Dottie the streetcar returns to River Street - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Dottie the streetcar returns to River Street

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Ricky Lovett poses with Dottie. Ricky Lovett poses with Dottie.
The crew poses with Dottie after placing her on the tracks. The crew poses with Dottie after placing her on the tracks.

She's back!

After an almost year long hiatus from River Street, Dottie has returned and was loaded back on the River Street tracks.   

So how do you move a 1930s era, 42,000 lbs street car? 

Answer: very carefully. 

Crews from the Roundhouse Railroad Musuem, which had been housing the body of Dottie the streetcar, helped put her back together this morning. 

The chassis was sent off to Pennsylvania. The company that worked on the chassis couldn't find replacement parts, so they fabricated them from scratch.

Ricky Lovett is tickled to see her back where she belongs. 

"My baby's back!" he beamed.

Lovett is all smiles now, but Dottie's conductor watched intently during the nearly three hour process of moving from truck to tracks. 

"They know what they're doing; I don't do that part," he said. "I'm secure that they know what they're doing, so they did a great job, and you see now it's on the wheels ready to go."

Just because the streetcar is back in town and back on the tracks doesn't mean that it's ready for passengers just yet.

Lovett still has to do practice runs, and that may happen sometime next week.

They have to get Dottie up to 35 miles an hour during testing.

Lovett has been Dottie's only conductor, but the director of mobility and parking services, Valeeta McDonald, said they may hire more.

Those people will have to train too.

"In the event Ricky is not available or Ricky wants to take a day off, but I don't think he's ever taken a day off, what they do is they have more testing on the east end of River Street near President Street, that's where the testing is done," said McDonald.

And while Lovett has been biding his time with the city, helping out in the meter department, he said more conductors or not, Dottie will always be his.

"She's beautiful," he said. "That's all I can say. She's back and I'm glad to have her back."

McDonald hopes Dottie will be around for a long time as well.

 "It's a very popular attraction," she said. "People come from far and wide to see our streetcar."

McDonlad wanted to give a very special thanks to Kerry Koller, Director of Railroad Operations and his crew, for all their work and help with the Streetcar Project.

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