The Delmar Loop Trolley was scheduled to welcome riders today for the first time. But the storm that dumped several inches of snow across the region Wednesday night put the breaks on the long awaited launch.
“We’ve waited this long,” said Loop Trolley Company executive director Kevin Barbeau, “What’s one more day?”
Barbeau said the trolley cars will be able to function in any kind weather. But the safety committee didn’t think it was prudent to begin service undersuch inclement conditions.
“As a first-run day,” Barbeau said, “it was an easy decision to pull off service and allow our maintenance team an opportunity to go through their practices and procedures a little bit more on how they are preparing the system for service.”
Two refurbished, vintage trolley cars have been taking practice runs along the 2.2 mile track for more than a year. A third car is still undergoing testing at a factory in Iowa. Barbeau expects it to be delivered in December. That car will be required to undergo several months of testing and training with operators before it can be put in rotation with the other cars.
Loop developer Joe Edwards has been the driving force behind the $51million trolley project for more than 20 years. “I’m absolutely thrilled,” Edwards told reporters when asked how he felt about the long-awaited start of service for the trolley.
Despite the cancellation of its first day of service, a planned dedication ceremony did proceed. But it was held inside at the Delmar Hall instead of trackside on the border of University City and St. Louis.
Dignitaries from St. Louis and St. Louis County participated in the ceremony. University City Mayor Terry Crow was enthusiastic about the project.
“It’s an incredible example of the city and county working together, which is great. The Delmar Loop has always been a place for people to get together and now we’ve got another way for people to get here.”
The trolley route extends along Delmar Boulevard from Kingsland Avenue to DeBaliviere Avenue where it turns south toward the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. The trolley cars switch direction just south of Lindell Boulevard to make the return trip toward the Loop.
Edwards told the small audience of trolley supporters gathered at the dedication ceremony that great days are ahead for the Loop entertainment and retail district. “It’s back to the future,” he said, referring to the return of streetcars that were last seen on the streets of St. Louis 70 years ago.
For information about the Loop Trolley, schedules, fares, and the route, check out the company’s website. The Loop Trolley Co. confirmed that a mobile app to purchase trolley tickets is also in the works.
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