APTA Streetcar and
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Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
Washington, DC

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Washington, DC

Modern Streetcar In Service

On February 27, 2016 service began on Washington, DC's first modern streetcar line after a construction and testing period stretching over seven years. The new line brings back streetcars to the H Street and Benning Avenue corridor in the city's North East quadrant, which was one of the heaviest streetcar routes on the first generation system until its abandonment in 1949.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, whose administration oversaw the final year of testing and the launch of operations stated her support to extend the line east to the Minnesota Avenue metro station and west to Georgetown.

Washington streetcar H Street

The first two cars await completion of dedication speeches so they may make the official first runs on the new line on February 27, 2016.

Washington streetcar Benning Road

On Benning the cars operate adjacent to the median and station platforms are located on the median.


Before construction of the H/Benning route, work had begun on building an initial streetcar line in Anacostia, in the city's South East district. Despite completion of much of the tracklaying and construction of a maintenance facility, no further work is underway to complete the line.


Across the District border in Arlington, Virginia several years were spent developing plans and building support for modern streetcars to operate on two corridors to improve transit options in the traffic-choked region. However, in November 2014 work on these projects came to an abrupt halt as project opponents carried the day. Click here for more on the demise of these projects.

First Streetcar Displayed

One of the District's three Czech-built streetcars was introduced to the public in May 2010. Click to enlarge the images below:

The first modern streetcar to be displayed in downtown Washington, shown as part of the Streetcar Showcase in early May, 2010.

The car posed with two downtown circulator buses, operated by the city Department of Transportation, with which it shares a livery.

The interrior of the car shows the low floor area near the center doors and the stairs leading to the high floor area over the trucks..

Newly installed track on H Street NE is scheduled to be in use by mid 2014.


Overhead Wire Alternatives Forum

On May 6, 2010 members of the APTA Streetcar and Heritage Trolley Subcommittee participated in a forum organized by advocacy group D. C. Surface Transit addressing options for streetcar operation in Washington without overhead wire. Click below to see a copy of that presentation:

News Updates

The below links are to news notes that further describe streetcar planning in the Washington area:


Follow this link for a description of streetcar planning on the DC Department of Transportation's website:

On November 13, 2004 a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Anacostia for what was envisaged as a demonstrator modern streetcar line. Intended to showcase technology for a future system of lines running through the city, the initial stretch will connect Pennsylvania Avenue with Bolling Air Force, serving the Anacostia section of the city. Click on the following links for news articles describing the project.

Subsequently proposals have emerged for additional streetcar lines in the Washington area, including in nearby Virginia suburbs along the Columbia Pike.

On June 14, 2006, Rosemary Covington, Administrator of the DC Department of Transportation, presented the status of the Anacostia project at the APTA rail conference. The following are key points from her presentation:

  • Primary reasons for considering re-introduction of streetcars to  Washington are:

    - The Metro system is a suburb to downtown connector but does not serve in-town trips the way traditional subway systems do. Many Metro lines are operating at capacity as are the buses that distribute Metro riders downtown.
    - Congestion and parking problems are growing in the city
    - Population and employment are projected to grow 20% over the next 25 years

  • A comprehensive alternatives analysis identified streetcars as a good solution to downtown distribution
  • Two delegations who have traveled to Portland support mixed operation of streetcars in neighborhood streets. Others have concerns so the initial stretch has been shortened to demonstrate the concept before further street-running sections are completed.
  • The schedule calls for engineering to be complete in Spring 2006, construction to begin in Fall 2006, and operation to begin in Spring 2007
  • Planning continues to include track for a future line in the H Street-Benning Road coordinator as the streets are rebuilt. Including the track may increase the reconstruction cost by about $9 million.
  • The following images show the planned livery and route systems:

The colors being considered for the streetcars are based on DC Cirulcator bus at top.

The planned initial segment is from Bolling Air Force base (lower left) to Anacostia Metro Station (upper right).

Shown here are corridors which will potentially see streetcar service in the long run.


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