The Pikes Peak Historical Street Railway Foundation is getting closer to nailing down details for the construction of its trolley system in the downtown area of Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City.
“What we’ll do is really bring something back that used to be — something out of the past, and kind of preserving the way of life and enhancing it,” said Howard Noble, vice president of the foundation’s operations. “We hope we can enhance that and contribute to that.”
The foundation has been working on the revitalization of the trolley system for nearly seven years. Trolleys may become a reality as soon as Spring 2003. During the past two months, foundation officials have begun considering extending the system into the downtown area and, therefore, reassessing their priorities and timing.
“Things have shifted gears a wee bit,” said Noble. “What we’ve got laid out could be a standout operation.”
Those gears have shifted south. Foundation officials originally thought their first set of tracks would be laid along Colorado Avenue from Columbia Road to the west of Old Colorado City to Cascade Avenue. However, after talking with officials involved with the renovation of the former Lowell School on the southern edge of downtown, foundation officials are seriously considering adding a stretch of rails to that area to enhance downtown Colorado Springs with an historic taste of the past and provide another mode of transportation for downtown visitors, workers and residents.
The trolley would work in conjunction with Springs Transit buses, said Noble. Both parties have been working closely to coordinate routes and determine the best area downtown for a new terminal location where both the buses and trolleys could use the facilities.
The foundation officials are looking at a downtown route for the trolley that would start at Cascade and Colorado avenues and head south to Costilla Street, where it would turn east. At Tejon Street, the trolley would turn south and go to Las Animas Street, then into the Lowell Center.
By building this route first, it would make it easier for foundation officials to raise additional funding to pay for additional tracks for the Colorado Avenue extension to Old Colorado City because it would give the trolley system more exposure quicker and help raise money faster.
The foundation already has 14 trolleys in storage along with three miles of double track. The downtown loop would require about two miles of single track while the Colorado Avenue trolleys would operate on a double track. The foundation needs about eight more miles of track to complete the project.
Engineers are now surveying Colorado Avenue and working in conjunction with the city to determine exactly where the tracks should be laid in Old Colorado City to prevent them from interfering with water, gas and wastewater lines, said Noble. Graphics will then be drawn up and Noble hopes to begin public meetings by later this summer.