Originally Posted by bunt_q
Another reason to get a city transit plan in place. We are busy completely repaving, top to bottom, York and Josephine. Any streetcar line to Cherry Creek is almost certain to need these segments. I wonder what the incremental cost would be to lay tracks now, versus ripping up pavement that probably has a 30 year design life later.
Street cars can be built very simply- the proof of that being the entire streetcar age from about 1890-1930.
The problems arise when municipalities, property developers, etc., want to improve the waste water lines and fresh water lines; to run replacement power lines under the street; and to follow government regulation requiring X,Y, and, Z. If one were to build a street car line as was repeatedly done in the past, all one would need to do would be to remove pavement and trench about 1 foot further, deep enough to place ties (concrete or even treated wood), and the tracks, and then bury the track footing to the "V" groove in which streetcars run on street car tracks (they have a slightly different X section than do conventional railroad tracks) with asphalt/ballast/or cement.
Catenaries can be simple suspended single wires, and, supports what ever is available: power poles, ties to building structures, even something like old oil rig drill pipe with the catenary hardware simply welded on to the vertically placed pipe at the appropriate height.
However, as inferred above, streetcar construction has become somewhat of a building contractor's feast where capital improvements and regulation driven structural modifications of all kinds are bundled in with the street car construction costs. Agencies worried about the age and state of sewer lines, culverts, etc., tend to request repair inclusion as part of their agreement to build the streetcar (or light rail). Neighborhoods with "telephone pole" supported power lines might want to bury the lines under the street, and, as the streets are going to be torn up for sewer lines etc.,.....
Seriously, putting in a basic streetcar line along a street is very low tech and cheap. The technology is so simple that individual cities such as Denver and Minneapolis often built their own streetcars in house!