News and Updates
Updates: The long-running study to extend the heritage
trolley system in Lowell has reached a major milestone with the
release of a study defining routes, phasing, estimated finances,
and benefits of the project. The project was sponsored by the
Lowell Plan business association and the Lowell National
Historical Park. Key participants include the City of Lowell, the
University of Massachusetts, real estate developer Trinity
Financial, the Seashore Trolley Museum, and the Northern Middlesex
Council of Governments. http://www.heritagetrolley.com/images/LowellStudy2011.pdf
Thanks to Jim Schantz for the news.
Updates: A study of the
feasibility of extending the Lowell National Historical Park’s
heritage trolley line should be published by the end of 2010. The
study builds on prior analyses of the costs and benefits
associated with converting the Park’s visitor transportation
system into a downtown circulator for the city. The effort is
being funded by the National Park Service and the Lowell Plan,
which is the key downtown business association. Upon completion of
the project the various governmental and private partners in the
project will decide whether to seek funding for construction of
The concept being explored is to extend the existing heritage line
to serve the busy MBTA commuter rail terminal on one end and to
connect to the University of Massachusetts’ North and South
Campuses at the other end. It would also serve the massive
Hamilton Canal District commercial and residential redevelopment
project being undertaken by the well-known transit oriented
developer Trinity Financial of Boston. Trinity strongly supports
the planned route of the trolley line through their project.
Replica streetcars, similar to the Gomaco cars currently running
in Lowell, would most likely serve the extended line.
One of the partners in the project, the New England Electric
Railway Historical Society, owner of the Seashore Trolley Museum
of Kennebunkport, Maine, anticipates an expanded museum presence
as part of the overall project. Featured will be historical
interpretation available on board restored museum cars.
to Jim Schantz for this news update.
Updates: A visit to the Lowell National Historic Park in
May 2006 provided an opportunity to see some of the proposed
expansion routes first hand, and to take the attached photos.
Seashore's new museum exhibit is very well done, and riding the
Museum's New Orleans streetcar is a great treat. Riding around
amongst the historic mill buildings and cityscape, it's easy to
understand the Museum's interest in continuing to partner with the
Park Service at Lowell. Trolley expansion plans remain on the
table, awaiting a favorable political climate and funding
Updates: The Seashore Trolley Museum's project to partner
with the Lowell State Historic Park on a satellite streetcar
museum has taken another major step forward. The new "National Streetcar Museum"
opened at Lowell in late June as a pilot project. It features an
extensive streetcar exhibit, and a New Orleans streetcar from the
Museum's collection running on the park's trolley system.
Additional information is available on the Museum's website.
Trolley Expansion Study Released. The potential expansion
of the Lowell trolley system is studied in great detail in this
new report. It contains a great deal of information and
provides interesting reading for anyone planning a vintage trolley
operation. The entire text of the study is available on the Lowell
page of the APTA Heritage Trolley website. Quoting from the
The proposed trolley system will use the existing Park Service line as a backbone for the system. New service will extend from
this line to establish loops to serve major sites in central Lowell including Park Service sites, Downtown Lowell, NCEDA, the JAM district, the Acre neighborhood, the Tsongas Arena, LeLacheur Park, and UMASS-Lowell. Service will be provided to areas that are currently popular with visitors as well as areas, such as the Lawrence Mills site, that are being redeveloped into mixed-use communities that will include residences, retail, and employment.
Trolley service is being designed to enhance and preserve the visitor service operated by the Park Service, while providing greater mobility and
accessibility to sites in and around central Lowell. Four major routes were identified, and options for these routes evaluated, using the Objectives and Route Selection Criteria. This process also identified potential future routes. This plan goes beyond simply identifying potential routes by identifying how these routes coordinate with existing transit service, and
identifying stop locations that would best serve riders.
addition to the trolley expansion study, Jim Schantz has posted
some excellent pictures
of a recent ADA retrofit to one of the replica trolleys in service
at Lowell. It provides a means to board wheelchairs onto a
drop-platform trolley without any substantial modifications to the
trolley. Our compliments to the folks at Lowell for their
innovative idea and thanks to Jim for posting the pictures.
Trolley Expansion Study and Other Updates: The expansion
study was formally kicked off in late August, and is expected to
run about 9 months. The study is being conducted by the Volpe
Center at the state DOT in Cambridge. There is some coverage of
the study, as well as related projects at Lowell involving the
Volpe Center, on the Center's web
site. In other Lowell news, the NPS has obtained $857,000 in
funding to purchase from Guilford Transportation Industries the
track that the trolley system runs on. This will permit greater
flexibility in managing the trolley operation and hopefully
facilitate the expansion plans. Sources- Internet releases, and
4/3/01 Trolley Expansion
Study- A $169,000 funding request for a Trolley Expansion
Feasibility Study at LNHP has been approved by the National Park Service
and the US Department of Transportation. Work was scheduled to begin in
March, 2001, and should be finished by years' end. Planning with the
Seashore Trolley Museum for a satellite museum operation is also moving
ahead. Sources: Rail Transit On-Line, and Jim Schantz.
Trolley Expansion Study
page on the APTA Heritage Trolley site
Lowell Trolleys web page
15-Bench Open Car for Lowell Mass.
Semi-Convertible Trolley for Lowell Mass.
page was last updated on 11/23/11