Streetcar Home Page DC Massachusetts Pennsylvania Canada
Systems List Delaware Michigan Tennessee InnoTrans Berlin 2010
Arkansas Florida Missouri Texas Latest Updates
Arizona Georgia New York Utah  
California Iowa North Carolina Washington  
Colorado Kentucky Ohio Wisconsin  
Connecticut Louisiana Oregon    

 

U.S. Streetcar Systems- Oregon


Portland

 

Portland Streetcar

Began Operation: 2001

Route Miles: 3.6 (7.2 one-way loop) 

Stops:  42

Org: Transit Agency + Non-Profit  

Schedule: Daily

Photo: John Smatlak


Opening in July 2001, the Portland Streetcar heralded the arrival of the Modern Streetcar to the United States. The system has been extended four times since its opening, and now provides daily service along a 3.6 mile route (soon to be extended). The majority of the line runs along pairs of one-way streets, separated by one or two blocks. Total one-way mileage for the complete loop is currently 7.2. Much of the line operates within TriMet's "fareless square" zone in the downtown area, so most trips are actually free to riders. Portland made use of an off-the-shelf European  streetcar vehicle design, providing a modern, air-conditioned vehicle with level boarding. 

The system is operated by the non-profit "Portland Streetcar Inc.", with service delivery contracted to local transit provider Tri-Met, who also operates the region's extensive light rail system. The streetcar is seen as "a unique public/private strategy to link investment in high quality transit service with major development". A January 2006 report by PSI entitled "Development Orientated Transit" notes that since 1997, more than 2.28 Billion dollars has been invested within two blocks of the streetcar alignment. As of late 2008, the system was carrying 4.3 million riders annually.

The next system extension will extend service from the Pearl District in NW Portland, across the existing Broadway Bridge, serving the eastern half of the Portland Central City. Click here for a pdf fact sheet from the Portland Streetcar website. In May of 2009, it was announced that $75M in federal funding had been obtained towards the $127M project, and construction of the new 3.3 mile loop began in January 2010. Construction was substantially completed in January 2012 and testing is now underway, with service expected to start in Fall 2012.

Portland map 2010.gif (179770 bytes)

Click on the map at left for more information on the system. A more detailed history of the project's development is also available on the history page of the Portland Streetcar website. 

 

 

Portland Streetcar 21 sm.JPG (118045 bytes) Portland Streetcar 6 TVM sm.JPG (89546 bytes) Portland Streetcar 28 sm.jpg (152578 bytes) Portland Streetcar 30 sm.JPG (132369 bytes)

Much of the Portland Streetcar route is within Tri-Met's "Fareless Square"

On-board ticket machines sell tickets for travel beyond the Fareless Square.

Portland State University area
       
Portland Streetcar 39 sm.JPG (147486 bytes) Portland Streetcar 40 sm.JPG (128797 bytes) Portland Streetcar 41 sm.JPG (135988 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 1 sm.JPG (152998 bytes)
More scenes Downtown On NW Lovejoy Entering SW Harrison
       
Portland Streetcar Jul07 shelter sm.jpg (124387 bytes) Portland sidewalk pole sm.jpg (176451 bytes) Portland Streetcar Jul07 bulge out platform sm.jpg (155027 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 28 aerial sta sm2.jpg (181319 bytes)
Shelters feature easy-to-read maps and real time arrival info.

Most of the platforms are constructed as simple "bulb outs" from the curb, preserving on-street parking and providing for a stop that can easily be shared with buses.

       
Portland Streetcar 707 29 median sm.jpg (209561 bytes) Portland Streetcar Jul07 street scene bike sm.jpg (199513 bytes) Portland Streetcar Jul07 downtown street scene sm.jpg (160479 bytes) Portland Streetcar Jul07 meets LRV sm.jpg (191132 bytes)

Harrison Street features a median alignment with center platforms

At several locations, OCS span wires are anchored directly to the walls of adjacent buildings.

Although there is no inter-operation between the two systems, Portland Streetcar and the Tri-Met MAX light rail system cross at several locations.

       
Portland Streetcar 707 6 bridge sm.JPG (100131 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 24 sign sm2.jpg (142111 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 17 sm2.jpg (166387 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 14 sm2.jpg (124993 bytes)

Turning onto NW Northrup Street in the Pearl District. The Pearl was created from a large area of abandoned rail yards. 

The "Go By Streetcar" sign evokes the spirit of the historic "Go By Train" sign on nearby Union Station

The streetcar connects with the new aerial tramway that connects to the OHSU campus.
       
