Overhead Wire, Singular

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On City Talk Radio last Sunday, a caller brought up the overhead wires from the old streetcar system.  Cincinnati’s original streetcar system had two overhead wires, but due to new construction methods, modern streetcars only have a single overhead wire. These pictures illustrate how the single overhead wire is unobtrusive and blends in with the cityscape or tree canopy.


5 thoughts on “Overhead Wire, Singular

    Jeffrey Jakucyk said:
    November 19, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Just to clarify, there’s nothing “new” about single overhead wires for streetcars. Yes, Cincinnati had a dual overhead system, but that was an anomaly even 100 years ago. It did make converting to trolleybuses a lot easier, though switches/frogs had to be reworked. New technology is like Bombardier’s PRIMOVE system, where induction plates are put between the tracks, and are only energized when they receive a radio signal indicating that the streetcar is directly over top of them.

    I’m always a bit miffed that people make such a big deal over the supposedly unsightly overhead wires. In some cities that have a history of burying their utilities (Washington DC, NYC) or hiding the overhead lines in alleys (Chicago, and to some extent Indy.) I can understand that it would seem to be a step backwards in visual pollution. On the other hand, this is Cincinnati, where 99% of the utility lines are on unsightly poles on every single street. We do massive neighborhood streetscaping projects with new sidewalks, street furniture, decorative lighting, the works, and still don’t bother to remove the power lines. One or two extra wires aren’t going to make the street any more ugly, and even if existing utility lines are removed, what’s put back for a streetcar line is so much tidier and less obtrusive than what was there before (no wooden poles, transformers, risers, fuses, etc.) it’s still a big improvement. Besides, aren’t a few extra wires better than diesel fumes and noisy bus engines?

    John said:
    November 20, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Strange how people would complain about a wire overhead the tracks…

    no one ever complains about billboards being downtown- now those… do not unobtrusively blend in with the cityscape or the tree canopies…

    John said:
    November 20, 2009 at 8:55 am

    one more thought- i just read through the about page- and naturally economic development is a reason for the streetcar…

    but what about this simple pro streetcar reasoning: the streetcar will increase the quality of life in the city of cincinnati.

    simple. and true. that should have been reason enough to build it in the 1st place 🙂

    5chw4r7z said:
    November 23, 2009 at 11:04 am

    The streetcar is going through the uptown area right?
    Here you go, McMillian and Vine.


    Be tough to make this any uglier.

    Chuck Kirkpatrick said:
    March 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Small price to pay for clean, quiet, non-polluting, energy efficient transportation.

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