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Historic Trolley Car #1:Collishaw Trolley

 Trolley #1

Trolleys in Santa Clara County

Electric trolleys were pioneers of modern-day public transportation. When $750 would buy a house, and a newspaper cost only five cents, trolleys were state-of-the-art transit. From the late 1880s to the late 1930s, electric trolleys operated in San Jose, Santa Clara and throughout the County--on nearly 130 miles of trackway at the peak of the era. The birth of bus and automobile travel brought an end to local trolley service, but the trolleys were not forgotten.

Since 1982, the nonprofit San Jose Trolley Corporation and its hundreds of volunteer workers restored six historic trolleys. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) maintains these trolleys.

Car 1 History

Car 1 was built by the Sacramento Electric, Gas & Railway Company and ran in Sacramento from 1903-1906, and in Santa Cruz from 1906-1923. It is an exact replica of a trolley that operated in Santa Clara along The Alameda from 1905 to 1930. In 1985, the trolley was found in Santa Cruz, worn out by usage, weather, termites and various tenants throughout the years. The trolley was donated to the San Jose Trolley Corporation and was the fifth of six trolleys to be restored by them. The restoration project was sponsored by Ray and Lyn Collishaw, who contributed $150,000 to the project.

Passenger Capacity

Seated 36


39 feet long, 12 feet 5 inches high, 8 feet 3 inches wide, Weight: 19 tons

Restoration Cost

$500,000 (estimated) in donations and volunteer work hours.


Called a “California”-style car because of its open ends and closed center sections, Car 1 features a solid ash interior and a unique convertible mid-section. Featuring removable sides and windows, the trolley's center area can be easily outfitted for summer operation. The car has been fully restored and repainted in its original yellow and green color scheme.


Car 1 is driven by four 27 horsepower motors, one on each axle, and powered by overhead electrical lines. It is operated by two control levers, one to start the electrical flow that moves the car, and one to activate air brakes that stop it.