Where Do MBTA Cars Go When They Die?

To the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, of course.

mbta trainsLeft: PCC double-end air-electric used on the Mattapan line, retired from service in 1982. Top right: Standard streetcar called the Boston Special that ran between Union Square, Allston, and Watertown, retired in 1954. Bottom right: Standard light rail manufactured in 1977, retired in 2009. (All photos by Matthew Cosgro, Seashore Trolley Museum)

For the transit fans among us—and especially for those who grew up in the Boston area—remembering the MBTA is to remember is a distinct collection of subway cars, the elevated Orange Line, big 1960s-era buses, and so on.

I figured these items were all scrapped when their productive life was over until I stumbled on the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Founded in 1939, the museum dubs itself as the “largest electric railway museum in the world” with collections representing most major American cities with a streetcar system. Unlike the more common museums dedicated to heavy rail passenger trains, this museum focuses on light rail/subway/streetcar items.

The museum has a stunning collection of MBTA (and predecessor) items—old Orange line cars, three generations of Blue Line cars, many streetcars from the pre-MBTA era, old trackless trolleys, and even the old Northampton stop station from the El.

Check out these photos for a sneak peek:

mbta trolley



mbta cars

If you are ever in the area and gripped by MBTA nostalgia, go take a look. It’s an amazing glimpse into the past.


UPDATE, 01/07/2013, 9:25 a.m.: A previous version of this post misidentified the photographer’s name. The correct photographer, Matthew Cosgro,” is now credited. We regret the error.