By William E. Wood, June 2001
The Connecticut Trolley Museum's first trolley car is a wonderful example of wooden car construction. A "one of a kind" order was placed with the Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield, Massachusetts for car No. 65 by the Consolidated Railway for the sum of $2,584.00. The car was to be used on the line from Norwich to Putnam, Connecticut working out of the Dayville Car House. The body was shipped on January 6, 1907 to Connecticut on a flat car, which saved taxes since it didn't have electric equipment installed. At the Dayville Car House it was then equipped with all the necessary electrical equipment. It was painted in a most handsome dark red finish, and the "Consolidated" name was in gold on each side.
In 1907, the Consolidated Railway became the Connecticut Company. The 39 mile Norwich (Franklin Square) to Putnam railroad station trolley route was cut and the tracks from Moosup to West Thompson abandoned in 1925. Car 65 now in Connecticut Company yellow and still with its same number, was moved to the Hartford Division.
Her regular service run in Hartford was the Franklin Ave. - Windsor route, but ran many "fan" charters over all the city lines and out to the towns around Hartford. Some changes were made while she worked in Hartford. The seats lost their plush and became cane covered; the Taylor SB trucks were replaced early on with standard short wheel base 0-50 trucks, which in turn were replaced with standard long wheel base 0-50 trucks with WH 10-1-B motors. Her last passenger run for the Connecticut Company carried Connecticut Electric Railway Association members on a tour of Hartford including Wethersfield, Connecticut on Sunday May 4, 1941.
The car was then stored in the Wethersfield Avenue Car House, awaiting approval of General Manager R. J. Bennett's request to the Connecticut Company Board of Directors for permission to donate the car to the Connecticut Electric Ralway Association for a new trolley museum for historical preservation. At last, on August 28, 1941, the car body was placed on a trailer-truck for the move to the East Windsor museum site. The trucks were moved to the site on a second and third load on August 29, 1941 and the car was reassembled. The move was handled by David Mongillo & Sons.
Over the years car #65 has escaped the fate of most streetcars being scrapped. The first time was in 1925 with the move from Norwich, CT to Hartford. The second time was the move to the Connecticut Electric Railway from Hartford in 1941, and the third time was during World War II when "scrap hounds" wanted to help the war effort. Roger Borrup had to go to the War Production Board to prevent the destruction of #65. Unfortunately, the trolley museum's former Springfield & Hartford steel bridge across the Scantic River was stolen for scrap during that time.