ROCHESTER STREETCARSNo. 23 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
Today’s Lake-Park bus line dates to the streetcar era. After the mass abandonments of August, 1936, the traditional Lake-Monroe streetcar line was broken so that Monroe could be through-routed with Clinton North. Clinton South, formerly through-routed with Clinton North, had been one of the August, 1936 casualties. Park was available for linking with Lake as the Park line had been looped in downtown Rochester for several years; Oak Street had been serving as Park’s downtown terminal. All through these years, though, Park’s outer terminal had been on the short section of East Avenue between Colby Street and
New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 1008 Photo by Al Gilcher
Winton Road. In early years, double-ended cars had used a crossover track on East Avenue just west of Winton Road. A loop built in 1916 at the northeast corner of the intersection of East Avenue and Probert Street was situated about midway between Colby Street and Winton Road.
In our May 15, 1937 view of the Probert Street loop, car 1008 (Kuhlman, 1913; Shop Order 558) is ready to leave for a run to Kodak Park, halfway out the Lake line. This was one of several cut-back services offered on the inner portions of some lines. New York City railfan Al Gilcher made this photo, an original print of which is in NYMT’s archives. On his trip to Rochester, Gilcher was accompanied by Utica railfan Bob Gurley. Gurley’s photo, showing more area to the left of the car, includes the waiting benches, the sand box (for replenishing sand boxes on the cars) and the motorman refreshing himself with a swig from what we hope is a water bottle.
Sadly, all in this photo is long gone. The Park streetcars were replaced with buses on August 10, 1937 (last full day was on the 9th), and all the buildings seen in the background have been replaced by the parking lot for the East Avenue Wegmans grocery store. One vestige of the old remains, though. Buses of Regional Transit Service’s Park line, operated on virtually the same route as that of the streetcars, terminate nearly all outbound runs near the Probert loop site by using Probert Street, University Avenue (where the layover point is located) and Winton Road before returning to East Avenue for the next inbound run.