The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation

Spring 2003


Spring is a time of renewal for us all as we come out of hibernation and look forward to warm sunshine and the many activities that the coming summer makes possible. It’s true in our own lives and it’s just as true at the museum, as we gear up for a busy season of track car rides, special events, maintenance and restoration efforts.

But looking forward can have a longer view as well. The Fall 2000 issue of HEADEND took a look at our status on the occasion of the museum’s 25th anniversary and suggested readers imagine the NYMT of the future. Shortly after that, the Board of Trustees adopted the following Vision statement to help guide us to that future. Take a look. We’ve been happy to report significant progress along these lines, and there’s much more to do. Tell us what you think. Better yet, join the active ranks of museum volunteers and help make this vision a reality.


From our earliest days, honoring transportation history of our part of the country has led us to embrace many forms of transport. We will continue to include horse-drawn vehicles, highway vehicles, and trolley and railroad vehicles in our collection. We will also continue to accumulate paper goods and small artifacts relating to these many forms of land transportation, and to use them to interpret the evolution of transportation modes over time.


Operated solely by volunteers, our museum is currently open Sundays only, all year, as well as by appointment for group visits during other days of the week. Our vision for the future includes being open more days of the week in order to better accommodate area residents, and to attract more tourists passing through the Rochester-Monroe County area.

Someday more than group tours will visit us on weekdays.


We will add vehicles to our collection in order to more completely describe the evolution and technical development of the various transportation modes, and to maintain a full complement of exhibits when vehicles are removed from exhibition for restoration. For example, we expect to be able to exhibit a mid-1950’s transit bus in order to better connect our present buses with our early twentieth century streetcars.

Transit buses are the successors to our city’s trolley cars.


A full interpretation of transportation history naturally includes demonstration, something that is unique to us among Rochester-area museums and that has a special appeal to museum visitors. The future joint museum complex will be able to offer rides and demonstrations with motor vehicles, horse-drawn vehicles, steam locomotive-hauled trains, and a full array of trolley equipment including both streetcars and interurbans.


We will extend our overhead trolley wire to provide service between our museum and that of our partners, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, at the far end of our joint rail line. A secure power substation will be constructed for safe and reliable power supply.

Recently installed poles will allow us to extend the trolley wire
over our rail line            Charles Lowe photo

Our museum will enhance its capacity to handle large groups, bus tours, and major events by enlarging parking and restroom and food facilities. We will extend covered storage and display areas to accommodate more vehicles. We will add open space for lectures, trade shows, special events, and private parties.


We will continue to add to our library of slide talks for presentation to community groups off-site; work with area teachers to more precisely align our group visit agenda with transportation modules being taught in schools; be available for high school and college student class assignments and for scout projects; and entertain historic research inquiries. We will also place our archive of historic photographs on the Internet for wider research availability.


We will continue the growth in membership that we have enjoyed in recent years, by providing attractive benefits to local families as well as accomplishments in historical restoration worthy of support from around the nation.


We can’t be open to serve the public without the help of ordinary people like you who answer the call to sell tickets and staff the Gift Shop on Sundays. It’s Marie Miner who does the calling, and we wouldn’t be open without her either!

Marie is desperate for your help, as the number of willing and able volunteers has been dropping lately. Please consider offering your services even if it can only be a few Sundays during the year. Perhaps a wife can come out and help while her man is busying himself on a restoration project, or Dad can join us while Mom and the kids are helping demonstrate the model railroad. Marie’s appeal letter follows. Read it and make her day by calling her…now… to volunteer!

Dear members of NYMT and NRHS:

As you may or may not know the number of people who are willing to work in the Gift Shop has dwindled considerably. As of this writing we are down to 8 women and men who are still able to contribute some of their time. This past winter the list went down to 3.

During the season from May to October we need at least two people to run the Gift Shop and sell tickets. It's not a hard job and training is available, plus you will be working with an experienced person. All this calls for is a few hours of your time once or twice a month, or more if you are so inclined.

Please, consider helping your museums in this way, for without a ticket and Gift Shop crew, we could not operate. Both museums benefit monetarily during our joint season. This is not just run by NYMT. Several of us belong to both organizations and a few to one or the other.

