The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation

Summer 2003


The museum’s newly remodeled gift shop was officially opened Sunday, August 3, and is now serving our visitors in a beautiful new environment. Thanks to Gift Shop Manager Doug Anderson, and the special assistance of Ted and Anna Thomas, we now have a more efficient layout and enhanced customer service, all in dramatically improved surroundings.

Let’s go back a few years. The idea of a shop to sell a few museum-branded souvenirs was an early part of NYMT’s transformation back in the early 1980’s from an open restoration shop to a more complete museum experience. Badly needed was an entry space where visitors could be welcomed to the museum, purchase admission, and in winter find refuge from the cold. At this time, adjacent to the visitor entrance door was an enclosed shop area. It was decided to clean out the shop and create a "visitor center" there, to be heated by an authentic railroad station wood stove.

Many hours of volunteer time were spent clearing the room and constructing the spaces that eventually became the visitor center/gift shop and the adjoining gallery. Looking through the photos on file documenting the construction, we recall people like Gordy Hogue who was a wizard at carpentry and who could have the work done before mere mortals could sketch a design. We find Tom Olson and Bob Barnes in there with hammers and nails, and long-time volunteers Paul Monte, Rick and Missy Holahan, Ted Strang, Jim Dierks, Rick Fischpera and his dad and wife, Marge, plus many others all putting in long hours to see things through to completion.

Believe it or not, this is what the space looked like when the bold
idea of a gift shop was proposed back in 1981!

After cleaning out the room, the floor was leveled, the plywood lower walls cleaned, and attractive soffits added around the room with recessed lighting. A suspended ceiling with built-in fluorescent fixtures, new doors, revised wiring, and column enclosures completed the basic room. The plywood lower walls were stained and the rest of the room given coats of off-white paint, while on the exterior of the room more ideas were afoot. With Elmira, Corning & Waverly interurban car 107 just outside the doorway leading from the room into the main exhibit hall, we decided to create the impression of an interurban trolley station, complete with board-and-batten walls, shingled roof overhang, platform lights and station-style decorative eave brackets.

When completed, NYMT achieved its goal of a welcoming room, including photo exhibits portraying early activities at the museum, donated chairs and a table, and the beginnings of a gift shop complete with NYMT patches, coffee mugs, engineer caps and a counter top for serving customers. As a portent of good things to come, on our last work day cleaning up for the opening weekend, a man stopped by with his late uncle’s scratch-built O-scale models of Rochester area trolleys. Would we be able to use them? You bet! The models became the finishing touch for our brand new facility.

Gordy Hogue and Tom Olson start to see progress as the visitor
center is framed in and lighting around the periphery goes in.

Over the twenty years since then, the gift shop grew in its importance to the museum’s bottom line and in the variety of items it had for sale. For most of that time, Doug Anderson has handled the selection and stocking of inventory, as well as pricing, record keeping, and all the other aspects of running a business-within-a-business. As the shop started to show its age, and the sales volume outgrew the arrangement, Doug began to lay plans for a remodeling. He wanted increased display space for more goods, and wanted it arranged so customers could pick things from racks and proceed to the checkout, to free up the workload on Marie Miner’s volunteer staff. With input from the volunteers, he sought a more efficient layout for the shop, including the ticket desk. All that, plus a general sprucing-up, was approved by the Board and remodeling got underway in the winter of 2002/2003.

A new, more efficient layout moved our antique oak ticket desk over by the doors leading to the exhibit hall, helping ticket staff keep better track of customers and avoiding a clog at the entry door. Peter Leas, Kent Carpenter, and Ted Thomas were among many who helped install slat wall, move wiring, etc. Relocating the safe to another corner of the room made it possible to create a large area with "slat wall" for self-service hangers, hooks, and shelves for merchandise. The pot-bellied stove took up a new assignment in the trolley factory diorama in the exhibit hall, and things were looking pretty good. Except for the floor, which looked like the old, painted asphalt that it was and which fought the feeling of welcome warmth we were looking for. Enter Anna Thomas.

With experience in retail sales, Ted Thomas’ wife volunteered her knowledge and ideas, as well as her energies as the new look became reality. Anna and Ted generously decided to underwrite the purchase and installation of rugged, commercial carpeting for the gift shop. Also, while Anna has contributed handmade stuffed animals and taken charge of keeping the shop spotless, Ted and his home workshop have provided a neat storage unit for on-hand inventory, made a new stand for the cash register, and refinished that ticket desk from battleship gray to its beautiful, original oak. We are truly indebted to Ted and Anna for their devotion to the remodeling of the gift shop, and at the grand re-opening ceremony, Doug presented them with the coveted NYMT Certificate of Appreciation in thanks for their help.

