By Deb Reichmann
MYERSVILLE, MD. -- Like a ghost from the early 1900s, trolley car No. 150 slides silently along the former Hagerstown & Frederick Railway route that runs through C. Donald Easterday's back yard.
It is not really moving. Because of an illusion, the 75-year-old trolley with peeling aqua paint appears to be gliding along tracks where Easterday has showcased his piece of transportation history.
The best place to spot the illusion is from a hill on his 30-acre property near Myersville. Like a child with a new toy, the 59-year-old Frederick County Farm Bureau administrator drives his visitor in a golf cart down the trolley roadbed and up the hillside.
"I've had quite a number of people who say, 'Look at that trolley. It's moving,' " Easterday said. "I think they realize that it isn't. It's our position in relationship to the waiting station and the trolley. As we move, it gives the illusion that the trolley is moving too."
The Hagerstown & Frederick Railway was typical of hundreds of electric trolley systems across the United States beginning in the 1880s.
The trolley system, founded in 1893, linked Hagerstown and Frederick with Shady Grove, Pa., and the Western Maryland communities of Williamsport, Beaver Creek, Boonsboro, Braddock Heights, Jefferson, Middletown, Myersville and Thurmont.
Ridership on the trolley system started to wane in the late 1920s as more automobiles brought about better roads. Freight traffic, however, remained steady.
"It carried a lot of cantaloupes from Boonsboro to market," Easterday said.
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