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New El Paso streetcars take test drive downtown

New El Paso streetcars take test drive in downtown

The city of El Paso has unveiled to the public the first El Paso streetcar to make its way around downtown.

It was the first-time people were given behind-the-scenes access to the new streetcar maintenance facility.

Streetcar 1506 was the car that came out Thursday; it took a short trip around downtown for everyone to see.

Several city council members spoke Thursday, including one who mentioned the controversy happening at the southern border after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the separation of immigrant families.

“These streetcars right here are the same street cars that use to travel hundreds time a day between El Paso and Juarez and right now our government is separating families at the border. Our community, our city is showing a different vision of the border,” said Peter Svarzbein, city representative for District 3.

Maria Madrid, one of the first female streetcar drivers, said she is overwhelmed to be part of history.

“I’m excited, you know, to make history that way. It’s a very exciting feeling. I’m happy,”Madrid said.

Two of the six vehicles have arrived in El Paso from Brookville, Pennsylvania, where they were restored. The remaining four vehicles will be delivered in the coming months.

All six vehicles will undergo a four-to-six-month safety approval process that includes on-street testing at night and during the daytime hours.

The community is asked to follow safety guidelines for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists during testing phases.

Service is expected to start in late 2018.

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