Portland LRT Skidmore sm.JPG (113546 bytes) Portland Skidmore Fountain crowds 2 sm.JPG (185025 bytes) Portland Skidmore Fountain crowds 1 sm.jpg (165179 bytes) Portland Streetcar 1 aerial smb.jpg (186762 bytes)

The Sunday "Farmer's Market" brings huge crowds to the Skidmore Fountain area. At left an LRV boards at the station. In the middle scene, a local Jimi Hendrix impersonator attracts attention while an LRV prepares to  depart. At right, the crowd parts as the LRV moves through. Light Rail can be "pedestrian friendly". 

Looking north on SW 10th Street in Downtown Portland. Note how the curb "bumps out" to form the station platform, preserving on-street parking.


Pictures Added January 2010

       
TriMet Union Station corner sm.jpg (160851 bytes) Portland Max Union Station sm.jpg (133822 bytes) Portland Transit Mall sm.jpg (150307 bytes) Portland transit mall 2 sm.jpg (160041 bytes)

The new Transit Mall loops from 6th (one way northbound) to 5th (one way southbound) in front of restored Union Station.

Passing the old interlocking tower adjacent to the station. Note the "Go By Train" neon sign on the station clock tower; this was the inspiration for the "Go By Streetcar" sign at 10th and Northrup.

The new Transit Mall alignments on 5th and 6th are shared by Light Rail and bus, with one lane remaining for automobile traffic. A clever solution to keeping traffic moving was devised by gently curving the track over to the curb lane at station stops, changing back to the middle of the street between stations. Bus stops are provided with bays that keep a stopped bus clear of the tracks and other passing vehicles.

       
Portland transit mall OCS pole sm.jpg (126415 bytes) Portland 409 sm.jpg (172453 bytes) TriMet transit mall cobblestones sm.jpg (162499 bytes) TriMet Pioneer Square station sm.jpg (147556 bytes)

An example of the high-quality Light Rail infrastructure on the mall alignments; modern steel poles used to support the OCS are shrouded with an historic facade, taking care of street lighting at the same time.

The original Light Rail alignments through Downtown utilized salvaged cobblestones for the transit lane. 

An LRV boards at the Pioneer Square stop. 

        
Portland Streetcar Taylor sm.jpg (156969 bytes) Portland lineup 2010 2 sm.jpg (153564 bytes) Portland lineup 2010 3 sm.jpg (157984 bytes) OIW streetcar Jan 2010 sm.jpg (144329 bytes)

Portland has some very hilly terrain, and the streetcar climbs its share of grades throughout much of the alignment.

Light Rail, Bus and Streetcar all share a short section of the new transit mall. January 2010.

The Streetcar turns off the transit mall as the Light Rail train departs.

The new streetcar prototype from United Streetcar on display at the maintenance facility. No firm date has been established yet for when it will enter service.

 John Smatlak Photos 

 


News / Updates:

 

February, 2012-  Construction of Portland Streetcar's new Eastside Extension was substantially completed in January. The first test trips over the new alignment took place in February. The newly expanded maintenance facility is now in use, providing two additional indoor service tracks and an in-ground wheel truing machine. The APTA Streetcar Subcommittee visited Portland January 13-14 and took a tour of the newly completed Eastside alignment as well as the new Moody extension and the adjacent components of the TriMet Milwaukie LRT extension which are now in construction, and the United Streetcar facility in Clakamas. Thanks to Eric Sitiko and Laddie Vitek for the news and photos of the streetcar testing.

 

Portland Streetcar Moody project 2 sm.jpg (213770 bytes) Portland Streetcar Moody project 3 sm.jpg (193789 bytes) Portland Streetcar Moody project 1 sm.jpg (181230 bytes) Portland Streetcar Eastside OMSI 3 sm.jpg (249992 bytes)

The recently completed Moody project replaces a former section of temporary single track with a new roadway. The Milwaukie LRT extension will also thread through this same area and cross the river on a new bridge.

Elevating the new roadway allowed contaminated soil to be left undisturbed and facilitated access to adjacent development.

The project area as seen from the Portland aerial tram. The new Milwaukie LRT bridge is under construction.

       
Portland Streetcar Eastside OMSI sm.jpg (177090 bytes) Portland Eastside Extension Max crossing sm.jpg (251325 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-20 sm.jpg (205373 bytes) Portland Eastside Extension 5 sm.jpg (195101 bytes)

This stop adjacent to OMSI will be the temporary end of the line pending completion of the new river bridge that will "close the loop" on the new alignment.

The new alignment adds two more crossings of the streetcar and LRT. These present no operational problems, and the streetcar simply moves across the LRT alignment with other traffic.

Test car in the Pearl District. Laddie Vitek photo.

The new Eastside alignment has a very different character than the original Portland Streetcar route. Located on wide, fast-moving streets, some of the stops are also shared with TriMet buses.
       
Portland Eastside Extension 4 sm.jpg (188658 bytes) Portland Eastside Extension bike turn sm.jpg (243224 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-18 sm.jpg (256609 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-19 sm.jpg (227947 bytes)
An interesting lane shift, which will operate under protection of the intersection traffic signals.

