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Appendix II
   

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Appendix II: The Gomaco Trolley Company

Where does one go, in the early years of the 21st century, to buy a Heritage streetcar? In the early 20th century, builders abounded:  Jewett, Niles, Kuhlmann, Brill and many more. Fortunately, while those great companies are gone, streetcars are still made in America, by the Gomaco Trolley Company in Ida Grove, Iowa.

Photo:  Gomaco Trolley Company

A Gomaco Trolley built for Tampa, Florida

Gomaco, a long-established builder of heavy equipment, got into the business of manufacturing Heritage streetcars in 1982. The Department of the Interior had decided to create an urban park in America's first manufacturing city, Lowell, Massachusetts. It wanted historically accurate streetcars to provide historically accurate local transportation. Gomaco built two, open-sided streetcars for Lowell, both replicas of Brill cars of 1902 that ran in Massachusetts. It later built a third closed car for Lowell, a replica of a 1912 streetcar.

Since that initial order for Lowell, Gomaco has built replica streetcars for Portland, Oregon, and Tampa, Florida. It has also reconditioned Vintage streetcars from Melbourne, Australia and Milan, Italy; it currently has some of the latter, built to the famous Peter Witt design, for sale.

Gomaco has earned a deserved reputation for historical accuracy and high quality craftsmanship. The company says,

Our craftsmanship matches the precision and quality of yesterday and incorporates the engineering technology of today…The goal is to keep the trolley cars as authentic as possible and to match the quality workmanship that went into the trolleys of the past…Gomaco Trolley Company builds brass parts to meet all standard trolley requirements…If you are in need of a special part, Gomaco will make a die and build exactly what you need...Exact replicas (of streetcars) can be built based on trolley photos.37

In other words, if you want your city or town to have once again the same kind of streetcars that ran there in the past, all you need is some photographs of those cars. Gomaco will build new streetcars just like the old ones.

Gomaco is now the only commercial source for Heritage streetcars (New Orleans builds its own), and it is a good place to start your search. Mr. John Kallin is Gomaco’s sales manager, and you may write to him at the Gomaco Trolley Company, 119 E. Highway 175, P.O. Box 151, Ida Grove, Iowa, 51445 or call (712) 364-3347.  Gomaco has a web site at www.gomacotrolley.com. A directory and Internet links for other rail car manufacturers, including any companies that began making Heritage streetcars after publication of this report, can be found on the American Public Transportation Association web site at www.apta.com under the heading “Vehicles and System Technology Web Sites.”

 

 
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