News & Politics

The DC Streetcar Is Almost Ready for Real This Time, Officials Say

Photograph via iStock.

The DC Streetcar line on H St. and Benning Rd, Northeast, will being its “pre-revenue operation”—one of the final testing phases before it can begin transporting passengers—on Wednesday, the District Department of Transportation says. If the 21-day period, during which the streetcar will run on a simulated schedule, is successful, it could trigger the final countdown to the way-overdue trolley opening to civilian ridership.

During the pre-revenue phase, the entire fleet of streetcars will run along the 2.2-mile track at 15-minute intervals as if the line was actually in service. Here’s when the system will run:

  • Monday through Thursday: 6 AM to midnight
  • Friday: 6 AM to 2 AM
  • Saturday: 8 AM to 2 AM
  • Holidays: 8 AM to 10 PM (except Christmas, when it will not run)

If oversight officials in the DC Fire and EMS Department approve of the pre-revenue phase, it will then move on to a final safety check from the Federal Transit Administration. If it all goes smoothly, the streetcar could begin taking passengers in early 2016.

To be sure, the streetcar—which has cost the District $200 million over nearly a decade of planning and construction—has been in this spot before. DDOT initiated a similar pre-revenue operation in September 2014, which forced the line back to the planning stages for more than another year.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.