So let's make this a true team effort with NRHS and NYMT both represented. Track car operators get your wife or a friend interested in helping on the days you are driving. If you don't already serve, consider ticket selling as your contribution to having a successful season.

Call Marie Miner at 671-3589 to volunteer your time in the Gift Shop. DO IT NOW!


We’ll be kicking off the summer track car season with our annual homage to the museum’s restored Rochester Subway speeder "Casey Jones". This year will be special, as Casey’s restorer and guiding light, Gary Morse, will be giving a formal training course to volunteers interested in getting certified in its operation.

Readers will recall that Gary took on the restoration of this unique vehicle…one of very few track cars from the Northwestern Motor Company in restored operating condition…when his interest was piqued by the car’s Ford Model T engine and transmission. Gary had plenty of experience fixing up discarded Model T’s for fun back in his teen years, and that knowledge paid off for us in a great restoration effort. We make sure the track car is operated each year, and Gary is arranging a hands-on training session to pass the correct Model T operating technique on to a younger generation.

The only Rochester Subway survivor in operating condition gets
ready for another day of demo runs.

Members interested in getting certified on Casey should call the museum at 533-1113 and leave a message to that effect. The training is currently planned for Tuesday afternoon, May 13. We’ll start at 4 p.m.

Here’s a rundown on events for this summer season. Be sure to mark your calendar and plan to be with us for all the fun!

May 18 (Sunday) – "The Return of Casey Jones" (and start of Track car ride season) We launch the 2003 track car ride season by featuring demonstration runs throughout the day of the fully restored Rochester Subway "Casey Jones" track car, with its smooth-running model T Ford power plant.

July 13 (Sunday) – "Model Boat, Steam & Gas Engine Rally" Miniature models of steam engines spin and whirl just like their real counterparts of long ago, while ultra-realistic scale model tug boats and navy ships depict life at sea.

August 23 & 24 (Sat. & Sun.) – "Diesel Days" A two-day celebration of diesel locomotives features six operating engines of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, including visitor rides on the diesels and in cabooses

October 26 (Sunday) – Last day of track car rides, but we’ll be open all year; "Bring Your Own Train" starts in January ’04!

ROCHESTER STREETCARS  ············· No. 26 in a series
˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

by Charles R. Lowe

All through the streetcar era, crew members would pose with their cars for photographers. Prints were sold to the car’s crew members so they might show friends their occupation. Large prints would be made for display in albums or frames. In the early 1900s, contact prints were made on sensitized postcard paper. After 1930, railfans who were busily photo-documenting interurbans and streetcars before they disappeared entirely sometimes asked crew to pose in front of their car. Unfortunately, in nearly all of such views, the names of the crewmen are now lost.

Our present view is a very early car-and-crew view from,
Rochester City & Brighton RR Co. 46            NYMT collection

probably, the late 1880s. What really makes this scene unusual is that the name of the driver and a bit of information about him have survived. His name was Michael J. Eagan, and he served Rochester City & Brighton Railroad Co. and successor Rochester Railway Co. until his death in 1909. At that point, he was second in length of service of employment. Writes Mrs. Thomas L. (Joan) Cavanaugh, who provided this scene to NYMT, Eagan at one point "had some demerits but got to work on a bad snow day and they [the company] dismissed them all!"

We also know a lot about the scene itself. The oval holes on the wheel bearing pedestals are a giveaway that this car was produced by the John Stephenson Company of New York City. The car is posed on the turntable in Mt. Hope Avenue that was used to turn horsecars at the end of the line, and it is ready for a northbound run into Rochester. It looks like a cold winter day as Eagan is dressed to withstand any weather on his open front platform. Horsecar drivers, forced to control their horses with reins, had no alternative to working in such intolerable conditions, but within a decade of the appearance of electric streetcars in 1889, platforms were enclosed to provide humane working conditions for crew.

