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Blaine Howerton | North Forty News
The Fort Collins Trolley will, once again, ride the rails up and down historic Mountain Avenue between City Park and Old Town. After a winter of maintenance and track updates, the 1919 and 1922 restored Birney streetcars will be operating public rides on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays–May 6 through October 1–noon to 5 pm.
“I think the thing that resonated with me was it’s a living piece of Fort Collins history, and we have volunteers who have worked very closely with the city and with the community to rebuild this jewel in the center of Fort Collins and turned the trolley cars into essentially an operational museum. They’ve been historically restored; we have done some safety upgrades to the cars, but those are not visible, so essentially, what we’ve done is try to stay true to the historical perceptions of the trolly, even the uniforms we wear while operating the trolly are historically accurate so that to me is a pretty unique thing we have here in Fort Collins, said Trolley Board Member Asad Aziz.
Asad Aziz started volunteering roughly eleven years ago as a board member, where he rolled up his sleeves and helped repair and restore, specifically, car 25. Asad works for CSU, but as he explains, “I’m an engineer by training, and when I moved into academia, I kind of missed the engineering part of it, and so when I heard they needed more volunteers to help operate the trolley car and work on the systems it was kind of a marriage made in heaven because who else would let you play with trains?”
The trolley features convenient pickup and drop-off locations at City Park Depot (near the tennis courts), Mountain Avenue at Shields Street, Mountain Avenue at Loomis Street, and Howes Street. Passengers are instantly transported back to early twentieth-century urban life as they step into the steel and wood Birney Safety Car, complete with a brief historical presentation given by the conductor.
“Because now we are making it more of an experiential and historical experience, we have a motorman who operates the car and is responsible for all the safety systems and management of the car operations. The motorman is almost always accompanied by a conductor, and the conductor’s role is to talk to the passengers, help them, board, answer their questions, and also give a history talk,” Asad explained.
Once passengers are on board, they’re quickly greeted by the trolley’s signature “Clang, Clang” as it travels up to 15 MPH up and down the tree-lined boulevard. The Birney Cars are also available as charters for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, classroom field trips, and other private parties on any day of the week. Email email@example.com for rates and scheduling.
“I think that a lot of people who live in Fort Collins and have been here for many years still haven’t ridden the trolley, and I think they would really enjoy seeing a piece of Fort Collins history, so I would encourage people to come and experience the car, after all, it’s their town and actually, the assets belong to the city of Fort Collins, we just operate and maintain them,” Asad added.
The Fort Collins Municipal Railway operated streetcars in Fort Collins from 1919 until 1951. Since 1984,
a section of one of the former routes has operated as a seasonal heritage streetcar service in spring and summer.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society volunteers manage and maintain the entire trolley organization.
Two lovingly-restored streetcars are in use on the heritage line. The 1919 Car 21 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit FortCollinsTrolley.org for more information.
2023 National Holiday Schedule and Promotions:
- Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14 (moms ride free)
- Memorial Day, Monday, May 29;
- Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18 (dads ride free)
- Juneteenth, Monday, June 19.
- Independence Day(s), Monday, July 3, and Tuesday, July 4 (FREE rides for all on July 4 courtesy of Elevations Credit Union).
- Labor Day, Monday, September 4.
In addition, the Fort Collins Trolley will be on display for Token-free Tuesdays during the FoCo Food Truck Rally events taking place on Tuesdays in City Park from May 16th through September 19th. Attendees are encouraged to stop by the depot on the north end of City Park from 5-7 pm. Everyone is invited to take a FREE tour and short ride in the century-old streetcar.
Spark up a special occasion for family, colleagues, or a classroom with a private trolley charter. Both Birney cars are available as rentals for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and private parties on any day of the week.