I never thought I would ride a Portuguese trolley anywhere but in Lisbon,
where I lived for a few months in the late ’90s.
Sketched July 30, 2013
Some cities love trolleys more than others.
While Seattle has watched its fleet of waterfront streetcars collect dust in a Sodo warehouse, Issaquah has gone as far as Colorado and Iowa to bring a trolley to its downtown corridor.
The idea gained traction after the city restored its historic train depot in 1994. “We wanted to run something on the track, and it couldn’t be a steam engine,” said trolley volunteer Barbara Justice.
Saturday, almost two decades later, an old car (originally from Lisbon, Portugal) that Justice and her team found in Aspen, Colo., and then sent to Iowa for restoration makes its debut as Issaquah’s newest attraction. The trolley line runs on the historic tracks once used for freight and passenger service to Seattle. It is part of the revitalization of the downtown and meant to attract more visitors to Issaquah’s museums.
Though the trolley will travel only half a mile back and forth, Justice said the distance is not the point. “We are in the history business, not the transportation business.”
The Issaquah Valley Trolley will operate on weekends, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on a “pay as you can” basis.