Charlotte Trolley passing siding
The trolleys depart each end of the line every half hour. There is a passing siding in the middle of the line, with the default spring switch set to the side. This way, the oncoming car in the photo goes straight, and our car automatically takes the siding. This spring switch setup allows for automatic operation with no delay.
The Charlotte Trolley runs about 2 miles into the edge of Charlotte, NC, using three “historic” trolleys built by Gomaco (of Ida Grove IA). They also have an original Charlotte Trolley from 1925, the last car to run in Charlotte, that is now restored and occasionally used in service. The lines has 7 stops, and the cost is $1.50 for the 20-30 minute ride one way, but if you don’t get off at the end (just ride out and back), you don’t need to pay again. People seemed to be riding the trolley, with almost 45 riders for a good portion of the line around noon on the car that I rode. Some narration is provided by a Charlotte Trolley volunteer who rides at the back of the car, aided by a modern PA system.
For replicas, the cars look like trolleys, ride like trolleys, and make noise like trolleys. They are “modern” with handicapped lifts built into the stairs, and push-button doors, but the overall feel is that of a real trolley. The ride is really nice because the current track is built for light rail (heavier and stricter standards), being installed starting in February. The tracks designed for full-service light rail make the ride is smooth as glass, and I believe the cars go about 20mph on some sections. The journey would be faster if they didn’t need to flag the intersections.
Photographed by Mark Sylvester (StmTrolleyguy), December 24, 2005.
Added to the photo archive by Mark Sylvester, December 30, 2005.
Railroad: Charlotte Trolley.
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