Seashore Trolley Museum – Kennebunkport, Maine - Atlas Obscura

Seashore Trolley Museum

Kennebunkport, Maine

The world's oldest and largest museum of mass transit vehicles. 


Here you can see and board trains of different eras from around the U.S.A. and many other countries.

Founded in 1939, the Seashore Trolley Museum is the largest electric railway museum in the world. It was conceived when a group of rail enthusiasts, led by Theodore Santatrelli, noticed a growing trend of railroads and trolley companies purchasing motor buses. The buses, which were finally becoming a viable and economical alternative, were slowly but surely replacing the trolleys that the rail-fans loved. They, along with another group of enthusiasts, began to purchase the trolleys for posterity, storing them on plots of land outside of the city. Just before WWII the two groups merged into one and created a museum.

During the war, the museum was put on hold as many of the members were serving in the military. Ironically, while they were overseas, rubber and gas rationing led to increased trolley services and a brief revival of the vehicle they so admired. Once the rationing ended there was another surge in trolley retirement and the museum was off and running again, this time with a whole new slew of exhibits to choose from.

The Seashore Trolley Museum lets you roam and explore at your own pace. The collection exceeds 260 vehicles from all over the world including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, England, Hungary, Italy, and Scotland. You can view the restoration process of a streetcar from the observation gallery in the restoration shop or ride a streetcar out along a rebuilt portion of the Atlantic Shore Line Railway. The museum continues to collect new vehicles and has, ironically, acquired the bus that originally began the trend that put trolleys out of business, the Biddeford and Saco #31, itself now obsolete.

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