Trolleys through the woods in Maine

As you probably will recall, Brad and myself had been on vacation in Maine a few weeks ago. Two blog entries previously I recounted our visit to the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway, a narrow gauge steam heritage railway. 

On another day we, quite accidentally, happened upon the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. I am not really all that much of a trolley or street car fan, but it is steel wheels on steel rail, so I can be persuaded to at least take a look. However it was absolutely raining cats and dogs, so I wasn't really all that keen on getting out of the vehicle to get myself soaking wet looking at old electric conveyances. But leave it to Brad to bring out the old " we came all the way from DC, we are here, let's do it" argument. I am glad he did!

The Seashore Trolley Museum was conceived off in 1939 quite by accident. Now in 2013, it claims to have the largest collection of electric transit vehicles in the world. Personally, I would not bet any of my hard earned cash on that fact, but the collection is indeed huge. The museum claims to have over 250 pieces in various states of repair on the premises. Mostly trolleys, interurbans, trolley buses and buses.  

The museum also offers rides on their working street cars on a roughly two mile track section inherited from the long defunct Atlantic Shore Line Interurban railroad. There are a number of car barns and repair shops which the museum encourages one to have a look at. To write about the history and collection of the museum would be beyond the scope of this blog. I would encourage readers to go to the museum website for an exhaustive history write up and explanation of the collected vehicles. 

Here are a few photographs of the museum:

The "station" and museum shop with a Wheeling Traction Company unit

The Wheeling Traction Company trolleyThe owners plate

Wheeling Traction Company trolley front

A ticket to ride.The signal tower with a working "antique" shuttle busThe Wheeling Traction Company trolleyCity of Manchester (NH) Director's Car 


Brooklyn (NY) Rapid Transit "Convertible" Trolley


Front of a Chicago, Elgin and Aurora Interurban


A DC Transit PCC car

Detail of DC Transit Trolley. I wonder how much 20 cents is in today's money.

On the left of the picture is a bus from the early years of the newly formed DC Metro system

The museum advertises on their web site with this photo of vehicles from Washington, DC (Photo by Seashore Trolley Museum)The museum also has a two vehicle set of, what was then euphemistically called, "State of the Art Experimental Rapid Transit Cars". The brain child of the US Department of Transportation, these hail from 1972 and it was hoped that by trying to develop a modern transit vehicle the demise of public transportation could be stopped. Even though the test vehicles themselves were successful and well received, for a variety of reasons the basic concept did not succeed and the project was abondoned.

The units at the Seashore Trolley Museum are in fairly bad shape and not capable of running.

US DOT "State of the Art Rapid Transit Vehicle"

If one is ever up in that neck of the woods, the museum is definitely worth a visit. Rain or shine!


All photos by Bradford Wing and Ralf Meier, unless otherwise indicated.