VOL. 133 | NO. 86 | Monday, April 30, 2018
Trolleys Return to Main Street
By Bill Dries
Four years after all trolley service was halted, trolley service resumed Monday, April 30, on the Main Street line with trolley fare free until May 14. (Daily News/Bill Dries)
Almost four years after the trolley system was shut down and 25 years and a day since the service began, the Memphis Area Transit Authority resumed running the trolleys on the Main Street line.
The Monday, April 30, ceremonial first ride from the MATA trolley barn on North Main Street ended a multi-year process of restoring vintage cars and rebuilding the maintenance and record-keeping system for trolley service. MATA CEO Gary Rosenfeld said the effort’s priority was making the trolleys a “safe and reliable mode of transportation.”
The system was shut down in 2014 after the second of two cars caught fire. In recent months the trolleys have returned to Main Street but not for passenger service. MATA officials put the trolleys and their electrical power line through a rigorous set of tests required by state and federal regulators.
The first passenger service began Monday free of charge and will remain free through May 14. After that the fare will be $1.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told those gathered on North Main for the ceremony that it took a long time to return the service, “But it was important to get it right.”
“Trolleys are part of the fabric of Downtown,” he added.
Trolley service on the Riverfront Loop and on Madison Avenue is expected to follow.