The days of horsecars on the streets of Rochester were numbered when this photograph was made. In 1890, Rochester City & Brighton Railroad was succeeded by Rochester Railway Company. This latter company proceeded to electrify Rochester’s streetcar system, beginning in 1890 with the important South and Lake line. An overhead trolley wire was built and new cars ordered during the summer of 1890. On October 28, a trial run over the Lake line was successfully conducted, and regular service with electric cars began the next day. On November 29, with overhead construction on the South line completed, horsecars were withdrawn over the entire Lake-South line in favor of the new electric cars.


Wyle E. Coyote decides to be sure the "Acme Professional-Grade Roadrunner Cannon" will work right, so he turns it around, points it at himself, and pulls the trigger. Blam! That’s what your editor feels like in this issue of HEADEND as he (finally) turns the Volunteer Spotlight on himself and pushes the power button on his computer….

Jim Dierks has always liked "big things that move". His mother still recalls how she worried about her little toddler wanting to stand so close to the big drivers on the Milwaukee Road 4-6-4’s that brought Dad out from Chicago on the evening commuter trains. When the Milwaukee wasn’t at work permanently wiring Jim’s brain, the South Shore, Illinois Central, Chicago Transit Authority, and the North Shore all connived to reinforce the effect. Hmm…those last four all operated under wire…

It wasn’t just trains that captured your editor’s youthful interest. In the post-WWII expansion of suburbs like Glenview, Illinois, a lot of trucks found their way down Henley Street and into the back alley, delivering among other products those distinctive Chicago-area yellow bricks (some made at the brick factory just north of Glenview, alongside the Milwaukee mainline). Big war surplus 10-wheel dump trucks groaned by, and Jim remembers being fascinated by the way the earth would sink under their wheels and spring back after the trucks passed. Sick a lot as a young kid, he recalls lying in bed making a paste out of the scrapings from cupcake papers so he could drive his toy trucks through it and make the same tire impressions that the real trucks made outside.

Noisy chain-drive Macks were the mainstays of the Skokie Valley Asphalt Company’s fleet. The Glenview Bus Company operated a mishmash of hand-me-down buses, and Jim knew each one by number and unique features. He and his friend Tony would sit by Glenview Road on hot summer afternoons and see how far away they could guess the make of oncoming cars. Even the Glenview Naval Air Station joined in the transportation theme, with prop planes during the war running carrier landing practice on the north-south runway right over the Dierks homestead (and we mean right over).

Dad’s early career assignment as a 5th wheel salesman with American Steel Foundries netted Jim a few opportunities to accompany the old man on customer calls out of town. He still has the side view drawing he made of an International truck while waiting in one office, Dad closing the deal and the office ladies fawning over the "cute little boy." Jim’s father is also to blame for the model railroading bug, as successive Christmases brought wooden trains, wind-up trains, and finally a Lionel train. Over time, the basement got taken over with a train table that eventually morphed into an HO gauge reproduction of the local Milwaukee Road action. This latter enterprise was a challenge, as Jim struggled to build a roster of equipment sufficient to recreate any train from 2-car locals to the Olympian Hiawatha. Since the Milwaukee made its own equipment, there was precious little available in kit form, so he had to scratch-build most of the cars. Fortunately, college intervened. The HO stuff is still in boxes.

At Cornell University, Jim studied Mechanical Engineering specializing in Industrial Design. His fifth year project was a rapid transit rail car, but on graduation he opted for a job at Eastman Kodak in their Consumer Products Division design department. His career there happily paralleled the meteoric rise of consumer photography fueled by the easy-loading Instamatic cameras and film cartridges. He had design and project leadership responsibilities on Kodak’s Pocket Instamatic program and the company’s Instant program, its response to Polaroid’s SX-70 system. Jim was Corporate Coordinator of the Disc program, spent six years overseas in management roles in Brazil and Japan, and eventually was blessed with an early retirement opportunity in 1991.

