11.11.2007

The Streetcars Are Back

On St. Charles Avenue. As of today.

Although they're only running up to Napoleon Avenue, I guess yesterday marked my last run down the neutral ground without having to watch my back.

Driving to get groceries earlier this evening, it was surreal to see the olive drab 1920s-era cars resting like dinosaurs between the lanes of brightly colored mammals zipping by, their interiors glowing, light reflecting off the wooden seats inside through open windows.

And these cars are relative pups:

The Saint Charles Ave street railway is the oldest operating streetcar line in the world, carrying passengers through the streets of New Orleans since 1835.

Started as the New Orleans & Carrollton railroad after the New Orleans City Council resolved that the company not leave obstructions of any kind to traffic, and that the trains were restricted to four miles an hour, it began service in 1835.

Crews are still at work on the lines uptown from Napoleon toward Tulane, Audubon Park, and Carrollton, but New Orleans is New Orleans once again.