needed to be housed and fed, created large amounts of waste, had difficulty climbing hills and were difficult to dispose of. 'Is it really happening? [49] In 1935, it closed several lines and replaced them with bus service. Western Carhouse or Tennally Town Car Barn), the first car barn and powerhouse for the Tennallytown line, was built around 1897 at what is now the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue NW and Calvert Street NW. By 1901, a series of mergers dubbed the "Great Streetcar Consolidation" gathered most local transit firms into two major companies. [50] In 1936, the system introduced route numbers. The company built a car barn and stable on the east side of 15th Street just south of H Street at the eastern end of the line. It opened lines from the Capitol to the War Department along H Street NW. [61] Although $25 million had been spent over the past two years, rails at the intersection of Firth Stirling Avenue SE and Suitland Parkway were buried under asphalt and weeds grew among the rails at South Capitol Street and Bolling Air Force Base. [1] The company had difficulty competing and in 1924 declared bankruptcy. [9], By 1888, it had built additional lines down 4th Street NW/SW to P Street SW, and on East Capitol Street to 9th Street. Washington and Georgetown 212 is also preserved by the Smithsonian, but stored in the Smithsonian's facility in Suitland, Maryland. ", Sun, Lena H. "Anacostia Streetcar Plan Runs Into Delays. [91] In 1980 and 1981, the three other bridges along the right-of-way - Bridge #3 at Clark Place, Bridge #4 next to Reservoir Road, and Bridge #5 over Maddox Branch in Battery Kemble Park - were removed during the construction of the water main. This is the story of rail-bound public transportation in the nation’s capital, told on a time line that begins with the Civil War and ends (for now) during the Kennedy administration. [7] Its tracks started at 7th Street and New York Avenue NW, east of Mount Vernon Square, and traveled 2.5 miles to the Eckington Car Barn at 4th and T Streets NE via Boundary Street NE, Eckington Place NE, R Street NE, 3rd Street NE and T Street NE. [65] The K Street Line would extend from Union Station to K Street NE, then run west to 26th Street NW. In 1862 the Washington & Georgetown Railroad Company opened Washington, DC's first streetcar line running nine horse-drawn cars on tracks extending from the US Capitol to the State Department. Photograph courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. “The jazz scene was fantastic. DC Streetcar extensions are ‘a high priority’ for budget Toll lanes over Potomac, DC Streetcar changes, road widenings: Big projects inch forward Officials look at new ways to power DC streetcars The city began holding public hearings on construction of the line ahead of schedule, due to the imminent 2011 closing of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. [20] In 1897 it experimented with the "Brown System", which used magnets in boxes to relay power instead of overhead or underground lines, and with double trolley lines over the Navy Yard Bridge. The tracks on Florida Avenue also exist under pavement (as shown by the eternal seam above the conduit). [9] City officials said all platform stops had been constructed along the route, but overhead electricity lines, turnarounds at each end of the line, a streetcar overnight holding facility ("car barn"), maintenance facility, and three power substations remained to be built. [27][28] The second set of streetcars, initially numbered 13-001 through 13-003 (subsequently renumbered 201–203), were built in the U.S. in 2013 by United Streetcar,[26] of Oregon, based on a Skoda design (model Skoda 10T) that was originally developed jointly by Inekon and Skoda, and the shared design history explains the similarity between the two designs. On January 14, 1973, WMATA purchased DC Transit and the Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Company (followed on February 4 by the purchase of AB&W Transit Company and WMA Transit Company) unifying all the bus companies in D.C.[93], Many of today's WMATA's bus routes are only marginally changed from the streetcar lines they followed. The DC Streetcar is a surface streetcar network in Washington, D.C. As of 2017[update], it consists of only one line: a 2.2-mile segment running in mixed traffic along H Street and Benning Road in the city's Northeast quadrant. And local historian John DeFerrari’s new book, Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, D.C., takes us on a joyride through that century. "$12 Billion Metro Plan Has Trolleys, Rapid Buses. Sometime after conversion of the Mt. DC Streetcar History Beginning in the 1880s, the District of Columbia had a robust streetcar network with more than 200 miles of track, 16 route lines, and multiple companies providing service. [54] However, 10 months into the project, DDOT and Metro temporarily mothballed the streetcar line. 3520 Prospect Street Washington, District of Columbia United States. [11] At the same time the Capital Railway was incorporated, the Washington and Marlboro Electric Railway was chartered to run trains across the Anacostia River through southeast Anacostia to the District boundary at Suitland Road and from there to Upper Marlboro, but it never laid any track. The strike, only the third in D.C. history and the first since a three-day strike in 1945, lasted for seven weeks. [22] Later, between 1903 and 1917, a line was added running south on 3rd St NW and west on Kennedy St NW to Colorado Avenue where it connected to Capital Traction's 14th Street line. The streetcar turnaround at 11th and Monroe NW is now the 11th and Monroe Streets Park. The line traveled the length of the Georgetown and Rockville Road (now Wisconsin Avenue NW), stretching from the Potomac River to the Maryland state line. [68], The change included the abandonment of previously-adopted plans to build several new heavy-rail Metrorail lines throughout the region. Some car barns, or car houses as they were later known, survived in part or in whole. Service ended soon after it began. Office Hours Monday to Friday, 8:15 am to 4:45 pm Connect With Us 55 M Street, SE, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20003 Phone: (202) 673-6813 Fax: (202) 671-0650 The Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway was approved on July 28, 1892, to build an electric streetcar line from the Aqueduct Bridge to Cabin John Creek. [5], In the summer of 1935 - after consolidation, several major lines were converted from streetcars to buses. [55][56] The city was unwilling to build the project on the CSX tracks, only to have the other owners demand payment in the future. Back to top Short History of DC Street Cars STREET CARS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, a concise illustratetd history from omnibus to 1962, by Wesley Pauslon & Ken Rucker, 1995. It also expanded up Nichols Avenue past the Government Hospital for the Insane (now St. Elizabeths Hospital). 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