Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

St. Charles Avenue Streetcar

According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar line in New Orleans, Louisiana is the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world. The line starts uptown, on Carollton Avenue, curves to follow the bend of the Mississippi River, proceeds past entrances to Audubon Zoo, Tulane University and Loyola University, continues through the Garden District, and ends at Canal Street downtown, a distance of about fifteen miles. The line still uses streetcars which were common all over the United States in the early parts of the 20th century.

The line was founded as the New Orleans and Carollton Rail Road Company in February 1833. Service began in 1835, originally without a dedicated right-of-way, although one was eventually established in the neutral ground (the median). Over the early years the cars were powered by horses, mules, overhead cables, ammonia engines, and steam engines. It was electrified in 1893.