ROCHESTER STREETCARS No. 15 in a series

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by Charles R. Lowe


N. Y. S. Rys., Roch. Lines 1015                                       photo by George Slyford


The sunny Sunday morning of August 16, 1936 has brought George Slyford with his camera and car 1015 with its motorman together at Hudson loop. All have traveled to the northwest corner of Hudson Avenue and Norton Street. Here, friendly motormen could be counted upon to position their cars for railfan photographs. On this day, Slyford has induced a veteran motorman to place his car with front and right side in blazing sunlight. As a final touch, the motorman himself completes the picture. With less than two weeks remaining before buses replaced streetcars on the Hudson line, perhaps both men recognized that this scene was soon to be but a memory.

This close-up view is exceptionally clear in its details except, of course, for the colors used. What a shame that Kodachrome© slide film was not generally available for another two years! Research with remaining Rochester city car bodies has revealed much about the colors used on Rochester city cars in the 1930s. The dark color below the windows was olive green. Pin striping here was " wide and was a rich golden yellow; car numbers at ends and sides (under second and second-to-last side windows) were also of this color. Window frames were a light yellow cream. Window sashes and doors were painted a mahogany-like reddish brown color. Roof canvas was painted barn red. On sides under the drip rail was a white safety stripe with a " wide fire truck red pin stripe. Just inside this pin stripe, a "Safety First, Be Careful" logo in an octagon was placed near entrance doors, in the same red as the pin striping. The panel between the tops of windows and the canvas roof was the olive green main body color. The front entrance sign was white letters on a fire truck red background. Destination signing was white letters on a dark blue background. The headlight case was black, and the adjacent sunburst safety design was white.

Some questions remain for future research. Trucks and under-car equipment are assumed to be black. The fender and front bumper probably were olive green, but may very well have been black. Train numbers (902 in this case) and window lettering are of colors unknown for now. What is known is that Rochester city cars of the 1930s certainly were colorful and presented an almost circus-like appearance. No wonder Slyford wanted to record car 1015.




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