Dallas’ first modern streetcar begins service this week and in recognition we’re taking a look back in time when streetcars were the premier method for travel across Dallas and the North Texas area.
The 100-year-old Houston St. Viaduct is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and rehabilitation required coordination with the Texas Historical Commission.
The city uncovered the original 1912 plans for the Houston Street Viaduct, which show that the bridge’s 44-foot-wide roadway originally included space for two interurban trains. The rails were never laid. Almost 100 years later, the Dallas Streetcar line will fulfill that original intent.
To avoid placing an overhead catenary system on the historic bridge, the vehicles feature a battery power system allowing them to run “off wire” for almost a mile as they cross over the Trinity River corridor.
During rail construction on Colorado Boulevard, crews discovered a figurative time capsule hidden in the road. Underneath the pavement were girder and T-rail tracks dating to an old interurban system.
Because the tracks were caked in concrete from the demolition, crews were unable to find markers to determine the exact age. DART Streetcar Projects Director Jay Kline speculated the tracks could be up to 100 years old.