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The National Capital Trolley Museum (NCTM) is a non-profit organization that operates historic trolleys for the public on a regular schedule. It is located at 1313 Bonifant Road,Colesville, Marylandmarker USAmarker.

History

NCTM was incorporated in 1959 as the National Capital Historical Museum of Transportation. Progress was slow at first, but the Museum eventually combined efforts and streetcar collections with a group from Baltimore. The organization found its first home in Robert E. Lee Park at Lake Roland in Baltimore, Marylandmarker. After efforts were thwarted by adjacent property owners, the group divided the collections in 1966. National Capital Trolley Museum moved to its present site in suburban Washington, DC, while the Baltimore Streetcar Museummarker was formed to focus on Baltimore transit. NCTM's original intention was to operate streetcars owned by DC Transit president O. Roy Chalk, but it was not until 1970 that Chalk donated several historic Washington streetcars. In the interim, the museum acquired a small fleet of European trams and a car from Johnstown, Pennsylvaniamarker.

NCTM ran its first streetcar in October 1969, and since then the museum has operated consistently over its 3/4-mile line.

A string of unfortunate events has pared down the museum's collection. In 1970, its unique air-conditioned PCC car 1512, the "Silver Sightseer," was damaged by arsonists and scrapped. In 1988, cars 1053 and 766 were severely damaged in a collision. The worst disaster to ever befall a North American trolley museum occurred at NCTM on September 28, 2003, when one of the museum's two carbarns burned down. Eight pieces of equipment, comprising about half of the museum's operating fleet and one-third of its total collection of streetcars, were destroyed. Washington cars lost included 0509, 1053, 07, and 026. Johnstown 352, Graz 120, and Vienna 6062 and 7802 were also destroyed. The cause of the fire was not definitely determined. Following the fire, the museum's remaining cars resumed operations.

In the winter of 2008-2009, the Museum moved into three new buildings: a visitors' center, a display building for the streetcars, and a streetcar storage-and-maintenance building. The move was forced by the construction of the Intercounty Connector, which will cross the Museum's current location. The Museum will reopen in November 2009.

Education efforts

The Museum offers a variety of education programs and activities throughout the year. Each spring and fall, the Museum hosts school field trips by advance reservation. On some Saturday afternoons, visitors can also enjoy a story and craft time. Special summer programs are offered on Thursday and Friday from June 15 to August 15. Age-appropriate activities include: story time and craft, story and hands-on experience with trolley artifacts, and a role-playing exercise for older children.

Membership and funding

As of 2008, 125 members and friends support the Museum with dues, donations and volunteer service. The Museum receives most of its money from admission fees and revenues from its gift shop. Other funding for a variety of projects is provided by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Heritage Tourism Alliance, the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, and the Maryland Historical Trust. The State of Maryland has provided capital funding support for the current relocation.

Collection

At one point or another, the NCTM has owned an example of nearly every type of Washington streetcar to be preserved. These include:
  • DC Transit 0522 and 0509, pre-1900 wooden streetcars
  • Capital Transit 766, a 1918 deck-roof standard car
  • Capital Transit 1053, the only complete preserved pre-PCC streamliner
  • DC Transit 1101, Washington's first PCC streetcar
  • Capital Transit 07 and 026, wooden snow sweepers
The NCTM collection has also included streetcars from Berlinmarker, Dusseldorfmarker, Grazmarker, The Haguemarker, Torontomarker, Viennamarker, New York Citymarker, and Johnstown, Pennsylvaniamarker.

References

External links




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