Main St. trolleys return after 4 years of repairs

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Main Street trolleys are finally back in action in Downtown Memphis.

The trolleys made their return at 11 a.m. Monday, and there was no shortage of pomp and circumstance to welcome them back to the tracks.

MATA officials said a lot of work went into getting the trolleys back, and it didn't come cheap.

More than $10 million was spent to refurbish the trolley system, re-engineering it with modern safety upgrades.

"We know it took a long time, but it was important to get this right instead of getting it in a hurry," Mayor Jim Strickland said.

The trolley service was shut down in 2014 after a series of fires stemming from electrical problems. No one was injured in the fires, but the issues caused a top-to-bottom rebuild of the system.

The overarching rebuild of the trolley system has MATA's Chief Executive Officer confident enough to call the Memphis trolley system one of the safest in the country.

"The wheels on the new trucks have a whole different suspension system, so they are a lot quieter. I have joked about having round wheels as compared to square ones in the past," Gary Rosenfeld said. "When you have the trolleys running again is just great for the downtown area, the business environment. It's great for tourism; it's great for our community."

From now until May 14, trolley rides will be free to everyone.

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