Pictures don’t do justice to the improved appearance of the gift shop, so you’ll just have to come out and see for yourself. Stocked with plenty of souvenirs and books for kids as well as grownups, there are lots of things to interest our visitors, and now we have a much-improved welcoming place for them too.

Doug Anderson shares the honors with Anna and Ted Thomas
as the newly remodeled gift shop is officially opened.


With the museum’s Mission statement adopted, the Board of Trustees proceeded to create a Vision of the museum’s future, which was published in the Spring 2003 issue of HEADEND. The next logical step is to outline a plan to achieve the highest priorities in our vision. To do so, a Strategic Planning Committee has been commissioned, consisting of Board members Ted Strang, Jim Dierks, Charlie Lowe and Steve Morse. The kick-off meeting invited Lorie Barnum, Executive Director of the Susan B. Anthony House to share her experiences in bringing that local museum to national prominence, and her advice was valuable.

Goals are being written and strategies developed over pizza at monthly sessions, and we’ll be reporting on the results as the plans get ratified by the Board.

by Charlie Lowe

  On June 24, 2003, Rochester city streetcar 437 took its first trip in the nearly six years it has been at NYMT—sideways! Thanks to the generous donations received earlier this year, NYMT engaged Matthews Building Movers to perform the difficult sideways sliding maneuver needed for 437 to reach its trucks. Before this could occur, though, much preparation was needed.

During this year's long and sometimes dreary spring, volunteers Trevor James and Charlie Lowe painted the car's trucks black. To position the trucks opposite 437's bolsters, Philadelphia & Western car 168 had to be moved out of the work area. Bob Miner prepared L-3 for this job by installing much-needed new batteries. A test start revealed that L-3's starter was faulty, so Bob removed it, lubricated all moving parts and replaced it on L-3. This did the trick, and L-3 starts fairly easily now.

After pondering the workings of hand brakes, project leader Charlie Lowe decided that 437's trucks had to be repositioned on the loop track. When delivered from California in 2002, the trucks were placed with motors inboard as had been the case with the car's Brill 39E maximum traction trucks. This orientation positioned the trucks' brake rigging toward the ends of the car. After consultation with Western Railway Museum's Dave Johnston, it was decided to reverse the trucks so that the brake rigging faced the center of the car. Bob Miner piloted L-3 to pull 168 clear of the loop track and to spot it on the passenger loading track. Next, he pulled the two trucks up to the loading track switch, leaving one truck with 168. After resetting the second truck opposite 437, he did likewise with the first truck. Finally, he spotted 168 on the loop track slightly north of its former position. Dick Luchterhand also helped out by moving various work cars with TC-1. By this time, a large crowd of museum model railroad volunteers had come out to gawk at the "one-to-one" scale models being moved about, so they were enlisted to help move 168's loading platform forward to its new position

All this work, performed in early June, left 437 ready for the big move. June 24th proved to be extremely hot but the Matthews crew pressed on. In short order, 437 was raised several inches and long steel beams placed under the car. These beams extended over the adjacent loop track and provided a smooth surface for the rollers used for the sideways move. With all in readiness, hand-operated come-alongs gently pulled 437 about 15 feet to its new trucks. After a little jockeying, 437 was lowered onto its trucks, making it mobile on rails for the first time since 1936.

As the car was lowered, it became apparent that a conflict between the truck side frames and the side supports for the platforms would occur when the trucks swiveled on curves. The Brill 77E Special trucks now under 437 have a slightly longer wheelbase than trucks previously under the car, so this conflict was not unexpected. Fortunately, shimming the car body about 2-1/2" higher would correct the problem. Shims were designed and made by Steel Works, Inc. (the same company that had made157's side bearings last year). During July and August, the car body was raised and the shims inserted, one truck at a time. The shimming was designed to return the car to its original height above track level. On August 15, the car was lowered onto the second shimmed truck, and all conflict points were eliminated.

    Easy does it as 437 carefully slides into position over its trucks.

