Article From the Fall 2003 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


Your museum has once again been on the receiving end of the generosity of members, local companies and area residents during the past few months. They all are welcome additions to our collection and facility, and demonstrate a recognition of the value the community places on what we are about and what we do.

We’re indebted to Jeff Lader and North Ridge Glazing Co., Inc. for underwriting half the cost of new tempered safety glass for the windows on Philadelphia & Western car 161. When it arrived at NYMT seven years ago, 161 had smoked acrylic plastic windows. As part of our major refurbishment we decided to incorporate glass in the windows as the car was, of course, originally equipped that way. For safety reasons, we elected to use tempered glass—the kind that will break into harmless, tiny pieces if broken—but the cost would have been high. North Ridge saved us hundreds of dollars on this important part of our restoration of 161, and we appreciate their generous support. They even delivered the glass free!

Business Methods, Inc. of Rochester got a brief mention in the summer issue of HEADEND, but it bears repeating that they have donated a copier for our office needs, replacing the old one that was on its last legs. The new machine makes much better copies, and comes with a free maintenance contract that will keep our many forms, letters, signs, etc. looking crisp and neat, and we’ll spend less time struggling to make good copies, clear paper jams, etc. Thanks Mark McDowell!

Still more local companies helped out as we received a collection of 20 year’s worth of Rochester-Genesee Regional Transit Corporation annual reports, and several items from Alstom Signaling (formerly General Railway Signal Company). The latter included display stands for future exhibits, assorted parts and manuals pertaining to block signals and grade crossing protection, and a variety of office supplies. Among the components were several of the new light-emitting diode crossing flasher units. Also found in today’s traffic signals, a circuit board full of LEDs, connected in several sub-circuits, replaces the light-bulb-and-reflector in common use. Besides lowering maintenance costs by not having to replace light bulbs, these signals are safer—if a vandal were to shoot at the signal, the bullet would only break one of the dozen or more sub-circuits and the signal would still function.

Member Dick Barrett’s local company, Railroad Research Publications, made an offer in their catalogue last year whereby shoppers could request autographed copies of certain books and add $2 to their order, for the benefit of the NYMT archives. As a result of that effort, Dick recently sent us a check for $100, including his matching funds, and we thank him for his thoughtfulness. Dick has written and published numerous books, and they grace the shelves of the museum library. Among them are the authoritative "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting", in two massive volumes, and "Railroad Locks and Keys". These books are invaluable for the collector, and provide a thorough review of the many companies—including several in Rochester—involved in the railroad supply industry. Dick also published and distributes Mary Hamilton Dann’s locally-oriented books, "Rochester and Genesee Valley Rails" and "Upstate Odyssey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Western New York". For a catalogue or to place an order with Dick, give him a call at (585) 227-6903.

Dick Barrett also donated a cast iron "Rochester" station sign from the former New York Central station here, and a rare hand lantern from the Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway (see sidebar).

Good relations between members of the rail museum community brought us some good fortune in the last period. Member and longtime supporter of our electrification efforts Fred Perry alerted us some time back to a pair of surplus Tomlinson couplers at East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin. That outfit has a sister car to our P&W 161 and 168, and they had changed its couplers to match the rest of their fleet. The people at East Troy were willing to donate the couplers to NYMT so we could install them on one of our interurbans to mate with our P&W cars. Thanks go too to Charlie Lowe for making the long trip to the Dairy State to retrieve the couplers.

Our contact at Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut came through for us once again when we asked if he knew where we could get a couple of missing components for the 10 x 10 brake cylinder designated for Rochester streetcar 437. Bill Wall not only came up with a whole, complete brake cylinder, but offered to bring along a pair of carbody bolsters—just exactly what we need for our Northern Texas Traction Company interurban 409. As if that wasn’t enough, he delivered these goods on a trip through our area!

A vintage toy steam engine, some locally made Star Headlight electric carman’s lanterns, an Adams & Westlake kerosene switch lamp, a train station bench, and half a dozen rare destination signs from Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo interurban cars are also additions to our collection. We’re also grateful to Phil McCabe for making up a couple of "STOP" signs for the rail line approaches to the two terminals on our track car ride. One item that didn’t stay in our collection was a kerosene switch lamp in like-new condition and equipped with day targets. The story the donor gave us was that the lantern was retrieved from the old New York Central station when the Rochester Chapter, NRHS was evicted prior to demolition. Chapter members, having no permanent meeting place to move to, kept various items from their former club house at their homes for safe keeping. We were delighted to reunite the lantern with the current Chapter membership, and know it will find a good home at the Industry Depot.