Horses, trolley’s & diners; oh my!

Public transportation in Fresno started as a horse-car line, evolving to the streetcar era in the spring of 1887 on J Street, one of three lines in the young city. By 1901 the Fresno City Railway Company merged the three companies to become Fresno Traction Company. They converted the lines to electricity around 1903. These electric streetcars operated on approximately 42 miles of track by the mid-twenties. Streetcars became known as trolleys and ran in Fresno until 1939.
Some of the old tracks were still visible on city streets up to the 1960’s.

The electric streetcars were used until the transit company replaced them with buses. Once they were changed to buses, a few of the old trolley cars were turned into diners around town.

The last remaining trolley lives on S. Cherry Ave. near Broadway street. Constructed from two trolley cars; a 1912 Dragon and 1925 Birney model that were run by the Fresno Traction Co the trolley was remodeled into a cafe named Standard Diner, later known as Parker’s Trolley Car Diner. By 1969 it became a coffee shop called Trolley Car Carole’s later becoming simply The Trolley Car. Early in the 21st century, a new owner repainted the outside of the trolleys their original black, red and green colors while making other repairs. Unfortunately, the diner has not reopened but it is listed on Fresno’s Local Register of Historic Resources waiting for a new entrepreneur’s vision.


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