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Museum Collections

The Shore Line Trolley Museum maintains several collections which preserve the history and heritage of the Trolley Era. The Museum owns nearly 100 vintage transit vehicles, as described in more detail below. In addition, the museum archives contain nearly 30,000 photographic images, over 4,000 books and documents, and about 1,000 small artifacts such as tokens, hat badges and ticket punches. The archives are available by appointment only to qualified researchers. The museum is happy to provide copies of photographs for both commercial and non-commercial use. Please inquire via email or phone.

Trolley Cars You'll Ride

The museum's current operating fleet includes the following trolley cars. When you visit the museum, several of these cars will be operating on our trolley line for your enjoyment.
Connecticut Company city car 1602
Picture of car 1602

This 1911 wooden trolley is unusual in having a concrete floor and straight-line seating. It ran in the city of New Haven, CT and is the most popular choice among visitors for holding their birthday parties and other special charters.

850: Streetcar Named Desire
Picture of car 850

The City of New Orleans has the nation's oldest trolley line, which is still running vintage cars from 1924. Car 850 is two years older, and was restored at the museum over a period of a decade. 850 toured several cities during 2007 to promote the City of New Orleans.

Brooklyn convertible 4573
Picture of car 4573

Enjoy 100 year-old air conditioning aboard this breezy convertible car, which Brooklyn "Trolley Dodgers" also rode during the winter with the open bar grilles replaced by regular windows.

Johnstown 357
Picture of car 357

A survivor of the great flood of 1938, this typical small-town steel-sided trolley from Johnstown, PA has been immaculately restored by our shops.

Car 2001 from Montreal, Canada
Picture of car 2001

Several Canadian cities had vast trolley networks too. Montreal car 2001 ran into the 1960s, long after most American cities had abandoned their trolley routes.

Third Avenue Railways 629
Picture of car 629

The most modern of our regular fleet, car 629 was home-built by the Third Avenue Railway from pieces of older cars in 1939. It ran in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Vienna, Austria, before coming to the museum in the 1960s.


Trolley Cars in our Shops

The museum has an active program of repairing and refurbishing our antique equipment. During your visit, you may see one or more of the following cars undergoing restoration work.

Brooklyn 1001, the First PCC car
Picture of car 1001

The PCC (Presidents Conference Committee) car was revolutionary in many ways. Car 1001, which ran in Brooklyn, NY, was the first production PCC car and entered service in 1936. Restoration of 1001 to its ca. 1938 appearance was completed in 2006.

Connecticut Company suburban car 865
Picture of car 865

Delivered in 1905, this Connecticut Company car was in service on the museum's line and other suburban routes. It has been in storage at the museum since 1947 and is currently undergoing extensive restoration.

Connecticut Company suburban car 775
Picture of car 775

This 1904 car spent many of its years running on the museum's line when it was still an ordinary passenger carrying route of the Connecticut Company, and has operated at the museum for many years. It is currently undergoing repairs.


Rapid Transit Cars

Commuter traffic was so intense that in several US cities, dedicated rapid transit systems were built. These operated on a separate right-of-way, such as subway tunnel, elevated structure, in a cut or on an embankment. Trolley cars, running in the street, served as feeder routes for the rapid transit lines. The electric rapid transit cars were larger and heavier than trolley cars, took power from a third rail, and ran in trains of up to a dozen or so cars. Of the 4 cities (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago) which had rapid transit systems during the Trolley Era, all are still in operation today.

The Museum has a small representative collection of New York rapid transit cars. Some of these cars are operated in passenger service during Rapid Transit weekends. See the current schedule for details.
Interborough Rapid Transit Lo-V 5466
Picture of car 5466

The Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) company was New York's first subway line, opening on October 27, 1904. The Lo-V is the second generation of rolling stock. Car 5466 was part of a New York museum train and was saved from the scrapper through some clever tricks. This car is often operated on RT weekends.

Independent Subway R-9 1689
Picture of car 1689

The City of New York opened the first municpal subway line in 1932. Car 1689 was built in 1940 for an expansion of service. It ran until 1977 in New York. At 60 feet and 84,000 pounds, This is the largest passenger car regularly operated at the museum. It is currently undergoing motor repairs.

NYC Transit Authority R-17 6688
Picture of car 6688

Car 6688 was ordered by the City of New York in 1955 to replace some of the original 1904-1907 vintage IRT cars. It was one of the first cars to be painted red and silver and looks similar to the thousands of "redbird" cars that were retired ca. 2001. It was preserved in 1987 and operates frequently at the museum.

