ROCHESTER STREETCARSNo. 29 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
As part of a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of operations on the Rochester and Eastern, we continue our look at the rolling stock of this line.
One would be hard pressed to find a Rochester streetcar that performed more faithfully than Rochester and Eastern's work car 0205, originally car 0. Throughout the entire life of the R&E, and for several decades thereafter, work car 0205 reliably could be counted upon for a great variety of tasks. Whether called out to haul a work train, handle a snow plow run or tow a few freight cars, 0205 always seemed equal to the task. In his history of the R&E, Gordon lists the R&E as the builder of car 0 in 1903; other sources remain
New York State Rochester & Eastern Line 0205
Official NYSR photo
silent, however. Literature from 1903 indicates that a "work car" was ordered from Jewett Car Company (Newark, Ohio) in 1903 along with two freight and express cars (later cars 925 and 926). Perhaps the R&E assembled parts from Jewett along with the trucks ordered from Barney and Smith (Dayton, Ohio) and electrical components from General Electric (Schenectady, N.Y.). As originally built, car 0 had a large cab on one end and a very small cab on the other. An open flat car surface was in between the two cabs. In our present photo, a company photo made at East Main Station in the 1920s, the end of the original large cab can be seen next to the glazed window under the raised trolley pole's base.
Work car 0 aided in the construction of the R&E, figuring in the spectacular crash of June 12, 1904 just east of Seneca Castle just before the R&E was opened to Geneva. Several R&E officers, inspecting the new line, were injured in the wreck; president William B. Comstock sustained injuries that may have brought on his death less than a year later. About 1907, car 0 was renumbered 0205 as Rochester Railway Company, Rochester and Sodus Bay and R&E rosters were consolidated after New York Central obtained all these properties. Figuring in another accident, this time at Woods Crossing (Lower Fishers Road, on March 8, 1912), 0205 sustained extensive damage. The body may have been lengthened at this time; photographs indicate this was done by 1917. A reconstruction in 1927 was probably a general renewal of the car's well-worn components.
After the cessation of R&E service in 1930, 0205 was transferred to the Rochester Subway. Its rebuilding in 1932 permitted continued use as a second trolley locomotive on the Subway, car L-1 being the line's primary locomotive. Over the next several decades, 0205 would often be used to shift standard steam railroad freight cars between the several roads using the Subway for interchange purposes as well as for spotting cars on the numerous sidings at businesses along the Subway. Passenger service on the Subway ended in 1956 when much of the line’s right-of-way was consumed by the city's growing expressway system. Electric freight service lasted until August 31, 1957 at which time the Subway's freight services were taken over by the affected railroads and all electric cars were retired. Scrapping of the Subway's remaining cars in 1958 sadly included 0205. A last remnant, the car's bell, which itself had been salvaged from a Glen Haven line steam locomotive in the 1890s, survived the scrapping and is now owned by the Rochester Museum and Science Center.