Back up to 25 years ago. Jim had bought a house in 1978 in the city, and the woman who sold it to him knew Mike Storey, then the Director of the New York Museum of Transportation. Mike soon called, inviting Jim to join the Board of Trustees, and he accepted. Meetings of the Board were working sessions, involving some of the Trustees who had been so instrumental in starting the museum. These people, along with Mike, had secured the charter from the State, arranged occupancy of the dairy barn at the State School at Industry, in Rush, and paid to bring in R&E 157 and other cars to form the basis of the museum’s collection. Trustee Rand Warner was a big contributor to these meetings as plans were being made to extend the museum’s short piece of trackage to link up with an ex-Erie depot nearby, owned by the Rochester Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, where Rand was also very involved. Other key figures on the Board at that time included Rick Holahan, representing the volunteer members who were working hard to collect Rochester Subway rail and build the museum’s rail line.

Over a short period of time, the Board lost several members to business reversals, and trustee Hank Pape, who had been so active in support of the museum and the Chapter, died of cancer. Our long-unpaid Director, Mike, eventually left, and things got pretty quiet. Jim hadn’t really invested much of himself in the museum up to that time, although he had done what he could to help organizationally and had developed strong friendships with some of the volunteers. The magic happened when he experienced a big weekend project at the Chapter’s Industry depot. In a mammoth effort of planning and hard work, members of the Chapter (with permission) cut the Conrail branch line track, removed the rails and ties, and dragged into place a pre-assembled switch, bolting everything together in time for Conrail inspection and continuing service on the line during the following week. It was one of those special times when everything clicked, and months of effort came together in a single, inspiring event.

At least that’s how Jim felt. He decided he’d do what he could to keep NYMT alive, working directly with the volunteers. Over the ensuing weeks and months, he concentrated on putting in place the trappings of a full-sized museum. A logo was designed, regular hours of operation were established, and they were posted in the newspaper, a large sign was put up along the highway, the interior of the museum and the grounds outside were cleaned and groomed, and a gift shop was constructed. Full credit goes to the volunteers who put in long hours especially in this latter venture. The gift shop exterior walls, inside the museum, were "augmented" to the appearance of an old train station, and the shop itself received a drop ceiling, drywall, and a sales counter. NYMT-branded T-shirts, coffee mugs, and patches soon appeared. Track car ride operations were started. On the management side, responsibilities were specified, a rule book was designed and issued to all volunteers, staffing was rotated among the volunteers, money management was instituted, membership was shaped up, and HEADEND began publication, reporting our progress to our friends. Jim wasn’t very good on the business end of a spike maul and had no idea how to run a bulldozer, but he did what he could to lay a foundation so that others could exercise their skills and build the museum.

He stresses that for all he tried to accomplish, the real credit goes to the many others who not only supported him but at the same time put in long hours of hard work to achieve lift-off and gain altitude. In fact, just as we were free to move about the cabin and the drinks were starting to be served, Jim was given the chance to move to Brazil to manage the Kodak camera plant there. In his long absence, these same volunteers took on the additional challenges of management at the museum and accomplished many more good things.

By the time of Jim’s retirement, the museum was on a solid footing and growing. Thanks to the contributions of time and talent by so many volunteers, NYMT has accumulated more cars for its collection, continued to improve its exhibits, organized its archives, and brought transportation history to life for thousands of visitors from around the world. Jim was delighted to be able to arrange the procurement of operational trolleys, giving a big boost to our dream of electrification, and he’s had a hand in much of the progress that’s occurred over the years since his return to the United States. But, he’s quick to point out that the real contributions continue to come from the many others who willingly volunteer their time in so many valuable ways. He tries, in these pages, to give their efforts the exposure they deserve.

Jim feels his work at the New York Museum of Transportation is a great combination of enjoying his interests and at the same time doing good for the community. He has a special affection for the museum and for the many friends he’s

Jim sets up another group tour while spending the winter in
Florida…or is he ordering a Supreme with extra cheese…?

gotten to know through his work with them. He says thank you to all of them, and can’t resist inviting you to join in the fun too!


We don’t have enough room here to do an article on all that goes on at the museum, but the following should give a little credit where it’s due, and give readers an idea of the variety of opportunity for involvement offered at NYMT. These items go back to summer 2002!

* Randy Bogucki put a new coat of paint on the passenger platform doors, and has continued to neaten up the piles of track parts and other items where visible to visitors.

* Sam Swisher has been getting the hand brake up to snuff on Brighton fire truck 307 so it can pass inspection. However, Sam says we need a qualified mechanic to help with carburetor problems that are keeping the truck off the road and out of local parades.

