Vehicle Acquisition Policy

August 1994


Old Pueblo Trolley (OPT) is unique in attempting to blend two otherwise diverse purposes which are clearly defined in its Articles of Incorporation:

To organize and operate a transportation system including, hiring employees, scheduling and operating vehicles and any other such management activities. To organize a transportation museum, to acquire and restore railroad and street railway cars, transit and other transportation vehicles and equipment of any nature and description which either presently has or may in the future have historical significance or be of historical interest and to further display and/or operate all such equipment for the charitable and educational benefit, use and enjoyment of the public.


OPT's mission can be summarized as an "operating transit museum". Each element must be clearly defined so that acquisitions match the mission.

"Operating". OPT's stated purpose goes beyond merely collecting, displaying and interpreting historic artifacts (i. e., OPT is not just a static museum). It operates historic transit vehicles "for the charitable and educational benefit, use and enjoyment of the public". This does not, however, mean that OPT will operate every piece of equipment it acquires. Some, due to condition, difficulty of restoration or whatever, may be designated for static display only.

At the same time, OPT is in the business of operating a transportation system. Thus in addition to the historic collection, any vehicle which serves that purpose may be acquired without regard to its historic value. Nevertheless, the historic/museum purpose of OPT suggests which kinds of vehicles are more appropriate to acquire.

"Transit". Transit is a broad term for what is sometimes called mass transit or public transit. It is the group movement of persons for a fare in a large capacity vehicle (usually more than 16 passengers), along a fixed route, on a fixed schedule. Over the years the nature of the vehicles used had changed. While OPT was initially formed to bring back one type vehicle (electric streetcars), as a transit museum, OPT is committed to acquiring examples of all types of transit vehicles. On the other hand, OPT has chosen to limit its collection to the type of transit vehicles operated by transit systems in Arizona. Some museums have tried to collect the "whole world" of transit vehicles. OPT believes that it is more reasonable to limit its exhibits to its home state, thus giving it a unique place among other transit museums.

"Museum". While a museum has a collection of vehicles, artifacts, photos and records, it must go beyond a mere collection. A museum must have the "things" (hence they must be collected/acquired), but it really doesn't become a museum in the true sense until the things are displayed in some orderly and understandable fashion, and interpreted for the education of visitors.

Beyond the exhibit aspect, there are two other important elements:

Library: The library is the storehouse for small artifacts, books, photos and records. Its collection must be broader than the vehicle collection, since it will be used to place the vehicles in proper historical perspective relative to the rest of the world.

Gift Shop: The gift shop serves a major educational outreach function. Visitors to the museum see and experience much, but take away only what they can remember and what they buy in the gift shop in the form of books, photos, etc.

The collection, display and interpretation of exhibits, along with the function of the library and gift shop, will be considered separately in a "Museum Mission Statement" which will be prepared in connection with the remodelling of the carbarn to provide museum space. Thus the remainder of this document will be limited to vehicles.


Specific vehicles recommended for acquisition are on a separate list which may be revised from time to time without affecting these policies.

I. To acquire, restore and operate electric streetcars of the types used in Tucson.

GOAL: To have one representative of each of four types of cars used in Tucson.

RATIONALE: OPT was founded to bring back a portion of Tucson's history.

II. To acquire, restore and operate electric streetcars of the types used in other Arizona cities.

GOAL: To have at least one car typical of those which operated in the other four Arizona cities which had electric streetcar lines.

RATIONALE: OPT is the only transit museum in Arizona with sufficient trackage to operate multiple cars. Building and operating a streetcar line is such a massive undertaking that the smaller cities will not have their history represented unless OPT does it.

III. To acquire, restore and operate transit equipment propelled by means other than electric traction of the types used in Tucson.

GOAL: To have at least one vehicle from each transit company in each era of transit history.

RATIONALE: History is best interpreted and understood in context. There is a longer history of non-electric transit vehicles than electric. Also, motorbusses will serve a function in OPT's operation of a transportation system.

IV. To acquire, restore and operate transit equipment propelled by means other than electric traction of the types used in other Arizona cities.

GOAL: To have selected examples of vehicles used in cities besides Tucson, especially when they are of a different make or model than those used in Tucson. It is not OPT's goal to have a comprehensive collection from other cities as it is for Tucson.

RATIONALE: The same as for Policy III above.

STORAGE ALLOWED: Space permitting, OPT will allow "temporary" storage of busses or other transit vehicles which do not fit its acquisition policy, but which are acquired by OPT members or others, in order to preserve them for restoration and display by some other individual/group in the future.

V. To acquire, restore and operate a limited number of interpretive vehicles.

GOAL: To have other examples of the overall historical development of electric traction technology (including both passenger and mining/industrial), to aid in interpreting the broader use of that technology.

RATIONALE: History is best interpreted in context. Carefully chosen passenger vehicles operated in places other than Arizona, and equipment built for purposes other than carrying passengers, can greatly aid in the interpretation of the place of electric traction in history.

VI. To avoid the collection of standard intercity rail equipment.

RATIONALE: Even though many intercity trains carried passengers, intercity transportation is not generally considered "transit". Transit is usually taken to be much more local in nature. Thus intercity rail vehicles do not fit our primary collection purpose. Furthermore, they would take up more space to store, display, maneuver and operate than a central city location will allow.

STORAGE ALLOWED: Space permitting, OPT will allow "temporary" storage of standard rail equipment acquired by OPT members or others, in order to preserve it for restoration and display by a standard railway museum.

VII. To acquire under OPT's mission to operate a transportation system any vehicle in good running condition from anywhere in the world necessary to provide the transit service committed to by OPT, provided that no more than two vehicles may be acquired from a give North American city or foreign country, each of which shall be substantially different in its appearance.

RATIONALE: OPT's use of public funds for installation of the electric traction system and its role as an economic stimulus to Tucson's historic sections demands that it provide reliable, regular service which may not always be possible using historic/museum vehicles. However, since OPT's other mission is to illustrate and interpret transit history by examples of different types of vehicles, that purpose will be aided if there is substantial variety in the types of vehicles acquired.


First priority shall always be the acquisition, preservation and restoration of original vehicles used by Arizona transit properties. With reference to vehicles retired since World War II, only originals will be collected and restored, even if at substantially greater cost. However, non-originals may be collected for parts. Where originals are not available for vehicles retired before World War II, substitutes will be accepted. They must be substantially similar to those operated in Arizona. When substitutes are not available, replicas can be created.

Originals will be preserved in their entirety, even if at substantially greater cost and even if they can be used only for static display. They will not be used just for patterns with the original being thrown away and only the "replica" remaining.


It will not be OPT's policy to deaccess (i. e., sell or otherwise dispose of) vehicles which fit policies I-V unless an example is found in better condition. It shall be OPT's policy to deaccess any vehicle acquired under policy VII at such time as sufficient vehicles are available under policies I-V to meet its mission.

Return to Homepage