Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet Me in St. Louis, Bradford

It's mass transit week at HSIB, and the city of Seattle is discovering, yet again, that electric trolleys go Clang, clang, clang to the budget.  However, because of the not so great conspiracy to restore the streetcars--pace former Yale Debate Teammate of Senator John F. Kerry, Bradford Snell--there's a greater sucker around who might bail out the Evergreen City's politicians;

Just last week, Doug Campion, project manager for the Loop Trolley in St. Louis — a $43 million project that will run vintage streetcars, and is set to begin construction later this year — came to town to look them over.
Campion says about Seattle's elegant streetcars, constructed with beautiful Tasmanian mahogany and white ash, "They've taken very good care of them. They're certainly very nice."
Now he's back in St. Louis, putting together the numbers.
Metro says it'll listen to an offer.
Jim Jacobson, [Seattle] Metro's deputy general manager, says the classic trolleys "would be better served by serving people than having them parked."If the St. Louis group decides to make an offer, it wouldn't be for any huge dollars.
"There is no market for them. Some cars in decent condition have sold for $20,000. Some places are virtually giving them away. They can't afford to operate them anymore," says Campion.
So, why does St. Louis want them...nostalgia;
"It has to do with going back to 1904 and the St. Louis World's Fair.
Streetcars brought people to and from the fairground," says Campion.
Now, he says, the vintage trolleys are seen as part of revitalizing the city, and taking customers to and from restaurants, clubs and venues.
"The streetcars will be an attraction all by themselves," says Campion.
Which was the reasoning in Seattle back in the 1980s for buying them from Australia; they'd be part of Theme Park Seattle and attract tourists.  Now they sit in a warehouse gathering dust...awaiting the next dreamer.

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