Street Cars

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Streetcar

Early streetcars in Phoenix were horse drawn. A team of two to four horses were used depending on the size of the street car. They were originally used for hauling cargoes from the docks to the grain silos or to other warehouses along Grain Street. Later a second line was added along Nun Street for passenger streetcars used by many to go from the Nobel and Temple districts to the Park district to make walking to the Plaza markets less tiresome. Later a set of rails were laid down along Wall Street to further boost participation in the Plaza Market.

Streetcars roll along special steel rails that are placed in the middle of the street. The wheels of the streetcar are made out of steel, carefully manufactured in such a way that they would not roll off the rails. The mage’s guild, with the help of the King’s Engineers, has developed a magical engine that could replace horses on Phoenix’s streetcar lines. This new advance is referred to as the cable car. Cable cars are hauled by a long cable that moves slowly under the city’s streets. To convert the streetcar line from horse cars to cable cars required digging a ditch between the rails and building a chamber under the track from one end of the line to another. This chamber is called a vault. When the vault was finished, a small opening was left at the top of the vault. Then a long cable was placed inside the vault. The cable ran under city streets from one end of the streetcar line to the other. The cable was spliced into a big loop and was kept moving by a huge infernal engine with massive wheels and pulleys that was located in a powerhouse at the side of the street. The cable cars themselves are equipped with a lever device that extends down below the car into the vault and allows the operator of the car to latch onto the moving cable when he wants the car to go, or let go of the cable when he wants the car to stop. There are many pulleys and wheels inside the vault to make sure the cable is able to go around corners, as well as up and down hills.

The typical streetcar is operated by two crew members. One man, a driver, rides up front. His job is to drive the cable car by either connecting it to the cable or, when the cable car is moving down hill, control the brake to regulate the cable cars speed. The second crew member is called the conductor, who rides at the back of the car. His job is to help passengers get on and off the streetcar, collect their fares, and give a signal to the driver when everyone is on board and it was safe to proceed. He gives this signal by pulling on a rope that was attached to a bell at the other end of the car that the driver can hear.

Streetcar lines run up and down Grain Street, Nun Street and Wall Street from sun up until midnight daily. Grain Street South of the fork to Nun Street has two rail lines. After dark lanterns are lit to make the street cars easy to see, and the drivers ring a bell every few seconds to alert pedestrians to their presence.


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Street Cars

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