This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

How the city of Phoenix lived without light rail from 1948 to 2008


The city of Phoenix, Arizona, which was founded in 1870, had a trolley car system from 1887 until 1948, and then had nothing until the modern light rail system, which is now in operation, began in 2008.

Electric Trolley Car in 1905, 1st Street and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona.

That means that for over sixty years, the city of Phoenix had trolley cars that took them all over the valley, and to Mesa and Tempe. Then in 1948 the trolley car system was abandoned, and for the next sixty years, light rail did not exist in Phoenix.

The Phoenix that I remember, beginning in the 1980s for me, didn't have light rail. And even most of my expert PhDs (Phoenix History Detectives) aren't old enough to remember the 1940s. And that makes it surprising for people like me to see old photos of the trolleys. The Phoenix that I know just kept widening the roads, building more parking lots, building more freeways.

The city of Phoenix lived with light rail for sixty years and then went without it for sixty years, but now it's back on track. I'm interested to see what happens next!




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