The financial situation of the car 437 fund is not too bad but it is in the negative. Since Matthews required only one day to do their work, the final cost of the sideways move was only $2400, much less than the $4000 that was estimated. The cost of the parts required for the shimming was donated by myself, and the work of lifting the car, rolling the trucks out, installing the shims and lowering the car body is being performed with volunteer labor. When the fund drive tapered off this spring, about $1800 was in the 437 fund, but with the recent expenditures, the fund is about $600 in arrears. A show of support for 437 by the NYMT membership, though, could erase this deficit. The offer of gifts of appreciation for donors still is in effect. Donors of $25 or more will receive an illustrated history of car 437. Donors of $50 or more will receive, in addition to the car history, a 5" x 7" photograph showing 437 in service in Rochester. Major donors of $200 or more will also receive an invitation to ride 437 next year when it is brought into NYMT's car house for display and restoration.

    Charlie Lowe has one of 437’s trucks rolled out and prepares to
      place new shims to raise the car to its proper height.

2004 will be car 437's 100th anniversary, and the car is now completely ready to be moved inside the car house and to emerge from under its heavy green tarp. Let's all make a big effort to get the car's fund as strong as possible for that occasion.


Special events are a publicity opportunity and a chance to do things we can’t do routinely in our interpretation of this area’s transportation history. RGVRRM’s "Diesel Days is a case in point. The museums hosted over 1,000 people for this year’s two-day event, August 23 and 24, and brought in $5,600 in combined revenue at the ticket desk and in our newly remodeled gift shop. Everything went safely, and our visitors went home smiling. Thanks to all who made this a success!


Last spring in a conversation in our Archives, it was confirmed by our two ranking people-who-ought-to-know (Shelden King and Charlie Lowe) that color photographs of Rochester streetcars were not known to exist. There were the riveting Kodachrome images in the Crittenden movies of car bodies being burned up at Blossom Road yard, but it seemed that trolley fans of the day preferred to stretch their film money by using black and white, so that color shots of the streetcars in use were out of the question. What?! Right here in the birthplace of color photography? Surely someone must have used some early Kodachrome film to capture Rochester’s streetcars before their demise in 1941!

A note to Carol Ritter at the Democrat & Chronicle got our search mentioned in one of her human interest columns, and several contacts came in as a result. Right off the bat, we were sent a color slide of a 1200-series car on St. Paul Boulevard. The color had faded to magenta, but the shot was still new to us and a welcome addition to the Archives. Then a call came in from a lady who clearly recalled as a child being dragged off to the Blossom Road loop by her dad to see "the last trolley". She not only gave us the two glass-mounted slides her father took that day, but ended up letting us have about a hundred other pictures that he had taken, all from the 1938 – 1942 era. These wonderful color slides cover the railroad exhibits at the New York World’s Fair, the Queen Mary in wartime gray paint in New York harbor, a few Rochester street scenes, and many other shots of old autos and transportation, plus the two streetcar shots at the loop, likely taken on the last day of operations, March 31, 1941.

We received several calls of the "We don’t have color photos, but would you be interested in…" variety. A retired Rochester school custodian, who had worked on the B&O earlier in his working career and who lived near the East Avenue stop of the Rochester Subway when he was a teen, came forth with a nice collection of snapshots from over 60 years ago. Postage stamp size (he and his buddies processed and printed the pictures in a home darkroom), we see subway shots quite different from those in our collection. Living where he did, he befriended the New York Central crossing guard where the Auburn branch crossed East Avenue at grade (about where the can of worms is now), and several of his pictures show steam locomotives on that line. The man also gave us an A-13 controller handle that he liberated from the Blossom Road yard where streetcars were taken before scrapping. We were delighted by his stories about sneaking into the yard with his friends, putting the pole up on a trolley and running the car back and forth a few feet (the cars were all parked in a line)!

A lady in Spencerport graciously let us peruse her vast collection of antique post cards, and after we had noted which ones were new to us, she had color copies made of them all and donated the copies for our files.

Other photos, black and white, were sent in, and a lady donated a set of 8 x 10’s her late husband had taken back in the 1950’s of a pickle car owned by Foreman’s Pickle Company in Pittsford. He was a scale modelers and had taken the photos to help in building a model of the car, so we can now tell you all about that unusual piece of rolling stock!
This vintage view of a Rochester policeman is one of the images
recently added to our archives.

Perhaps the most tangential connection to our search for color pictures was an offer of two antique suitcases that once belonged to members of the Tolan family who resided in Rochester’s oldest house, the Stone-Tolan House, on East Avenue. Both pieces have found a good place in our exhibit hall, and we are pleased to have these relics from Rochester’s early history. They are especially appropriate when we realize that East Avenue was once a major Indian trail and was a main trade route for early settlers in this area. Over the years, the property has been traversed by the New York Central, the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern, and I-490.

