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H Street Now Permanently Energized, Literally, So Don’t Go Climbing After Hitting the Bars

by Prince Of Petworth February 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm 26 Comments


From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced that the overhead wires on the H Street/Benning Road line are now permanently energized. The electrical system that powers the streetcar, the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), will stay fully energized as it is tested as part of the safety- and system-integration phase of the project.

The public is reminded that streetcars on the H Street/Benning Road are powered by electricity. These streetcars will get their electricity from three substations along the line. Substations are safe, enclosed systems that send electricity to the streetcars. The western substation is located under the Hopscotch Bridge near Union Station, the midline substation is at the southwest corner of H and 12th Streets and the eastern substation is located on the grounds of the Car Barn Training Center at Benning Road and 26th Street NE.

While powered wires and substations are safe and pose no immediate safety hazards to people, please remember the following safety tips:

· The public, including all District service agencies and utility companies, should use caution around OCS wires and poles.

· The overhead wire or “catenary” is energized at 750v (volts) DC. Do not attempt to climb the poles or touch or through object at the wires.

· Remain 10’ away from live wires at all times.

· Streetcar power substations are prohibited from entry for the public’s protection. Do not attempt to enter a power substation.

The OCS system integration is one of many testing activities now underway as DDOT readies for passenger service. The completed portions of the constructed facility are in the acceptance test, system integration test and certification phase. This multi-step process started last month and will continue as the system achieves significant milestones. It is intended to ensure that the system meets DC Streetcar standards and is certified as safe to carry passengers in mixed use traffic. The system (that is, infrastructure and vehicles) must be certified by the District and accepted by the State Safety Oversight Agency (SOA) before passenger service can begin.”

  • Anonymous

    Perfect timing for the ice storm on Monday.

    In all seriousness, this is good news. Little steps but at least they are continuing to make progress…

  • Anonymous

    so pretty

  • ontarioroader

    So how long before someone throws a bicycle chain onto the wires and blows the system?

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      Fortunately, that is not how electricity works

  • Hilltopper

    This will definitely be a welcome addition to the natural selection process :)

  • ledroittiger

    How can anyone stay 10′ away from live wires at all times when we will inevitably be crossing the street under them? Are they that high up?

    • Anonymous

      higher than the street lights

    • Truxton Thomas

      They look higher than a basketball hoop, so apparently yes.

      • anon

        but when I walk under a basketball hoop I’m 4 feet away, not 10.

        • Truxton Thomas

          Good point. I feel kind of stupid now.

  • Rich

    let the whining begin! Concerns about safety (as opposed to street level vehicles), appearance. Come on DC, show us what you do best. Ignore things that more practically minded people would have thought about years ago!

  • ClevelandDave

    How much did that cost- half a billion dollars: $450,000,000.00 plus operating expenses? We couldn’t find a way to spend that money better? Pothole repair? Offset metro operating costs? Transfer money to sewer and water to offset some of the cost of the big dig? Money to renovate Franklin School? Return money to taxpayers?

    And they want to extend this line at the cost of what, a billion more dollars?

    • Money is being spent on those things. Not all dollars must go exactly where you want them.

  • Anonymous

    why does H street always look so barren? is that just a really bad picture?

    • Anonymous

      “Barren” is a good way to describe what I’ve always seen. People pull up in cabs, scuttle into a bar or restaurant, then hop straight into a cab and leave. It’s weird to have that many nightlife places on one strip, and no resulting LIFE, at night or any other time.

      • Errr, what? Would you prefer people just standing around outside in front of places? When it’s 15 degrees?

        • Anonymous

          I can never decide if you’re pathologically literal (on the spectrum, maybe?) or if you just look for any reason to point out what you perceive to be others’ inaccuracies.
          In case its the former, there are several things that contribute to a lively-feeling neighborhood: people walking to and from nearby residential areas and nearby public transport; outdoor seating; the likelihood of running into people you know; multiple businesses you might hit in one evening, such as dinner + dessert, or drinks + a show/ dancing.
          H Street has NONE of that. It might have the elements, but something is missing. Folks cab in, eat or drink, and cab the hell out.

          • You must certainly not live near the area then. I run into people I know on H Street on a regular basis.

          • That MAn A

            yea, they clearly spend no timeon H st lol

            maybe the peole from other neighborhoods feel that way because they spend no time there
            but i can say i runinto people all the time. either walking down the street or in establishments
            and i rarely just go to one place in one visit…

    • ET

      The sidewalks feel like they are a about a foot wide so maybe people park as close as they can to their destination and don’t walk any more than they have to?

    • Anon

      During the weekday? Because there’s limited businesses down there. But at night or on the weekends? The sidewalks are jammed!

  • hiphopanonymous

    I hope their safety certification is more thorough than their proof reading…

  • Anonymous

    that popeyes has to be destoryed and a beer garden put in its place, made out of shipping containers!

  • Anonymous

    Did DDOT really write “Do not attempt to … through object at the wires”?

  • Anonymous

    I drove along the route for the streetcar from Benning Road to H Street recently for the first time in a while. I’m excited for the launch but wow, the wires and supports for the wires along the Benning portion are really ugly. That stretch of Benning wasn’t exactly a parkway to begin with but it’s especially messy looking now that everything is in place.


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