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Trolley restoration project

Danielle Ryan

(2/24) The Thurmont trolley car that was once utilized in Thurmont’s history, and currently resides on East Main Street as part of the Thurmont Trolley Trail, is in need of some restoration. Mayor Kinnaird noted the necessity to repaint the trolley car, and hoped the town would account for that project in this year’s budget.

However, Kinnaird also mentioned his desire to re-visit the original concept for the trolley car, which was to make it into a small museum displaying the trolley’s history with the town.

The Thurmont Trolley began life in 1886 when the Monocacy Valley Railroad Company built a steam train line to haul iron from Catoctin Furnace to Thurmont and the Western Maryland Railroad. Two years later, the Northern Railroad Company extended the line to Frederick. In 1908, the lines became electric. Finally in 1913, the Northern Railway Company connected to the Washington County railroad lines and the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Company was formed. From 1908 to 1954, Thurmont was the "end of the line" for the trolley system that traveled from Frederick to Thurmont.

During its prime, the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway carried 3.8 million people per year. The trolley that currently resides in Thurmont began its life in 1922, when it was built. Considering that the trolley has history with Thurmont, Kinnaird would really like to see it showcased and display the history in a special way.

If the plan comes into fruition, the museum will display artifacts, photos, and a diorama or scale model to show visitors how Hagerstown and Frederick interacted with Western Maryland. Kinnaird noted that he already has several artifacts waiting to be displayed such as one of the trolley’s control systems, tokens, tickets, and photographs, but would like to see people donate more pieces from this time in history. He would even like to possibly see a video that could be played on loop showing clips of the train back in the day.

This trolley car museum would be a great educational opportunity for visitors, residents and especially the younger generation who are unaware of this piece in Thurmont’s history. The museum could even be opened during special events happening in the town.

Kinnaird would like to begin working on this project this year, and begin gathering ideas. Commissioners favored the idea but want to see the trolley car restored it to its glory, not rush the restoration. It was suggested that the trolley be repainted first, and then move to the inside to begin with the museum.

Kinnaird will work to get some plans together and will ask the Economic Development Manager, Vickie Grinder to begin looking into possible grants for the restoration.

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