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Remember When: Streetcars

A photo from CoasterFan2105 on YouTube.com shows a streetcar from the 1940s.

SELMA – Have you ever ridden in an old streetcar? It rocked like a boat. If you fell asleep in an isle seat, you could have landed on the floor.

To hail a streetcar, you stood in the “Safety Zone” next to the tracks. Cars usually drove around the safety zone. Streetcars were like a one-car train, powered by electricity with a trolley.

You had to step up high to get on the streetcar.

The older ones in the 1940’s had three sections. The front and back sections were the same. The streetcar could be driven from either end. There were heavy (Plastic) curtains that you could adjust up or down - no glass or screen in the windows. The middle section had glass windows that could be opened - no air conditioning. Sliding glass doors separated the sections.

When a streetcar got to the end of its run, it did not have to turn around. The trolley was lowered to the roof, and the other trolley was raised. Seat backs were slid back so that the seats faced in the opposite direction. The driver drove the streetcar from the new “front” section.

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In the newer models, you could enter by the front door, or the entrance/exit door in the middle of the streetcar. A conductor at the middle door could take your fare.

Many times, my brother and I stood on the step and hung on to a pole.

Streamlined streetcars looked like bullets, and rode smoothly – hardly any rocking.

One time I sat on the floor of an old rocking streetcar to pick up bobby pins that scattered when my little suitcase came open and spilled everything out. My college roommate and I rode busses and streetcars to go to our homes on weekends.

We were young, and streetcars were kind of fun.

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Submit your entries for the "Remember When" series by emailing entries to editor@selmaenterprise.com. Photos of your favorite memories may be included.

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