On November 8, 2014, the Shore Line Trolley Museum held its annual membership meeting which included a morning ceremony to mark the first trolley car run into one of the new Elevating the Collection buildings. After much track work stretching from March through October this year, the first track was completed only days before the ceremony date.
Connecticut Company 775, built in 1904 specifically for service on the New Haven suburban lines such as the F Line to Branford, was chosen to be the first car. With around 100 museum members and friends gathered, the car was carefully piloted through the trackway door of new 82 track and into the building. A few minutes later, the car was operated back out of the building into the morning sunlight. Guests in attendance were invited to ride the car or take photographs from the ground.
With trolley wire not yet strung overhead, how did the car operate into the building? This is accomplished using a device called a “stinger,” essentially a long extension cord which hooks on to live trolley wire on one end, and the trolley pole of the car on the other end. The stinger was handled by several trained museum volunteers for safety.
This is a symbolic milestone for the project, but marks a very real turning point – we can now begin to store trolley equipment in the new building, and as more tracks are connected and finished, a larger share of the museum collection will be stored out of the flood plain. Within 48 hours of the ceremony, the first “storage” car, Connecticut Company 500, was pushed up the hill and to the back of the building. Other cars should make the journey to their winter home in the next few weeks.
But we’re not done! While this milestone has now been reached, we still have much track construction and all overhead wire to acquire and install. Consider a donation to help us out. You can do it quickly and securely online at http://www.bera.org/donate.html. Be sure to check the box for Elevating the Collection!