Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Galveston

Galveston, Texas:
Galveston Island Trolley


The Galveston Island Trolley connects the historic Strand district on the north side of Galveston Island with the Seawall beach area and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). From a meandering one-way loop through the Strand, a single-track line runs east to UTMB, and a double-track line runs south to a smaller one-way loop at the Seawall. The total round trip distance is about 6.8 miles. The trolley is operated by Island Transit, in conjunction with the city bus system.

The trolley began operation in 1988. The loop through the Strand was expanded in 1995, and the 0.8-mile single track extension to UTMB opened on 14 March 2005. Until the UTMB extension opened, it served mainly to give tourists a quick tour of Galveston, and to shuttle them back and forth between the Strand and Seawall areas; the Strand has been redeveloped into a popular shopping area with outlet stores. The UTMB extension is expected to carry traffic from students and hospital employees and patients. A further 0.7 mile extension is planned, southward from UTMB to Stewart Beach, which which would give the entire system an inverted U-shaped configuration.

The cars were built by Miner Railcar (now Kasgro) as replicas of old-style trolleys. They don't seem to have numbers, but instead are painted different colors. Although they are driven by electric motors and the controls are similar to those in traditional streetcars, the electric power comes from an on-board diesel-electric generator instead of overhead wires.

Service has been suspended since September 2008, when Hurricane Ike caused major damage throughout Galveston, including the Trolley's cars and infrastructure. In January 2009, it was reported that Galveston was seeking Federal funding to restore the system.

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These pictures were taken on 8 July 2002.

[picture] The red car passes the transit center on 20th Street just north of Avenue E. Island Transit's city buses use the other lane.

[picture] The green car turns from 22nd Street onto Avenue B in the Strand.

[picture] The green car is on Avenue B at 24th Street in the Strand.

[picture] The carbarn is at the end of Santa Fe Place near the former railroad station, three blocks east of 25th Street.

[picture] The red car, heading south on 25th Street, passes the monument at the intersection with Broadway (Avenue J).

[picture] South of Broadway, the tracks on 25th Street run mostly in the center lanes, and the trolley stops are in the median strip. About a block south of Broadway, the northbound tracks zigzag over to the curb lane.

[picture] The green car heads north among the greenery along 25th Street near Avenue L.

[picture] The green car enters the Seawall loop by turning left from 25th Street onto Avenue P, crossing the northbound tracks on 25th Street.

[picture] The green car lays over on a short stretch of off-street track next to Seawall Blvd. near 21st Street.

[picture] The green car heads west along Seawall Blvd. just after leaving the terminal. The tracks run in the curb lane.

[picture] In this telephoto view, the red car appears to be surrounded by traffic on Seawall Blvd. just before turning north onto 25th Street.

[picture] Interior of a car.

[picture] A motorman at work, standing at the front of his car.

This page was last updated on 28 February 2009.

Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Galveston

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