In the author's considered opinion, the South Claiborne line was the most beautiful line in the City. These first pictures are submitted in support of that view. At 191 feet wide, this avenue was even wider than famed Canal Street. For at least part of its length, the median was occupied by a large drainage canal, an important component of the city's drainage system. (Today, the canal has been filled in or covered over, but in streetcar days, part of it was open.) The beautiful part of Claiborne Ave. had a broad, grassy, landscaped neutral ground, with a streetcar track at each edge of the neutral ground, as seen here.
The top picture from Feb. 12, 1950 shows car 956 and another S. Claiborne car downbound at State Street. The second photo, dated March 11, 1950, looks across the wide neutral ground from the other track toward car 959, stopped to discharge a passenger, perhaps the suited gentleman seen walking around the trailing end of the car. The date and location of the third picture, also featuring car 959, are unknown, but it was probably taken in the late 1940s. The fourth picture, somewhere along S. Claiborne Ave., is dated Jan. 7, 1951.
Note the narrow roadway for automobile traffic. This ultimately proved fatal to the line, since the only way to widen the automobile lanes necessarily involved either rebuilding the streetcar tracks further to the center of the neutral ground, or removing them altogether. — Fred Victor DuBrutz photo (second picture), D. R. Toye, S. J., Kenner Train Shop (Chris Rodriguez) collection, courtesy of Mike Palmieri (third picture); Bechtel (fourth picture)
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