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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis October 5, 2012
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Portland Streetcar Introduces ‘Central Loop’ Service

The city of Portland. OR, introduced service on its newest streetcar line—the Central Loop—on Sept. 22. “Get in the loop” was the day’s theme.

The Central Loop is a 3.35-mile, double-tracked extension with 28 new streetcar stops. Tracks and stations opened for service from the existing line in the Pearl District and downtown, across the Broadway Bridge, and on to the Rose Quarter, Lloyd District, Convention Center, and Central Eastside, ending at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI).

Along with elected officials and local leaders, the ceremony featured the first “Made in USA” streetcar in 50 years. As part of the project, the city of Portland ordered six new streetcars that will be manufactured at United Streetcar in Clackamas County, OR.

“Reintroducing streetcars to Portland has been a phenomenal success. Wherever the streetcar goes, investments in neighborhoods and jobs follow,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “I think 20 years from now this area will be more valuable, livable, and sustainable, and we’ll be thankful that we acted now.”

Neil McFarlane, general manager of the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet), noted that the Central Loop became a reality through a partnership that included TriMet, the city, Portland Streetcar Inc., and FTA. “That partnership will continue to benefit riders,” he continued, “as we complete a new bridge over the Willamette [River] that will not only extend light rail from the South Waterfront to the Eastside and Milwaukie, but also complete the Streetcar loop.”

In coordination with TriMet’s Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, Portland Streetcar and the city plan to “close the loop” by funding the final connections to put the streetcar on a new bridge that will connect the Central Eastside and South Waterfront. Plans for a central city circulator have been in city plans since the late 1980s.

The Central Loop line runs from SW Market Street Downtown on existing tracks to the Pearl before crossing to the Eastside on new tracks and turning around at OMSI. It connects seamlessly with the existing streetcar line, now renamed the North South Line.


Cutting the ribbon on opening day of the Portland Streetcar’s Central Loop are, from left, FTA Region 10 Administrator Rick Krochalis; Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); and Portland Mayor Sam Adams.


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