Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Spanning over five miles, and connecting Yakima to Selah is one of the oldest remaining sets of interurban electric rail tracks existing in the U.S. The tracks were laid between 1907 and 1913 and originally spanned over 40 miles. Designed to provide streetcar service as well as freight connection to the Union Pacific Railroad, electric trains have used these tracks every year since 1907!
As the popularity and affordability of the automobile grew, the need for electric street cars diminished. Despite the closure of the streetcar service in 1946, the tracks continued to be used to transport fruit and other freight to the Union Pacific Railroad into the 80’s.
As Yakima’s bicentennial approached in the 70’s, a plan to revitalize the trolley service took shape. In 1974, 2 trolleys were purchased from Portugal and service started back up.
What makes the whole operation unique, is the fact that all the original components still exist – from the tracks, to the overhead wires, and even the masonry powerhouse substation that was built to house the power in 1911.
Today, you can take a ride on one of two streetcars that were purchased from Portugal and feel like you’ve been transported back a 100 years. The trolleys run from 10 AM – 3 PM every Saturday and Sunday from May until Labor Day, with a few special event days sprinkled in throughout the year.
Click here to learn more about the schedules and events of the Yakima Valley Trolleys.
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