Restoration of Windsor streetcar is 70 per cent complete
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019 5:05PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2019 6:52PM EST
It’s been 18 months since the city was gifted Streetcar 351, a trolley that was part of the historic SW and A line before the turn of the 20th century.
At 100 years old, it was in pretty rough shape.
Since then, crews at RM Auto Restoration in Blenheim have been meticulously piecing the relic back together before it finds a resting place along Windsor's riverfront.
Mario Van Ray of RM Auto Restoration says the historic trolley is about 70 per cent restored.
"It’s very accurate to the way it looked back then” says Van Ray. “I would say almost dead on."
Everything from the steel chassis, the wood framework, beams, the main cabin and roof had to be restored and in some cases, rebuilt.
The restoration shop, famous for its work on celebrity-owned classic cars was able to preserve about 40 per cent of the original woodwork.
“We just wanted to make it look as authentic as possible,” says Van Ray. “The whole idea is to preserve the heritage of it, not to just re-create it and stamp out a new one. So trying to save as much wood and metal that was original on that was very very important."
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens got his first peek at the progress on Wednesday.
"It’s coming together and it’s amazing for me to see and I’m so proud of this project and I can’t wait for the citizens of Windsor to see it themselves.”
The price tag of the streetcar is $750,000. The city is hoping to offset some of those costs to the tune of $100,000 by collecting sponsorships and selling T-shirts at $30 each.
The money will also go toward a large shelter to cover the streetcar at its future home - the Celestial Beacon site along the riverfront, to help protect it from the elements.