A streetcar connects to the Overhead Catenary System (OCS) via pantograph.

The planned extension of the streetcar system's NS Line to Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland will look a little different from past projects. Why? There won't be any overhead wires!

The overhead catenary system (OCS) has been used on every inch of the Portland Streetcar system to date, connecting each streetcar vehicle by pantograph (that metal piece sticking up from the top of the streetcar) to provide power. The overhead wires offer a consistent source of electricity, allowing us to carry riders with 100% renewable energy.

Battery technology on streetcar systems has come a long way in the last decade. Battery-powered streetcars are in use in many other cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where vehicles go off-wire for sections of their trips. This technology also provides additional resiliency in the event of a power outage--if a section of our system loses power, the vehicle and its riders won't be stranded.

Battery-powered streetcars charge while connected to the OCS and store that energy for use when running off-wire, meaning there isn't a need for additional charging time during which the streetcar would be out of service.

Why Off-Wire?

The complex infrastructure in this part of Northwest Portland makes catenary wires costly--and where this project meets the right-of-way of Highway 30, likely impossible. Building the project off-wire will make construction less expensive and less complicated without sacrificing later maintenance and operations needs. The versatility provided by off-wire vehicles can maintain consistent operations across the system in the event of a power outage, ice storm or other issues created by tricky spots on our alignment such as the Broadway Bridge.

Where will new vehicles come from?

Portland Streetcar's original fleet of vehicles are nearly 25 years old and are in need of replacement. Later in 2024 the City of Portland will begin procuring up to 15 new streetcars that will have off-wire capability, meaning that by the time this extension opens the vast majority of Portland's streetcar fleet will be able to serve this area. Because this is an extension of the NS Line and not a new route of its own, we don't need additional vehicles for the project.

Will I have to transfer?

No. Streetcars will simply lower their pantograph at a defined spot before entering the off-wire section, providing a seamless transition for riders.

Will this cost more money?

The use of off-wire technology provides substantial cost savings for this project. Eliminating the need for excavation, construction of poles, power substations and vaults, hanging wires and testing will save nearly $20 million dollars in construction costs according to preliminary engineering estimates. Because we're buying new streetcars anyway, there isn't an additional cost to the project for making any changes to our fleet or how we operate.

The short version?

Utilizing off-wire battery technology will save money building this project while also making our entire system more versatile and resilient. Investing in replacing our aging original fleet means cleaner, safer and more efficient vehicles and a better experience for our riders.

A new video details the project elements and opportunities created by the Portland Streetcar extension to Montgomery Park.


Featuring remarks by City of Portland Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps as well as riders, business owners and streetcar staff, the video provides a comprehensive overview of the elements of the streetcar extension project and the community opportunity it creates in Northwest Portland.

The Montgomery Park Redevelopment and Transit Project is a planned extension of the Portland Streetcar NS Line along NW 23rd and NW Roosevelt/Wilson with a terminus at Montgomery Park, including the potential for 3,000+ new housing units in a new district north of NW Vaughn Street.

Development planned in coordination with the transit project will create more than 3,000 new housing units, including more than 300 affordable units. A new park, pedestrian access to Forest Park and reconstruction of NW 23rd Avenue are also included in the project.

The first of three new streetcars entered the "burn in" phase of testing this week, signaling the start of the final process to ready the vehicle for regular service. Three new streetcars were ordered in 2018 from Brookville Equipment Corporation in Pennsylvania and began arriving in Portland last fall.

Engineers, mechanics and safety personnel have been inspecting and testing the vehicles since their arrival to ensure safe and reliable operation. The last phase of the approval process to have the vehicles enter regular service is called "burn in," in which the vehicles operate on the system without passengers for a period of a couple weeks to ensure they are ready to be used in daily operations.

Once that process is completed and the all three vehicles enter service, it will allow for greater frequency and reliability for streetcar riders.

Our regional partners at TriMet are expanding the Honored Citizen fare program to include active and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces to thank them for their bravery and sacrifice. This new fare option will allow the region to provide ongoing recognition of the service and commitment made by members of the military in our community.

Honored Citizen fares are currently available to seniors, riders with disabilities, and low-income riders--ensuring they pay no more than $28 per month with Hop Fastpass™. Adding veterans and active-duty service members to the program will allow them to ride transit more affordably to meet their daily needs.

TriMet is the first large transit agency in the nation to offer a reduced fare for both veterans and active duty service members.

