After over a decade out of service, historic rail trolleys have returned to downtown Galveston

The trolleys sustained severe damage when Hurricane Ike made landfall in Sept. 2008

Galveston Island Trolley
Galveston Island Trolley (City of Galveston)

Electric trolleys first made their debut in Galveston back in 1891 and remained in service until 1938. Fifty years later in 1988, a heritage streetcar system, the Galveston Island Trolley, was opened and continued to operate downtown until September 13, 2008, when Hurricane Ike severely damaged all four of the vintage trolley cars.

The charming vintage trolley cars were repaired and will soon return to service.

“We’ve been looking forward to the return of the beloved trolleys since they were damaged in Hurricane Ike and are thrilled the public will soon be able to ride them once again,” Mayor Craig Brown said in an announcement. “There is no better way to see the historic architecture of downtown Galveston and visit the restaurants and shops than by streetcar.”

After over a decade out of service, the trolley cars will resume operating Friday, Oct. 1. The trolley will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During its debut weekend, trolley rides will be free. Going forward, trolley rides will cost $1 for adults. Children accompanied by an adult can ride for free. Riders must bring exact change to place in the fare box; drivers do not have the ability to make change for riders. The trolleys pass each stop on the trolley route approximately every 30 minutes.

The City of Galveston celebrated the return of the trolleys with a special event on Oct. 1, where the public had the opportunity to tour the inside of a trolley.

“The trolley restoration project has been a long time in the works and we’re ready to have the public enjoying them again,” City Manager Brian Maxwell said. “We’d like to thank all of our partners who worked with us to bring back the trolleys, including TXDOT and the Federal Transportation Agency.”


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.