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The “Jones Avenue Streetcar”

A Heritage Streetcar Line for San Antonio

The "Jones Avenue Streetcar," a so-called heritage-line, is envisioned to operate vintage streetcars from the vicinity of Alamo Plaza to the San Antonio Zoo by way of N. Alamo Street, Maverick Park, the San Antonio Museum of Art on W. Jones Avenue, the Pearl Brewery complex on Grayson Street, Avenue B, and the Witte Museum on Broadway. The starting-point and basis of the proposed line is the existing but currently unused trolley-tine of the Texas Transportation Company between Maverick Park and Avenue B just to the east of the Pearl Brewery grounds. Because of the difficulty of obtaining permission for use of the rail-siding from Sherman Street to "Sunset Station," which was the original plan, it has been decided that the Alamo Street alignment, suggested by the Bexar County/San Antonio Transit Authority in their feasibility study of 1997, was economically much more sensible.

The envisioned operation differs from the one outlined in the Express-News of June 9 and August 4, 1996, only in that initially, in order to get service going on the entire line as soon as possible, rubber tired vehicles are to be used on the two segments that presently lack both rail and wire, and that a strong attempt is to be made to extend the railway portion of the run by laying down track on Avenue B at least as far as Lyon Park or Mulberry Street as soon as an acceptable level of business has been attained. Although the rail-portion would consist of the run from Maverick Park to Avenue B at Grayson Street, through-service from Third Street to the entrance of the Zoo would nevertheless be provided.

The proposed franchise-holder and operator of the "Jones Avenue Streetcar" is the Municipal Street Railway Company, Inc., a not-for-profit business corporation chartered on February 20, 2001, but not yet organized. The proposed business-plan and mode of operation are basically those of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority of Dallas and the Market Street Railway of San Francisco. It is intended to initially operate with a volunteer-staff only and to hire salaried employees as the need arises.

The original plan was to commence basic service by using locally owned former Public Service Company car No. 300/311 ("Old 300"), which currently operates on a 3-mile recreational line in Astoria, Oregon. However, because a long-term lease prevents the car's return to San Antonio, it is now intended to purchase one or two modern replicas of vintage vehicles from the Gomaco Trolley Co., the cost of the vehicles to be defrayed by means of corporate sponsorship in the fashion of the McKinney Avenue Streetcar and the TECO Streetcar Line (Tampa), or through public subscription.

May23, 2002                - AifredE. Ehm


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