As we got to know members of the family, we were allowed to look through a collection of old documents and photos kept down through the years. A century-old print shows Nellie Tolan, who bequeathed the home to the Landmark Society on her death, with her electric car. Nellie and her electric car were well known in town back then. Another notable piece was a marked blueprint map identifying the 72-foot wide strip of property sold to the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern when that interurban line was preparing for construction.

Yet another shot is of a couple standing near the NYC’s Auburn branch crossing on East Avenue, and on the viaduct behind them the photographer has managed to catch an RS&E car flying by on its way to Syracuse!

The records of our history are fragile, and what to one person may seem priceless, to another is just more "stuff" to sort through when moving or cleaning up the affairs of a lost relative. Reminding people in our area that we are eager to help save mementos of the past is part of achieving the museum’s mission. Our thanks go to Carol Ritter for helping us keep in touch with the community, and to the many people who added such interesting and valuable images to our collection!


Our members help out in any way they can. Some volunteers practically live at the museum, while others can only spare a little time now and then. Still others make their contribution of time at home. And there are those who help from afar. We’d like you to meet a volunteer who has done a lot for NYMT, much of that from the west coast: Dave Johnston.

Unlike so many people who have migrated to California over the years, Dave was actually born there. Like so many of us, he remembers an interest in trains and transportation taking hold at an early age. His mother used to gather up the Johnston boys at home in Berkeley, and take them to Playland at the beach in San Francisco. As Dave no doubt reminded his mother en route, that meant taking the Key System’s F train to San Francisco and the Muni’s B car out Geary Street to the beach. Dave hasn’t told us much about the action at Playland…we suspect the rides to and from there were the best part of the outing!

In 1964, while still in high school, Dave was introduced to the Western Railway Museum at Rio Vista Junction. WRM was an early starter in the rail museum world, and their rural location on the former Sacramento Northern Railway line was an ideal place to grow. Vision, energy and proximity to a major city that still appreciated the value of rail transit had already led to an active museum with a good-sized collection of trolley equipment. Dave joined and has been an active member ever since.

A hitch in the Air Force found him stationed at Hanscom Field in the Boston area, and Dave began to spend his weekends at Seashore Trolley Museum in nearby Kennebunkport, Maine. He not only got to know that museum’s large collection of assorted trolley equipment, but also put in hours in their car shop under the tutelage of Donald Curry. Over the course of almost five months in the summer of 1974, Dave learned many skills applicable to trolley work and developed a deep respect for proper historical restoration.

Once back in California, Dave finished college, earning his degree in Mechanical Engineering. He took a job in Sacramento with the Western Pacific Railroad and began raising a family with his wife Patty. Their "two wonderful children", Brian and Debbie, of course are now grown and have embarked on their own careers. Brian has followed somewhat in his dad’s path, completing a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and starting his career in another part of the transportation business, Nissan, as a research engineer in their fuel cell program. Debbie is a microbiologist and in September will be returning to the University of California to complete a Masters degree in Public Health.

When Union Pacific Railroad took over the Western Pacific, the Johnston family moved to Omaha, Nebraska where Dave was a supervising engineer in the Car Department. Maybe the sun and surf beckoned, because in 1983 they moved back to the Bay Area and Dave signed on with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. Dave’s worked there ever since, and he’s currently a Supervising Engineer in the New Car Department..

Needless to say, Dave was glad to get back to active service at the Western Railway Museum where he’s been a major contributor over the past twenty years. Soon, he found new outlets for his skills in trolley restoration when his job required him to travel. In the early 1990’s BART purchased 80 new type C cars for their system from Morrison Knudsen. These cars were partly built at the MK plant in Hornell, New York, and Dave spent time there, off and on, for a period of two years. During this time, in search of something to do on weekends, he discovered our museum and got involved with our restoration efforts.

Dave’s next project at BART was the rebuilding of the original 450 Rohr-built cars. The prime contractor on this huge effort was Adtranz whose engineering offices were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. NYMT was a little farther away now, but he still managed to come by occasionally to offer help. At the same time, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum was close by and Dave was able to participate there too. "I still try to remain active with these four museums—WRM, Seashore, PTM, and NYMT", says Dave. All four places benefit from that involvement, although Western Railway Museum gets the majority of Dave’s time as it’s so close to home. At WRM, his volunteer positions include a seat on the Board of Directors, Superintendent of the Electric Car Department, and managing the restoration of Sacramento Northern interurban car 1005.

