AGAIN. Todays trip had a short side trip, detour, or should we call it an unscheduled stop. Just north of New Haven on I-95 is East Haven, home of the Shoreline Trolley Museum.
From the mid 1800's to the mid 1900's a person could conceivable ride trolleys from Philadelphia Pa. to Brunswick Maine. Now why anyone would want to do this instead of just taking a train is beyond me. BUT Mike, our motorman for todays adventure, says it would have been possible. Today hardly any of the trackage is still in place. Most trolley tracks were laid next to roadways, and much of that has been tarred over for roadway widening. (Automobiles,,,,,, just a passing fancy!!!!)
The Shore Line Trolley Museum has been an important part of the community since its incorporation in 1945 as the Branford Electric Railway Association. Founded to preserve the unique heritage of an endangered species -- the trolley car -- it now boasts a collection of nearly 100 vintage vehicles as well as artifacts and documents from the trolley era. It continues to operate predominantly through the dedication and support of its over 1000 member/volunteers.A visit to the museum is a multi-sensory voyage into the past, from the moanful growl of the motors, to the smell of the electric arc, to the feel of rattan seats and varnished hardwood detailing.The Shore Line Trolley Museum operates the Branford Electric Railway, a National Historic Site. The railway is the oldest continuously operating suburban trolley line in the United States.The museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization; donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law
Motorman Mike took us to the end of the line in Trolley 357 which ran until the late 1950's in Johnstown Pa. Amazingly it still had many of the original poster ads.
Do you think the bottom center ad would be allowed today??????
On our way back Mike stopped at the car barns and took us through the shops. Trolleys there are in various states of repair. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy caused major flooding along their line and car barns. Salt water is definitely not good for electric motors. Many of them had to be removed and re-wound which is not cheap. The barns that are open to the public house mostly restored trolleys. I want you all to know that I looked high and low but could not find "Judy" singing in any of the cars.
Being in the New Haven area, home to Yale University, Mike told us that for the old time football games, trolleys would be brought in from all over to take the fans from the train station (NewYork, New Haven & Hartford RR) to the stadium and back. The average car would hold about 80 folks comfortably. On game days that would swell by 2 or 3 times. According to Mike the record was set at 240 people on one trolley car….OUCH!!!!!
A law in Connecticut required the President of every trolley company to personally inspect all of his lines each year. Since the Shoreline was owned by the New Haven Railroad its president had to preform this inspection. Of course a railroad President wasn't going to ride in just any trolley. NO NO…. he had a specially outfitted one for his inspection.
Special comfy seats, separate porters station, single motorman station, AND……..INDOOR PLUMBING!!!!!! Yep,,,, right there in the trolley car. We were not able to get into this car, but it is here in one of the barns.
For more information and directions to the Shoreline Trolley Museum go to