MATA testing new modern trolley car on Madison Ave Line

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There are many people in the Mid-South who love the trolley system in the City of Memphis.

There are several lines passengers can choose from, the most popular line runs through Downtown Memphis, it runs along Main Street from GE Patterson to AW Willis. Other trolley lines include along the Riverfront and Madison Avenue.

In 2014, MATA took all trolley lines out of service following a series of fires on the vintage cars.

Now, the transportation company is getting ready to debut a new modern car for their Madison Avenue line.

John Lancaster, Chief Development Officer for MATA, told FOX13 there are a lot of exciting new features with the new car.

“They hold a lot more people. They can hold about 250 people,” said Lancaster. “They accelerate more rapidly. These cars can go up to 50 miles per hour.”

Lancaster said the new car will also have air conditioning and heating.

MATA recently took a big step towards making the new modern trolley car available for riders.

At the end of March, the transportation company was able to get the new car on the Madison Avenue line for testing.

Lancaster told FOX13 that the testing process is a very important step in keeping riders safe.

“We’ve got to see how exactly the link fits with our station, how the doors align, just a lot of different questions,” said Lancaster.

Another added feature with a new modern trolley car, Lancaster told FOX13, is that repairs tend to be easier than on a vintage trolley car.

“There are not many vendors out there that work on the vehicles. They nearly have to fabricate or find some of these parts, so it makes it an extremely slow and tedious process,” said Lancaster.

Lancaster said since the fires in 2014, there have been several changes made to ensure an event like that doesn’t happen again.

“We have completely overhauled our trolleys and added a lot of safety features which are much more robust and transparent,” said Lancaster.

If you’re hoping to ride in the new modern trolley car anytime soon though, Lancaster said riders will have to wait a while. His team is still going through the testing process with the new car.

“Until we get through this testing process, which this testing process is going to take another 3 to 6 months,” said Lancaster.

Lancaster also mentioned that even after testing is complete, his team will then have to review if any construction needs to be done to the existing trolley stations as well as the trolley maintenance facility.

No timeframe has been given yet on when the new car will officially be online.

FOX13 will provide an update when an announcement is made.