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Seashore Trolley Museum Facts

In 1939 the first trolley car was purchased for what would become the collection of the Seashore Trolley Museum. The car was bought from the Biddeford & Saco Railroad for $150 upon the enterprise's closing. It was brought to the land where the current Museum is now to be restored.

The following year Manchester, N.H., stopped their own railway trolley service and a second car was bought from them, saving it from probable destruction. These two cars formed the beginning of what would become the Seashore Trolley Museum's collection.

The mission of the Museum is to present a living history of public transportation relevant to North American life through community-related educational programs.

The Museum shall collect, restore, preserve, exhibit and demonstrate the operation of significant transit vehicles with emphasis upon traditional streetcar and interurban service, including rapid transit, trackless trolley and bus service with select world wide comparative representation.

The Museum shall provide a repository for artifacts and information of an educational and historic nature relating to the origin and development of the transit industry and its contribution to modern society.

We have more than 250 transit vehicles from all over the world in our collection, and have picked a sampling that best represents what we have preserved and have displayed them in three carbarns. Visitors can see the vehicles and can climb aboard, touch, and admire the craftsmanship.

The National Collection of Streetcars captures a vehicle from almost every major U.S. city that had streetcar service. From the northern woods of Maine to the pristine coast of California, the city streets of Detroit to Dallas, the collection has a little of everything. Within the National Collection is the largest collection of vehicles from any one city - Boston. Supplementing the National Collection is our International Collection with streetcars from every corner of the globe.

Around the Museum grounds are examples of mass transit both found on rails and on the roads. Included are New York City subway cars and cars from the former Boston elevated railway. Our growing collection of buses and trackless trolleys capture the progress of mass transit since the end of streetcar service in cities.

The Seashore Trolley Museum commands a 330 acre campus. Many car houses and carbarns are included among the Museum's buildings. There is also the Town House restoration building, in which the majority of the cars and buses are repaired and restored. The library and archives of the New England Electric Railway Historical Society are also on the grounds of the Museum, though they are not usually opened to the public. The Visitor Center houses the Museum Store and additional exhibit space.