This new bicycle turn arrangement keeps cyclists out of the roadway left turn pocket.

Streetcars have returned to the Broadway Bridge. Laddie Vitek photos.
       
PSITestingFeb12-16 sm.jpg (254815 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-14 sm.jpg (174980 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-8 sm.jpg (151613 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-1 sm.jpg (216472 bytes)
On the Broadway Bridge. Laddie Vitek photo. First test streetcar operated over the new Eastside Extension. Laddie Vitek photos.
        
PSITestingFeb12-10 sm.jpg (191123 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-7 sm.jpg (201067 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-5 sm.jpg (151906 bytes) PSITestingFeb12-2 sm.jpg (193195 bytes)
More scenes of the first test streetcar operated over the new Eastside Extension. Laddie Vitek photos.
Portland Streetcar new wheel truing machine sm.jpg (195313 bytes) United Streetcar prototype 2012 sm.jpg (187514 bytes) United Streetcar prototype 2012 b sm.jpg (322519 bytes) Portland Union Station night 1 sm.jpg (125006 bytes)
The new maintenance facility expansion project included this in-ground wheel truing machine. Prototype streetcar at the United Streetcar test track in Clackamas. Always a classic- Portland Union Station at dusk.

September 25, 2010-  As seen in the pictures below, track construction for Portland Streetcar's new Eastside Extension is in full swing. In some locations such as the Broadway Bridge, crews must first remove the old narrow-gauge rails of Portland's original streetcar system, abandoned decades before. Work is also underway to construct an additional building at the maintenance facility site.

 

IMG_1955.JPG (117242 bytes) IMG_1950.JPG (133942 bytes) IMG_1949.JPG (125383 bytes) IMG_1939.JPG (135389 bytes)
Track construction is in full swing on the new East Side extension. Eric Sitiko photos

February 4, 2010-  Track construction for Portland Streetcar's new Eastside Extension is officially underway! This blog entery on Oregon Live has more info.

Eastside extension Grand Ave 2.jpg (42947 bytes) Eastside extension Grand Ave.jpg (46692 bytes)
Track construction on Grand Ave. Judie Miller photos

November 5, 2009-  Federal officials recently made the official dedication of $75M in funding for the Portland Streetcar's new Eastside Extension. Oregon Live.com carried a good article on this and other news concerning the other elements of Portland's growing streetcar network. The official Metro page covering the project is here, and contains copies of the various assessment documents relating to the project. Meanwhile work continues to get the new streetcar vehicle from Oregon Ironworks in service. 


July 8, 2009-  Portland Streetcar's new vehicle from Oregon Iron Works was unveiled in a July 1 ceremony attended by US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The Portland Transport blog has additional coverage of the event including a video. The car will now undergo extended on-line testing. 

 

On July 2, the city released a public comment version of the Portland Streetcar System Concept Plan. The plan is a "20 to 50 year long range planning study that will identify transit corridors in the City of Portland with the highest potential for more detailed analysis in the future". "The goal of the SSCP is to identify an interconnected citywide system of streetcar corridors integrated with the City's transportation and land use network. The Portland Streetcar System Concept Plan can play a key role in shaping the City by:

* reinforcing walkable and economically diverse neighborhoods and vibrant main streets
* encouraging sustainable and equitable development and infrastructure
* supporting reduction of vehicle trips
* supporting greater accessibility, housing options, employment, and economic development"

 

Portland new streetcar dedication crowd sm.jpg (128220 bytes) LaHood__EB_Streetcar_5 sm.jpg (127910 bytes) Unveiling car July 1 2009.jpg (124039 bytes) Portland new streetcar in test sm.jpg (114667 bytes)
The well-attended ceremony Secretary LaHood (L) and Congressman Blumenauer.  The unveiling. Photo from Portland Transport Blog The new car on the tracks. "Made in USA". Eric Sitiko photo

May 2009- $75M in federal funding has been obtained for the latest extension of the Portland Streetcar. The new 3.3 mile streetcar loop is a $127M project, and will extend service from the Pearl District in NW Portland, across the existing Broadway Bridge, serving the eastern half of the Portland Central City. Click here for a pdf fact sheet from the Portland Streetcar website. Click here for a news article on the funding in The Bee

 

The Bee is also reporting that the first modern streetcar produced in the U.S. under license from the Czech firm Skoda is due to be delivered to Portland Streetcar sometime this summer by United Streetcar LLC, a subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works. The article also reports that United Streetcar anticipates an order for six additional cars for the new Eastside Streetcar Loop. Click here for the Bee article.


May 27, 2009- In late May Portland Streetcar took delivery of the prototype streetcar vehicle from United Streetcar LLC. The car is currently undergoing testing. Some photos of the new car appear below. A video of the unloading was also posted on the Portland Transport blog.

