Riverside Trolley Rides Return to Downtown Astoria
There’s something special about the Astoria Riverside Trolley (ART). If you’ve never ridden it, you’re missing out! From its rich history dating back to 1913 to its revival from the trolley graveyard at Gale’s Creek to sitting unused during the pandemic to the 30 volunteers donating their time to re-open next month, it’s an essential part of the Astoria culture!
According to Lee Jette, one of the five staff members of ART, it’s an exciting time for the 501(c)(3) organization. Sadly, the trolley sat unused during most of the pandemic. Then, the Buoy Building collapsed and jeopardized the tracks, so they had to close the trolley for safety reasons. However, brighter days are coming soon! It will re-open to the public on March 25th! For only $1.00, you can be part of a rich tradition of the lively Astoria waterfront and go for a trolley ride!
A trolley ride takes about an hour round trip, although you can jump on or off at any of the ten kiosks along the route. Just wave a dollar, and they will surely stop for you! During the ride, the conductor entertains riders with stories about Astoria’s history and local sites. It’s a 3.1-mile journey you’ll never forget!
March 15-24th is re-certification time for the volunteer conductors/motormen. Ann Stiles has been a motorman for ART for 12 years and can’t wait to return to work. When I asked her what she loves most about being a motorman, she had difficulty coming up with just one.
“I love the camaraderie, the sense of community, teaching people about the area’s fascinating history, and meeting the people from the cruise ships,” she said. “When the little kids ring the trolley bell, their faces light up like a Christmas tree!”
This year Astoria will welcome 45 cruise ships and 125 landings from American Cruise lines that run paddleboats ships up and down the Columbia River. Thousands of tourists worldwide will enjoy riding the trolley and becoming part of Astoria’s lively atmosphere. If you want to be part of the excitement and drive the trolley, you have a rare opportunity to get involved!
ART is still looking for another 15 volunteers for the re-opening. You need a valid driver’s license and to physically be able to help those that may need a little assistance getting on and off the trolley. You’ll get to wear the coveted trolley vest and cap and entertain and educate visitors from around the globe! They ask volunteers to take two three-hour shifts per week, but mostly they want people that love working with the public and are proud to be Astorian. If that sounds like you, please contact the Astoria Chamber of Commerce to offer your time! You can also call (503) 325-6311 to get your name on the list for the next training opportunity or leave a message at (503) 325-8790.