Immerse yourself in the rich history of transportation at Maine’s Seashore Trolley Museum, the oldest and largest electric railway museum in the world. Located in Kennebunkport, this unique museum offers a fascinating journey through time, showcasing the evolution of public transportation from the late 19th century to the present day. With a collection of over 250 transit vehicles, most of them trolleys, from all over the United States, Canada, and many other countries, the museum provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore the past, understand the present, and envision the future of transportation.

A Brief History of the Seashore Trolley Museum

Founded in 1939 by a group of rail enthusiasts, the Seashore Trolley Museum was initially established to preserve a single trolley car, No. 31 from the Biddeford & Saco Railroad. Over the years, the museum has grown exponentially, both in size and scope, and now spans over 330 acres. It is operated by the New England Electric Railway Historical Society and is dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of electric railway history.

The Collection

The museum’s collection is truly impressive, featuring vehicles of all types, including streetcars, rapid transit cars, electric locomotives, and a variety of other electric powered vehicles. Each vehicle has its own unique story, providing a glimpse into different eras and aspects of public transportation.

  • The oldest vehicle in the collection is the New Orleans streetcar No. 31, built in 1863.

  • The museum also houses the only surviving car from the first commercially successful electric street railway, the City & Suburban Railway of Portland, Maine.

  • Visitors can also see a variety of buses and trackless trolleys, showcasing the evolution of rubber-tired transit.

Exhibits and Activities

The Seashore Trolley Museum offers a variety of exhibits and activities that cater to all ages. The main exhibit hall, the Visitor Center, houses a variety of trolleys and offers interactive exhibits that explain the science and history behind them.

  • The Restoration Shop is a must-see, where visitors can witness firsthand the meticulous work that goes into restoring these historic vehicles.

  • The museum also offers trolley rides on a portion of the original Atlantic Shore Line Railway, providing a unique and authentic trolley experience.

  • For younger visitors, the museum offers a variety of educational programs and activities, including a popular summer camp.

Preservation and Restoration

One of the key missions of the Seashore Trolley Museum is the preservation and restoration of its historic vehicles. The museum’s dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly to restore and maintain the vehicles in the collection, ensuring they can be enjoyed by future generations. The museum also plays a vital role in preserving the skills and techniques required for this specialized work.

Visiting the Seashore Trolley Museum

The Seashore Trolley Museum is open to the public from May through October, with special events and activities throughout the season. Whether you’re a transportation enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique and educational day out, the Seashore Trolley Museum offers a fascinating and enjoyable experience.

In conclusion, the Seashore Trolley Museum is more than just a museum; it’s a journey through the history of public transportation. It’s a place where the past comes alive, where you can step aboard a vintage trolley and experience a bygone era. So why wait? Plan your visit today and discover the rich history of transportation at Maine’s Seashore Trolley Museum.

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