 

New streetcar arrives May09 sm.jpg (151536 bytes) New streetcar arrives 2 May09 sm.jpg (130220 bytes) New streetcar unloading May09 sm.jpg (114029 bytes) New streetcar unloaded May09 sm.jpg (138961 bytes)
The new car arrives. Eric Sitiko photo Moving into position for unloading. Photo from Portland Transport Blog Unloading. Eric Sitiko photo The new car on the tracks. Eric Sitiko photo

September 2007- the latest extension of the Portland Streetcar opened on August 8. The new Lowell Extension provides a loop through the South Waterfront district and brings the one-way length of the streetcar line to 7.2 miles. Details about the grand opening are available on the Portland Transport blog.  The photos below are from my July 27 visit to Portland to attend the Streetcar Workshop presented by Reconnecting America.

 

Portland Streetcar 707 17 tram overhead.JPG (124127 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 22 So Waterfront sm.JPG (112294 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 21 aerial sm.JPG (116871 bytes) Portland Streetcar 707 19 sm.JPG (89413 bytes)

Aerial tram passes over a streetcar at the SW Moddy & Gibbs station.

The view of the South Waterfront from the tram.

Looking down on the streetcar station below.

View south on Moody Avenue from Whitaker, showing the new rail alignment.
John Smatlak Photos 

Portland So Wft Ext grand opening.jpg (145520 bytes)

11/23/06- Service began October 20 on the new Portland Streetcar South Waterfront Extension to SW Moody and Gibbs. Photos of the event can be found on the Portland Transport Blog. Construction continues on the adjacent Portland Aerial Tram, which will provide a connection to the OHSU campus.

 Construction also continues on the Lowell Extension of the Portland Streetcar, with service anticipated to begin in the summer of 2007.


Inekon trio.jpg (121328 bytes)

6/26/06- Opening day ceremonies for the Portland Streetcar South Waterfront Extension are scheduled for October 6, 2006. This latest extension advances the line another .6 of a mile beyond the the previous Riverplace extension (which opened in March 2005). The latest extension  will provide a convenient connection to the Portland Aerial Tram being built to serve the OHSU campus on Marquam Hill. 

Three additional Skoda streetcars are expected to begin arriving in Portland in September 2006. Click here for a link to the Portland Transport blog and photos of the three cars under construction. 


9/28/04- Construction is well along on the Portland Streetcar RiverPlace extension. Scheduled to open in March 2005, the extension will connect the PSU campus with RiverPlace on the banks of the Willamette River. A visit in mid-September found tracks in place over most of the extension. Approaching RiverPlace, the new line crosses the former end of the Willamette Shore Trolley operation, and will ultimately be extended a short distance more to provide a connection to an aerial tramway being built to serve the OHSU campus on Marquam Hill. Two additional Skoda streetcars have been purchased to cover additional service requirements.

Portland Streetcar extension 9 sm.JPG (115060 bytes) Portland Streetcar extension 20 sm.JPG (151960 bytes) Portland Streetcar extension 6 sm.JPG (92957 bytes)
Streetcar extension 9/04 Good cross-section of the shallow-slab track construction Streetcar extension 9/04

 John Smatlak Photos 9/04


Update 12/3/03- The development along the route of the Portland Streetcar is truly phenomenal- major changes were evident since my last visit two years previous. The system is also being extended once again. The September issue of Rail Transit Online provided this report: 

 

A ceremonial groundbreaking for a 0.6-mi. (1 km) extension of the highly successful Portland Streetcar was held at a downtown hotel on Aug. 4. The $18.2-million project will run from the current terminal at Portland State University along Harrison Street to the South Waterfront district. Construction will be done in three-block segments starting with utility relocation in late September or early October, and the line should be open by early 2005. The expansion is being financed by a combination of public and private sources. At the groundbreaking, Mayor Vera Katz said she expects the streetcar to spur economic development and create jobs. City officials are seeking funding for yet another 0.6-mi. streetcar extension that would take the tracks to Southwest Gibbs Street at a cost of about $18 million. Source- Rail Transit Online


Update 7/27/01- The new Portland Streetcar began operation on July 20. The project features all street-running track, and made extensive use of minimal impact "shallow slab" construction. Details on the track construction technique are available from an interesting article on the Gomaco World web site


 

Links 

Portland Streetcar Official Site

Portland Transport Blog

ModernStreetcar.org website

Portland page on the APTA Streetcar Subcommittee site

This page was last updated on 2/28/12


 

U.S. Streetcar Systems Website

Home Page |  What Do We Do? |  Streetcars  

Links |  Library |  Red Car Line |  Contact Us

Email: jsmatlak@earthlink.net

Copyright by RPR Inc. 2000-2012, All Rights Reserved