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KC Streetcar Hits Tracks On Its Own Power For First Time

Kansas City's downtown streetcar made its first powered run along its 2.2 mile route early Thursday.

KC Streetcar Authority workers tested visibility for streetcar operators and made sure the vehicle maintains contact with overhead electric lines.

Streetcar spokeswoman Meghan Jansen says maintenance crews would monitor the car and take notes as they go from the Singleton Yard maintenance facility south to Union Station and back.

"It will be going very slowly this first time, probably at a speed of three to four miles per hour," Jansen said. "Once it's fully operational, of course, it'll move with traffic and other vehicles will interact with it just like they would another vehicle on the road."

Jansen says the streetcar will go through the entire route at least once today, though workers may go through some sections several times to test clearance levels and turns.

She also echoed the Authority's previous warnings for residents and workers downtown to make sure they aren't parking in no-parking zones near streetcar tracks.

"We've already had to tow one vehicle this morning," Jansen said. "As far as driving [near the streetcar], just be aware. We will be using traffic signals today, and we won't be stopping traffic at cross streets."

The streetcar will continue testing for the next several months. The second vehicle is expected before the end of the year, and the tentative launch date for the line is early 2016.

Cody Newill is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @CodyNewill or send him an email at cody@kcur.org. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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