Portlanders who live or travel in the South Waterfront neighborhood can expect traffic delays on South Moody Avenue between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. April 23 through April 27. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) personnel will be testing propulsion and braking on a new streetcar vehicle built by Brookville Equipment Corporation that will be put into service this summer. The testing will be conducted along South Moody Avenue between the Tilikum Crossing and South Lowell Street.

Beginning at 12 a.m. each night, the streetcar will perform eight test runs along South Moody Avenue that will each last around three minutes. Traffic control and flagging will hold all traffic on the street to accommodate the streetcar proceeding through intersections at speed and exceeding the posted speed limits for testing purposes. Sidewalks and bicycle facilities adjacent to the roadway will be unaffected.

The new streetcar vehicle is one of three purchased by PBOT to expand the Portland Streetcar fleet. The other two vehicles will arrive this summer and will allow for increased streetcar frequency on the east side A and B Loop routes, as well as more reliable service by having additional spare vehicles available.

Testing for the new vehicles requires loading the streetcar with weight to simulate riders and ensure safe and efficient acceleration and braking to certify it for entry into service.

Thank you for your patience while we complete this important testing to improve transit service in Portland’s central city.

New photographs show a glimpse of the three brand-new Portland Streetcar vehicles currently under construction by Brookville Equipment Corporation in Brookville, Pennsylvania. The three vehicles will expand the Portland Streetcar fleet, allowing for more frequent service and greater reliability.

Brookville Equipment Corporation is an American manufacturer in operation for more than 100 years. The company has built and delivered modern streetcars to Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Dallas and several other cities.

Portland is receiving three vehicles in a joint order with Sound Transit for the Tacoma T Line streetcar system. The vehicles are expected to arrive in Portland and enter service later this year. See below for photos.


Removal of a large construction crane will shut down the southbound Portland Streetcar trackway on S River Parkway for three days beginning Tuesday, September 6. Service between downtown and the South Waterfront neighborhood will be maintained by TriMet shuttle buses throughout the closure.

Additional signage will be provided at affected stops to help riders find their way to their destinations. The closure will affect only NS Line and B Loop travel; A Loop streetcars will run a regular weekday schedule.

Shuttle buses will carry southbound riders beginning at SW 10th and Clay to the southern NS Line terminus at S Lowell and Bond. Northbound riders can catch a shuttle bus at any northbound South Waterfront stops to get to downtown.

Multnomah County will be closing the Broadway Bridge to all traffic for maintenance work on Sunday, April 3, from 7:00 a.m. to as late as 7:00 p.m. Crews will be performing preventive maintenance, replacing signs, and repairing damaged areas of the deck and other structures.

Streetcar service across the bridge will be disrupted for the duration of the closure. A and B Loops will run across the Tilikum Crossing, turning back at NW 10th and Northrup on the west side and N Broadway and Ross on the east side.

TriMet's Line 17 bus will detour to the Steel Bridge during the closure.

Portland Streetcar, along with TriMet MAX and bus, will be free to ride after 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 31st, to celebrate New Year's Eve. TriMet MAX will run extended late-night service until 3:00 a.m., offering revelers additional safe options to get home.

Ride transit and don't bother tapping your Hop card--even when transferring. The evening's free rides are sponsored by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Portland Streetcar will run a Sunday schedule on Saturday, January 1, in observance of New Year's Day.

October 15 is National White Cane Safety Day, celebrating the achievements of blind and visually impaired people while reminding others that the white cane is an important tool to help blind people travel independently.

Portland Streetcar is committed to providing safe, accessible public transportation for all, and we work to accommodate blind and visually impaired riders through audio stop announcements, tactile pavement treatments at platforms and Braille onboard signage.

The White Cane Law for motorists reads:

“A totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a predominately white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog, shall have the right-of-way. The driver of any vehicle approaching this pedestrian, who fails to yield the right-of-way, or to take all responsibility necessary precautions to avoid injury to this blind pedestrian, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other applicable provision of law.” – Vehicle Code #21963

Travel safety tips from the Braille Institute:

  • Stop your car at least 5ft. from a crosswalk. Pedestrians who are visually impaired or blind may use the sound of your engine to locate crosswalk boundaries. If any part of your car is in the crosswalk, they may misjudge the safe area.
  • Avoid honking at individuals using a white cane. People who are blind or visually impaired have no idea why you are honking.
  • It is okay to ask if assistance is needed. Ask the person who is blind or visually impaired for permission before trying to assist. If the person asks you to help guide them, offer your arm. They will hold your arm just above the elbow to follow your path.

We ask all Portlanders to join us in learning about orientation and mobility to help provide a safer Portland for our blind and visually impaired neighbors.