* We often host students from Rochester Institute of Technology seeking interesting subjects for a class assignment, and last year was no exception. Jana Cruder picked Northern Texas Traction interurban 409 as a period setting for a fashion shoot as part of her course in Advertising Photography.

A beautiful car deserves a beautiful girl! Christy Blackburne
is the model as Kijana Robinson helps Jana get the shot in 409

* Ted Thomas, when not logging his long hours in the Archives and building our website, has been returning pop cans for the deposit, and has also helped with group tours, housekeeping, and (with wife Anna) Gift Shop remodeling.

* Despite the heat and drought of last summer, grass and weeds grew like they always do. Thanks to Bob Miner, Randy Bogucki, Ted Strang and John Corzine, we managed to keep the fields, lawn areas and railroad right of way looking good.

* Randy (again!) is the guy to thank for picking up rotted ties removed from the rail line, cleaning up the wood room and the previously cluttered area around P*;W 161’s indoor parking spot, and making numerous trash runs.

* Doug Anderson donated a 3-drawer legal-size file cabinet that allows us to spread out our jammed (and growing) "vertical file". Shelden King is currently straightening out these files, securing photos in archival sleeves, etc.

* We hosted several "visiting firemen" as the expression goes during 2002, including folks from Illinois Railway Museum, Fort Collins Municipal Railway, the National Warplane Museum, and Shelburne Falls Museum. We even had some real firemen when the Rush Volunteer Fire Department came to get acquainted with our facility.

Ed Knitter, a director at the National Warplane Museum,
doesn’t limit his interests to airplanes according to wife Sue.

* A small token of appreciation for the many volunteers who staff the Gift Shop, sell tickets, and operate our track cars is a cookout on the last day of TC operations each October. Ted Strang did the honors at the grill, and everyone enjoyed getting together.

Waiter…what’s this fly doing in my soup?                 Phil McCabe photo

* Not satisfied with winter in Rochester, an intrepid team of Charlie Lowe, Randy Bogucki and Tony Mittiga attended a winter extravaganza at the Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario.

Just a couple of hours from Rochester, Halton County is our nearest trolley museum
neighbor and is well worth a visit.                                                   Charles Lowe photo

* The Young Modelers have been meeting once a month on Saturday mornings, operating their trains, learning about model railroad techniques, and keeping our HO scale layout in good running condition. But their big project is building an N-scale pike which is being laid out to represent the Rochester Subway.

This Young Modeler doesn’t look so young, but seems to know the drill.
Dick Luchterhand works on the General Motors loop.

* Last summer’s model steam and boat show was given added luster by four of Don Shilling’s spectacular HO-scale modules depicting wonderfully detailed period scenes. We hope we can talk him into bringing out some more for 2003!

Don Shilling points out some of the many details in one of his
modules to fellow NYMT members Norm and Florence Wright.


Running a museum of transportation history is a complicated affair. All the traditional requirements of running a business are combined with the unique endeavor of historical research and vehicle restoration, not to mention the delicate task of correctly interpreting history through exhibits and publications in a way that holds the attention of all age groups, enlightens, and provides pleasure. How do we do it?

Here are answers to two questions we suspect have been poised on your lips for years, and just never made it out. First, with all the work we do on top of P&W car 161, how do we get up there? Well, we used to just prop a ladder against the side of the car and scamper up, but that had a couple of problems. For one thing, after all the effort we put into 161’s new canvas roof and custom-milled drip edge, we didn’t like the idea of banging a heavy extension ladder against them. More important, it’s not the safest and easiest job in the world to climb off a ladder with a handful of parts and tools onto a curved roof surface.

Since the "we" in the above sentences is usually Don Quant, he put his carpentry skills to work a while back and created a scaffold that takes up little floor space and provides a convenient platform for staging parts and tools and for climbing up onto (and off of) the roof.

Don Quant’s scaffold makes his roof work safer and easier.

