Old streetcar line holds no promise for futureAn excavation under University Avenue showed the tracks would be of no use to a proposed Central Corridor rail line.Proponents of a new light-rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul have wondered for years whether modern trains could run on streetcar tracks abandoned more than 50 years ago and now buried under University Avenue.
Now light-rail planners have the answer: No. The rails are thin and many of the cross-ties crumbling. In fact, the old track would have to be dug out of the way to make a solid bed for a new rail line.
Whaa? Who are they kidding? It's a nice thought, I suppose. There's actually a great idea at the end of the piece:
Granite paving stones are the only part of the trolley line that may have value for light rail. The granite blocks were placed with interlocking precision along both sides of the rails to create a smooth driving surface for cars crossing the tracks. If unearthed, the stones could lend character to a station design, [Steve] Morris [Ramsey Co. project director] said.
Actually, every time I see a hole in the pavement and a cobblestone sticking out, my heart skips a beat. (W 7th is good for this...)