There is a certain irony about this picture of a former Washington streetcar being hauled on a trailer across an I-95 bridge into Maine: The car's here-unreadable destination sign says "Navy Yard," and the Portsmouth Navy Yard is just a few miles down the Piscataqua River.
But the car's real destination, in this picture taken last summer, was the Seashore Trolley Museum at Kennebunkport, Maine, which rescued D.C. Transit Car 1304 from rotting in a field in Ohio.
According to Seashore member George Sanborn, it's already being restored to the way it looked and ran on the streets of the nation's capital, and it ultimately will be available for rides -- along with cars from other world capitals, including London and Berlin.
The pictured car was of a group of 15 ordered by the old Capital Transit Co. from the St. Louis Car Co. in 1941. As Washington's streetcar system was being dismantled, the car was sold in 1961 to General Electric Co., which installed automated controls for demonstration at its plant at Erie, Pa. Thus it became a forerunner of the control system used in today's Metro trains.
When that experiment ended, G.E. discarded the car, and it went to a trolley museum in Ohio, which left it to rot when a Cleveland car of similar design became available. Sanborn said that Seashore, anxious to add a Washington car to its collection, acquired it. And you know the rest of the story.
Washingtonians who want to help restore the car can send donations to the 1304 Fund, Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine 04046. Meanwhile, those who want to ride a Washington trolley closer to home can do so any Sunday at the National Capital Trolley Museum on Bonifant Road in Montgomery County.