Dave’s help at NYMT over the years has been invaluable. During his Hornell days he spent weekends with us, primarily helping and advising Eric Norden on Rochester & Eastern interurban 157, including a check-out of its four electric motors. His most recent hands-on work was with Eric tacking down the new roof canvas on Philadelphia & Western car 161. As great as the helping hand was, however, the trans-fer of knowledge was even better. Whenever we had a question…sometimes a simple issue, but often a whole area of traction work we knew nothing about…the "oracle" would bestow nuggets of information we never could have learned on our own. Better yet were the things we didn’t know enough to even ask about. We zoomed up the learning curve as Dave explained how things work, how things are done, which items in our inventory of parts went with which other parts, what problems to avoid, little tricks to doing a task better and more easily, and always instilling a respect for the historically correct thing to do. His advice and assistance ranged from body restoration to brake systems to traction motors and on to operations.

Dave has also shared information from his large library of electric railway technology documents, and we’re gradually building a good base of written reference material from that. He has also hosted several NYMT volunteers participating in WRM’s annual maintenance week, giving our people some hands-on operating and maintenance experience to prepare us for our own electric operations.

Seeing NYMT’s electric cars in regular operation is what Dave hopes for our future. "Nothing keeps an electric car in better shape than some regular operation", he advises. The other important goal he sees is getting all the cars under cover.

"I am very happy to see the restoration effort going into the cars at NYMT", says Dave. "Hopefully, several of them will be running soon". With the training and education we’ve gotten thanks to Dave Johnston, we are confident that will happen.

Oh…and Dave reminds us that his favorite car in our collection is Batavia Traction Company 33, a wood, single-truck semi-convertible city car. How soon will you be retiring, Dave? We could fix up a cot for you in the caboose…

SHOP REPORT by Charlie Lowe

NYS Rys., Rochester & Eastern 157: Minor structural improvements have been made to the newly-installed steps on this car. A 12-inch-diameter 1903 Westinghouse air brake cylinder was delivered to NYMT by Bill Wall of Shore Line Trolley Museum in New Haven, Connecticut. Our car 157’s original equipment came from the first R&E 157, built in 1903; the car’s 12-inch-diameter brake cylinder therefore would have dated from that year. Thus, the brake cylinder delivered by Bill Wall, even down to the year of manufacture, is exactly correct for 157.

Philadelphia & Western RR Co. 161: Don Quant and Jim Dierks continue their steady efforts on Thursday afternoons at rebuilding 161’s trolley boards. All cleats and ventilators are now secured to the roof and are fully painted. Trolley boards have been cut to length and primed; painting is currently in progress. 28 approximately 2’ x 2’ tempered safety glass panes for the windows have been provided and partially underwritten by North Ridge Glazing, and specially milled ¼" mahogany quarter-round strips have been purchased. Re-glazing will begin as soon as the trolley boards are installed.

North Texas Traction Co. 409: Along with the brake cylinder delivered for 157 came two car bolsters from the same source car. These have been assigned to NTT 409. While a great deal of effort will be required to recondition these car bolsters for use under 409, their acquisition moves 409 one step closer to placement of the car body on its trucks.

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 437: Car 437 has been placed on its new trucks and is ready to be moved into the main car house once work on P&W 161 is completed. The feature article on this car in this issue of HEADEND gives the full story.

New York Museum of Transportation 04: Reconditioning of axles and wheels for NYMT’s line car is now complete, and timbers for the car’s frame have been obtained. This car will feature a retractable tower that will permit maintenance of existing trolley wire and construction of extensions to the overhead.

Electrification: Rand Warner has been carrying the load and reports some good progress in discussions with our potential power supplier, Niagara Mohawk. Recent breakthroughs in discussions with their people should promise to provide us with the power we need for our planned substation without breaking the bank for initial cost (extending the existing power to the building) or risking unacceptable operating costs (surcharges and higher rates applied for peak power consumption). Rand is currently seeking an isolation transformer, and getting quotes from electrical contractors for final exterior wiring. Once the remaining questions are resolved, we expect to proceed with construction of the sub-station room, and the electrical crew from RGVRRM will install the rectifier, switches, disconnects and other necessary apparatus. If the recent rate of progress continues, we hope to see trolley test runs powered through our new substation some time in 2004.

