Rails & Trails Pages

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lake Harriet Streetcar ride

For years I have wanted to take a ride on the Lake Harriet Streetcar in Minneapolis.  With a couple of other errands in the Cities on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, I grabbed the opportunity to take a ride.  It was a perfect day, sunny, no wind, and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Streetcars operate in the evening and on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.

Our car today is #265.  It was built in 1915 at the Snelling shops and retired from active service in 1939.  It has been beautifully restored.  The engineers on streetcars are called motormen.

Most rides are full of passengers.  The track is short with no room for expansion.  A 15-minute ride costs $2 and an all day pass $5.

Vintage signs line the roof of the car.

Let's go for a ride!!

Our car is on the siding so to get to the main line, we go through a switch.  It looks like this switch is thrown the wrong way and we will wreck the switch, but it is a spring switch.  That means the weight of the car will force the switch points the other way and allow our car to move through.

Our track passes between Lake Harriet . . .

and Lake Calhoun.

At the end of the track, our brakes had better work!!

The only tunnel on the line.

At the south end of the track is the car barn, used for working on the cars and storing them out of the elements.

Here's a closer look a the south spring switch.  We back over this one and as we go forward, it lines us into the siding next to the depot. 

Here is the switch point on the right side, which slides over as the wheels of the car pass through.

Unlike a normal switch, it has only one switch point.  The other side of the switch does not have a switch point.

A fun little ride, and a chance to see part of Minneapolis that I had never seen.  There is another streetcar line in Excelsior, but it is shorter than this one.