MATA: Trolley lines going live on Main Street

trolley down in downtown Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Area Transit Authority will be turning on the electric overhead lines on Main Street as they work to get the trolley program back up and running.

Only the lines between A.W. Willis and Greenlaw Avenue will be live and residents are urged to keep their distance. The lines are used to power the trolley system and will deliver a nasty shock if touched.

Only the lines will be online. The trolleys themselves will not be operating.

The trolleys stopped running several years ago when they started catching on fire.

MATA said it will cost more than $10 million to fix rail trolleys, repair track and cobblestone pavers and upgrade equipment to comply with new federal standards. Almost $7.5 million is federally funded, another $1 million comes from the state and $2 million comes from the city’s pocket. This is only for the return of trolley service to Main Street.

“We can’t get these trolleys back online fast enough,” said Terence Patterson with the Downtown Memphis Commission told WREG back in April.

Patterson said the trolleys will boost tourism, local businesses and keep downtown connected.

“This is the primary means and most efficient means to get from the south end, all of the great amenities that are coming with Central Station, the movie theater coming, great shops and development on that end all the way to the development that’s coming in the Pinch,” he explained.

Right now early estimates of when the trolleys will return is by the end of the year.