A Visit to the National Capitol Trolley Museum


This DC Transit streetcar dates from before World War II. Many of these older cars were still in service when they close down the streetcar lines in 1962

This DC Transit streetcar dates from before World War II and is one of the show pieces at the National Capitol Trolley Museum

I am a bit ashamed to say that I have lived in Montgomery County almost all of my life and never had visited the National Capitol Trolley Museum.  Even though the museum has been around for decades, and I have driven by its  entrance on Bonifant Road hundreds of times, I just never got around to it. This past Saturday I made up for lost time and took my brother with me for a long overdue visit.

Belgium built trolley at the National Capitol Trolley Museum

This trolley was built in Belgium during the first decade of the 20th century and is the oldest streetcar in the collection of the National Capitol Trolley Museum.

The National Capitol Trolley Museum is located at 1313 Bonifant Rd in Coleville, MD. The present location dates back to 1966 when they split off from the parent organization which is located in Baltimore In the winter of 2009 the National Capitol Trolley Museum moved into its new buildings which consists of a visitor’s center, a display building and a maintenance and storage facility. One of the prime reasons for the new buildings was that the new Inter county Connector required the museum to shift it location a bit. Some of you might remember that in 2003 the old museum suffered a catastrophic fire in which they lost over half of their existing collection of trolleys.  It has been a long road back but the museum has rebuilt it collection and now owns about 16 trolley cars from both the US and around the world. About half have been restored and are in operation.

Vintage trolley at the National Capitol Trolley Museum

The trolley operator on our ride is a 20 year volunteer veteran at the museum.

The National Capitol Trolley museum is open year round on weekends. There are some Thursday and Friday dates to accommodate schools and special groups. Check their website for times and dates. Our trip last Saturday worked out great as it was a warm spring day and we got there early  enough that there was no crowd. The museum features a one mile track and the admission fee allows you unlimited trolley rides for the day. Admission is only seven bucks for adults and five for seniors and juniors. On our visit there were two trolleys for us to ride on. They rotate the trolleys in service and most days feature at least two out on the tracks. We got to ride the both the newest trolley in their collection and the oldest.

National Capitol Trolley Museum Dutch streetcar

All aboard a Dutch streetcar dating back to the 1970’s. This is the museums newest streetcar.

The staff at the museum consists mostly of loyal volunteers. Our conductor and train operator for the day were both 20 year veterans at the museum and they along with our display docent were more than willing to chat and answer our many questions. As the day moved along the crowd got bigger but really never got to be a problem. It is nice to know that the museum does have a steady flow of visitors as most of the money to operate the museum comes  from admission fees. We found the trolley museum to be fun and interesting. It is a great place for kids as it is not too large and won’t bore them to death.

I am glad I finally made it to the National Capitol Trolley Museum.  It was well worth it. If you have  not visited or it is has been a while, then it is time for a visit.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.