California Trolley and Railroad Corporation

Coordinates: 37°19′10″N 121°51′26″W / 37.319518°N 121.857274°W / 37.319518; -121.857274
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
California Trolley and Railroad Corporation
FoundedJuly 8, 1982 (1982-07-08)[1]
FounderRod Diridon, Sr.[1]
TypePublic-benefit corporation
94-2834764 (CA 501(c)(3))[1]
Registration no.C1152615
FocusRailroad museum, Historic preservation
  • 635 Phelan Avenue
    San Jose, California 95112[2]
Coordinates37°19′10″N 121°51′26″W / 37.319518°N 121.857274°W / 37.319518; -121.857274
Originsmerger of Santa Clara Valley Railroad Association and the San Jose Trolley Corporation[1]
Area served
South Bay

Established in 1982, the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to preserve rail transportation in the Santa Clara Valley.[1]



California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC) was founded in 1982, after Santa Clara County Supervisor Rod Diridon Sr. attended the American Public Transit Association conference in Seattle and saw the operation of the city's historic Waterfront Streetcar. At the time, the county was planning its Guadalupe Corridor light rail line (now part of the VTA light rail system), and Diridon thought having historic rolling stock would create enthusiasm in the community for the line.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (operator of the San Jose light rail system prior to the establishment of VTA) purchased three vintage streetcars and much of the restoration work took place at the History Park at Kelley Park.

"Historic Trolley" service in downtown San Jose began on November 18, 1988, and operated seven days a week (but not during rush hours or evenings).[3] Cars 73 and 124 (see table below) were available for use on this service during its early years, along with 129, which was similar to 124. Weekday service was discontinued in fall 1992, and in 1994 the schedule was cut from year-round service to summer months only, generally from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.[4]

In 2004, the Historic Trolley service operated only during the Christmas and holiday season, and this pattern continued through 2008, and running Saturdays-only after 2004. Service was suspended entirely in 2009–2011 before resuming holiday-season-only service in 2012. In 2019, vintage trolley service known as the Holly Trolley was provided on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from December 6 to December 22, subject to cancellation during inclement weather[5] (planned service on November 29–December 1 was cancelled because of rain).[6] The Holly Trolley did not operate during December 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ex-Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board car 531 entered service in January 1990[3] and ex-Milan car 2001 in October 1992.[7] Car 129 was sold to Sacramento Regional Transit in 1999.

The museum has its own operational trolley line, with rides given for free every weekend.[8] In August 2009 the Corporation opened the Happy Hollow line extension allowing trolley service to the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Happy Hollow Zoo in Kelley Park.[9]

Proposed museum[edit]

In 1992, the CTRC received approval from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to build the San Jose Steam Railroad Museum at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. The museum would be contained inside the former six-stall Lenzen Roundhouse and turntable which was built in 1899, damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and donated to the museum by Southern Pacific in 1994.[10] Two locomotives were to be featured at the museum: Southern Pacific 2479, which was donated to the county in 1958 and was be restored for operation[11][12] and Southern Pacific 1215 which was to be restored for static display.[13]

In 2002, the Board of Supervisors rescinded their support for the museum at the fairgrounds. The CTRC would spend the next two decades attempting to find and purchase a suitable site for the proposed museum, including attempting to gather funds to buy land near the trolley barn at History Park. Southern Pacific 1215 was placed on display in History Park, but the larger museum never materialized.

On July 4, 2021, the CTRC reached an agreement to move the Lenzen Roundhouse, turntable, and Southern Pacific 2479 to the Niles Canyon Railway in nearby Alameda County.[14]


Type Car numbers Manufacturer Built Image Notes Ref.
Streetcar 1 Sacramento Electric 1905 Used in Sacramento (1903–06) and Santa Cruz (1906–23). Discovered as derelict in Santa Cruz in 1985. Seats 36. 39 ft × 12.4 ft × 8.25 ft (11.89 m × 3.78 m × 2.51 m) (L×H×W) and 38,000 lb (17,000 kg). [15][16]
73 Jewett Car Company 1912 Built in Newark, Ohio, and was owned and operated by San Jose Railroads. Used as a house in 1934 along with Car 124. Seats 36 with 20 standing. 43.5 ft × 11.25 ft × 8.5 ft (13.26 m × 3.43 m × 2.59 m) (L×H×W) and 38,000 lb (17,000 kg). [15][17]
124 American Car Company 1912? Built in St Louis, Missouri, and was owned and operated by San Jose Railroads. Used as a house in 1934 along with Car 73. [15]
143 St Louis Car Company 1922 Built in St Louis, Missouri, and was operated in Fresno. Is a type of streetcar known as a Birney car. [15]
168 J. G. Brill Company 1934 Built in Portugal and operated in Porto; moved to San Jose in the early 1980s. [15]
531 Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board 1928 Retired by the Melbourne tram (streetcar) system in the 1980s and purchased in 1986 for $30,000. Seats 48 with 40 standing. 48 ft × 10.5 ft × 9 ft (14.6 m × 3.2 m × 2.7 m) (L×H×W) and 38,000 lb (17,000 kg). Is a Melbourne W2-class car. [15][18]
2001 Officine Meccaniche Lodigiane [it] 1928 Originally from Milan, Italy and donated in the mid-1980s. Enter service October 1992, after conversion to double-ended (bi-directional) configuration and addition of a pantograph.[7] Seats 40 with 44 standing. 44.3 ft × 10.6 ft × 7.75 ft (13.50 m × 3.23 m × 2.36 m) (L×H×W) and 40,000 lb (18,000 kg). [15][19]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Contact and Corporate Information". Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  2. ^ "California Trolley and Railroad Corporation". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  3. ^ a b Warner, David C. (April 1991). "San Jose: Guadalupe Corridor Line Completed". Passenger Train Journal. pp. 32–38. ISSN 0160-6913.
  4. ^ "World News [regular news section]". Light Rail and Modern Tramway. UK: Ian Allan Publishing. September 1994. p. 248. ISSN 0964-9255.
  5. ^ Nystedt, Brendan (November 22, 2019). "VTA Historic Holiday Trolley Rides Again!". VTA. Archived from the original on May 14, 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  6. ^ "Wet Weather Postpones Downtown San Jose Holiday Trolley". KNTV. November 29, 2019. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  7. ^ a b "World News [regular news section]". Light Rail and Modern Tramway. UK: Ian Allan Publishing. February 1993. p. 53. ISSN 0964-9255.
  8. ^ "Historic Trolleys". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  9. ^ Smatlak, John. "California Streetcar Systems by John Smatlak". Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  10. ^ "Museum". Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  11. ^ "The 2479". Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  12. ^ "2479 Restoration". Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  13. ^ "1215 Restoration". Retrieved 2012-11-20.
  14. ^ "Historic Locomotive and Railroad Roundhouse to Move from Santa Clara County to Niles Canyon Railway". California Trolley and Railroad Corporation. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "The Collection". California Trolley & Railroad Corporation (CTRC). Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "Historic Trolley Car #1: Collishaw Trolley". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  17. ^ "Historic Trolley Car #73: Heritage Cablevision Trolley". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  18. ^ "Historic Trolley Car #531: Hugh Stuart Center Charitable Trust Trolley". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  19. ^ "Historic Trolley Car #2001: Metro Trust Fund Committee Trolley". Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 3, 2019.

External links[edit]