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Astoria Trolley Back Up and Putt-Putting Around N. Oregon Coast

Published 05/03/22 at 7:05 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Astoria Trolley Back Up and Putt-Putting Around N. Oregon Coast

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(Astoria, Oregon) – A north Oregon coast favorite is back: the Astoria Riverfront Trolley is operating once again. (Trolley photos Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce)

The historic and scenic ride actually returned back in March, running on a somewhat limited schedule until Memorial Day. After that, it runs from noon to 6 p.m. every day. What's notable about its return, however, is that for a year and a half it was gone, thanks to the pandemic. It then returned rather late in the season in July 2021 until its usual end date in October.

This will be the first full season of operation in two years.

Astoria Trolley staff are still looking for new volunteers and helpers, so you may wind up seeing some delays periodically, but so far they are broadcasting their schedule as back to normal. Presently, they say you should check the trolley shelters for the current schedules – which may be changing.

The trolley rides are $1 per ride or $2 to ride all day. You can also charter the trolley for $150 an hour.

The Old 300 trolley car was built by the American Car Company back in 1913. This clackety Oregon coast treasure takes about an hour to chug around town, and they say don't look for rigid stop times at Astoria's trolley shelters.

“There is no set time that they will be at a particular stop,” said Regina Wilkie, with the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is a pretty loose schedule - fun ride versus a means of transit.”

The rides are also based on weather: no rides if it's excessively stormy out there. Because, well, that never happens on the coastline, right?

Some of the spots to catch the Astoria Trolley are the Maritime Memorial (near Bay Street); the foot of 6th, 11th and 14th streets; Astoria Red Lion Inn; Maritime Museum, foot of 17th Street, and the East End Mooring Basin at the foot of 36th St. You can also wave down the trolley at any place in Astoria by flashing a $1 bill. They will stop for you there.

A whole hour of a ride gives you quite an overview of the old Oregon coast town, with grand bayside and dockside vistas along the way.

There's a long, rather winding history of this particular trolley car, which comes from a set of them numbered 300 to 313, made by the St. Louis-based American Car Company. Constructed of wood and steel, this one serviced San Antonio, Texas until the early '30s.

Car 300 was then shuffled off to the Witte Museum in the Texas town, left outside and under increasing weather damage until 1948. After that, it received some TLC from restoration experts, but some of its mechanical parts had been loaned out during World War II and never returned.

Then in 1968, car 300 popped up again in an outdoor display and stayed until 1980, but in that period it acquired a serious case of rot. In the early ‘80s, it underwent some major restoration, which included utilizing parts of car 311. That old trolley actually served as someone's residence for a time. The exterior of 311 and other parts were used to restore Old 300, and some mechanical parts were brought in from New Orleans to refurbish its ability to function on the rails.

Before Astoria, Old 300 found its way to Oregon by serving as a trolley line between Portland and Lake Oswego in the early '90s, which included some time serving Gales Creek. As the latter operation began shutting down, the city of Astoria snapped it up and it found its home on the north Oregon coast.

Currently, the museum in Texas still owns Old 300.

More restoration was done here on the Oregon coast by local devotees to the cause in 1999, and by the early 2000s it was operational, becoming a much-beloved icon of the northern Oregon town.

For more information see the Astoria Trolley page or call 325-6311 or (800) 875-6807. Leave message at 325-8790. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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