The 2.2 mile St. Louis Loop Trolley
will use vintage trolleys to connect the Delmar Loop neighborhood with the Missouri History Museum.
$25 million in federal funding received in July 2010, groundbreaking is expected in
with trolleys rolling in 2014. The project is currently
budgeted at $43M.
The 2.2 mile route will have nine
stops, including the Forest Park and Delmar MetroLink stations;
Crossroads College Preparatory School; the Pageant; the Tivoli Theatre;
and the Market In the Loop. The trolleys will run in both traffic lanes
of Delmar west of the old Wabash train station / Metrolink station.
of this point, the alignment will transition to single track in the
median of Delmar (where there is an existing landscaped median). A single
track alignment will also be used on DeBaliviere, which will be reconfigured
from four lanes to two. Traffic will be moved to the west side of the
street, while the trolley alignment and a greenway for bicycles and
pedestrians will be constructed on the east side.
The trolleys were originally proposed to be hybrid-electric
models, utilizing battery power west of the Wabash station. The
project timeline, along with the additional costs and technical
issues, ultimately led to a decision to adopt conventional
overhead wire for the entire alignment.
The vehicles will either be restored
original heritage cars or possibly new replica vehicles.
In 1997, a community planning group engaged in a
collaborative process with the City of St. Louis, University City, and
Metro to explore ways of cultivating development around the Delmar
MetroLink Station, an area of pedestrian concern. Joe Edwards, owner of
Blueberry Hill and staunch promoter of The Loop revitalization,
suggested that the streetcar system that once built the area and gave
The Loop its name could help attract the development needed to extend
the Delmar Streetscape and link the Delmar Station to The Loop.
Metro helped finance a $200,000 feasibility study
that estimated the cost of a new streetcar system in 2000. The study,
completed in December 2000, suggested that an electric trolley line was
indeed feasible and even more efficient and effective than a system of
buses disguised to look like trolleys. While a fixed track system would
cost more to build, the operating costs of a fixed track versus a rubber
tire system were almost identical. The study showed that the fixed track
system offered long-term viability, with a 70% higher ridership than the
rubber tire system.
Citizens for Modern Transit
(CMT) along with Joe
Edwards and others created the non-profit Loop Trolley Company (LTC).
CMT secured a grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments
and the Missouri Department of Transportation to purchase and renovate
two historic vehicles for the new line. The renovation is complete and
the cars are currently on display in front of the Missouri History
Museum and Commerce Bank in The Loop. A preliminary engineering study
wrapped up in January 2010, and the Loop Trolley Company continued its
efforts to seek federal funding for the project.