El Paso tests streetcars

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EL PASO, Tex. -- In the wee hours of Tuesday, a ghost appeared on the streets. For the first time since 1974, a streetcar ran through downtown. A successful test of the new 4.8-mile El Paso streetcar, using the first of six newly-restored PCC cars, took place in the middle of the night.

Carl Jackson, assistant director of streetcar operations for Sun Metro, who operated the car, told local media everything went just fine. The first car, No. 1506, is one of six cars restored and upgraded by Brookville Equipment Corp. of Brookville, Pa. for the city.

The six cars, all built in 1937 for service in San Diego, Calif., came to El Paso in 1949 and operated on an international loop that crossed the Rio Grande River into Juarez, Mexico, until 1974. The final eight cars were stored near the city's airport for almost 40 years before going to Brookville . The six cars will be, by far, the oldest PCC cars in service.

The new route is an elongated figure eight connecting the University of Texas-El Paso campus to downtown. Following delivery of the other five cars over the next several months, operator training will take place, and Sun Metro officials hope to open the double loop route to the public in late 2018.
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