Saturday morning, volunteers at the Connecticut Trolley Museum found three trolley cars dating back to 1905 stripped of their copper and brass components. Discovered during a convention of trolley enthusiasts from other trolley museums east of the Mississippi River, damage is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Thieves were able to peel back a section of the metal siding on the barn to gain access. Once inside, crowbars were used to pry brass pieces off of the ceilings, windows, and exterior of these wooden cars doing extensive damage to the woodwork. Also, wiring was cut and some of the control gear was stripped out of the cars.
The three cars that were stripped include car 1326 (the museum’s Birthday Car), car 840 (the last open car to operate in revenue service in the United States), and car 101 (a freight motor that the museum acquired in 2009). Now, all three will require extensive work before they can be returned to operation for museum patrons to enjoy. Parts were missing from a fourth car in the barn that was already partially disassembled.
In addition, the lock was cut on a track tool shed to gain access; however, it does not appear that any track materials were stolen.
The Connecticut Trolley Museum, which is operated by volunteers, features trolley rides on a 1.5 mile track and exhibits of the era.
The Connecticut Trolley Museum, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the trolley era, is seeking donations to recover some of the costs associated with the repairs to these trolleys.
For those interested in helping out, contact the museum at (860) 627-6540.
The museum is asking anyone with information regarding this theft, as well as anyone who may see suspicious activity around the museum, to contact the East Windsor Police Department at (860) 292-8240.