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Bringing San Jose's trolleys back to life. You can watch, even help.

Bringing San Jose's trolleys back to life. You can watch, even help

In a lofty new trolley barn at the San Jose Historical Museum, a grand restoration project is underway. The goal is to get six electric trolleys back on track in downtown San Jose. You can see restoration in action and, if you're a handy woodworker, painter, glazier, or electrician, you're welcome to help.

For many years, two of the three trolleys now being restored were used as homes; when acquired in 1981, they were dilapidated but not beyond repair. A master trolley restorer began work in March.

Revealing the original interior woodwork in volved stripping up to 10 coats of paint. Moldings and paneling will be replaced, seats recast and rattan seat covers woven, and car exteriors repainted yellow or red.

Target date for completion is mid-1986. Eventually the trolleys will run along a 1-mile loop on the tracks of San Jose's Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) mass transit system, scheduled to begin operation in 1988.

You can visit the trolley barn during museum hours: 10 to 4:30 Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 4:30 weekends. You'll see restoration work underway Wednesdays through Sundays. The museum complex also includes old relocated structures and reconstructions of historic buildings. Admission is $1 for adults, 50 cents for ages 2 to 18.

San Jose Historical Museum is in Kelley Park, 635 Phelan Avenue. For volunteer information, call (408) 293-2276; for tour details, call 287-2290.

Photo: Wooden interior of "California' trolley car #124 is being restored by volunteers (above) to look the way it did around 1918 (right)
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Date:Dec 1, 1984
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