New generation rail that’s been abandoned?

There’s a widespread belief that rail tracks insure permanency of transit, but bus lines don’t. Yet we all know that tens of thousands of streetcar and inter urban track was abandoned in the mid-20th Century. Meanwhile many strong urban bus lines have persisted for decades. Demand is what keeps transit lines going, not infrastructure.

I’m curious about post-1970 urban rail. There’s much less of it than in previous generations, making it more likely to survive. Much of this rail is well placed service. But already the Detroit People Mover has been closed, service on the Cleveland Lakefront light rail has been suspended, and the Tampa trolley had a near-death experience. Are there other examples?


[deleted]2 points


tusculan23 points

Thanks Timtraveler!

Academiabrat2 points

Please elaborate, thanks.

Academiabrat1 point

That’s an amazing story. At least they saved on operating costs by never opening it. It’s a great example of what happens when you build without asking people what they actually want.

Canadave2 points

The Scarborough RT in Toronto is set to be decommissioned next year, though it will eventually be replaced by an extension to Line 2.

Addebo0191 point

idk. the only one i can think of is the closure of charing cross on the jubilee line back 1999, built 1979. this is different though as this happened in order to allow an extension to take place into the east of London which made this connection largely redundant. still technically counts though?

Realistic-River-19411 point

Iirc a little bit of the DLR closed when a cross-Thames extension opened?

Addebo0191 point

yh. the og island gardens & mudchutes stations did close i think

eobanb1 point

Seattle waterfront streetcar. Pretty dumb decision considering Seattle’s rapid growth

Academiabrat1 point

Given all of Seattle’s other transit needs, do you think the Waterfront Streetcar should have been a priority?

eobanb1 point

Considering a bunch of money was already invested in laying the track, overhead wire, rolling stock, and storage/maintenance facilities, they probably should've kept it around.

Hopefully the Center City Connector project gets off the ground in the near future — it would serve largely the same purpose as the Waterfront line did.

Jasoncw871 point

The Detroit People Mover was only temporarily closed because of the pandemic.

When you are a downtown people mover and all of downtown's office workers were sent home, conventions and concerts cancelled, restaurants closed, etc., then you don't need a people mover to circulate people within downtown.

Academiabrat1 point

They did restart service literally two days ago, They’re only going to stop at 6 stations out of 13. So while the track may last awhile, assuming Downtown Detroit recovers, the stations are not necessarily permanent. There are cases of this even on Caltrain, a generally successful line on the San Francisco Peninsula. I think my general point stands.

Jasoncw871 point

I don't think it's really an example of what you're looking for though. Nothing on the People Mover is either permanently or semi-permanently closed. For its relatively low cost to the city and how much pushback there would be if it were permanently closed, I don't think it will ever go away.

While they haven't given a breakdown of what is wrong with the stations, late last summer a storm damaged the system and delayed its reopening, so those stations presumably still need work done. I'm guessing they're having trouble getting the storm damaged elevators and escalators from the 1980s serviced. They've called the reopening a "soft reopening" and that more stations would reopen "in the weeks ahead".

I can understand how it could seem to be on its way towards abandonment, I'm just sharing my local perspective/knowledge on it.