Rand has also taken personal responsibility to double-bond all track joints on the portion of the rail line that has been wired for trolley operation. Since the rails are the return path for the direct current trolley power, it’s essential that the circuit be complete. Bonding each joint with heavy copper wires assures that circuit without power-robbing resistance.

A joint safety meeting between RGVRRM and NYMT people covered issues and questions pertaining to the substation and general trolley operations. One action item from the session has been to gather existing knowledge and experience, and we have sought written procedures and advice from Western Railway Museum’s Dave Johnston and Rockhill Trolley Museum’s Tod Prowell.

Volunteers are needed for the work of wrapping wires for downguys to support the poles recently planted by Rochester Gas & Electric crews. This task, plus painting bracket arms, restoring insulators, etc., is relatively low-tech and the kind of mass-production work that goes well with a team meeting on a regular basis. If you’d like to be involved, call and leave a message at 533-1113.


Several other donations to the museum’s collection, not directly related to our call for color photos, deserve special mention. David Lanni, who has been supportive of the museum and who has appeared in these pages many times, donated his major collection of Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad materials. Dave spent years tracking down everything he could find in libraries, historical societies, and individual collections pertaining to the construction and operation of the RS&E. Originally intending to write a book on the line, he included his 90-page manuscript about the line and the many aspects of its early planning and construction. It’s a fascinating tale, and having his extensive collection of negatives, prints, maps, and clippings all in one place makes the David Lanni RS&E Collection especially valuable to future students of our area’s transportation history.

Mary Hamilton Dann, local author of "Rochester and Genesee Valley Rails" and "Upstate Odyssey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Western New York", has donated her collection of photographs compiled for use in these two books. Carefully filed in protective sleeves and stored in sturdy binders, the collection includes pictures that didn’t make it into the books. Once again, the hard research work by a dedicated person brings a wealth of material together in one place for convenient study of railroad transportation in our area.

Bernie Weis’ byline has appeared in HEADEND, and he’s also been credited with several donations of items pertaining to his interest in transit, autos, and the like going back to his youth in the Park Avenue area of Rochester. Bernie donated two things this summer: a mower and a box. The mower is a walk-behind Cunningham sickle bar machine, designed and manufactured here in the city by the James Cunningham & Son Company once famous for their ultra-luxurious custom auto bodies and expensive hearses. The old Cunningham factory is now home to Bags Unlimited where we buy our archive supplies, the mower used to belong to Gary Morse’s family service station, and we have some tall weeds we’d like to see the mower attack sometime this summer. As for that box, it was chock full of mostly Rochester transit memorabilia—over 1,000 items—including tokens, bus passes, weekly transit passes, tickets, timetables and the like. A great collection that helps illuminate the history of transit in our town!
    The old Cunningham sickle bar mower was quite familiar to Gary
     and Ted Morse, and they stepped in to handle delivery!

As if all this weren’t enough…along with a nice octagonal clock for our newly remodeled gift shop, some HO model railroad equipment for our layout, shelving units, and some timetables and maps…we were surprised by a visit from Ed Faust of Bolivar, New York. Ed is a trolley enthusiast and modeler, and…ta da…his brother Eugene and family donated our Rochester & Eastern interurban 157 to the Magee Museum in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in 1970. Ed opened the trunk of his 1950 Hudson and produced two destination signs that were found with 157 long ago! The signs are now resting comfortably in our Archives, and we’re tracing the other 157 objects Ed says he donated many years ago—two seat cushions that Father Edelman used as a bunk, some seat ends, and a couple of window guards.

Ed Faust shows off another piece of history from R&E 157

One last—but significant—donation just made it in before our publication deadline. We thank long-time member Richard Swick for arrangements he made during his annual visit from Florida. Through his and the donor’s thoughtfulness and generosity, we now own a second Rochester City & Brighton R.R. horse car bell! Identical to the one we obtained earlier in the year (see Spring 2003 HEADEND), this bell has an attached wooden handle where the earlier bell has a stub of old leather.

It’s been a rewarding summer in the Archives so far. We extend our appreciation for these generous donations, and we look forward to continuing our stewardship of these artifacts from our area’s history.


Another new addition to the visitor offering is a 100-year-old horse drawn milk truck on long-term loan. Bruce Miller, who operated the last independent dairy in Rochester, purchased and underwrote the restoration of this great vehicle, and he’s happy to see it find a home and an appreciative audience on our exhibit floor. The varnish finish reveals the painstaking craftsmanship in the original truck and that of Bruce’s brother in law who did the restoration.

