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FORT COLLINS, COLORADO

Fort Collins Municipal Railway

P. O. Box 635

Fort Collins, CO 80522

Jim Stitzel

(970) 482 8246

History:

Founded in 1977, the Society rescued and restored car #21, one of the old Fort Collins streetcars, which had been languishing in a City Park since the cessation of trolley operation in 1951. Eight years of volunteer labor were required to restore the car and rebuild track along the original right of way. The first public run was made on December 29, 1984.

System:

The line runs 1.5 miles from City Park into the edge of downtown. One car is available, which is fully restored and runs from overhead wire. Stations are located at each end of the line. The line is not accessible. A small maintenance facility is located at City Park.

Operations:

The line operates from Noon until 5:00 PM between May and the end of September. Frequency is half-hourly. Fares are $2.00 for adults, $1 for seniors, and $1.00 for children over 3 (under 3 ride for free). Ridership is about 8500 per year. Of this, about two-thirds are local and one-third tourists, who have come from 15 states. About 10% of the ridership comes to Fort Collins just to ride the trolley.

Organization:

The Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society is an all-volunteer private non-profit organization. It operates the line independent of but in close cooperation with, the City of Fort Collins.

Operating Costs and Funding:

The line is operated from a combination of farebox revenue, charters, membership dues in the Society, and contributions. For 1999, gross revenue was about $11,000, of which $5,000 represented farebox receipts. Charter rates are $30 to $40 per hour, and about 20 charters are operated each year. Occasional promotions are sponsored by local businesses. For example, a local Credit Union provided funding for free rides for the Fourth of July.

Capital Costs and Funding:

The estimated reproduction cost of the line is about $2,500,000. However, almost all of the labor was volunteer, and much of the material for construction of the line was donated. The major purchased item was the overhead wire.

System Benefits:

The Fort Collins trolley is considered to be an attractive addition to the city. It does not appear to have caused significant economic development; however, it does draw people to the central part of town, and the historic center of downtown is at one end of the line.

System Problems and Issues:

Before the line was built, the Society faced a court suit from a local group opposing the trolley because of the noise it was expected to create. This group appeared at a hearing with a video, but it was determined that the background noise of street traffic was louder than the trolley, and the court ruled in favor of the trolley. During construction, the Society built one block at a time, and traffic was not interrupted.

 

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