Seattle Streetcar, 1909 (wikimedia)

Several local institutions have banded together to host a talk on Seattle’s streetcar history:

Thursday August 16th
7 to 8 p.m.
Roy Street Coffee & Tea, 700 Broadway Ave E

In 1941, Seattle’s streetcar tracks were torn up and sold for scrap. Now we’re tunneling under Capitol Hill and laying new tracks on Broadway. What has changed? Join in a discussion about the past and present of Seattle’s street railways.

Rob Ketcherside will discuss the streetcars of the early 20th century, and insha’Allah I will be there to tie it in to more modern developments in urban rail.

6 Replies to “Streetcar History Talk”

  1. The only thing that changed is those original Scandinavian tightwads would have tarred, feathered and ran out on a rail the current crop of connivers and conmen for charging Maserati prices for a Nissan Versa system.

    1. If they had any tar or feathers left over after dealing with whoever has been responsible for this country’s half-century of determination to forget how to build streetcars and everything like them.

      Whole Province of Alberta doesn’t have that much tar or that many geese.

      Maserati prices- and the products that come with them- are the price for throwing away St. Louis Car Company knowledge and experience. Look up Electroliner online. And PCC streetcar.

      But like everything else self-inflicted- eminently curable. First indication of necessary change will be when community colleges start offering courses in electric transit design and construction.

      Anybody know if this is happening anyplace in the USA??

      Mark Dublin

  2. Um, I notice that all this “history talk” appears to make little reference – or none at all – to operating statistics, passenger traffic stats in particular. These are available in great abundance for the Seattle Municipal Street Railway (and the story they tell is not pretty).

    SMSR may well be the best-documented “urban” streetcar system in the country, other than the New York systems for which exquisitely-detailed data are available.

    1. I imagine that this talk is aimed more at a lay audience, so I would not expect the conversation to wade into technical details or operating/performance statistics.

      1. Um, nothing personal, but I find this exceptionally lame.

        “Lay audiences” interested in streetcars (or interested enough to go hear a talk) “should” be able to understand that: In the past, streetcars carried a great deal of short-distance travel. Although there are exceptions (Boston, New York, San Francisco, parts of Seattle and even parts of L.A.), this market has virtually disappeared in “most” U.S. cities. This fact has significant implications for planners, policy-makers – and historians.

      2. The main implication is that narrow stop spacing is only useful in specific areas.

        This is an implication for BUSES as well as for streetcars.

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