Bruce delivered the truck along with a horse mannequin, and he plans to also provide harness, a milkman in uniform, and the assorted bottles, crates, etc. to turn the vehicle into a full exhibit. At present the truck is near R&E interurban 157, which represents the fact that milk was often shipped on interurbans and local trains from lineside farms to the city for distribution by small dairies. We’re looking for some old milk cans to place near the truck to interpret this part of the history, so call us if you can help!

The Keiser Dairy ("Be Wiser, Drink Keiser") was operated by Bruce’s family until just a few years ago. In a capsule history of the business, he tells us that at one time there were 400(!) independent dairies in Rochester and their function was to obtain bulk milk, separate it into a few products and bottle them, perhaps add their own butter and eggs, and make daily deliveries. In an era when even ice boxes were something of a luxury, dairy products spoiled quickly, so daily delivery was essential. With only horse power to do that work, and over a limited area, it naturally involved a lot of dairies and a lot of delivery teams. World War II required a reduction to 2 days a week delivery, and according to Bruce after the war things never changed back. More people were buying refrigerators, and home building in the suburbs strengthened supermarket sales of dairy products.

    Bruce Miller’s great looking horse drawn milk truck is a fine
     new exhibit at the museum.

Many changes have come since. Milk now comes from large dairy farms, shipped to a handful of local bottlers. In the old days cream was separated for sale and the skimmed milk was tossed out, while today "skim" milk is a popularly consumed and butter and cheese are stockpiled by the Federal Government to help keep the dairying industry solvent.

Transportation is more than moving people, and it’s more than the big trains and trolleys that are at the center of our collection. We’re delighted to include this handsome milk truck in our visitor experience, and we thank Bruce Miller for allowing us to do so.


Charlie Lowe took a couple of shots of 157 during last summer’s truck swap that just happened to comprise a stereo pair showing 157, Philadelphia sweeper C-130, and Elmira, Corning & Waverly 107. So, if you can "free view" or have a set of the plastic glasses designed to help you see this in stereo, take a look.

    Charles Lowe photos


To kick off the summer track car operating season, the museum held its annual "Return of Casey Jones" event on May 18, 2003, featuring the 1920’s-era track car that once served on the Rochester Subway. This year, Gary Morse provided a training session for a group of volunteers, certifying them for operation of the car in future events. These people are also now ready to perform the maintenance Casey needs on a regular basis for the only piece of operating equipment from the Rochester Subway. Gary provided the training materials all laid out with the same meticulous attention to detail that he demonstrated in his restoration of the car. Now, we’re ready to maintain and run Casey Jones ourselves and give Gary a much deserved rest.

    A key part of Casey training was learning the procedure for
     bringing the car from the exhibit hall to the passenger siding.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS   No. 27 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe

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In the years after 1900, when interurban trolley lines began reaching out from Rochester, freight-carrying trolley cars were often seen on the streets of Rochester. Our present photo shows a typical interurban freight motor, New York State Railways’ car 926. Used on the 44-mile run to Canandaigua and Geneva, car 926 and sister car 925 were built in 1903 by Jewett Car Company of Newark, Ohio. The cars’ 52-foot lengths contained an ample freight compartment of 1,975 cubic feet; the large center doors were used to reach this area. The cars were listed as being single-ended in the company’s 1927 equipment chart, so the front pole undoubtedly is for backing moves on sidings. This permitted use of a trailing pole even when backing, thereby minimizing the dangers of a dewirement during such a move. The 925-926 cars were used to haul freight trailers 960 and 961, and the air brakes on all these cars were arranged so that the motorman on the lead motor car could actuate the brakes on the freight trailer being hauled. It must have been an interesting sight seeing one of the line’s freight motors rumbling along with a trailer in tow.

         New York State Railways, Rochester & Eastern 926
     Photo by George Slyford, orig. neg. owned by Shelden King

The 925-926 cars also carried passengers. During a rebuilding in 1913, a handful of seats were added. This was during years of great prosperity on the R&E, and most passenger trains were jammed with riders. Placement of seats on the freight cars allowed riders another run to take advantage of, even if it was much slower than a regular passenger run. The seats appear to have been removed during another general rebuilding in 1927.

