San Jose Trolley Historical Restoration Project
The California Trolley and Railroad Corporation, a historical restoration project, is a private, non-profit organization with a Board of Directors composed of local business and community leaders. With Rod Diridon as president, the corporation was founded in 1982 to fund and direct the restoration of six vintage streetcars. The restoration effort was made possible through donations from the community and the hard work of volunteers.
The Restoration Process
The trolley restoration process is complex and requires extensive knowledge of all the systems related to trolleys - electrical, mechanical and structural. Each car took over one year of full-time volunteer work to be completely restored. Old parts were saved when possible, and new parts were designed and built when necessary. Special attention was paid to the historic characteristics of cars which have undergone many changes during their lifetimes. When fully restored, the cars are better than new, with hand-polished wood interiors and fresh coats of brightly colored paint.
Talented volunteers are vital to the restoration process. After 100 hours of work, volunteers qualify for a unique t-shirt bearing the Trolley Corporation logo. Potential volunteers can join the trolley family by calling
(408) 293-BARN on weekdays, before noon.
The Trolley Barn
The spacious 6,000-square-foot shelter, designed by Pierre Prodis, A.I.A. of San Jose, was specially built to house the trolleys during restoration. A heated carpenter shop is located adjacent to the Barn where woodworking projects are done. The Barn replicates similar buildings of the 19th century trolley era, and was designed to reflect the same period of time as other buildings on the San Jose Historical Museum grounds. Trolley restoration projects continue at the Trolley Barn. The Trolley Barn has become a permanent part of the museum. The Trolley Barn is located at the San Jose Historical Museum in Kelley Park, at 1650 Senter Road, San Jose. To obtain GPS coordinates, use the address 635 Phelan Avenue.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) maintains six restored trolleys. Volunteers at the Trolley Barn restored seven vintage cars. Additional information on four of them is available below:
Car 1 was used in Sacramento from 1903 to 1906, and then ran in Santa Cruz from 1905 to 1930.
Car 73 was built in Newark, Ohio and, for a time, was owned and operated by the San Jose Railroad.
Car 2001 is from Milan, Italy.
Car 531 is from Melbourne, Australia.
To make tax-deductible donations toward the restoration of historic trolleys, contact the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) at
Donations may also be mailed to:
San Jose Trolley Corporation
San Jose Historical Museum, Kelley Park
1600 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112
Trolley Barn Information:
Volunteers (408) 293-BARN
Fundraising (408) 293-2276
Museum (408) 287-2290
Trolley Barn Hours:
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Trolley rides are available on Saturday and Sundays. There is no charge to ride the trolley, although other museum and parking fees may apply.