About the Waterfront Streetcar

Seattle Waterfront Streetcar History

The Seattle Waterfront Streetcar — The Steep Grade from Idea to Reality

The semi-official history of the Waterfront Streetcar, written by George Benson, the Seattle city council member after whom the line is named. Take a few minutes to read it, and it becomes even more evident why it’s worth saving.

About George Benson

Transportation has always been close to the heart of George Benson. As a Seattle City Councilmember from 1974 to 1993, and a member of the old Metro Council, Benson took the lead on ensuring countywide bus service, construction of the Downtown Seattle Bus Tunnel, and preservation of the Monorail. But of all his projects, Benson is most closely associated with Metro’s Waterfront Streetcar. It began with his dream to reinstate the historic streetcar line. Read more »

About the Waterfront Streetcar

From King County Metro

About the Equipment

The waterfront streetcars were built in Australia for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board between 1925 and 1930. The cars are double end, double truck, and designed for two-person operation.

A Timeline of the Waterfront Streetcar Line

  • May 29, 1982: Seattle Waterfront Streetcar Line begins service.
  • June 1, 2002: The streetcar line was officially named the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line (“The Benson Line”) by King County Executive Ron Sims.
  • November 19, 2005: Seattle Waterfront Streetcar Line service is “temporarily” ended and replaced with buses.
  • 2007: Waterfront Streetcar line named as one of world’s ten best by the National Geographic Society.

More Seattle Streetcar History

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1 Comment

  1. Why was this line closed in the first place? Why were the stations removd/ Why were the tracks paved over at various street crossings? Lastly, as the First Hill tracks terminate where the Waterfront tracks begin, why are they not being used with battery power.

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