NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The Regional Transit Authority is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the historic Perley A. Thomas Streetcar, which still runs on the St. Charles line to this day. To commemorate the occasion, RTA will be hosting a community block party.

These days, the agency builds and cares for the cars locally. RTA CEO Lona Edwards Hankins stated, “Our workforce the men and women from the RTA has maintained them for decades and we are looking to create a new pipeline because of the aging workforce.”

Regional Transit Authority CEO Lona Edwards Hankins

According to the RTA, “The cars debuted in 1835, the St. Charles Streetcar line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world and is registered as a National Historic Landmark by the National Historic Register in Washington, DC. The first streetcars were pulled by steam locomotives and were later replaced by horse-drawn carriages.”

“In 1893 the streetcar line was electrified. The Perley A. Thomas streetcars were introduced to service in 1923. To this day, our team of craftsmen build every part of the streetcar here at the Carrollton Streetcar Barn using original machinery and tools from the early 1900s and time-honored techniques handed down from past generations. The Perley A. Thomas streetcars are historically appreciated for their craftsmanship and robust construction and are operated across the nation.”

“We are looking to create a new pipeline to attract and recruit new talent who like to work with their hands for those men and women who may not be college bound because they want to work with their hands and so we have a whole career path that we are rebuilding for them,” said Hankins.

The celebration block party is Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carrollton Streetcar Barn, located at 8201 Willow St., between Dublin and Dante streets.

RTA will provide snacks, treats, refreshments, and family-friendly activities. There will also be a photo booth to help commemorate the day.  

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