An old trolley car built in 1913 that served Wildwood for years is about to be fully restored by a company in Iowa.

William McKelvey, of the nonprofit Liberty Historic Railway in Berkeley Heights, says the trolley will be shipped for restoration when the winter is over.

"We do not want to get halfway there and find roads ice-covered, snow-covered, and the journey interrupted," he said.

The group will engage Gomaco Trolley Co. of Ida Grove, Iowa.

"They are professionals. They have built replica trolleys for many locations around the U.S. But the first step that they will do is do a full inspection of just how bad certain parts are — rot, rotten wood, steel that has been deteriorated — and what will be needed to put this car safely back into an operating condition."

He says the restoration carries a hefty $500,000 price tag. But an anonymous donor has already put up $300,000.

Once restored, McKelvey says they will find a museum-like setting for the trolley, that will also make short demonstration rides.

"We are working on a location in North Jersey, where we hope we can have a building in which to store it ... it cannot sit outside."

Old Wildwood trolley (Liberty Historic Railway)
Old Wildwood trolley (Liberty Historic Railway)

"The building we are looking at would be a museum-type building. There will be other exhibits in there. But primarily, it will be the storage location for the trolley car. And then, of course, in warm weather, good weather, it will be outside and be able to make a short demonstration ride. And this is important because there are very, very few people alive, nowadays that have ever travelled on a vintage trolley car."

The trolley was originally built in Philadelphia by the J.G. Brill company.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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