Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seashore Trolley Museum

Last week Dan and I payed a visit to the Seashore Trolley Museum up in Kennebunkport, Maine, and we were wowed! This museum is amazing, and if you have even the slightest interest in trains, trolleys, or buses, I recommend going because it's completely worth it. Seashore boasts of having the title of the largest trolley museum in the world, with over 250 fully restored trolleys.

The museum was started when in 1939 the founders Ted Santarelli, John Amlaw, and Gerald Cunningham, purchased a trolley car from the Biddeford and Saco Railroad for $150 after it was going to be decommissioned. They restored this car and then a few years later were presented with the opportunity to buy another car when the Manchester Street Railway decided to cease its operations. They also purchased a small strip of land that used to be a farm in Kennebunkport, the location of the museum still to this day. 


In 1941, the New England Electric Railway Historical Society was incorporated as a non-profit educational foundation, and is the operator of Seashore Trolley Museum. Since then, the organization has continued to collect and restore old trolley vehicles.


On the grounds of the museum, you'll find three exhibit carbarns, a working restoration garage in which you can view crews actually working on old trolley cars, and many other exhibits strewn about. There's even a 1.5 mile set of tracks that you can take a ride on a restored trolley! (The ride was incredibly smooth, by the way.) The collection includes cars from all over the United States and the world, including one from almost every major city in the US that has public transit, and places as far away as Britain and Australia. They also have a huge collection of old MBTA vehicles that range from trollies, subway cars, LRV's, and buses.


The T cars were especially interesting to me because they're so relevant to my life and it was great to see what generations past used to ride on. Many of the cars were in impeccable shape and the old original advertisements were still hanging in many of the cars, adding one more bit of realism to these old cars' existence.


Admission is only $8 and goes to funding a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of railroad history. If you're ever up in that area, definitely check out the Seashore Trolley Museum.


For more information, visit their website.


Check out some of the awesome pictures Dan and I took below!


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