News and Updates:
MATA has advertised for bids on design and manufacture of special
trackwork for the Medical Center Rail Extension Project.
full funding grant agreement for the 2.5-mile, six-station Medical Center
Rail Extension Project was signed by Acting Federal Transit Administrator
Nuria I. Fernandez in Memphis on Dec. 12.
The project, expected to cost $74.7 million, will run along Madison
Street between Main and Cleveland and will serve an expanding commercial,
office, and government employment area and a new minor league baseball
stadium. described the trolley as a key link between two of the
city's largest employment centers, downtown and the Medical Center
neighborhood to the east. The
FTA will contribute 80 percent of the cost, or $59.7 million, with the
state and city each providing about $7.5 million.
Source- Rail transit Online, January 2001
The contract to rebuild MATA's
recently acquired ex-Melbourne cars has been awarded to the Gomaco Trolley
Company, along with an order to build a replica double-truck Birney car.
The replica car is being piggybacked onto Gomaco's order of 8 cars for
Tampa. The Memphis version will be very similar to the Tampa cars, except
that the air conditioning will be omitted, which will mean the
reappearance of the more traditional roof vents. Delivery is anticipated
in late 2002 early 2003. This will be the second Gomaco replica car in
Memphis, joining a single truck car acquired in 1993. Source: Gomaco
Hill Brothers Construction Co. of Falkner, Mississippi, was low bidder for
the contract to build the new Medical Center extension. Hill Brothers’ bid of $23.7 million, one of only two submitted despite nationwide advertising, was significantly lower than Memphis Area Transit Authority's estimate of
$27.6 million. Once the MATA board affirms the contract, the electrical work will be subcontracted to Haines Electric Co., a Memphis firm that outfitted the original trolley line. The trolley may be the first link in a regional light rail system — a feasibility and route study on a corridor connecting downtown with the southeastern suburbs was approved by MATA’s board last January.
Source: Rail Transit On Line
The Gomaco Trolley Company website has been updated with a comprehensive
set of photos detailing their current rebuild of three former
Melbourne streetcars for Memphis. Well worth a look.
Main Street Trolley Closes for Upgrades and Expansion. The MATA
website ran the following press release detailing the temporary
Memphis Area Transit Authority will close the Main Street Trolley™ (Sunday, January 5, through mid-March 2003) in order for special track work to be installed at the intersection of Main Street and Madison Avenue. During this time, a bus shuttle service will operate parallel to Main Street for the convenience of trolley patrons.
Posters will be placed in storefronts and other key points downtown to show the route of the shuttle service, and MATA' website will offer timely updates about trolley developments
(www.matatransit.com). The special track work is part of MATA's Medical Center Rail Extension project, which will extend the trolley system 2.5 miles eastward from Main Street to Cleveland Street. The extension will be completed in early 2004.
During the shutdown of the trolley system, MATA will be busy enhancing the existing trolley line. The Authority will retention the existing system's catenary wires (the overhead power lines) and will retrofit the trolleys for pantographs (devices that will ease reversing the power when the trolley comes to the end of the line). That work will take about 60 days during the period when work on the rail extension is underway. For more information, please call Alison Burton at 901-722-7100.
is also running a series of items detailing their efforts to mitigate the
impact on local businesses from all the construction activity.
Medical Center Extension Update- The following post on the Light
Rail Transit Memphis discussion group provides a nice update on the
progress towards completing the Medical Center Line:
Construction work should be finished in October, 2003. Remaining work includes :
1) track construction between Dunlap St. and Pauline St., and around the Danny Thomas Blvd.
2) overhead wire installation throughout the length of the project
3) station construction at six locations
4) construction of the park-and-ride lot near Cleveland St.
5) installation of signal equipment for the Main/Madison intersection
6) re-paving and re-striping of the street between Main St. and Pauline St. (Pauline to Watkins has already been repaved).
Except for track construction, the remaining work should not be very disruptive to the traveling public or businesses on Madison Avenue. In November, MATA will begin testing the system. In early 2004, training of operators will occur. Service will begin on March 16, 2004.
Medical Center Extension Update- The November issue of Rail
Transit Online carried the following report:
Medical Center trolley extension is being completed substantially under
budget, according to new figures just released by Memphis Area Transit
Authority General Manager William Hudson.
The original budget for construction and acquisition of five
vintage streetcars was $74.6 million but Hudson now says he expects to
finish the project for just $55 million.
When asked by The Commercial Appeal what led to the lower costs,
Hudson replied, “Good contracts.
Good bridge contracts. Good
rail contracts. Equipment
contracts.” He said
MATA’s experience with contractor Hill Brothers Construction of Falkner,
Mississippi, was very positive. “A
lot of good contract negotiations and good people to do business with,”
Hudson told The Commercial Appeal.
The 2.5-mi. (4 km), six-station segment from the existing Main
Street line to just beyond Cleveland Avenue was 90-percent completed by
mid-October, and Hudson is forecasting a March opening.
On Oct. 15, a ceremony was held marking completion of track
installation as the last two sections of rail were welded together.
The trolley may be the first link in a regional light rail system
— MATA is working on plans for a line to Memphis International Airport
— and any money saved during construction of the Medical Center
extension could be applied to future construction (Source: Rail Transit
other Memphis trolley news, production is well along at the Gomaco Trolley
Company on the new replica trolley car ordered by Memphis. Work is also
nearing completion on all three of the Melbourne W-2 type trolleys that
Gomaco is rebuilding for Memphis, with the first car already shipped to
Memphis. Plenty of pictures are available on Gomaco's
website of the whole process.
Medical Center Extension Opens- The April issue of Rail
Transit Online carried the following report:
A two-mile (3.2 km) extension of the Memphis Area Transit Authority’s five-mile (8 km) downtown trolley loop opened on Mar. 15. The new link, which cost $56 million, runs along Madison Avenue to the city’s medical center and also serves the new FedEx Forum. The project was completed on time and $19 million under budget. Despite a light rain, several hundred people were on hand for the ceremonial first run of car No. 453, which broke through a banner and carried elected officials and other VIPs from Cleveland Station to downtown. “We're not building this just for tourists,” said MATA president William Hudson. “We're building it for all of us.” The celebration also included a week of free rides on the entire trolley network. MATA expects weekday ridership on the extension to increase from 2,100 this year to 4,200 by 2020.
Source: Rail Transit On Line April 2004
December 2004 Updates- The APTA Vintage
Trolley & Streetcar Task Force concluded its year-end meeting
with a visit to Memphis on December 5. MATA staff gave a
presentation which included a system history and a review of the
construction of the Madison Avenue extension. The presentation was
followed by a tour of the system on board MATA's new Gomaco replica
In addition to the new trolley
line, it was obvious that major development work has also come to
fruition around the trolley line over the last few years. The area
around the southern end of the Main St. / Riverfront Lines
continues to sprout new housing and loft conversions.The Beale
Street entertainment district now features a new baseball stadium
(AutoZone Park), a major new sporting arena (the Fed Ex Forum, the
new home of Memphis' NBA team), and a major new entertainment
complex in the form of Peabody Place.
of the Main St. line
to turn off of Main and onto the Riverfront Loop
Interlocking, where the Riverfront Loop crosses Amtrak.
Loop, the Memphis Pyramid in the background.
the southern end of the Riverfront Loop, the trolleys pass the
driveways of many new homes
Blvd. Station on the new Madison Ave. line.
2010 Update- The Madison Ave. line has been closed
since September 13, with buses substituted for the streetcars. Click
here for a related story.