Friday, February 24, 2012

Seashore Trolley Museum Wins 2012 Preservation Award


The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, recently announced the receipt of the 2012 H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award given by the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc. The grant, in the amount of $10,000, will pay for key components needed to complete the restoration of former Bay State Street Railway car 4175, a valued part of the museum’s operating collection of historic electric railway equipment. The award was presented to the Museum on January 28 during the “Railroad Hobby Show” in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

James D. Schantz, Seashore’s Chairman of the Board, received the award.

“We are truly honored and pleased to receive this generous grant which will greatly move forward our restoration work on Car 4175. We hope to have the work completed in time for Seashore’s 75th Anniversary which will take place in 2014.”

The Laconia Car Company of Laconia, New Hampshire, 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-or-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 car 4175’s 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, including originally running in Revere, Massachusetts, on the Boston-Beachmont line. In 1917, it was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, 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, New Jersey, where it ran until 1929. After it was removed from service in 1929, it evolved into a summer cottage in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, where it remained until the Seashore Trolley Museum acquired it in 1976. Restoration began in 1985 and will hopefully be completed and fully restored to its original grandeur to celebrate it’s 100th birthday by 2014.