The Cincinnati Bell Connector is Cincinnati's streetcar. It runs a 3.6-mile loop from just above Rhinegeist Brewery in Over-the-Rhine to Howl at the Moon at the Banks. It costs $1 to ride it for two hours and $2 to ride it for the whole day.
The city's relationship with the streetcar has ebbed and flowed over the course of its history. Cincy's first electric streetcars made their debut in 1889 and expanded to 222 total miles of track at its peak. The popular inclines of the day shuttled cars up and down the neighboring hills, serving as both a means to getting around as well as unique, postcard-worthy attractions. Peak ridership numbered in the millions (even reaching a staggering 100 million).
As time passed, so too did Cincinnati's reliance on the streetcar. America's burgeoning automobile industry eventually derailed the streetcar system (see also: Union Terminal's demolished concourse and bustling train service industry). By April of 1951, light rail public transit in Cincinnati was no more.
Flash forward 65 years to September 2016, and Cincinnati once again has a streetcar, albeit one that runs on a fraction of the original total mileage of the preceding system.
You've likely seen it rolling around Downtown dinging through intersections, and may even be a frequent or occasional rider yourself. But do you know where it goes when service ends for the night?
The Streetcar Maintenance and Operations Facility (MOF) in Over-the-Rhine is the modern day equivalent of a streetcar barn. It's where all five cars are washed, worked on, and stored during non-operation hours. It's also where control room engineers observe technical details, like where each car is on the route in real time.
It's a modest building sandwiched between Rhinegeist Brewery and Rookwood Pottery Company. A curious Cincinnati Refined took a tour of the facility to get a little perspective on where the streetcar goes when it's not shuttling the public back and forth between corners of the city.
Check out the gallery of photos with captions above.
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The MOF is located at 1927 Race Street. It isn't open to the public, but you can see it along the path of the streetcar route after passing the Brewery District stop in front of Rhinegeist.