• Seattle waterfront trolley questions

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by kaiserworks
Is the Seattle trolley dead? I remember about 2005 they were going to tear it out to make way for a "sculpture" garden. There were some proposals to save it and even extend it to make it practical for commuters and not just for tourists, what has become of the ideas? Whats the latest?


  by Vincent
It's not dead but it is out of operation. The trolley's maintenance facility was torn down to make way for the Seattle Art Museum's outdoor sculpture garden. A new maintenance facility is supposed to be built in Pioneer Square and then we can have the trolley back...until the Viaduct gets torn down or falls down. Then the trolley will most likely be out of service again until the replacement for the Viaduct is built...if that ever happens.

IMO, the collection of sculptures at the park is pretty darn weak and it's too bad the Seattle Art Museum didn't include the trolley in their plans for the Sculpture Park. But that doesn't mean railfans should shun the Sculpture Garden--it's right next to the BNSF mainline heading north out of Seattle. You can sit in the park and get excellent views of BNSF and Amtrak operations.

  by Otto Vondrak

  by kaiserworks
Thanks for the info. The viaduct blocks a great view of a beautiful harbor! Please update if any new info on trolley comes up in your local papers. I'd love to see it extended and used for as a downtown circulator however unrealistic that may seem at this time.

  by Vincent
There is a plan at Sound Transit to build a streetcar line from near King Street Station, up Jackson Street to First Hill and Broadway. Funding for that project was to come from the RTID (Roads and Transit) measure that failed in the election earlier this month. It isn't clear yet if the First Hill streetcar is dead/delayed or TBD. The South Lake Union Streetcar opens next month; if Seattlites like that line, I imagine the other streetcar lines will get higher funding priority.

  by kaiserworks
Is there a way that the old waterfront trolley could ever connect with the south lake union trolley? Given funding and political will, are there physical geographic barriers? Its been a while since I've been to Seattle so its hard for me to imagine the lay of the land, especially now with the new "art" sculpture park. Overhead city maps don't really give an idea. Sorry for so many questions. -Greg

  by Vincent
The historic waterfront line will connect to the First Hill line (if built) on the south end at Jackson Street. But any new streetcar lines will have street level boarding and the historic cars will need high level platforms, so I think the historic cars will always be isolated on the waterfront line. On the north end, the waterfront line may be extended north to the quickly developing Interbay area, but I can't see any possible connection to the South Lake Union line due to geography and existing development. From the waterfront to downtown and on to First Hill the terrain is mostly a steep incline, that's why Seattle has kept the electric trolleys.