Freight trains made regular runs on the R&E every day, and were well patronized even in the line’s latter days when passenger traffic was slowly dropping off. After the cessation of R&E service on August 1, 1930, the passenger cars were stored at East Main Station, but car 926, at least, made its way to the Rochester Subway car house as our photo proves. Here, Rochester railfan George Slyford has preserved an image of 926, framed perfectly amidst the forest of poles at the Subway car house. The year is probably 1932, and 926 has been out of work for two years. In but a few months, car 926 will be off the NYSR property and apparently scrapped. But for one last brief moment, 926 bravely has white flags flying and seems ready for yet another run.


Well, all our visitors are special, of course, but we thought you’d like to know about two family groups that stopped by recently. Three generations of the Eugene Faust family visited in late April to say hello to Rochester & Eastern 157. The Fausts donated the well-preserved interurban car body to the Magee Transportation museum in the 1970’s, thus saving it for its eventual return to Rochester.

    Gene and Anne Faust with their daughter, Jane, and her sons
     Michael and John all approve of 157’s restoration progress.

Then, in late June, there was an unadvertised museum event featuring five Rochester area Trolleys operating under their own power. Dr. Richard W. Trolley (raised in Medina, by the way—on the Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo interurban line) and his wife, JoAnn, visited us with their son, Doug, his wife, Ann, and the grandchildren, Ema and Graham.

    With a name like Trolley, it just seemed like a good idea to
    come visit the many cars we have on display at NYMT.

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:

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

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

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

Depot Guide…………….…………..….…. Dave Peet (586-8964)

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


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.

Business Methods, a local supplier of copiers and network services, has generously donated a new office copier to replace the one they’ve been keeping alive (also free) for many years.

• Paul Monte has removed the stack for the pot-bellied stove that was decommissioned from the Gift Shop, and has put in a new corrugated roof panel to cover the hole and put an end to the leaks there.

• Randy Bogucki and Jim Dierks took care of the weed whacking to get the museum looking spiffy for Diesel Days. Dave Peet and Bob Miner have been doing yeomen’s duty on the mowers, too! Summer has been warm and wet, and the grass just keeps growing.

• We ought to start a club of the many volunteers who have painted the R&E waiting station over the years! It’s one of the first things arriving visitors see, so we want to keep it looking good and protected. Jim Dierks, a second-timer, with the help of Don I-already-did-the-roof Quant, got a fresh coat on the structure just in time for the big crowd at Diesel Days.

• Speaking of getting things looking nice, way back in May our clean-up work party brought in lots of volunteer help. Joe DiBenedetto, Bill Shattuck and Randy Bogucki policed the grounds, and Kathy Mielke, Roger Harnaart, Tom Dunham, Joe, Randy and Jim vacuumed and dusted the exhibit hall.

• Phil McCabe, when not operating our track car for group visits, has made several signs and repainted the one that directs visitors from the parking lot to the entrance.

• Eric Norden has repaired the roof on Genesee & Wyoming caboose 8 by attaching a new sheet of canvas where part of the old roof had been shredded by winter winds.

• Don Quant has made and installed a bracket to properly mount the rear license plate on fire truck 307.

Our annual "Worlds in Miniature" show was the biggest yet, with exhibits of model steam engines, numerous boats and ships, and the exquisitely detailed modules made by Don Shilling. Adding to the fun this year were models from the museum’s own collection—fire trucks, cars and sailing ships.

     Al Reinnagel and grandsons Kolby Foret and Alex Reinnagel
     kept things moving, running all their engines on live steam.

• For those keeping track of important anniversaries, June 12 was the 10th Anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony that celebrated completion of the rail line between NYMT and RGVRRM.

Randy B. and Tony Mittiga have been devoting countless hours to maintaining and upgrading the rail line this summer. Randy organized "Gandy Dancer Day" on Sunday, August 3, to demonstrate track work for visitors.

     Rick Israelson, Randy, Dave Luca, Mark Pappalardo and
     Tony Mittiga replace a tie and show off Randy’s new ballast sifter.


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.

     Car card artwork by Otto VonDrak

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, painting, field mowing

--waste receptacles and pop can recycle baskets

--milk cans



Gilbert S. Magraw

Long time museum volunteer Ruth Magraw lost her husband on May 14, 2003 and the Rochester community lost an interesting and generous man. Gil’s life embraced too many varied hobbies and interests to list here, but his help with mailing HEADEND, his assistance in the Archives, and his many fascinating tales will be missed by us all.

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 Ruth Magraw

If you aren't already a member of the museum, or if
you know someone who would like to be, here's your
opportunity to help us preserve transportation history.