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The Legend of El Paso's Transnational Streetcar

From the mule-drawn trolley of the 19th century to the rails ripped out by Mexico in the 1970s, tales of the El Paso–Ciudad Juárez streetcar still echo today.
Streetcars running along Oregon Street in El Paso in 1910.
Streetcars running along Oregon Street in El Paso in 1910.Paso Del Norte Streetcar Preservation Society

Throughout this week, CityLab is running a series on borders—both real and imagined—and what draws so many of us to places on the edge.

Mule Car #1, the first mass-transit system to serve El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, was already past its prime by the time it launched in 1882. “Mandy,” the mule that pulled the sole trolley car back and forth across the border, had long served as the engine of San Antonio’s streetcar system before she was retired to El Paso–Juárez, an easier route. There, Mandy earned international celebrity—not for her service, but in spite of it.