Belmont Trolley seeks to offer a leisurely journey back in time by restoring trolley service in Belmont and narrating the history of streetcars in the region.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Rob Pressley, President
President, Coldwell Banker
Nate Wells – Vice President
Electrical Engineer, Industrial Electronics
Rod Smallwood – Treasurer
Owner & CPA, My Belmont CPA
Ron Lovelace – Secretary
Partner, King & Spalding
Transit Engineer, AECOM
Program Manager, 100Watt
Nestled on a peninsula between two rivers, Belmont, N.C., has a celebrated history, a bright future and a regionally ideal location. A century ago, Belmont thrived as a textile center supported by its busy railroad and various communities of dedicated mill workers. When the textile industry waned generations later, Belmont masterfully adapted and rede ned itself. Rooted in its proud past, today’s Belmont carefully nurtures its authentic, small-town charm – but with a clear vision of its future. The city boasts one-of-a- kind shops for every budget, beautiful parks, a cutting-edge business incubator, TechWorks, and some of the best restaurants in the region . . . all just a 15-minute drive west of Charlotte.
The renovation of the Belmont Trolley and its tracks goes beyond a charming nod to the past. It means more excitement, more enthusiasm and more prosperity for Gaston County’s businesses and residents. It’s the line that connects us locally and lures visitors from near and far and it sets Belmont apart as a delightfully different destination.
In 1911 leaders at Southern Power Company, William States Lee and James Buchanan “Buck” Duke, built the Piedmont and Northern Railway (P&N), an electrically-powered, interurban rail system linking major cities across the Piedmont of the Carolinas. The arrival of the railway created unprecedented growth in North Carolina’s textile industry.
One of P&N’s busy divisions ran 24 miles between Charlotte and Gastonia, NC. In 1916, at the request of Belmont’s booming textile mills, P&N added a three-mile route from its main line near the city of Mount Holly to downtown Belmont. Along these tracks, three small, city-style trolley cars carried passengers and workers between the mills and the main line.
Although P&N continued its freight service in the region until the late 1960s, Belmont’s streetcar service ended in 1932.
When complete, our historic Trolley will run from downtown Belmont, N.C., to Belmont Abbey College, shuttling up to 20 commuters, residents and visitors at a leisurely pace. The line will run parallel to the Belmont Rail Trail, a greenway following the path of the Carolina Thread Trail through Belmont.
The Belmont Trolley car barn will be a uniquely identifiable landmark with a local-historical flavor to its design. The car barn will house the trolley and operations and serve as a trolley museum narrating local railroad history. The car barn design also includes are large covered trolley stop and pavilion that can be used for community functions and civic events.
Trolley Car 30 has traveled thousands of miles across land and sea – and tracks – and has likely heard a century’s-worth of gossip and noteworthy stories. Built in 1912 by J.G. Brill Company, the Trolley was shipped from Porto, Portugal, where it ran faithfully until the 1980s. In the 1990s, Car 30 returned to the U.S. to launch a trolley project near Portland, Oregon. But the project never materialized and the car sat idle until it was acquired by Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.
Fraser Valley had the Trolley for 10 years before deciding to sell it. Through a tip from a friend, the Belmont Trolley organization made the purchase and arranged for Car 30’s long transport from Surrey to Belmont. Here, the renovated Trolley will embark on a new journey of service – and no doubt hear a century’s worth of gossip and noteworthy stories once again.