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Thurmont historic trolley project
plows forward

Ingrid Mezo
The Gazette

(10/4) Just one more group like the one that came to Thurmont a few weeks ago, and the historic trolley located at the old trolley station will be ready for primer, project mastermind John Kinnaird said.

The group of around 40 ‘‘20-something" professionals who came out to strip paint from the trolley were members of The Colonial Second Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and contacted Mayor Martin Burns to see if the town had any projects they could help out with, he said.

‘‘With another group of 40, that thing will be ready to prime," Burns said. ‘‘There are some areas now that could be primed."

Once painted, it will be dark green on the bottom and cream on top. ‘‘If we had one more day like that it would ready for paint," Burns said. ‘‘I was ecstatic for the little bit of effort it takes. ... You don’t want to paint it too soon, you want to get it perfect [underneath first]."

Getting volunteers to help with the project, rather than asking town staff to work on it, is a much more efficient way to complete the project, Burns said.

‘‘The nice thing about it is it’s a project everyone can see, which I think makes a big difference to the level of involvement," Kinnaird said.

The trolley is basically a shell, but once restored, it will function as a display place for town activities throughout the year. Displays would include arts and crafts, and historical photographs and artifacts, as well as Main Street projects and Santa Claus pictures.

‘‘To begin with, I want to get it cosmetically up to snuff in the next four or five months," Kinnaird said.

In the long-term plan, the town is going to decommission the trolley substation, which once supplied electricity to the station. Now, the trolley sits on the spot where the station once was. ‘‘Once they do that, we may be able to make [the trolley and the substation] connect," he said.

Kinnaird said he and others working on the project plan to get railroad tracks through a donation from the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.

‘‘One of the first things we’re going to do is place windows there after priming," he said. ‘‘Either plexiglass or sandwich glass, and seal it up real good."

The trolley was used until 1953 or 1954 as part of the trolley system throughout Frederick County. Its trip back to Thurmont bears telling. Sometime after the demise of the trolley system, the trolley found its way to Pennsylvania.

In August, Rockhill Furnace Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania donated it to the Hagerstown and Frederick Railroad Historical Society, which gave it to Thurmont.

‘‘Everybody donated their time," Kinnaird said. ‘‘Everybody said they would be happy to do it on a Saturday or a Sunday."

Kinnaird spent a long time getting a permit to ship the trolley on a weekend, only to find out that Pennsylvania officials would not allow it. He then changed the date to a Friday. The morning of the transfer, the first tractor broke down, he said.

‘‘So we had to unhook that tractor and tow it down the mountain, and get a second tractor, and we got that tractor up there, then the suspension system broke on it," Kinnaird said. ‘‘That’s when we got J & R Trucking to provide us with the third tractor. The third tractor was the charm."

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