The National Capital Trolley Museum is a Hidden Gem for Families

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This non-profit museum is an excellent way to learn about and experience historic trolley cars that are integral to local history and bring communities closer. Plus, you get to ride one!

NCTM owns several historic street cars, which it runs regularly along its mile-long track, and an extensive collection of other automobiles from around the world and nation.

Admission

The National Capital Trolley Museum offers plenty of exciting exhibits and activities. Specializing in preserving and operating historic streetcars that were once the primary means of public transport in the Washington, DC area, this Museum houses 17 streetcars from various cities, which can be experienced on its one-mile demonstration railway. Additionally, traditional exhibits and artifacts are on display here as well.

The Museum is located at 1313 Bonifant Road in Colesville, Maryland, and was established shortly after the discontinuation of street car service in the Washington area and opened to the public in 1969. Due to the construction of Intercounty Connector, it relocated to Northwest Branch Park in 2009, which now consists of three buildings: Visitor’s Center, Street Car Hall, and Car Barn.

The museum features 17 restored streetcars on a one-mile Demonstration Railway that is a trendy attraction, stretching from its Dispatcher’s Desk through Street Car Hall and Maintenance Barn to Dodge siding, Dodge Woods, Fish Hook Loop, where it turns around and returns back to Visitor Center. There is also a small theater where excerpts from Harold Lloyd’s silent films, some traditional exhibits, and a museum shop can be shown.

Admission for adults costs $10, while admission for children costs $8; discounts and special packages for groups are also available, and reservations should be made to ensure a place at this exciting museum! It is open all year round on Saturdays and offers some weekday hours during spring, summer, and fall.

The National Capital Trolley Museum offers children an exciting educational experience regarding trolleys and streetcars in Washington area history. Their collection of streetcars is the largest worldwide, housing an archive of historic streetcars and interurban railroad records, an O-scale model of streetcar city layout, and various traditional exhibits on electric street railway history.

Trolley Rides

The National Capital Trolley Museum is an unmissable experience for families in Washington, DC, offering education on trolley history and allowing visitors to ride one daily! Autumn offers ideal conditions for experiencing this unforgettable ride! Don’t miss it this fall season!

Before WMATA existed, multiple trolley systems were operating throughout the metropolitan area. Not only were these streetcars used for transportation, but they were also essential in developing neighborhoods in the early 20th century. You can ride one of these historic trolley cars at this museum for yourself!

Colesville, Maryland’s Museum was established following the decline of its old trolley lines and features various exhibits, including Car Barn – housing many old streetcars – a museum model that allows visitors to interact and control trolley cars – and Conduit Hall, which displays DC’s one-of-a-kind conduit system used to power electric streetcars.

On our visit, Sprout and I could tour the entire museum within two hours, skipping many exhibits because we were more interested in riding one of those classic trolleys! We hung them through Northwest Branch Park – it was like being transported back in time!

The Washington Metro Museum boasts over 100 trolley cars in its collection, many from the Washington Metro area. You’ll also find vehicles from around the U.S. and Europe – seeing all these styles and sizes used throughout history is incredible!

Attractions include trolley rides and an open demonstration railway of one mile in length, available daily to the public. Visitors can walk alongside its tracks or hop aboard one of its working cars (on our visit, it was a Presidents Conference Committee trolley from Toronto). A small theater also shows quirky silent movies about trolleys.

Exhibits

Before the advent of automobiles, people relied heavily on streetcars (trolleys). This museum in Colesville recalls this period by showing its history and offering rides on some antique models. There’s also a car barn to tour, exhibits, movies, and more!

The museum boasts an impressive collection of vintage trolley cars from around the world, many having once served Washington, DC, but others serving England, Belgium, and Canada over 100 years. A handful of these still in service can be seen when visiting as they can be found running along their one-mile demonstration railway during your visit. There are also models depicting DC streetscapes, archive records, and photographs that interest you during your tour.

Visitors to Street Car Hall can explore various types of streetcars during a docent-led tour led by Street Car Hall docents. Additionally, visitors can see examples in action at Rock Creek Railway’s model in Main Hall and stroll through historic trolley photo displays. Further, special exhibitions and events occur throughout the year, such as birthday parties, spring/fall open houses with Santa, Holly Trolley Fest with him, and other holiday-themed activities at this museum.

The National Capital Trolley Museum houses one of the largest collections of historical Maryland interurban cars and various street railway artifacts. Their archives feature records, maps, and journals related to their system, while their extensive library offers books about streetcars – plus regular reading events!

Bring the family for an enjoyable afternoon at this museum that’s easy to access and worth its admission price. Don’t forget the gift shop; you can even pick some goodies up there! For train and transportation enthusiasts, this museum should not be missed in the DC area – it’s a unique experience worth an extra trip!

Gift Shop

The National Capital Trolley Museum, operated in cooperation with Montgomery County Parks, brings visitors of all ages an experience from early 20th-century transit aboard Washington street cars, American trolleys, or European trams for two miles around Montgomery County Parks. Tour Street Car Hall with a docent to witness “Street Cars Go to the Movies” or view Rock Creek Railway models in Main Hall; enjoy interactive exhibits and film programs or shop in our Museum Shop for even more fun!

The museum is an invaluable way to gain in-depth knowledge of an integral yet often neglected part of DMV history. They feature vintage trolley cars, an open car barn for exploration and movie screenings, and a fantastic gift shop selling books, models, and conductor hats – not to mention a tremendous ‘car barn tour’ experience!

Colesville offers many treasures that everyone should visit. If you want a fun and affordable day trip away from the big city, this should be on your itinerary – the trolley ride alone makes the journey worthwhile!