North Dakota’s Fort Lincoln Trolley Steams on in 2022
I'm not afraid to admit I was wrong.
Maybe because I have to do it all the darn time! Sometimes, I'm really more than happy to say I was way off on a story. This is one of those times. In June of 2021, all indicators were pointing to an end to the beloved Fort Lincoln Trolley.
Not so fast everybody.
To my credit, this was their statement on Facebook June 2021
“The Fort Lincoln Trolley has been a business that we have operated with pride since 1989, when we opened for the state centennial. It’s become harder to be able to continue being there daily as I get older,” said Jim Beck, owner-operator. “We will work with Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park to determine the best route forward later this year."
So now a year later following that statement, the Fort Lincoln Trolley has kicked off another season after riding out the COVID wave for several years. The land it seems has long been deeded to the State Park. Scanning the Fort Lincoln State website there is no reference to the trolley being added to the park service.
The trolley itself has always been separate from the park.
Did you know the trolley has never been a part of the park? I always assumed it was. Last year I found this at HeritageRail.org
The trolley is a for-profit enterprise founded by brothers Jim and John Beck. They retrieved the body of former Grand Forks, North Dakota single truck streetcar #102 (American car 1911). The car had been sold to Bismarck, North Dakota, probably in the 1920s, where it ran until abandonment in 1931.
Its body survived as a diner in Mandan until 1946. When the Becks found it in 1988, it was a dog kennel.
So the Beck brothers have been tirelessly building, rebuilding, and maintaining the operation all this time. It's easy to see why growing old with growing old machinery might have grown old on the Becks. Did they agree to one more year or has the trolley changed hands?
If so, they better have pretty darn mechanical hands.
Either way, it's great to have the Fort Lincoln Trolley once again running down the tracks.
Maybe me and my girl Brenda will take another trolley trip and remember fondly the time we rode the rails with her 100-year-plus Grandma Betty. She's with her Lord now but had surely fun that day. Me too.
There's not a whole lot of activity on their official Facebook page. Could be because the Becks are too busy keeping their baby on the tracks.