Streetcars Come Clattering Back in America

Streetcars already operate in more than dozen American cities, most famously San Francisco and New Orleans - the latter being where the Tennessee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire, was set. But a recent article in USA Today suggested that three dozen other cities - as far afield as Omaha, Nebraska and Birmingham, Alabama - are planning to introduce similar systems.

Published: 13-Jan-2007

Despite being celebrated in literature and film, streetcars had largely disappeared from America's cities by the end of the Second World War, to be replaced by buses and trains. Now, they are steadily making a clattering comeback.

With communities across the US investing to revitalise their often decrepit city centres, and with planners keen to try to avoid the congestion caused by cars, streetcars or trolleys are being reintroduced to lure tourists and commuters.

Officials say that developers - with an eye on capitalising on the nostalgia value - will now often back a project involving a streetcar that they might otherwise have dismissed.

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