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After more than 10 years, rail trolleys are returning to Galveston Island

The City of Galveston announced Monday three of its four historic rail trolleys are undergoing testing and should be ready for passengers this summer.

GALVESTON, Texas — It's been more than 10 years since rail trolleys charmed the streets of downtown Galveston, but now, city officials confirm they'll be making a comeback this summer.

Three of the four historic trolleys have been restored and will undergo state testing and federal certification before resuming service, according to a City of Galveston release sent Monday.

The rail system also allows riders to navigate between downtown and the Seawall. It had been out of commission since 2008. 

"We've been looking forward to the return of the beloved trolleys since they were damaged in Hurricane Ike and are pleased to be a step closer to re-opening to the public," Mayor Craig Brown said. "There is no better way to see the historic architecture of downtown Galveston and visit the restaurants and shops than by trolley."

In the meantime, Galveston Island Trolley had been making use of its fanciful traditional trolley-themed buses.

You'll likely see one or more of the trolley cruising through the street from now through May, but the city said no passengers yet! 

No specific date has been given for when the trolleys will be available for public use.

For now, the trolleys and trolley drivers will be completing the mandatory 75 hours riding before earning their certification. According to officials, they'll remain on the downtown loop for testing.

Trolleys are back, so make room!

The City of Galveston understands many residents and visitors aren't use to sharing the road with the rail trolleys, and they asking everyone to be on alert when walking and driving in certain area.

The public is asked to adhere to the following safety measures while along the route: 

PEDESTERIAN TROLLEY SAFETY

  • Never cross or run in front of an approaching trolley or between two stopped vehicles.
  • Never chase the trolleys.
  • Wait until traffic stops and look both ways before crossing.
  • Pay attention to the surrounding environment. Trolleys are quiet and cannot stop as quickly as a car.
  • Avoid walking or riding bikes along the trolley tracks.

DRIVING NEAR TROLLEYS

  • Follow the trolley at a safe distance and be prepared to stop.
  • Trolleys are not able to stop as quickly as vehicles — slow down and use turn signals before making a left or right turn.
  • Check for an approaching trolley before opening vehicle doors.
  • Do not make a turn from the adjacent lane or center lane in front of the trolley.
  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Never stop your vehicle on the tracks.

PARKING IN TROLLEY LANE

  • Be sure to park within the line in trolley track areas to avoid having your vehicle sideswiped by a trolley.
  • Stay alert! When exiting your vehicle, check before opening the door.