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Slideshow: Biodiesel streetcar makes first run

THE FIRST alternative-fuel streetcar in North America made its maiden voyage down River Street on Tuesday as part of a Climate Action Parade.

On board were Mayor Otis Johnson, city aldermen and other civic leaders. The parade was held to mark National Climate Action Week, which begins Dec. 15.

The streetcar is the latest of the city's growing fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles. It is a fully restored 1938 streetcar that was originally used in Melbourne, Australia.

It had been stored for several years at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, with the intent that it would eventually be used to carry riders up and down River Street. The new streetcar is expected to go on line some time in January.

It will be fueled with B20 biodiesel, produced locally. Grease collected from local restaurants will be used in part to create the fuel.

The city's bicycles and electric scooters also were featured in the parade. All are part of the city's Thrive Initiative, a plan to reduce the city government's carbon footprint by 15 percent by the year 2012.