Another question you’ve always been meaning to ask: How do we count all the change we take in at the soda pop machine and in the Gift Shop? Well, awhile back we were given a nifty old coin sorter and it does the trick just fine. It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture a machine like ours in the back office at the streetcar terminal in any mid-size trolley town. At the end of the day, the fareboxes would be brought in and emptied, and the money counted before sending it off to the bank. The machine makes short work of separating and tallying the various coins. And it’s fun too!

Nick Stilson takes our coin sorter for a test drive…


Despite a downturn in the national economy and a corresponding reduction in our visitor count, plus the extraordinary expenses associated with the windfall opportunity to re-truck R&E 157 and provide trucks for Rochester city car 437, the museum managed to eke out a tidy surplus for the year of $6,915.

Some important numbers to consider: Attendance of 5,453 people for the year was down from 2001’s banner accomplishment (which was primarily due to our special trolley operation weekend that year, and its beneficial publicity value). The good news is that 2002’s attendance beat other recent years in a pattern of slow but steady growth. Our off-season attendance (November through mid-May when track cars are not operating) accounted for 25% of the total headcount, up 1% over 2001. Weekday group visits by schools, clubs, day care centers, etc. accounted for a full 34% of attendance in 2002.

Our lower visitor count reduced admission revenues 5.6% from budget and 6.2% from last year. Gift Shop sales experienced a bigger slow down, dropping 14.8% from budget and 22.3% from last year. At the same time, insurance—one of our largest single expense items—increased 6.8%, and significant expenses over budget were incurred for protecting the collection (two special tarpaulins for P&W 168 and placing Hornell plow 34 on its new shop truck).

However, we were able to contain expenses in other areas to compensate, primarily in deferring driveway re-graveling, corridor roof replacement and new siding on G&W caboose 8. Also, the generosity of our members and friends helped. Membership revenue climbed 23.8%, owing to more members and generally higher levels of membership chosen. Sizable increases in cash donations came in, and in-kind donations to the collection shot up over 600%. Note that about half of the reported surplus is the value of these items.

Looking ahead to the current year, we see challenges from the economy and from international tensions. Group tours from schools and assistance agencies may be hurt as budgets get squeezed; the cold winter and wholesale oil prices will affect fuel costs; the insurance industry is compensating for its problems by raising rates; and deferred maintenance can’t be deferred forever.

Our museum trustees and volunteers are dedicated to providing a quality experience for our visitors and to preserving the transportation history of our area. We are also committed to do so while maintaining a solid fiscal position.


The first quarter of the new year brought in several acquisitions to enhance our interpretations of this area’s transportation history. Every known photo of the Rochester Subway, we thought, was included in the vast collection donated by Tom Kirn some years ago. However, a new set of 82 snapshots recently surfaced, showing construction of the concrete forms in the near west side subway work. We suspect these shots were made by the on-site supervisor, then forwarded on to the home office of the company to satisfy the bosses there. Accordingly, each print is nicely documented as to location and date, written in pencil on the margins. A picture is worth a thousand words, but knowing when and where it was taken adds a lot of value. And, these photos add a new look at the construction of Rochester’s subway rail line.

One of our new set of subway construction shots shows this rare
view of aqueduct modifications in progress, July 25, 1922.

Stepping much further back in time, the museum was fortunate early this winter to locate and procure a horsecar bell with the initials of the Rochester City & Brighton Railroad cast into it. With one-man operation of horsecars in Rochester, patrons boarded at the rear, dropped their nickel fare in a slot that sloped toward the driver on the front platform, and sat down to enjoy their ride. When they were ready to get off, they alerted the driver by pulling a rope connected to a bell such as this one. With the coming of trolleys and electricity, these pleasant little bells were replaced by loud alarm bells and buzzers. Our "new" bell is a valuable reminder of a gentler time and a very valuable addition to our collection.

In January, we received two generous donations to our collection: a set of nine transom and clerestory windows from local streetcars and interurban trolleys, and a collection of approximately 5,000 (we haven’t had a chance to count them yet) slides covering U.S. and foreign railroading.

Finally, the good news is we were blessed some years ago with a donation of several paper items, including a June 7, 1883 Owego Gazette, a supplement to an August, 1883 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, handbills promoting travel and emigration to the western territories, and three 1883 railroad timetables. The bad news is raccoons (we suspect) used these items for an outhouse, and the smell is still a factor in any attempt to use the items for research.

