Article From the Summer 2002 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


Over the past few months, several artifacts from the Rochester and Eastern and the Rochester and Syracuse interurbans have been added to the NYMT collection. With the rural trolley lines of New York State now having been gone from the scene for over 70 years, the discovery of interurban artifacts is an increasingly rare event.

Perhaps most unusual is a wood railroad tie that survived along the R&E roadbed for many decades. Placed on the R&E in the early 1900’s, this rot-resistant cedar tie measures 8" wide by 6" thick by 8’-0" long. As with most railroads of the era, tie plates were not used on the R&E, and cut marks from the lower flanges of the rails are still visible on the top surface of the tie. Recovered during housing construction along the former R&E roadbed near Pittsford in 1996, this tie has been placed on display under the R&E picture board in the NYMT exhibit hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of heavy construction on the R&E on July 10, 1902.

Ongoing highway construction along the route of the R&S in Fairport and Palmyra has yielded a few artifacts from this important interurban. State Street in Fairport has had its former R&S double-track completely removed. A New York Central siding that crossed the R&S in State Street also had its last remains removed. Spikes obtained from this site show that the R&S used spikes beveled in two directions in the same era that the New York Central used spikes beveled in one direction, forming a chisel-like point. The latter type spike remains in wide use today. Palmyra’s Main Street is being rebuilt and a short rail sample and a spike were obtained from this project.
Charlie Lowe has placed the tie just below the map board
that features photos along the R&E route from Rochester to Geneva
Ted Thomas photo
The spike is a dual-beveled spike as was found in Fairport. The rail section will be measured so that the rail weights given in various histories of the line can be confirmed. The spikes and the rail sample will be placed on display once the present truck-moving projects in the exhibit hall are completed.