I was recently reminded by a Facebook memory of just how far Belmont Trolley has come.

Eight years ago, a small contingent of early Belmont Trolley supporters headed to Raleigh to pitch our idea of running vintage trolley cars on the old Piedmont & Northern rail line in downtown Belmont. While we were unsure of how the NCDOT Rail executives would react, we were excited and hopeful. To our surprise, our idea was well received and NCDOT agreed to support our efforts.

Eight years and thousands of volunteer hours later, we continue to have NCDOT’s support along with that of the City of Belmont, Gaston County and countless individuals, businesses and institutions. This support has, in many ways, kept us true to our vision and propelled us forward even when there were many hurdles facing us.

Today, we can truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Honestly, I’m not sure that if our small contingent of volunteers had known back then the herculean effort it would take to one day see trolleys running in Belmont, that everyone would have been on board. This has been and will continue to be a major effort on the part of many. However, one thing I have always known is that those original founders have proven in their professional and personal lives to never, ever quit.

We are now blessed to have many more talented members on our board, helping to achieve the goals set forth in those early days.

Those “pillars,” as we refer to them, are:

  1. Linking downtown Belmont to Belmont Abbey College, and beyond.
  2. Building a trolley barn in downtown Belmont, which will serve as an event center, public space and museum.
  3. Providing economic development to Belmont and the greater Gaston County.
  4. Providing educational and historical programs for the community and school-age children.
  5. Embracing and promoting the use of clean energy to power our fleet of trolleys.

What began as an idea to restore a small section of unused rail line in downtown Belmont, has grown into a vision for connectivity, economic development, walkability, celebration of our rich history, and being a pioneer of cutting-edge green technology.

Thank you for checking out Belmont Trolley. We look forward to using this space to engage with our community, and share the progress of this project.