Article From the Fall 2003 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


When Dick Barrett donated his rare Rochester & Eastern trainman’s lantern recently, he told us the circumstances surrounding its acquisition. In Dick’s words:

Wallace Bradley was a well known local railfan from the 1940s through the late 1970s. He and I became acquainted in the 1970s when we both moved to the town of Gates. Wally would often make the walk to my house (a distance of probably 1 ½ to 2 miles) and we would spend hours talking about trains, trolleys and interurbans. He was very knowledgeable on western New York railways and I, a transplant from New England, was eager to learn. Our friendship grew rapidly and I loved the hours we spent together. But, after several years, he and his family moved back into Rochester and our visits became more telephone oriented and less in person. Wally was much older than I, and there came a time when his health began to fail. I later learned that he had cancer and the prognosis was not good.

One evening I got a call from Wally. He said he was confined to bed and alone in the house. He wanted to know if I could come over because he had something he wanted to give me. He explained that it was a lantern, one of the last pieces of hardware left in his collection. It was a lantern from the Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway. He told me where to find it in the garage and asked me to tap on his window after I found it so that he would know that I had found it. I followed his instructions and easily located the lantern. After getting it, I tapped on his window, he looked up from his bed and smiled and waved at me, then laid back down. I then left with the lantern. It was only a few weeks later that I learned that Wally had died.

Ever since then, I have considered myself a caretaker for that lantern. I have now reached a point in my life where I think that the lantern deserves to be appreciated by more people than can view it in one person’s private collection. Because of this, I am now donating it to the New York Museum of Transportation in the hope that it will be displayed in close proximity to Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway car number 157.