The New York Museum Of Transportation

New York State Railways 
Rochester & Eastern Line
Car 157

Rebuilding the Trolley Car

Restoration work on 157 was initiated soon after arriving at the New York Museum of Transportation, and has continued on an as-time-permits basis. Photographs of Car 157 at various points in time are displayed below with appropriate captions.

The one 100 watt light bulb in the destination sign was replaced with 3 low-wattage bulbs to spread out the lighting effect throughout the sign, as it was intended to be. New side bearings: When 157 was sold for use as a cottage, all under-car equipment was removed, including the car bolster side bearings. These are located at both sides of both front and rear car bolsters, and prevent the car from swaying and tipping on uneven track, curves and at high speeds. We wanted to have side bearings on 157 before it was reopened to the public as a safety measure. I had a friend of mine go to Western Railway Museum in California and photograph the side bearings on their four Niles cars (157 was built by Niles in 1914). One of the cars had the bolt pattern I had found in 157's car bolster, so I designed side bearings based on that style of side bearing. We had the bent steel supports and the four curved wear plates manufactured at a local steel fabrication shop in Rochester. This past winter, I squeezed in place between the trucks and the car body to bolt the side bearings in place.

New Japanese-Baldwin trucks. These trucks were built in Japan to Baldwin plans. The only major difference between these trucks and Baldwin trucks that were built in the U.S. is that the brake rigging and brake shoes are "outside hung," or outside the wheels. These trucks were obtained several years ago for car 157, and placing them under the car in 2002 permitted trading the car's previous trucks to Western Railway Museum for a pair of streetcar trucks with motors. The trucks now under 157 are complete with motors and are ready to run.   New walkway between cars: When the broad-gauge trucks were moved from under 157, we were forced to remove the old walkway. We kept this walkway closed through 2002 as we were moving trucks and cars across this crossing at various times. This past winter, work began on replacing the walkway. As this was in progress, the cottage flooring was being removed from 157 to expose the car's original floor. To eliminate a disposal problem and to minimize cost, we reused the cottage flooring from 157 as the surfacing for the new crossing. Bob Miner performed most of the work of building this crossing; Tony Mittiga helped out, too.

New walkway between cars: In the new grade crossing, the bricks in front of sweeper C-130 were retained. The new walk leads directly to the passenger doorway on 157. A 5'-long track extension on both 157's and 107's tracks has permitted moving both cars forward slightly, increasing the width of the walkway a few feet.   : New entrance steps into 157. One of the first areas we tackled after getting 157 onto its new trucks was to revise the visitor entrance into the car. Previously, a set of wooden steps was used to access the car. By bolting an available set of car steps in place, an authentic entrance into the car begins the visitor experience of car 157's interior. Repairs were also made to the steel trap door so that it would be held securely in place. Randy Bogucki offered some very needed assistance on this project.

C6 controller on front platform. We were given this master controller by Dave Johnston of Western Railway Museum several years ago. It is the exactly correct master controller for car 157. I was able to find the original holes on the front cab's floor and used them to mount this controller in its correct location.     Exposed original door with motor hatches: To be able to access the motors on 157's new trucks, it was decided to remove the car's "cottage" flooring so the motor hatches could be opened. The transversely-laid tongue-and-groove flooring was mostly removed by Paul Monte over the past winter. This flooring was resued on the walkway at the rear of car 157. Of special interest is the ORIGINAL green paint that shows up in this photograph. It is on the rear platform of the car, but is hard to see in the dim lighting inside the car house.

Hole repaired in floor of main seating area: When car 157 was a cottage, it had been placed on a cinder block foundation. Access to the area under the car was by means of a hatch in the main seating compartment. When the hatch was made, several steel frame members were cut and removed. These had never been repaired in the 29 years the car had been at NYMT. To insure visitor safety, the hole was patched using original-style materials. First, new steel frame sections were cut and bolted in place under the flooring. The car's flooring, composed of 7/8"-thick x 2-1/2"-wide tongue-and-groove boards, was cut back to the nearest transverse support. This hole was then patched with custom-made flooring matching the original material.   Two of four seats now installed. As a final flurry of activity, four seats were installed in the front of the main seating compartment. These are fixed (that is, non-walkover) seats. Since 157 was a single-end car, more expensive walkover seats were not originally installed in the car. The seats were are using in 157 are rattan covered and probably came from a streetcar. The slightly smaller size of these seats as compared to 157's original seats has required the used of shimming blocks. Just about enough of these seats are on hand to reseat 157.

Contactor box for 157. In a recent trade with Shore Line Trolley Museum, we have just obtained the correct Type M control group for car 157. Also obtained were the reverser, and overlead relay and several switches. This puts car 157 one step closer to being placed in operational condition someday.   In addition to the contactor box, the other major item recently obtained in the trade with Shore Line Trolley Museum is this reverser, again the correct style part for 157. This device can be used to reverse the current to the car's motors, allowing it to be operated in reverse as needed.

Photos courtesy of Charles Lowe

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