Hopping Today

The Hop, also known as the Milwaukee Streetcar, is a modern streetcar system in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The system’s 2.1-mile original “M” line connects the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Downtown to the Lower East Side and Historic Third Ward neighborhoods. In October, 2023, a 0.4-mile Lakefront, or “L” line, to the still under-construction high-rise development The Couture…

… began limited Sunday service, and will offer daily service beginning in early 2024. The system is owned by the city and operated by Transdev.

Construction of the original line began in late 2016 and was completed in summer 2018. Service to the public began on November 2, 2018.
The original Hop line M must be one of the shortest tram lines in modern times.
Line M starts at “Intermodal” (bottom left) …
… where there appears to be a depot hidden under a huge road on stilts.
“Intermodal” refers to a posh building across the road …

… with Amtrak (trains) at one end …

… and Greyhound (coaches) at the other.

The coaches do have a proper coach station …
… but if you arrive or depart by bus all you get is …

… a wonky pole and flag combo with no other information apart from the route number.

The Hop line is double track except at the terminus and runs eastbound crossing the Milwaukee River which is (or was) a swinger.
In the city centre, the line tuns north and operates in a one way single track section …
… then wiggles a bit and ends up and another single track spur on the map top right.

It really is a very short tram route!

Bit the new L route is even shorter! It uses the one way city centre loop an just nips out to Lake Front. At the moment it isn’t stopping there  because the big tower thing is not yet finished. 

The rumour has it that this route has started up in order to get its state funding which would only be paid if the route was finished on time.
So you can go for a very short ride to nowhere! Google Streetview has not yet been able to complete its ride ad the line comes to a sudden and unimpressive end!
Here is the map by way of a reminder of the brevity of Line L …
… the one=stop wonder!
There is a video of this new line L but as it doesn’t stop anywhere new, fbb will eschew it.

But the Milwaukee folk are lucky to get Line L. The politics of expanding the system have been (and continue to be) “challenging”.

There has also been a vociferous anti-tram campaign on-line …
… including that ludicrous paste-up picture of the campaigners plan for the tram!
The social media comments seem greatly concerned about very little …
… except bending bicycle wheels!
And remember that inebriated Milwaukeeans might trip over the rails – all totally and utterly the fault of this appalling system! Presumably drunks never tripped over the kerb or, indeed, their own uncontrollable feet?

But there are plans for further expansion.

An extension northbound from “Intermodal” …

… and an extra loop on the other end of line M.
A third extension would leave the city centre loop and set off southbound.
These are all just a couple of stops, so the resultant network remains very tony – really very very tiny compared with the original system that closed in 1958!

Because of the politics and the opposition it is hard to predict how this scheme will progress – but it is looking good at the moment.

If you are ever in Milwaukee, please HOP and let fbb know (fbb@xephos.com) what the experience was like.

Lots of people were enjoying the experience in the early days of Line M.

 Next UK blog : Wednesday 22nd November 
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