DC’s Streetcar “Lionel Set”

Washington DC has been trying to start a streetcar system for over a decade.  So far, they have been unsuccessful.  Before I continue, I have to say DC is an extreme outlier in the streetcar world.  They finished construction on the H Street route in 2014 and started testing that summer.  The line has missed every deadline since and hasn’t opened.  Transit experts and rail-fans have questioned if it will open.  Here’s my opinion.  After over a decade and over a hundred million dollars, DC has itself a giant Lionel Streetcar Bump-N-Go set on H Street.  I’m not saying it’ll be unsuccessful when it opens.  On the contrary, I think it’ll be a huge success.  I judge streetcar systems first on one key characteristic, ridership stats.  How many people are riding and are the riders residents are my first two questions.  I think the H Street line will pass those tests when passenger service starts.  Until then, it is the biggest rail line flop I have ever seen.  I hope whatever the problem is, it gets fixed ASAP.  If it doesn’t, it’s reputation can not be fixed.


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