Frank's Photography Site

Savannah Heritage Streetcar - June, 2009

The Savannah Heritage Streetcar (run by the DOT with a free fare at that time), operated on River
Street in downtown Savannah, right along the riverfront. River Street is a popular tourist area,
lined with restaurants, parks & boutiques, and is accessed by quite a few old stairways
and alleyways from the main streets higher up. It's still cobblestone paved
with a single track. The city bought the former freight spur on this street from
Norfolk Southern in 1994, and service began in February, 2009.
It only operated from Wednesdays-Sundays from noon to 7PM, but all service was discontinued in 2015.
The entire project (purchase of the track, car, and installing a biodiesel engine), according to
Wikipedia, only cost the city $907,000. The one car they ran was an ex-Melbourne, Australia
1930's vintage W5 car (#756). It ran on biodiesel (used cooking oil from area
restaurants), but in the future if other (now unlikely) plans develop in the city, overhead electric
may be installed. The city also owns an old Birney Safety Car, in need of restoration.

First, a few views from River Street, huge container ships ply the river.

Three shots taken "after hours", showing the track and cobblestones,
the street is one-way for motorists, but the trolley shuttles back and forth both ways.
The area where you see the electrical substation is near the west end of the line,
and the "tunnel" under the Hyatt Regency Hotel is near the middle of the line.

And here is a good-sized set of the #756 in action, on a Sunday evening in early June, 2009.

The car is bi-directional, the motorman switching ends when returning in the opposite direction.
The interior has been magnificently restored with beautiful woodwork, compartments & seating.

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