Trolley rebuild process reaching final stages

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - MATA is spreading the word about trolley testing over the next few days along Main Street in downtown Memphis.

"Every trolley that we will run in the system will go on the same series of tests," MATA CEO Gary Rosenfield said.

Rosenfield made those comments in late September, when the agency rolled out the refurbished trolleys for the first test.

Service on the city's iconic trolley system was suspended in 2014 after two cars caught fire on separate occasions. The trolleys had to be rebuilt.

Monday, MATA launched another series of more in-depth tests with the trolleys set to run along the Main Street line from the trolley barn to Central Station. Signs alerted people the 600 volt overhead wire is now active and energized.

Paul Casey, in town from Montana, said he hopes to catch a glimpse. MATA said the tests will last over a period of days, but the agency would not release a public timeline for the testing.

"We wanted to see what it looks like. They were working on tracks," said Casey.

MATA said during the testing period customers will only be able to watch, not ride.

"I lived in San Francisco for a while, it brings back the big city life," said Memphian Georgia Williams, who is anxious for the trolleys to return. "I just liked the windows open and being able to feel the fresh air and get the vibe of downtown."

MATA has previously said the Main Street trolleys will be running by the start of 2018. After Main Street is up and running, MATA will add trolleys to the Riverfront line and then Madison Street. That should happen in the next year or two.

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