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Historic Trolley Car #2001:Metro Trust Fund Committee Trolley

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 2001 History

Car 2001 was built in 1928 by Officine Mechaniche Lodigiane in Lodi, Italy and was part of a group of trolley cars numbered 1993-2002. The streetcar ran on the Milan tramway system until the mid-1980s.

Car 2001 was donated to the San Jose Trolley Corporation by the Italian government. It was shipped to the United States in the mid 1980s to the Trolley Corporation. At the same time, the Trolley Corporation purchased a second trolley car from Milan, Italy to use for extra parts. Car 2001 was the sixth car to be restored by the San Jose Trolley Corporation. The restoration project was sponsored by the Metro A Trust Fund Committee, who contributed $150,000 to the project.

Passenger Capacity

Seated 40; Standing 44; Total 84

Dimensions

44 feet 4 inches long, 10 feet 7 inches high, 7 feet 9 inches wide, Weight: 40,000 pounds

Restoration Cost

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

Description

Restoration of the car's roof and interior doors was completed by volunteer workers. Money donated was used to pay for new wheels, traction motor repairs, hardware, lumber, glass, shades and many other interior details. VTA supplied the steel and other materials for reconstructing the car body as well as all welding and supervision involved in the restoration process.

Built in the famous Peter Witt design (a popular trolley design often seen in Cleveland and Philadelphia following World War II), Car 2001 features a steel frame, wood interior and red carpeting. Initially built with three doors on the right side, the car has been modified to include doors on either side. The restoration process also included the rebuilding of the trolleyís underframe. The car was repainted in its original two-tone green color scheme.

Operation

Car 2001 is driven by four 27 horsepower motors, one on each axle, which are powered by 750 volt direct current from overhead electrical lines. It is the only car in the fleet of historic trolleys equipped with a pantograph (the apparatus located on the trolleyís roof that carries the electric current from the overhead wires). This allows the trolley to operate outside of the Downtown Center Plaza and be available for private charters to destinations to the north or south of the Plaza area. The other historic trolleys receive their power through a trolley pole similar to the streetcars in San Francisco.

Originally built for single-direction operation, the car has been upgraded and can be controlled from either end of the trolley. Car 2001 is operated by two different levers, one to control the electrical flow that moves the car, and one to apply air brakes that slow or stop it.