Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
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Seattle, WA 98104
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Retired - AM General 900 series trolley Bus

Metro retires last of a long-lived trolley fleet

AM General 900 trolley

March 27, 2003 marked the end of an era in local bus travel, as King County Metro Transit retired the last of its AM General 900 series trolley buses.

For 24 years, these 40-foot buses traveled on overhead wires up Seattles hills, down its valleys, and across the flats. The last trips for this trolley series were made on Thursday, March 27 on Route 10 between 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. And, in keeping with a public transit tradition dating back to the early days of streetcars, the very last run was filled with veteran operators and long-time riders.

Although it was retired, the AMG 900 series will live on because the propulsion systems from 100 of the old trolleys have been rebuilt and installed in the new, state-of-the-art electric buses that began serving the public in 2002.

"Weve been calling it the ultimate recycling project," said Metro General Manager Rick Walsh. "Reusing the propulsion systems saved us about $200,000 per coach, or $20 million for the purchase of 100 trolleys. The AMGs will be gone, but not forgotten."

When the AMGs went into service in 1979, they replaced trolley buses built in the 1940s. They were also the first new trolley buses built in the United States since the 1950s.

Driver Mike Freund operated the last AMG in regular Metro service. The final run left Volunteer Park at 15th Avenue East and East Galer Street at 2:07 p.m. The public was welcome to ride along until the trolley reached First Avenue and Union Street at approximately 2:29 p.m.

One of the AMGs not being used for the rebuild project will be placed in the King County Metro historic fleet. It is being repainted and spruced up before joining other historic buses in the rolling museum. A special public trip is being arranged by Metro Employees Historic Vehicle Association (MEHVA) for fans of the AMGs. A date has not yet been set, but information will be posted on the MEHVA [external link] web site, and on the telephone hotline number 206-684-1816.

Updated: Mar. 17, 2003