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Home>Getting Around>Historic Trolley Car #73:Herritage Cablevision Trolley

Historic Trolley Car #73:Herritage Cablevision 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 73 History

Car 73 was manufactured by the Jewett Car Company in Newark, Ohio, in 1912 and purchased by the San Jose Railroad for about $5,700. It ran in San Jose on the Santa Clara and First Street Lines from 1912 to 1927, when it was sold to Peninsular Railways. Car 73 was later returned to San Jose, where it operated until its body was sold for use as a house on Old Almaden Road in 1934. Car 73 was the third of six cars to be restored by the San Jose Trolley Corporation. The restoration was sponsored by Heritage Cablevision, which contributed $150,000 to the project.

Passenger Capacity

Seated 36; Standing 20; Total 56


43 feet 6 inches long, 11 feet 3 inches high, 8 feet 6 inches wide, Weight: 38,000 pounds

Restoration Cost

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


Called a “California”-style car because of its open-air design, Car 73 is windowless on both ends, offering warm-weather seating on wooden benches. The center section is sheltered, with its rattan-covered seating area enclosed by glass windows and doors.


Car 73 is driven by four 35 horsepower motors, one on each axle, and powered by overhead electrical lines. It is operated by two control levers, one to start the electrical energy that moves the car, and one to activate air brakes that stop it.