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Slow Train Coming: First Look At DART's First Streetcar Audition Downtown

Kinkisharyo's ameriTRAM takes a bow through downtown this morning.
Kinkisharyo's ameriTRAM takes a bow through downtown this morning.
Photos by Patrick Michels

With a crowd of DART execs, reporters and folks who'd apparently misplaced their cars looking on at downtown's Akard Station, the Kinkisharyo ameriTRAM streetcar made its first arrival a little after 11:30 this morning, just a hair behind schedule.

The first of two audition runs through downtown carried VIPs, including DART president Gary Thomas, down to Victory and back. As DART spokesman Morgan Lyons pointed out, its connections to the overhead power lines were retracted, giving it a low profile as it crawled down Pacific Avenue past a curious crowd.

Those on-board lithium-ion batteries sure sounded impressive this morning -- they'll carry the train five miles on a single charge! -- but I heard one guy at the station turn to his buddy with an even more novel theory: "That's one of those, what do they call that, superconductor, that's suckin' the power outta thin air."

DART officials said they'll be considering at least three other streetcar models, including at least one more that ought to be making the rounds in Dallas before they make the call.

Jump for a couple more shots of the Kinkisharyo in action.

Thrilled Dallasites welcome the future of downtown people-moving to DART's Akard Station.
Thrilled Dallasites welcome the future of downtown people-moving to DART's Akard Station.
Slow Train Coming: First Look At DART's First Streetcar Audition Downtown
DART president Gary Thomas holds on tight as the ameriTRAM departs.
DART president Gary Thomas holds on tight as the ameriTRAM departs.
Slow Train Coming: First Look At DART's First Streetcar Audition Downtown

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