Just the Ticket: Volunteer Trolley Operators Needed

Shore Line Trolley Museum’s volunteer trolley car operators expertly maneuver vintage cars through Beacon Hill in Branford – and you can join them, with proper training. The museum is offering an informational Open House Feb. 8 followed by five Saturday training classes in March.
Shore Line Trolley Museum’s volunteer trolley car operators expertly maneuver vintage cars through Beacon Hill in Branford – and you can join them, with proper training. The museum is offering an informational Open House Feb. 8 followed by five Saturday training classes in March. Photo by Jennifer Higham for Shore Line Trolley Museum

If you’ve ever imagined yourself riding the rails as conductor of a vintage trolley car, then becoming a volunteer trolley car operator for the Shoreline Trolley Museum might be just the ticket for you.

The non-profit museum, which operates popular trolley runs through scenic Beacon Hills in Branford, holds an annual trolley car operating training course each March. This year, the museum is holding an Open House on Sun. Feb. 8 (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.), where prospective operators can meet the instructors and other trolley operators.  The volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and work varied schedules – some contributing dozens of days each year, others just a few.

As statement issued by the museum explains, “…this Open House is a chance for you to decide if operating a trolley car might be for you. There is nothing quite like operating a turn-of-the-century trolley on our scenic rail line. Stop in, meet the instructors and get a feel for what it might be like.”

To become a trolley operator, no prior experience is required; but operators are required to be able to stand for long periods of time, climb high steps and be free of medications or conditions compromising safe operation of machinery. The training course provides comprehensive, hands-on instruction in the safe and proper operation of the equipment and visitor interaction. Qualified trainees must be at least 18 years old and successfully pass the training course, written rules test and practical road exam. A $75 training fee applies ($50 for existing members).  Additional fees for uniform purchase and other supplies will be explained at the Open House.

Training dates are March 1, March 8, March 15 and March 22 with the final exam on March 29. The Saturday classes run from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extra operating time available after 5 p.m.

As the museum statement describes, “…daunting as it may seem, by the conclusion of the course, you will be able to start and stop the trolley car smoothly and accurately. You’ll be able to position 20 tons of wood and steel within a few inches of a similarly massive object. You’ll understand switches, overhead wires, signals, and the railway rulebook. And you’ll be able to stand in front of a group of people and make an enjoyable presentation on the history of the trolley, and the impact it had on everyday living.”

 The Shore Line Trolley Museum is located at 17 River St, East Haven . For information call (203) 467-6927 or email questions to office@ShoreLineTrolley.org  Visit the museum website at www.shorelinetrolley.org

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