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Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority

3331 N. First Street

San Jose, CA 95134-1906

Frank Martin, Director of Operations

(408) 321 702 


The California Railroad and Trolley Corporation was founded in 1982 as a private, non-profit organization to fund and direct the restoration of vintage trolleys for operation in Downtown San Jose.  The maintenance and operation of the line is performed by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.


Six restored vintage trolleys operate on a 1.5-mile loop in downtown San Jose. Tracks are shared with the light rail line operated by the Transportation Authority. The line links retail areas, hotels, museums and the Convention Center. The car fleet includes two 1912 trolleys which operated in San Jose until 1934, one car which ran in Sacramento and Santa Cruz from 1906 until 1923, plus a car from Melbourne and one from Milan. All of these vehicles have been meticulously restored and/or rehabilitated in the California Railroad and Trolley Corporation shops. In addition, two cars are used on a short shuttle line in Kelly Park, adjacent to the shops, as part of a historic replication of the San Jose community at the turn of the century.


Service on the downtown loop operates daily from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Hours are from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM weekdays, 2:30 PM until 10:30 PM on weekends. Weather permitting, cars also operate evenings during the Christmas holidays. Ridership statistics are combined with the light rail line, and are not available separately.


Trolleys are owned by the California Railroad and Trolley Corporation, which leases them to the Valley Transportation Authority. The Authority, which also provides public mass transit service for the entire county, operates and maintains the fleet at its light rail facility.

Operating Costs and Funding:

Operating costs are borne by the Transportation Authority as part of its county-wide service.

Capital Costs and Funding:

The track, power distribution system, stops and maintenance facility were built for the light rail line. Car purchase and restoration was done by the Trolley Corporation, through private grants from local and regiona1 firms and individuals. Major trolley sponsors are Heritage Cablevision, San Jose Mercury News, Metro-A Trust Fund, Ray Collishaw Corporation, and the San Jose Financial Center/Fairmont Hotel. Each of these donors contributed $150,000 to the Trolley Corporation. In addition, much of the labor for restoration has been given by volunteers. Each car has required thousands of hours of work.

System Benefits:

The vintage trolley provides augmented service to the downtown area beyond that given by the light rail line. It serves primarily visitors and tourists. The line has been in operation for over a decade, and has become an integral part of the ambiance of downtown San Jose.

System Problems and Issues:

During the planning stage, there was some concern that the vintage trolleys would require modifications in order to operate on the same tracks—and with the same power system—as the light rail line. These concerns proved to be unfounded.

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