Volunteers Keep 111 year old Trolley on Track
New Member Orientation Day April 19th
Based in the old Boston & Maine freight yard, the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is a non-profit educational organization that has restored one of the original trolley’s, Trolley No. 10, originally used to transport passengers, apples, mail, milk and other freight. (Photo (c) SFTM)
With a “ding-ding” of the bell, Sam Bartlett ratchets up the electric power on car Number Ten. The hundred and eleven year old wooden trolley responds and pulls away from the station at Salmon Falls. Sam is a motorman and wears several other hats at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, a stone’s throw from the glacial potholes and Historic Bridge of Flowers, a former trolley bridge that connected Shelburne Falls with Colrain.
After it’s heyday of carting back and forth, the trolley was retired and spent sixty-five years as a chicken coop. That’s until a team of volunteers and train enthusiasts step in and transformed both train and station into a viable museum that explores both the mechanics of trains and history of the railroad.
Today, volunteers at the museum provide rides on the trolley and other historic railroad equipment, guide interpretive tours, repair the railroad tracks and are in the process of restoring many of the historic buildings in the former Boston and Main railroad yard. If your family has an interest in discovering more about both our local history and locomotive workings, parents and age appropriate children might like to discover volunteer opportunities at the museum. As the museum gears up for the spring operating season and opening day in May, they are on the lookout for fresh recruits interested in restoring and carrying on the traditions of the trolley car era.
On Saturday, April 19th, starting at 10:30 AM, the Museum will host an orientation and training day for members. New members and those interested in volunteering are welcome to attend and learn more about the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum.
“There are opportunities for almost every interest in railroads and history here at the museum”, says Bartlett. There are also volunteers working in restoration programs of various railroad equipment and structures, including a Saddle Tank Steam locomotive and caboose. “We have had a number of volunteers who just wanted to learn about the railroad tracks and repairing them” adds Bartlett. Most of the museum’s rail infrastructure dates back to the twenties and thirties, and the museum has an extensive collection of historic rail road equipment which is still used to repair the track. This includes a hundred year old “pump car” which also rolls out on the weekends for visitor rides.
Last year, the Shelburne Falls Trolley museum was one of the few area attractions to report increased attendance, with visitors from around the United States. It is ideally positioned adjacent to the scenic town of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. In fact, the museum and town have important historical ties, since Trolley Number 10 is the original Trolley which ran across the Bridge of Flowers. The Bridge became a flower bridge after the trolley closed in the late twenties.
For more information about joining this exciting museum as a volunteer, log onto www.sftm.org or call the museum at 413-625-9443.
LINKS RECOMMENDED BY THE Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum:
- Dave’s Electric Railroads Historical trolley photos from Massachusetts and beyond.
- Amherst Railway Society Local Rail Enthusiasts organization with monthly talks, sponsor of the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show, and generous supporter of SFTM.
- Railway Preservation News
- NERAIL A northeast railfan list that deals with yankee train issues.
- NE Rail (New England Railroading email list) photos of Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. Use of the NERail photos must comply with their use policy.
- Trainriders Northeast Evangelist wing of the steel wheel travelers.
- National Trust for Historic Preservation Never saw anything old that they didn’t want to save.
- Alfred Barten’s Local Trolley and Rail History pages Conway (MA) Electric Street Railway history and more Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway details.
- Vermont Rail Systems – Parents of Vermont Railway, Green Mountain Railroad, Clarendon and Pittsford Railroad, Washington County Railroad, host to Amtrak’s Vermont services and donor of one of No. 10’s headlights along with other artifacts and assistance.
- Pan Am Railways Our rail neighbor’s page, used to be Guilford Rail Systems, Springfield Terminal, Boston & Maine Railroad, Fitchburg Railroad, Troy & Greenfield Railroad.
- Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts Railfan trips in the Northeast, and more.
- Fallen Flags and Other Railroad Photos Lots of pictures, manuals, and more.
- Railway Technology A links page to many of the real rail world sites.
- Walker Transportation Collection A treasure trove of New England Transportation historical material, located at Beverly Historical Society’s site for now.
- RailNutterNews A web based periodical of rail news, features museums and visits to other rail-based operations.
- Trains Magazine A nationwide monthly railroad news magazine. The February 2000 issue had a James Shaughnessy article on our Trolleyfest in 1999.
- FUNARO & CAMERLENGO Makes an HO model kit of our CV caboose.
- Berkshire Gas and Steam Engine Assoc.
- Gary Lapointe’s site of stations, freight houses etc. in Massachusetts, with pictures of many.
- Berkshire Hills Route trains of yesterday and today from B&M,B&A, NH, MEC, NYC, PC, D&H and much more.
- Berkshire Hills Route Forum
- Hoosac Tunnel site by Jerry Kelley. A great comprehensive site on the construction of this nearby railroad tunnel.
- Hoosac Tunnel site by Marc Howes. Another great comprehensive site on the history of this famouns tunnel.
- Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington RR A nearly seamless photo tour of the old Hoot Toot &Whistle as seen today.
- Keystone Arches The group that is working to preserve and display the huge stone arches built on the Boston and Albany RR.
- Chester Station All about the preserved Boston and Albany/ CSX Chester Station. Also learn about Chester on Track each May.
- TrainTraveling.com International passenger rail guide.
- Indian Valley Locomotive Works, Authentic publications, faithful reproductions sounds of the railroads, books and CD’s from the turn of the last century.
- South River Modelworks Since 1990, SRM has produced museum quality HO Scale Structure kits that everyone from the contest winning model builder to the motivated beginner can enjoy.
- The Appleton Trolley Museum, Appleton, WI. Ride restored Milwaukee streetcar #846 and CTA PCC #28.”
- Connecticut Trolley Museum Hidden in the Central Connecticut wooded countryside, a jewel of a trolley museum resides 14 miles south of Springfield MA and 14 miles north of Hartford CT
- The Charlotte Trolley Museum, Charlotte, NC
- The Steveston Interurban Restoration Society is restoring a 1912 St. Louis Car Co. car BCER 1220. It ran from 1913 to 1958 as part of the British Columbia Electric Railway.(Canada).
- Central Electric Railfans’Association A railfans’ group and our interest is in electric transport–from streetcars (light rail), to rapid transit, tomainline electrification. Includes an extensive listing of trolley museums.
- Visit MuseumLand, The WorldWide Portal to museums and cultural heritage.