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LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS

Lowell National Historical Park

67 Kirk Street

Lowell, MA 01852

(978) 275 1700

History:

Lowell is the cradle of American industry. Waterpower was first used in Colonial times for textile manufacturing and the town became the leading manufacturing location for textiles. This industry declined and was defunct in the area by 1970. However, the mills, canals, and railroad lines remained and were part of a well-defined historic area with shops, churches, and homes. This attracted the National Park Service to create an urban industrial heritage park to preserve and interpret 19th and early 20th century manufacturing. The Lowell National Historic Park was created in 1978. A vintage trolley was implemented to provide transport among the various venues of the site, opening in 1984.

System:

The line moves visitors on several routes, using existing but abandoned railroad tracks. The most intensive service is between the Boott Mill and the Visitors Center along the Merrimack Canal, about a mile in length. Three replica electrified streetcars are used, and a small maintenance facility is located in one of the old mill buildings.

Operations:

Cars run daily between March and November.

Organization:

The line is owned and operated by the National Park Service.

Operating Costs and Funding:

Operating costs are borne by the National Park Service.

Capital Costs and Funding:

Capital costs were borne by the National Park Service.

System Benefits:

The various venues of the Lowell National Historic Park stretch out along the Merrimack Canal, and the trolley provides the linkage that knits them together, an addition to being a part of the history of the area in its own right.

System Problems and Issues:

None reported.

 

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