Article From the Winter 2002 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


The forlorn trolley car peering back at us in the picture on the next page was one of Rochesterís fleet of 1200-series Peter Witt streetcars, cars that were the mainstay of the system in its last years. After the 1941 abandonment of the cityís last streetcar lines, car 1246 was saved in the following year to become part of a permanent exhibit at the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences on East Avenue. Alas, World War II and altered priorities after the conflict led to the eventual decision to dispose of the car. An attempt to sell 1246 netted only one taker, a scrap company, and on March 30, 1950 the car left the museum property in pieces in exchange for $100 cash.

 Rochester "submarine" streetcar 1246 rests in retirement,
neglected and unwanted.                Howard J. Rowe photo

But wait! As many of our readers already know, that isnít the end of the story about Rochesterís Peter Witt cars. Sister car 1213 was saved as a cottage in Webster and eventually was picked up by Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The man in charge of the restoration work on 1213 is none other than Chris Perry, who helped us load out a truck full of trolley wire and overhead components last October (see Fall 2001 HEADEND), and whose father, Fred, has provided invaluable help with our ongoing electrification program.

The 1213 is undergoing major surgery, with a whole new frame and bolsters completed so far, and with the fragile body recently placed on the frame for further work. In order to assure accurate historical restoration, Chris tells us he had to master the riveting technique used on the original car. Thereís much more to be done before 1213, the only survivor of the Rochester submarine fleet, runs again. Weíre sure Seashore would appreciate any support it can get.

For our part, weíve forwarded to Chris copies of the above shot of 1246 and the other nine pictures in the set, for the detail they reveal. We are all indebted to Howard J. Rowe for having the foresight to record car 1246 from all angles (including a great top view!) before it was scrapped, and we are equally thankful for the generosity of his son, Howard, for arranging the donation of these pictures.


Chris Perry has a big job ahead of him in restoring
1246ís sister car 1213 at Seashore Trolley museum.