Multnomah County will close the Broadway Bridge between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. the weekend of July 10-11 for a structural inspection. This work will affect streetcar service over the bridge.

The A Loop will skip the stop at NW 9th and Lovejoy, continuing north on NW 10th to turn around and become a B Loop. Likewise, the B Loop will turn around at N Broadway and Ross to become an A Loop and continue on the east side.

For more information about the closure and structural inspection, click here.

This holiday weekend, ride free on Portland Streetcar, Max light rail or TriMet bus. As a partnership to encourage economic recovery, riders can shop, eat and explore without paying a fare Saturday through Monday!

Take transit and avoid the hassle of traffic and parking, wherever you go!


With record-high temperatures in Portland over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the Portland Streetcar closed Sunday afternoon and will remain closed until Tuesday morning when cooler air moves through the region.

Sagging overhead wires, power issues on the Broadway Bridge and a downed tree limb on the overhead wires downtown all led to delays, speed restrictions and other problems on the system. Rather than leave riders stranded while trying to travel, all streetcars were returned to the maintenance yard Sunday afternoon.

Crews will work through Monday to ensure power issues are resolved and service is ready to be restored when temperatures decrease through Tuesday morning.

TriMet's regional MAX light rail system also suspended service due to similar issues with overhead wires and extreme heat. MAX service is also expected to resume Tuesday morning. TriMet buses are still running and riders without fare will not be turned away during this extreme weather event.

After a year of reduced service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland Streetcar is adding back more frequency with a new schedule that begins Sunday, March 7. Peak service hours will return to 15-minute headways on the NS Line, providing two additional streetcars in service to the four running over the past year.

Service on the A and B Loops will remain at 20-minute headways to ensure enough spare vehicles for reliable service throughout the day.

Check the new schedules here or use TriMet's trip planner to plan your travel!

The Federal Transit Administration announced this week the award of $440,000 to Portland Streetcar as part of the Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program. Portland Streetcar and the Portland Bureau of Transportation submitted a proposal in Fall 2020 to fund measures to keep streetcars safer and provide better communication of public health guidelines to riders.

The proposal comprised three main elements:

  • Replace cloth seat covers with nonporous, easy-to-sanitize vinyl;
  • Install new, more variable message boards at streetcar stops to allow for more information to be communicated to riders; and
  • Hire additional staff trained in current public health guidance to ensure vehicles are properly sanitized and staff are adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Funding totaling $15.8 million was allocated to 37 projects across the country to support strategies that develop, deploy and demonstrate solutions that improve the operational efficiency of transit agencies and enhance rider mobility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The federal award announcement comes as Oregonians await widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccination and must remain vigilant in social distancing, wearing face coverings and otherwise working to prevent the spread of illness. Portland Streetcar riders are still required to wear masks on board and are asked to limit travel to only essential trips.

As a sudden, severe wind event hit Portland on Labor Day, thousands of Portlanders lost power and tree limbs were torn down across the region. Portland Streetcar service was interrupted throughout the day by limbs down across our Overhead Catenary System--the wires that provide power to streetcars in service--but significant damage was sustained by the wires along Grand Avenue, completely shutting down the B Loop for two days.

Portland Streetcar maintenance crews worked tirelessly to repair damage, inspect the system and get the B Loop up and running again by Wednesday afternoon. Below are some photos of the repair effort.

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As a result of Governor Kate Brown's statewide "Stay Home, Save Lives" order issued Monday, March 23, Portland Streetcar will reduce regular weekday service to every 20 minutes between about 5:30 a.m. through about 11:30 p.m.

This change reflects a natural drop in ridership following guidelines around social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the adjusted schedule will allow us to provide adequate sick leave and protective measures for our operators, mechanics and other employees while ensuring reliable service without gaps in staffing.

We continue to ask that riders practice social distancing while riding, meaning providing at least six feet between riders at stops and on board. For continuing updates on Oregon's response to COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority.

We are encouraging all of our riders and employees to do what they can to stay safe during the continued period of recommended "stay home, stay healthy" practices. We also serve multiple hospitals and many vital businesses and services in Portland, so we will continue to operate regular service.

Governor Kate Brown has issued a statewide "stay at home" order to prevent further spread of COVID-19, so we ask that riders avoid unnecessary trips to help give others the space they need to ride safely.

Right now, social distancing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On transit and in public, please keep at least six feet between you and other riders. Our operators will be driving with their cab doors closed to help maximize the benefits of distancing.

For more information about COVID-19 and illness prevention techniques, visit the Oregon Health Authority.