ROCHESTER STREETCARS No. 24 in a series

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by Charles R. Lowe

While Rochester Railway Company (and successor New York State Railways) was well-known for its car rebuilding, the company also built a few complete cars. Built in 1906 at Rochester Railway’s St. Paul Street shops, car 516 joined identical Rochester-built cars 510-514 constructed in 1904 (510-513) and 1905 (514). The 510-series cars, duplicates of the Brill 500-509 cars delivered to Rochester in 1904, augmented the Rochester city streetcar fleet at a time when traffic was growing and the company’s old single-truck cars were becoming ever more worn out and undesirable.
    New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 516
                               Original negative owned by Charles Lowe

Since most Rochester Railway lines did not have loops until the mid-1910s, the 510 cars were build as double-end cars. The 30’-2" car body accommodated 40 seats; including front and rear platforms, the cars were 44’-6" in length. Cars 510, 511 and 514 received Taylor S.B. (Swing Bolster) trucks while 512, 513 and 516 rode on Brill 27G trucks. All six cars had four General Electric 54 motors, each rated at 25 horsepower. K12R controllers, a very common type of controller on Rochester’s streetcars, were placed on each platform of all 510-series cars. Originally, these cars had hand brakes only; straight air brakes were added about 1912-1913 when most Rochester cars were so upgraded. The 510-series cars were modernized in 1918 (510-514) and 1922 (516) by having platforms opened to the car body and by being repainted from yellow into New York State Railways’ new green-and-cream color scheme.

Cars 510-514 closed out their careers as two-man double-end rear-entrance-rear-exit cars, but 516 received further upgrades in 1929 when it was one-manned but remained a double-end car. Safety automatic air brakes, which would stop the car automatically should the motorman become disabled, were installed. Doors at the right-rear and front-left corners of the car were sealed, permitting the car operation to be changed to front-entrance-front-exit so the motorman could collect fares. White safety stripes were added on car sides for higher visibility, and a white safety sunburst design was applied to both ends of the car. "Front Entrance" designations were painted on dashes near doors to alert the traveling public as to what style car they would be riding in. Thus prepared for the onslaught of the Great Depression, car 516 survived in active service as a shuttle car. From about 1930 to 1933, car 516 (and 517, also rebuilt as a one-man, FEFE car) saw service on the Glen Haven line from East Main Station down to Irondequoit Bay. When this line was abandoned in 1933, car 516 (and, again, car 517) saw continued use on the Durand Stub from Durand Junction on the Seabreeze line, just south of Seabreeze Park, to the bath house in Durand-Eastman Park. As seen in our present view, car 516 is waiting in the yard at East Main Station for another day of service, probably on the Durand Stub line. This last assignment ended on August 23, 1936 when the Durand Stub was finally abandoned. Car 516 was scrapped soon thereafter.

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