Hi-Rail Bucket Truck

Overhead Superintendent Rob Drye uses our new to us hi-rail Bucket Truck to make adjustments to our overhead wire on the main line.

Amount Successfully Raised: $24,000

Our new to us Hi-Rail Bucket Truck was acquired after a 4-year effort on September 24, 2020, following the second successfully completed fundraising campaign for one of our New Direction 5-Year Strategic Plan projects.

Our operational line car, number 4 from the Claremont (NH) Railway, is around 110 years old, in generally good condition with a nice platform. It is very tight inside, requiring an agile crew. Number 4’s work platform swings out about four feet over the edge of the car and can be raised to about 18 feet. The other line cars in the collection are out of service and are not good candidates for rebuilding as work vehicles.

The museum also owns a few line trucks from Boston in various states. The most recently used platform truck is showing its age, and does not have hi-rail capability (which would allow it to operate on rails). None of the other trucks could be brought back into service quickly with the resources available.

After we secured funds for our hi-rail bucket truck, we went shopping. It turns out that hi-rail trucks are hard to find, and hi-rail bucket trucks even harder (young generations use the term to describe these items “unicorn”), and are often in very rough shape.

Working with a dealer in Tennessee, we eventually settled on an ex-Norfolk Southern signal department bucket truck. A generous member donated the purchase cost. We were able to arrange shipping to avoid COVID travel issues and the truck arrived in even better condition than we had hoped.

With two vehicles, one of which has long reach and both on- and off-rail capability, we should be able to attack overhead projects we could only think about before. There are some places the truck can’t go due to curves, so we’re not giving up No. 4 yet!

The hi-rail bucket truck has joined our non-accessioned work vehicle fleet, and has been heavily utilized by our Overhead Department to complete several projects and initiatives on our railroad and around campus. Overall, the addition of the Hi-Rail Bucket Truck has made the challenging job of maintaining our railroad and campus safer and easier.

Thank you to the following donors, who contributed to the purchase of the Hi-Rail Bucket Truck and transportation costs from Tennessee to Seashore Trolley Museum:


Rob Drye

James van Bokkelen


Funds to support Seashore’s efforts to maintain our hi-rail bucket truck and our Overhead Infrastructure can be designated to Fund 911R.