Astoria’s Old Riverfront Trolley

September 16th, 2014

Old freight railroad tracks in Astoria, Oregon become a major tourist attraction, with the installation of an old historical trolley train.

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Astoria’s riverfront view of Washington

Astoria, Oregon was once slated to be the largest port on the west coast of the United States. Well situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, there was booming trade — fur trade early on, and later fishing, fish canning, and timber — with its deep water port and connection to the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Astoria had the first US Post Office west of the Rocky Mountains. For about 100 years, from the late 1800s, Astoria was an economic center with its port, but by the mid 1970s, the economy had tanked with the decline of canneries and timber.

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

In 1999, Astoria began reusing its old freight railroad tracks along the Columbia River – once heavily used by the cannery, fishing, and timber industries –  with the installation of a trolley line, The Astoria Riverfront Trolley.  Today, the trolley service is operated by volunteers for its three mile run.  The most unique feature is that they purchased a historical trolley. The regular riverfront trolley is from 1913 by the American Car Company, based in St. Louis, Missouri, and was built for the San Antonio Traction Company. It is referred to as the ‘Old 300’, as it was one of 14 cars made, being numbered from 300 to 313.  The trolley now is the biggest tourist attraction in the city, and allows visitors to view the scenic riverfront easily.  Fare is $1.00 for a single entry (you can ride back and forth as many times as you want, technically), or $2.00 for unlimited rides all day.

Has anyone been here before? What do you think of this type of reuse? Does the W&OD count as something similar, minus the tourist train? Or what about the installation of the old trolley tracks in Georgetown?

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Interior of the Old 300

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The seatback slides back and forth so that passengers are always facing forward.


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  1. JDC
    September 16th, 2014 at 11:37 | #1

    Love those innovative seats.

  2. Mark
    September 16th, 2014 at 13:30 | #2

    Hey, these are more modern-looking streetcars than what I see on the F line in San Francisco. Send some to us!

    Seriously, I think it’s a great project…for Astoria. It wouldn’t translate well in Georgetown. First, the traffic. The area is already congested. Second, the opposition from residents who wouldn’t go for clanging trolleys and photo-snapping tourists in front of their multi-million dollar rowhouses. Georgetown is compact and walkable. What it needs is a Metro station.

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