ROCHESTER STREETCARS No. 27 in a series

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In the years after 1900, when interurban trolley lines began reaching out from Rochester, freight-carrying trolley cars were often seen on the streets of Rochester. Our present photo shows a typical interurban freight motor, New York State Railways’ car 926. Used on the 44-mile run to Canandaigua and Geneva, car 926 and sister car 925 were built in 1903 by Jewett Car Company of Newark, Ohio. The cars’ 52-foot lengths contained an ample freight compartment of 1,975 cubic feet; the large center doors were used to reach this area. The cars were listed as being single-ended in the company’s 1927 equipment chart, so the front pole undoubtedly is for backing moves on sidings. This permitted use of a trailing pole even when backing, thereby minimizing the dangers of a dewirement during such a move. The 925-926 cars were used to haul freight trailers 960 and 961, and the air brakes on all these cars were arranged so that the motorman on the lead motor car could actuate the brakes on the freight trailer being hauled. It must have been an interesting sight seeing one of the line’s freight motors rumbling along with a trailer in tow.


         New York State Railways, Rochester & Eastern 926
     Photo by George Slyford, orig. neg. owned by Shelden King

The 925-926 cars also carried passengers. During a rebuilding in 1913, a handful of seats were added. This was during years of great prosperity on the R&E, and most passenger trains were jammed with riders. Placement of seats on the freight cars allowed riders another run to take advantage of, even if it was much slower than a regular passenger run. The seats appear to have been removed during another general rebuilding in 1927.

Freight trains made regular runs on the R&E every day, and were well patronized even in the line’s latter days when passenger traffic was slowly dropping off. After the cessation of R&E service on August 1, 1930, the passenger cars were stored at East Main Station, but car 926, at least, made its way to the Rochester Subway car house as our photo proves. Here, Rochester railfan George Slyford has preserved an image of 926, framed perfectly amidst the forest of poles at the Subway car house. The year is probably 1932, and 926 has been out of work for two years. In but a few months, car 926 will be off the NYSR property and apparently scrapped. But for one last brief moment, 926 bravely has white flags flying and seems ready for yet another run.