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Get On Track: Become A Volunteer Trolley Car Operator

The Shoreline Trolley Museum will hold an open house for those interested in learning more about become a volunteer car operator on Saturday, Feb. 8.

the Shoreline Trolley Museum will be giving its annual trolley car operator training course in March. Credit: Julie Weisberg
the Shoreline Trolley Museum will be giving its annual trolley car operator training course in March. Credit: Julie Weisberg

Have you ever wanted to be at the wheel of an important piece of shoreline history? 

Well, the Shoreline Trolley Museum — portions of which sit in both East Haven and Branford — will be giving its annual trolley car operator training course in March.

No Experience Needed

"This open house is a chance for you to decide if operating a trolley car might be for you," museum officials stated in a press release. "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."

And no prior experience is required. The training course will provide complete "rails-up, hands-on" instruction in the safe and proper operation of a trolley car and how to interact with visitors.

Volunteers From All Walks

Volunteer operators come from all walks of life and work varied schedules.

"Some contribute dozens of days each year, others just a few, but either way the net contribution to the museum is significant, as can be the benefit to you as you learn new skills and meet new and interesting people," the officials stated.

Training Information

To qualify as an operator, you must be at least 18 years old (those who will turn 18 during 2012 are also eligible to take the course) and successfully pass the training course, the written rules test and the practical road examination.

Training dates are March 1, March 8, March 15 and March 22 — with the final exam on March 29. Each day of training runs from 9:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m.

There is a $50 training fee for members. And a $75 fee for non-members. Additional fees for uniform purchase and other supplies will be explained at the Open House. 

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

'Smoothly and Accurately"

Sandford said, as daunting as it may seem, by the conclusion of the course trainees will be able to start and stop a 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," museum officials stated. "And you'll be able to guide and interact with a group of people and make an enjoyable presentation on the history of the trolley and the impact it had on every day living."

More Information

For those interested in taking the course or for more information: write to Training Course, Shore Line Trolley Museum, 17 River St, East Haven CT 06512; call (203)-467-6927 or email office@shorelinetrolley.org.

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