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|Executive director||Katie Orlando|
|Owner||New England Electric Railway Historical Society|
Seashore Trolley Museum, located in Kennebunkport, Maine, United States, is the world's first and largest museum of mass transit vehicles. While the main focus of the collection is trolley cars (trams), it also includes rapid transit trains, Interurban cars, trolley buses, and motor buses. The Seashore Trolley Museum is owned and operated by the New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS).Of the museum's collection of more than 350 vehicles, ten trolley, and railroad cars that historically operated in Maine were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, as Maine Trolley Cars.
Theodore F. Santarelli de Brasch was one of the founders of the museum, which was initially operated as the Seashore Electric Railway.He graduated from Harvard University and led the museum until he died in 1987.
The events that led to the formation of the museum started in 1939 when a group of railfans learned that the Biddeford and Saco Railroad were purchasing motor buses to replace its fleet of trolley cars.More and more trolley companies were doing this as the technology of buses had developed to the point that they were reliable and economical.
The rail fans decided to find out if they could purchase a trolley to preserve it for posterity. The railroad was willing to sell them a car (#31, a 12 bench open trolley) for $150. However, it would have to be moved to another location due to local ordinances that prohibited retired trolleys from being used as houses, even though this was not the rail fans' intention.
A plot of land, part of a farm, was rented on Log Cabin Road in Kennebunkport, adjacent to the right-of-way for the Atlantic Shore Line Railway's Kennebunk-Biddeford route, and the trolley was moved to it.
At about the same time, another group of rail fans purchased a trolley from the Manchester and Nashua Street Railway. The two groups merged, and the Nashua trolley was brought to the Log Cabin Road site. The group of founders formally incorporated in 1941 as the New England Electric Railway Historical Society.
World War II caused the museum to be put on hold, as many members served in the armed forces for the duration. This also brought about a temporary revival of trolley services in many cities, as rubber and gasoline were rationed for the war effort.
After the war, conversion of trolley lines to buses resumed, and created a period of rapid growth for the museum's collection.
In the 1950s, a diesel-powered electric generator was used to allow the cars to move under their own power. Car 31 was moved into a small building so that it could be repaired and restored. The first major expansion occurred in late 1955 and early 1956, when the Society purchased land near the Biddeford city line along U.S. Route 1. 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) of track.In the summer of 1956, the Seashore Electric Railway began passenger operations on weekends over its
In 1980, ten of the museum's trolley and railroad cars were listed on the National Register of Historic Places (as "Maine Trolley Cars"). These include trolley #31 and other vehicles either built or operated in Maine. Two cars of the Aroostook Valley Railroad, and two built by the York Utilities Company of Sanford are included in this collection.
As of 2010, the museum had over 260 vehicles. While most are from New England and other areas of the United States, trolleys from Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, Hungary, England, Scotland, Italy, and several other countries are also in the collection.One of the motor buses the museum owns is Biddeford and Saco #31, the bus that replaced trolley #31 in 1939. The bus was donated to the museum by the bus company. The Seashore Trolley Museum continues to acquire new vehicles for the collection.
The main building at the museum, the Visitors Center, includes a ticket booth, a museum store with an extensive collection of rare and out-of-print books and DVDs as well as many toys and souvenirs, a snack bar, and an exhibit room with trolley and transit-related artifacts.
The trolleys that have been restored to operating condition are shown on display in three car barns. A restoration shop with an elevated observation gallery shows visitors how the vehicles are maintained and restored. Additional storage barns and tracks, which are not accessible to the general public, contain vehicles that are awaiting restoration. A few of the restored trolleys are operating on the demonstration line at one time.
Restored trolleys are used on the museum's demonstration railway, which follows the route of the Atlantic Shore Line, a trolley line that ran on the current museum property and connected Kennebunkport to York Beach. Since the line was abandoned in the 1920s, museum volunteers have rebuilt one and a half miles (2.4 km) from scratch. Seashore owns the right of way to Biddeford, which is about 5 mi (8.0 km) from the Visitor Center. A demonstration route leads one and a half miles (2.4 km) to Talbott Park (which is a loop to turn around the trolleys) and back to the Visitor Center.
The collection of trolley buses includes vehicles from all over the country, and the world, of which about twenty are in operating condition. Restoration on as many as six to seven cars is underway at all times. Discussions are under way to extend the trolley bus line and to rehabilitate the existing line.
The museum holds many themed events throughout the operating season (May–December) including Pumpkin Patch Trolley, Daniel Tiger Visits Seashore, appreciation days for several operating fleet trolleys in its collection, free children's story time for guests and the community, and special holiday rides in November and December. The exhibit room may be rented for parties, gatherings, meetings or family reunions.
Conservation and restoration of rail vehicles aims to preserve historic rail vehicles.
