Skip to main content

The El Paso Streetcar

In November 2018, a part of El Paso's past returned to the city's streets- the El Paso Streetcar.  Forty-four years after the last streetcar ran on city streets, the city inaugurated a new service.

El Paso's first streetcar system began as horse-drawn cars in 1881.  Twenty years later, the first electric streetcars began operation.  The electric cars were operated by the El Paso Electric Railway Company.  At its peak, the El Paso Streetcar system consisted of 64 miles of track running seventeen lines.

By the end of the Second World War, El Paso was down to a single line, the line that linked El Paso to Juarez, Mexico.  This line was the only local transit line to serve two different countries.  It was highly popular with tourists and residents of both cities.

Well into the early 1970s, the streetcar was a popular option for travel from Juarez to El Paso and vice versa.  Here passengers board in El Paso bound for Juarez.  (Public Domain)

The El Paso Streetcar service to Juarez ended in 1973.  That year, a strike supporting former Mexican toll collectors blocked cars from entering Mexico, ending service there.  A year later, all streetcar service in El Paso stopped.  Over the next thirty years, numerous studies and proposals - including a light rail line or a people mover - were made to restore service between El Paso and Juarez.  Over time, the studies found limiting operations to El Paso the most feasible.

Fast forward to 2014, when the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority received $97 million to restore streetcar service to El Paso.  

The current El Paso Streetcar Route

The current El Paso Streetcar system is a 4.8-mile figure-8 loop that services the University of Texas - El Paso, Downtown, Government complexes, the Arts District, and the area near the international bridges.  The fleet consists of six restored PCC (Presidents' Conference Committee) cars.  The restored cars are the same cars that ran along El Paso and Juarez streets from 1950 - 1974.  These cars first had been in operation in San Diego.  In 1950, El Paso purchased 20 PCC cars from the San Diego Electric Railway.  A year earlier, in 1949, San Diego had ended their streetcar network.  The cars were shipped from San Diego to El Paso and put into service.

Refurbished PCC Car #1511 has a perimeter seating arrangement.  This was a common feature on many of the Juarez-bound cars.

With the end of service in El Paso, nine PCCs moved into storage near El Paso International Airport.  Six of the nine were fully refurbished as part of the new streetcar line.  The cars were painted to match the livery of the 1950s.  Inside, the cars retain the look and feel of the classic PCCs but with modern amenities - air conditioning, wifi, wheelchair lifts, and bike racks.

Initially, the new service charged $1.50 per ride.  Currently, it is completely free to ride the El Paso Streetcar.  Typical service has four cars running at a time- so on average, you can expect a car to go by your stop every 15 minutes.

Beginning in September 2023, El Paso's streetcar system will operate seven days a week. Hours will be 7 am to 7 pm Monday-Thursday, 7 am to 11 pm Friday, Noon to 11 pm Saturday, and Noon to 6 pm Sunday.

Sources & Links:
Further Reading:


Popular posts from this blog

Dillon Road

Dillon Road is a 34.2-mile highway located in northern Coachella Valley of Riverside County, California.  Dillon Road begins at Avenue 48 on the outskirts of Indio and ends to the west at California State Route 62 near San Gorgonio Pass.  Dillon Road was developed the 1930s as a construction road for the Colorado River Aqueduct.  Dillon Road serves as a northern bypass to much of the development of Coachella Valley.  Dillon Road is known for it's frequent dips and spectacular views of San Gorgonio Pass.   Part 1; the history of Dillon Road Dillon Road was constructed as a haul road for the Colorado River Aqueduct through Coachella Valley.  The Colorado River Aqueduct spans 242 miles from Parker Dam on the Colorado River west to Lake Mathews near Corona.  Construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct began during January 1933 near Thousand Palms and was made functional on January 7, 1939.  West of Berdoo Canyon Road the alignment of Dillon Road is largely concurrent with the Colorado

Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road

Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road is an approximately 21-mile highway located in southeast Kern County.  Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road begins at Tehachapi Boulevard (former US Route 466) in Tehachapi and crosses the Tehachapi Mountains via the 4,820-foot-high Oak Creek Pass.  Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road enters Antelope Valley of the wider Mojave Desert and passes by the historic stage station of Willow Springs to a southern terminus at Rosamond Boulevard.  Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road has historic ties to the Havilah-Los Angeles Road and Stockton-Los Angeles Road due to the once reliable presence of water at Willow Springs. Part 1; the history of Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road Oak Creek Pass and Willow Springs were known to the local tribes of the Tehachapi Mountains for generations.  The first documented European crossing of Oak Creek Pass was during 1776 as part of an expedition by Francisco Garces.  Oak Creek Pass is as used again by John C. Fremont during an 1844-1845 expedition to e

The 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge

The 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge is a derelict structure located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Placer County, California.  The 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge can be found between the communities of Colfax and Iowa Hill.  The 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge is a wire suspension structure which spans the North Fork American River.  The 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge was replaced by a modern span and converted to pedestrian use following floods during 1963.   Part 1; the history of the 1928 Iowa Hill Road Bridge During 1853 gold was discovered at what to become Iowa Hill.  The gold mining claims soon led to a small community known as Iowa City being established.   By 1854, Post Office Service began at the mines of Iowa City.  By 1856 gold production at Iowa City was estimated to be around $100,000.  Iowa City was burned in fires during 1857 and 1862 but the community was rebuilt with more modernized structures.   The location of Iowa City can be seen as "Iowa Hill" on the 1873 Bancroft