Trolley museum claims regional award, hopes to finish rehab of historic railway car

With the 2012 H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award in their trophy case, Seashore Trolley Museum leaders are plotting to use the $10,000 in associated prize money to complete the restoration of the Bay State Street Railway car 4175 (pictured above).

The award is given out annually by Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc., and the Kennebunkport-based trolley museum claimed this year’s honor on Jan. 28 at an event in West Springfield, Mass., according to a museum announcement Friday.

Work to restore old car 4175 began in 1985, and with the new injection of capital, should be done in time for the museum’s 75th anniversary in 2014, organization leaders stated. The group is still seeking donations to help out, though.

Here’s background on car 4175, as provided by the museum:

The Laconia Car Company of Laconia, NH, built car 4175 in 1914. It was part of the 4100 series of cars built for the Bay State Street Railway. The car was state-of-the-art for its day, built for the largest street railway system in the world at the time, and the only Bay State car in existence today. Laconia was a boutique car builder and car 4175 is a prime example of that builder’s art with an interior of hand-rubbed cherry woodwork and polished bronze hardware. So strong was the car’s external construction that its riveted steel body has not needed any re-work, the joints are still tight after almost a century.

Car 4175 has had many lives in its 98 year history, some of which include: originally running in Revere, Mass., on the Boston-Beachmont line. In 1917, it was transferred to Newport, RI to run on the Newport division of the Bay State system and was subsequently sold to the Newport County Electric Company. In 1926, it was sold to the Coast Cities Railway in Asbury Park, NJ where it ran until 1929. After it was removed from service that year, it evolved into a summer cottage in Egg Harbor, NJ where it remained until the Seashore Trolley Museum acquired it in 1976.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.