If any of our readers can suggest a simple method for decontaminating these papers, without damaging them, we’d be interested to hear from you!


At the top of our list is your help. There’s no question that the most valuable commodity is volunteers. Give us a call at 533-1113 and we’ll get you started. Beyond that, here are some things we would be happy to see donated to the museum:

--picnic table (the one-piece type with benches attached)

--sturdy library bookends

--exterior paint for concrete block walls

--gift shop price scanning system

--laminating machine 24" x 36" or larger

--model fire trucks for display

--professional services: roofing, vehicle painting, lawn and field mowing

SHOP REPORT by Charlie Lowe

NYS Rys., Rochester & Eastern 157: Numerous small projects have been completed on NYMT’s premier car so that it can be reopened to visitors when track car rides resume in May. Soon after the car was placed on its new trucks last fall, the car's interior lighting was reconnected. Standard railroad steps were placed at the passenger door, and the trap door there was repaired. Work then shifted to the main seating compartment where the upper layer of tongue-and-groove flooring was removed, exposing the original floor boards. A large, 2' wide x 5' long hole had been cut in the floor and several structural members of the car when it served as a cottage. New steel beams have been spliced into place to restore the integrity of the car's frame, and custom-milled 7/8" thick tongue-and-groove flooring has been laid to close the hole. An unexpected problem has been cleaning the car of the silt that remains on the original flooring from the flooding the car was exposed to at Magee Transportation Museum in 1972. To provide visitor access to the car, the walkway between cars 157 and 161 is being

Bob Miner puts the finishing touches on a "grade crossing"
that will be safer and more spacious for our visitors.

completely rebuilt using the tongue-and-groove cottage-era flooring removed from car 157. Finally, to help visitors learn a little of the car's history, a "157" display has replaced the Rochester and Eastern display near the front end of the car. Paul Monte and Charlie Lowe have been working on the car itself, with the help of Randy Bogucki. Bob Miner has led the work on the walkway, being assisted by Tony Mittiga.

Of special note regarding R&E 157 is the recent completion of a trade which brings us more appropriate electrical control apparatus, and at the same time provides the proper gear to another museum as a key part of their restoration efforts. We had a Type M control group that had originally been part of Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company car 63, but which, though probably usable, wasn’t the right equipment for 157 and its newly mounted trucks. Meanwhile, the folks at Shore Line Trolley Museum near New Haven, Connecticut are preparing to restore a sister car to 63—number 65—which had been vandalized. The control group we had would be a perfect fit for Shore Line’s restoration. And, they had a Boston Type 3 snow plow which could give up the right stuff in exchange. With thanks to Bill Wall at the Shore Line Trolley Museum who handled all the details (and even the delivery!) we now have a General Electric Type SB 4-54 Form AT contactor box, a General Electric DB 2 B7 reverser, and many supporting switches and parts. We’re
Paul Monte, Tony Mittiga, Randy Bogucki, Ted Strang, Trevor James,
and Larry Kastner help Bill Wall with the heavy work.

happy to have the right control group for 157, but we’re just as pleased that we were able to play an important role, through Shore Line’s restoration project, in preserving PST 65 for future operation.

Philadelphia & Western 161: Don Quant has resumed his efforts to place trolley boards on this car by attaching new cleats to the roof. Each cleat is being thoroughly caulked before being screwed down, to minimize chance of weather damage in the future. Nearly all of the cleats are now in place. Next on Don’s agenda for 161 is attaching the four ventilators to the roof. These original sheet metal devices, which are designed to suck air up and out of the car without allowing rain to enter, are attached with a small army of about 80 small wood screws around the flange of each ventilator. These units often don’t survive on cars as old as 161, and we’re glad we have them. Don will be even gladder, we suspect, when all those screws are in place. At that point the trolley boards can be installed. A work plan has been developed for 161 to manage the completion of the priority tasks, including window refurbishing and stool installation by Paul Monte and whoever is interested in helping out, after which the car will be weather-tight and ready to move outside under a tarp. This will make way for Rochester city car 437 to come inside on its own trucks so its restoration work can start.

