Refurbishing trolleys a costly idea | AspenTimes.com

Refurbishing trolleys a costly idea

John Colson

Aspen officials are hoping to make use of a half-dozen or so trolley cars that are presently wasting away beneath cloth covers at Cozy Point Ranch west of town.

At current estimates, it would take “a couple hundred thousand dollars” for a “cosmetic restoration” of only one of the century-old trolley cars, according to Assistant City Manager Randy Ready.

The trolley cars, purchased by the Aspen Street Railway Association more than two decades ago, have been sitting idle and deteriorating while the association has tried to come up with ways to build a trolley system in downtown Aspen. That effort reportedly is continuing, but shows no sign of bearing fruit any time soon.

In the meantime, City Council member Terry Paulson has been urging the administration to come up with ways to make use of the trolley cars, which were built in Portugal and are more than 100 years old.

Paulson’s idea is to refurbish one of the trolleys and place it in a public area so that people can “get used to seeing a trolley car on the streets of Aspen,” Ready said this week.

“It’s certainly doable,” he said. “It’s just a question of how soon, and how much they want to spend.”

He said he has gotten a response from one restoration expert.

“It looks like it’s going to be in the neighborhood of a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Ready said, to do a complete, historically accurate restoration of the interior and exterior of the trolley car.

Ready said he and city transportation expert Claude Morelli are seeking preliminary bids to submit to the City Council in the near future, in time for it to be considered as part of the council’s 2000 budget deliberations. If the council gives the go-ahead, he said, city staff will begin to do more comprehensive, “serious” research into exact costs and timetables.


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