Brooklyn Elevated 1227
Picture of car 1227

This 1903 wooden car straddles the line between trolley and rapid transit. In its early years, it ran both on dedicated right-of-way and down the street on the lines of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (later Brooklyn Manhattan Transit). Currently undergoing restoration.

Brooklyn Elevated 1349
Picture of car 1349

Built in 1905 for service to Canarsie, this is a convertible car, similar to Brooklyn trolley 4573. In the early years, it too could be seen running on the street. Currently undergoing restoration but operated for the public on selected dates.


Work Cars

Trolley cars didn't just carry passengers. Each trolley company had a fleet of work cars to maintain the tracks, poles and overhead wires. Clearing snow from the streets in which the trolleys ran was the company's job, and several types of snow-fighting equipment were commonly seen. The museum's collection includes examples of work cars. You might see some of these cars on display, or actually working on the museum's own railway.
Crane car W-3
Picture of car W3

Nothing in the Trolley Era was light! A crane car was indispensible for moving rails, ties, poles, etc. This crane from Montreal, Canada is capable of lifting 5 tons.

Line car 25
Picture of car 25

This tower car from Ottawa, Canada, has an extensible and insulated work platform, to allow servicing the 600 volt DC overhead trolley wire "live"

Montreal Shunter
Picture of car Shunter

This little home-made trolley was used to move other trolleys undergoing repairs around the shops in Montreal, Canada.

Snowplow 3152
Picture of car 3152

Resembling a modern-day snowplow truck, this plow from Montreal, uses its 30 tons to push snow off the tracks.

Snow sweeper S-36
Picture of car S36

Snow sweepers were more effective than plows in moderate snow, because they avoided packing down ice into the track. S-36 passed through New York and Boston before ending its career in Toronto.

Rotary Plow 5
Picture of car 5

This un-restored car is extremely rare. It is the only surviving electric rotary plow. Rotaries like this one from Montreal were used to clear heavy snowdrifts.


Featured Cars

When you visit the museum, many trolley cars will be on display. Just which cars will be featured varies from day to day. Below are some of the cars often seen on display at the museum.
34, a 4 wheel open car
Picture of car 34

Car 34 was the first car to be owned by the museum way back in 1945. Originally from Lynchburg, VA, it later ran in Wildwood, NJ. It is a typical gay nineties open breezer car.

The Derby: The oldest extant electric locomotive
Picture of car Derby

This little 4-wheel electric locomotive only ran for two years, but it had a rich and colorful history. Created by electric railway pioneer Chas. Vandepoele, it competed for local freight against the mighty steam locomotive....and won.

Connecticut Birney
Picture of car 2350

The Birney was a no-frills design which was supposed to save trolley companies money and compete with the automobile. The cars were not popular with riders. 2350 was built in 1922 but saw only limited service.

Toronto Horsecar 11
Picture of car 11

Before electric traction, horses pulled small rail cars on the streets. Many horsecars survived into the trolley years as rush-hour trailers. 11 is a replica built in 1932 from parts of an original 1880 horsecar.

The Trolley Dodger's car
Picture of car 1792

The famous baseball team got its name from a disparaging remark made in a Manhattan newspaper that Brooklynites were just a "bunch of Trolley Dodgers." Cars such as 1792 were working the streets of Brooklyn at this time. It later was converted to a work car and currently houses a Lionel toy train layout.

15 bench open breezer 401
Picture of car 401

The Connecticut Company had hundreds of these large, 75-passenger open breezer cars. Very popular in the summertime, they were retained until 1947 to handle large crowds at Yale Bowl events.

The Parlor Car
Picture of car 500

The pride of the Connecticut Company fleet, car 500 was built in 1904 as an open-platform observation car. It was later lengthened and enclosed. This car toured the entire Connecticut Company street railway system and was also available for special events. It has a kitchen, bathroom, dining tables and plush carpet.

Santa's Car: Toronto 2898
Picture of car 2898

This spacious car from 1923 was designed to speed loading and unloading. If you visit during Santa on the Trolley days, you'll find Santa comfortably seated and waiting to greet you.


Other Cars

There are many other cars in the museum's collection which space does not permit listing here. To view a complete roster of the museum's rail car collection, use the form below.

The online roster of our vehicle collection presents a current snapshot of this information (for rail cars only) and can be viewed in various formats by making a selection below. Those who are curious may also wish to read the glossary of terms used in the roster.

Sorted By:
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Or, look up data on one particular car (enter the car #):

The Shore Line Trolley Museum
17 River Street
East Haven, CT 06512
(203) 467-6927

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Last Updated: /collection.in modified at Mon Apr 28 02:23:29 2008
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