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Como-Harriet Streetcar Line

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Feb 11, 2022

The Como-Harriet Streetcar Line (CHSL) is a heritage streetcar line in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which follows original streetcar right-of-way between Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska and is operated by the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. The heritage line was originally developed in the 1970s by the Minnesota Transportation Museum which spun off streetcar operations in the winter of 2004-2005.

This article lacks inline citations besides NRIS, a database which provides minimal and sometimes ambiguous information. (January 2017)
Como-Harriet Streetcar Line (CHSL)

Twin City Rapid Transit No. 1300
Overview
Owner Minnesota Streetcar Museum (cars), Minneapolis (right-of-way)
Locale Minneapolis, Minnesota
Termini Lake Harriet
Bde Maka Ska
Stations 3
Service
Type Heritage streetcar
System Minnesota Streetcar Museum ex-TCRT
Operator(s) Minnesota Streetcar Museum
Rolling stock TCRT and PCC streetcars from old TCRT system
History
Opened August 28, 1971
Technical
Character right-of-way
Track gauge

4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

Electrification Overhead lines
United States historic place
Como-Harriet Streetcar Line and Trolley

Twin City Rapid Transit No. 1300
Location Minneapolis, MN
Coordinates

44°55′58.91″N93°18′29.53″W

Built 1898
Architect Minneapolis Street Railway Co.; Twin City Rapid Transit
NRHP reference No. 77000739[1]
Added to NRHP October 17, 1977

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When Twin City Rapid Transit ceased streetcar operations in 1954, they donated two of their old wooden streetcars to railfan groups. One of the groups receiving a streetcar (TCRT No. 1300) was the Minnesota Railfans Association, which organized railfan trips from the 1940s-1960s. TCRT No. 1300 was stored outside until it was acquired by the Minnesota Transportation Museum in 1962 and restoration began. By 1963, the car had been restored to operational status. It originally made only some short trips along track at a roundhouse in St. Paul owned by the Minnesota Transfer Railway. Because there were no overhead electric lines at this location, the streetcar had to be powered by an electric generator towed behind the car. Despite these shortcomings the car was extremely popular with the public.

Since public interest was so high, the museum examined options for regular operation of No. 1300. The City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board had acquired the original streetcar right-of-way between Lake Harriet and Lakewood Cemetery near Lake Calhoun and in 1970, the Minnesota Transportation Museum leased the land.

On August 28, 1971, after track had been laid and a small carbarn constructed under the Queen Avenue Bridge, which passed over the original right-of-way, public operations began. Because no overhead wires had been strung to provide electricity the trailer mounted electrical generator continued to be used until the overhead electrical system was completed in 1973.

Continued popularity of the heritage line allowed the museum to expand from about one city block of track in 1971 to more than one mile of track. By 2005 continuous use had taken its toll on the track and a rebuilding project funded by a federal TEA-21 grant took place. Over time more streetcars were acquired and restored by the museum. Three different streetcars can be seen in operation on the Como-Harriet line, although only one or two are run at any given time. The line is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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