The J.G. Brill Company manufactured streetcars, interurban coaches, motor buses, trolleybuses and railroad cars in the United States for almost ninety years, making it the longest-lasting trolley and interurban manufacturer. At its height, Brill was the largest manufacturer of streetcars and interurban cars in the US and produced more streetcars, interurbans and gas-electric cars than any other manufacturer, building more than 45,000 streetcars alone.
The Middlesex and Boston Street Railway (M&B) was a streetcar and later bus company in the area west of Boston. Streetcars last ran in 1930, and in 1972 the company's operations were merged into the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
The Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society (OERHS) is a non-profit organization in the U.S. state of Oregon, founded in 1957. It owns and operates a railroad museum for electric railroad and streetcar enthusiasts, and also operates a separate heritage streetcar line, the Willamette Shore Trolley.
The Illinois Railway Museum is the largest railroad museum in the United States. It is located in the Chicago metropolitan area at 7000 Olson Road in Union, Illinois, 55 miles (89 km) northwest of downtown Chicago.
The Baltimore Streetcar Museum (BSM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit museum. It is located at 1911 Falls Road in Baltimore, Maryland. The museum is dedicated to preserving Baltimore's public transportation history, especially the streetcar era.
The Shore Line Trolley Museum is a trolley museum located in East Haven, Connecticut. Incorporated in 1945, it is the oldest continuously operating trolley museum in the United States. The museum includes exhibits on trolley history in the visitors' center and offers rides on restored trolleys along its 1.5 miles (2.4 km) track as the Branford Electric Railway. In addition to trolleys, the museum also operates a small number of both trolleybuses and conventional buses.
Streetcars or trolley(car)s were once the chief mode of public transit in hundreds of North American cities and towns. Most of the original urban streetcar systems were either dismantled in the mid-20th century or converted to other modes of operation, such as light rail. Today, only Toronto still operates a streetcar network essentially unchanged in layout and mode of operation.
The Boston Street Railway Association (BSRA) is a non-profit organization in Boston, Massachusetts, whose central objective is preserving transportation history in Boston and throughout New England. They host monthly membership meetings, publish a bimonthly transit news magazine, and are restoring an ex-Boston Type 5 streetcar. They also regularly publish their own books and materials, as well as organize fan trips on Boston's MBTA and to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Funding for the organization is provided primarily through tax-deductible member and individual donations, as well as through grants and donations from other organizations and groups.
The Jewett Car Company was an early 20th-century American industrial company that manufactured streetcars and interurban cars.
Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit, or BSOOB Transit, is the primary provider of public transportation in the Tri-Town area of Maine, just south of Portland. It operates a system of fixed bus routes in Biddeford, Saco, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach, an express commuter bus service that connects the Tri-Town area to downtown Portland, and seasonal trolleys that serve tourist destinations in the area. Many of the system's routes connect to the agency's hub at the Saco Transportation Center, which opened in 2019. Along with the Greater Portland Metro Bus and the South Portland Bus Service, BSOOB Transit accepts fares electronically via the DiriGO TouchPass system.
The Maine Trolley Cars are a group of 10 rail vehicles, mostly trolley cars, located in Kennebunkport, Maine. The cars were built in various years between 1893 and 1926, and the group was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 14, 1980. The trolley cars are a small part of the large collection of vehicles at the Seashore Trolley Museum. While the museum's collection of more than 250 vehicles includes ones from several different U.S. states and a few foreign countries, the 10 vehicles in the National Register listing were all operated in the state of Maine at one time.
The Atlantic Shore Line (ASL) was an electric trolley line providing passenger and freight service to many towns in York County, Maine, in the United States. The ASL was the second-longest trolley line in Maine, encompassing over 87 miles (140 km) of track.
The State-of-the-Art Car (SOAC) was a heavy rail mass transit demonstrator vehicle produced for the United States Department of Transportation's Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the 1970s. It was intended to demonstrate the latest technologies to operating agencies and the riding public, and serve to promote existing and proposed transit lines. A single married pair was produced by the St. Louis Car Company in 1972. It operated in intermittent revenue service on six rapid transit systems in five United States cities between May 1974 and January 1977. Since 1989, the two cars have been on display at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
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The Edmonton trolley bus system formed part of the public transport network in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada between 1939 and 2009. Operated by Edmonton Transit System (ETS), the system had, at its peak, a fleet of 137 trolley buses, and a total route length of 127 km (79 mi).
The Rochester and Sodus Bay Railway was an electric interurban railway connecting Rochester with the shores of Lake Ontario at Sodus Point. The line was leased to the Rochester Railway Company in 1902 and later merged into New York State Railways in 1909. Ridership dropped off in the 1920s, and the railway east of Glen Haven was abandoned in 1929. The remaining local streetcar service ended in 1933.
The United Electric Railways Company (UER) was the Providence-based operator of the system of interurban streetcars, trolleybuses, and trolley freight in the state of Rhode Island in the early- to mid-twentieth century.
The Manchester Street Railway was a light interurban railway that ran from Manchester to Nashua, New Hampshire.
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