DC Streetcar is open and carrying passengers, following a festive opening day on Saturday. Enjoy this photo tour reliving the fun, and see even more at GGWash’s opening day Flickr group.
The party began at a 10:00 am opening ceremony at 13th and H NE, where a huge crowd gathered to celebrate.
After years of delays and frustration with the streetcar, the crowd’s jubilant emotion was a sight to see. Supporters waved pennants, the Eastern High School marching band entertained, and at least one awesome kid brought the day’s best costume.
Mayor Bowser, DDOT’s Leif Dormsjo, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and DC Council members Charles Allen and Yvette Alexander all spoke happily about the project.
Most notably, Mayor Bowser declared we “gotta” extend it east and west.
The crowd was far too big to fit in a single streetcar. But DDOT was prepared. They queued up four trams all in a row, to carry as many riders as possible.
After the speeches, VIPs boarded onto the first two streetcars, and off they went. Cheers erupted as the first passenger trip took off towards Union Station. It was railcar 202.
The third streetcar to leave was the first open to the public. It was car 201, and when it pulled out, the streetcar became officially in service.
Here it is, the first public streetcar, pulling out of the station for the first time.
Video by Kelli Raboy
The GGWash contingent made it on that first public streetcar.
One amazing rider named Nathaniel Jordan says he was also on the first-ever Metrorail train, way back in 1976.
The first streetcar wrapped up its first trip at Union Station before turning around and heading back the other direction.
Streetcars approaching Union Station stop midway up Hopscotch Bridge, amid a short section of dedicated lanes.
Inside Union Station, bright wayfinding signs point the way through the parking garage to the streetcar station. It’s a long walk from the station’s interior to the streetcar platform, but it’s nonetheless an improvement over the X2 bus, which doesn’t stop on the bridge at all.
At the other end of the line, at Oklahoma Avenue, the platform is more simple.
Near Oklahoma Avenue station, union members demonstrated in favor of the streetcar workers. Next door, the permanent streetcar car barn rises under construction.
Streetcar trips continued up and down H Street all day, where crowds continued to pack on for the novelty of a first day’s ride.
It was a great day. Hopefully we’ll do it all again in a few years as the system expands east of the Anacostia River and west into downtown. If that happens, DDOT’s plans call for a dedicated transitway on K Street.