Friday, December 05, 2008

Historic trolley

This holiday season, VTA will operate historic trolley service every Saturday from 2:30pm to 10:00pm. The trolley will run every hour between San Jose Diridon Station and Civic Center Station. Any ticket or pass valid on the light rail is also valid on the historic trolleys.

Operating historic trolleys on the light rail system has always been a part of plan when light rail was conceived in the 1980s. For many years when VTA had more operating funds, VTA ran historic trolleys daily during the summer and the holiday season between Civic Center and downtown. VTA also operated a variety of trolleys, including those that once ran in San Jose before the last original trolley system was torn down in the 1930s.

Today, VTA only runs car #2001, which once ran in Milan, Italy. Originally the Milan cars were all single-ended. The San Jose Trolley Corporation had to obtain a second Milan car for parts to convert car #2001 into a double-ended car.

In addition, the other feature of car #2001 is a modern pantograph. Original Milan cars, like most other historic trolleys, were built with trolley poles. The Milan system eventually converted them to run with pantographs. While the VTA light rail system was built to accommodate trolley poles in downtown San Jose, the overhead catenary elsewhere in the system can only handle pantographs. Car #2001 can therefore operate anywhere in the light rail system, even though it cannot operate as fast as the modern light rail cars.


accountablevta said...

A reader point this out:

These cars use modern pantographs in Milan:

Probably in the past they've used diamond pans and/or poles, though.

I wish VTA would run some of their own historic cars, though, like the ex-Santa Cruz car.

I hear there's an issue of the steps no clearing platforms though.

-- -- Adventures & Opinions in Transit -- Trolleys in N Scale

accountablevta said...

Thanks for the comment. The post has been slightly updated for that. The Milan system indeed used trolley poles first but was converted to pantograph operation. I guess that San Jose got it with a pantograph and decided to keep it that way.