El Paso

Inside the Streetcar Maintenance and Storage Facility

Inside the Streetcar Maintenance and...

EL PASO, Texas - The new streetcars will be housed in a 23,000 square-foot facility in downtown El Paso.

"This is a building unlike any other in the city. It is absolutely tailor made for a modern streetcar fleet," spokesman for the Streetcar Project Martin Bartlett said. "A modern streetcar fleet that also happens to be the refurbished streetcars that used to run in the streets of this community."

The facility will have two service bays featuring deep pits that will allow for maintenance to be done underneath the vehicles. There will also be stations where the streetcars can be cleaned and repainted if need be. Overall, the facility costs $9.5 million.

"It's an exciting milestone for the project because you can't run a streetcar system unless you can maintain and restore your streetcars," Bartlett said.

District 1 city representative Peter Svarzbein was the mastermind behind the Streetcar Project. He said he's excited to see the progress that is being made.

"It's really amazing to see all of this hard work to see this dream for so many generations of El Pasoans come into being,' Svarzbein said. "It's a commitment to ourselves and to our history, about how we want our future to look like."

83-year-old Maria Dominguez said she used to frequently ride the old trolleys when she was in her mid-twenties. She would go to and from Juarez.

"I have a lot of fond memories. That's how people got around," Dominguez said in Spanish. "Back then Juarez and El Paso were connected. You felt like they were the same city."

Dominguez said she'll never forget the bell that used to ring when the streetcar would make a stop. She also said she hopes to be able to ride the new streetcars when they're finished.

"When I hear stories like that it really makes me feel excited. It really makes me feel happy," Svarzbein said. "It makes me happy that all these years of hard work were done. 

Bartlett said the Streetcar project is on time and on budget. Once the streetcars arrive in El Paso there will still be a 6-12 month testing phase, before they will be open to the public.

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