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All these photos of the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line in Seattle where taken in 2005. Little did I know at the time this would be the last year Seattle’s waterfront streetcars were in operation.
Kanikkeberg Terminal would be torn down to make way for Olympic Sculpture Park which now occupies that space. In 2005 we weren’t aware that a project was being planned. Only when we made a return trip in 2006 did we find out the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line had been shut down. At that time no one gave us a reason why.
“Before the construction of the Olympic Sculpture Park began there was substantial criticism in the community that the new park would result in the complete shut down of the Waterfront Streetcar, a fixture of the Seattle waterfront since 1982, because of the park’s needed demolition of the streetcar’s maintenance and storage facility.”
For four years we made a trip out to Seattle for Gnomedex technology conference – held at Bell Harbor Conference Center next door to Edgewater Hotel. Each year after 2005 we would ask about George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line. In 2007 or 2008 we headed to Seattle tourism office. This location offered free headsets that gave you a guided walking tour of downtown Seattle. This was something we hadn’t done in past. During our visit we asked about the street cars and if they were coming back. We were told they were considering building a service / storage “barn” somewhere in downtown area and putting trolleys into service once again.
From my reading over past couple of years I get the feeling that many Seattle citizens aren’t fans of tourism. Even though a big part of the community is geared towards that industry. Unfortunately I think many locals have opinion that George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line was something only tourist rode. It seemed to be exactly opposite to me – couple of times I was a passenger in 2005.
Pictures were all taken with a lowend digital camera. While quality might not be greatest – these photos offer you a good representation of what the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line looked like when in operation. I’ve also included a good variety of resourceful links to help you learn about this mothballed treasure. There are also a good number of links showing various locations along George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line & Seattle.
During our last visit to Seattle in 2008 – only transportation options in this area was a replacement bus, walking, taxi cabs or pedicabs. Walking is healthy but can get tiring quickly after doing it for most of the day. Replacement bus rarely kept on schedule – some of the drivers were rude – lousy replacement for trolley cars. Our bus experience was exact opposite of our ride on George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line. It also helped that streetcars seemed to keep to a schedule. During our stay a bus rarely showed up at time listed on posted schedule. Only plus for bus is that it was free.
Car 512 pictured below has an interesting past – unfortunately involving fatalities. Unexplained, unusual happenings would take place with this streetcar.
“This car therefore is nicknamed “Christine,” after Stephen King novel.”
Update June 10 2016
Only 1 George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line is left in Seattle. The rest have been shipped to St Louis to join cars from Portland to run on Delmar Loop Forest Park trolley line.
My various videos and photos of Seattle starting in 2005 – some links not fully functional do to several server moves over the years.
Vintage trolleys arrive in St. Louis to be used on Loop Trolley George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line in Seattle, Washington last ran in 2005.