The Spirit of Brooklyn Rides the Trolley

Frequently Asked Questions

Aren’t trolleys just relics from the past?

In these days of expensive fuel, polluted air and overwhelming traffic congestion, trolleys, or light rail, are considered the most practical means of urban transit, as witnessed by the rapidly growing network in cities, large, medium and small, throughout the nation.

Isn’t BCSC just a bunch of rail fans trying to see your hobby on our streets?

This appears to be a common misconception. BCSC has been called a bunch of “foamers” and “trolley jollies”, commonly used terms to denigrate those in the rail fan community. BCSC has many good friends within the rail fan community who are very helpful to us and we all appreciate the esthetic and cultural value of these wonderful old machines. However, the primary focus of BCSC Board members and active staff is to serve the needs of the community with sensible transportation, an educational and job training program and cultural enrichment rather than on the trolleys themselves. Backgrounds and fields of expertise include business, finance, education, housing and computer technology as well as transportation. All are involved in community activities and have a firm sense of civic responsibility.

Won’t trolleys cause more congestion on our streets?

BCSC’s proposed routes use streets and rights of way that are least intrusive to other vehicles. Trolleys will actually relieve congestion by encouraging people to ride rather than drive. Part of BCSC’s proposals includes a park and ride system, keeping private automobiles out of our most congested areas.

Won’t trolleys cause more of a racket over existing traffic?

Contrary to popular belief, trolleys actually run more quietly than buses.

Aren’t modern light rail cars more practical than old fashioned trolleys?

Actually, reconditioned vintage trolleys are less expensive to run and have the benefit of attracting additional visitors who come just to ride and then avail themselves of local businesses.

What about a modern monorail?

Monorails are much more expensive to build and operate and, running above street level, make access difficult.

What about comfort and safety features?

All historic cars operated by BCSC will be retrofitted with modern features to bring them up to date for the 21st century, such as air conditioning and handicapped access.

Will BCSC operate only original historic cars?

Although BCSC deems it preferable to run original vintage cars, there is the possibility of using replicas in addition. These cars are available to the exact specifications of the original historic models and include those that are no longer available for street use in their original form. They are, of course, all fitted with up to date mechanicals as well as the aforementioned comfort and safety features.

Where are trolleys running today?

Trolleys are common in municipalities around the world. In this country, several cities, although having cut back, never eliminated their trolleys altogether. These cities are now expanding their systems once again and several others are building new systems. Among those are Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Newark. For a more complete list, see our Links page.

Why BCSC rather than the MTA or a big private company?

As a community based nonprofit, BCSC will be more responsive to the community it serves. Also, as a nonprofit, BCSC has funding opportunities not available to for profit companies. With cooperation from the city allowing BCSC to build and operate the lines, there will be little cost to the taxpayers of the city. Additionally, BCSC offers educational, job training and cultural programs that a large, non-community based company would not necessarily involve themselves with.

Does BCSC plan to use volunteer labor to construct its proposed lines?

All actual work will be done by the finest professionals. BCSC is in contact with major contracting and consulting firms with proven experience. By allowing BCSC, as a nonprofit, to do the subcontracting, it will save the city’s taxpayers the expense.