The New York Museum Of Transportation
New York State Railways
Rochester & Eastern Line
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
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
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
Photos courtesy of Charles Lowe