Don’s careful layout work assures that the trolley boards will be level
and secure. Note vent louver box in foreground.


Work Schedule for P&W 161

According to NYMT’s Historic Car & Building Manager, Charlie Lowe, there are several key task areas involved in getting 161 ready to move outside. First of all, there’s the roof:

1. Install ventilators, cleats, and trolley boards

2. Run main power wire from control box up through the roof

3. Make and install power wire for the trolley poles

Don Quant is making good progress on item 1; Charlie Lowe will be helping Don with item 2 (which involves sealing the hole once the wire is brought through); Bob Miner will be in charge of item 3.

Don has the lion’s share of the work up top, and is at the museum most Thursday afternoons. If you would like to help him, let us know at 533-1113, and he’ll put you to work.

A second main task area is the window stools. Paul Monte has charge of this part of the car’s restoration, and he reports that the right-hand stool is about 80% complete, while the left-hand one has not yet been started. Paul and Charlie advise that "repair of this stool is absolutely necessary to prevent ongoing leakage, and cannot be performed once the car is tarped" so this work must be finished before taking 161 outside.

The third area is the windows themselves. Paul has listed the steps for windows and stools together as follows:

1. Measure all window sashes for new glass

2. Obtain new window glass

3. Finish interior painting on about 40% of window sashes

4. Install window glass in rebuilt sashes

5. Prime, install and paint wood stool at right side

6. Remove old stool at left

7. Make steel repairs at left stool

8. Fabricate, prime, install and paint wood stool for left side

9. Install side windows

Charlie will handle item 1, and Jim Dierks will take on item 2, but the rest of the list is in Paul’s hands for now. If you can spare a little time to help out, please call Paul (248-5259) to coordinate your schedules.

Philadelphia & Western 168: Charlie Robinson is nearly finished with his project to rebuild and paint the window sashes. He hopes to place them in the car once better weather truly arrives at NYMT. The arduous task of tarping 168 last fall will be undone this spring to permit the car to be enjoyed by our visitors. The car makes an ideal setting for "modules" of large group visits, for classroom talks and sing-alongs, while other modules are on the track cars and receiving their guided tour of the museum.

New York Museum of Transportation 04: A track car axle and two bearings have been provided to NYMT by Rochester & Genesee Valley RR Museum for the purpose of building a tower car. This car will be towed by a track car and allow inspections and light repairs to be easily made to the museums' overhead trolley wire.

Electrification: Rand Warner continues to work over the details of setting up our proposed substation. It’s not so much the technical aspects, but our power supplier has many hoops that we have to jump through before our plans can be approved and construction work can begin. The plans are written and the space is cleared, and we look forward to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel soon. Meanwhile, great progress was made out on the line as RGVRRM members Scott Gleason and Dan Waterstraat and a team from Rochester Gas & Electric contributed their skills and effort on April 25 by installing 17 downguy anchors at the poles that were set by a similar crew last year. This work is done as part of the United Way’s Day of Caring, in which local companies permit employees to adopt various projects throughout the community on a single day of effort. 25,000 area people were involved this year…the largest Day of Caring in the nation. We are glad to be at the receiving end of this generosity and thank Scott for organizing the work, and Dan for pitching in too, along with RG&E crewmen Jim Wilson, Rick Irish, Matt Seaman, and Marc Hryhorenko.

How Do I Sign Up to Help?

Here are the coordinators responsible for training and scheduling volunteer positions at the museums. They are the ones to call to start your participation. Give them a call, and they’ll take it from there:

Gift Shop and Ticket Desk……………...Marie Miner (671-3589)

Track Car….….………...…..…………..Harold Russell (427-9159)

Model Railroad……………………..Dick Luchterhand (334-9228)

Depot Guide…………….…………..….….Don Shilling (381-3171)

Group Tour Guide…………….…..…….….Jim Dierks (473-5508)

HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Editor Jim Dierks

Contributing Editor Charles Lowe

Printing James Root, Doug Anderson, Peter Leas

Publication anyone available