Jonson Kuhn | North Forty News
I hear the train a-comin’, it’s rollin’ round the bend and I ain’t seen the sunshine since…well, this is Colorado, so we see the sunshine practically every day! And in Fort Collins, we’re not just lucky enough to see the sunshine but we’re also lucky enough to see the historic Fort Collins Trolley! That’s right, folks, it’s that time once again to ride the rails up and down Mountain Ave between City Park and Old Town. The restored streetcars of 1919 and 1922 will be operating from noon to 5 pm on weekends and holidays, starting back on April 30 and running through September 25. No reservations are required, though it does cost a little bit of money, it’s only $2 for adults, $1 for seniors, and $1 for the kiddos ages 3-12.
“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 serves as the Trolley Board’s Vice President but started volunteering roughly ten years ago as a board member where he literally rolled up his sleeves and actually helped repair and restore specifically car 25. Asad’s official job is working for CSU as a Clinical Professor of Management, 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 Mountain Avenue at 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 of 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 at speeds 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 Trolley is operated by the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society, an all-volunteer organization, relying on donations to keep history on track. If you would like to donate or get involved, you’re asked to visit the website at FortCollinsTrolley.org. You can also follow the trolley on social media at Facebook & Instagram @FortCollinsTrolley or Twitter @FoCoTrolley.