The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation
ROCHESTER AND EASTERN 157
RECEIVES NEW TRUCKS
By Charlie Lowe
Readers of HEADEND have been kept up to speed on the effort during 2002 to install standard gauge trucks under R&E 157. Now that this phase of 157’s rebirth is behind us, we thought it would be good to tell the whole story all in one place, and we asked project leader Charlie Lowe to do the telling. Other than not giving himself enough credit for all the effort he put into the project, we think his article…and the 157 effort…came out very well. Here’s his report:
The past year has been one of almost frenzied activity on car 157. In November 2001, the NYMT Board of Trustees was approached by Western Railway Museum’s Dave Johnston. Dave, an NYMT member, knew of our ongoing attempts to obtain streetcar trucks for NYMT’s Rochester city car 437. For years, a concern at Western Railway Museum was obtaining interurban trucks and motors for an interurban trailer carbody in their collection. With an electrified museum railroad five miles long and growing, having enough operating cars is a real issue at WRM. Dave offered NYMT two streetcar trucks with motors in exchange for the broad-gauge trucks then under R&E 157, along with the motors that were in indoor storage. With WRM’s large shop, re-gauging the trucks would be a real possibility, and since the parts they were offering are a good match for 437, the NYMT Board agreed to the trade.
NYMT had obtained standard-gauge Baldwin interurban trucks with motors for 157 several years ago. These had been donated by Sanyo Electric Railway in Japan with the help of Seashore Trolley Museum’s Ben Minnich and several devoted trolley enthusiasts in Japan. With Dave Johnston offering just what was needed for our Rochester streetcar, the decision was made to replace the trucks under 157 in order to release the broad-gauge trucks for trade.
Several difficult problems had to be overcome during the lengthy process of re-trucking 157. Almost immediately, the NYMT Board realized that NYMT really did not have the expertise to lift the 157 carbody off its trucks, and engaged Matthews Building Movers to lift the car and extract the trucks. This latter job was quite a puzzle because the track leading from 157’s display position in the car house to the door is standard gauge. Another problem was economical trucking to California and back. Although WRM had agreed as part of the trade to pay for all shipping (since we traded four motors and received two in return), NYMT agreed to look for a shipper. Jim Dierks took on the unenviable tasks of coordinating Matthews and looking for a trucker.
One of the first jobs tackled was readying the Baldwin trucks for placement under 157. Tarps were removed in May. One of the worries was that the center bearing on the trucks would not fit the ones on the 157 car bolsters. Initial measurements indicated that the two parts would not fit, but a definite decision was postponed until the broad-gauge trucks were removed and all parts could carefully be measured.
To remove the broad-gauge trucks from the car house for shipment, it was necessary to move the Baldwin trucks away from the car house door and to remove Philadelphia and Western 161 from the car house. Since all of 161’s side windows were removed from the car for restoration, temporary Masonite inserts were fabricated by Paul Monte. These were
covered with plastic and inserted into the window openings by Eric Norden, Sam Swisher, and Charlie Lowe. To make 161’s roof watertight, Don Quant made and installed temporary seals for the four roof vents.
For motive power, we decided to use L-3, NYMT’s diesel-powered Trakmobile. Unfortunately, L-3 had not been used since placing 161 in the car house in 1997. With a bit of effort, Bob Miner awoke L-3 from its long sleep. On July 12, a work crew consisting of Bob Miner, Jim Dierks, Randy Bogucki, and Charlie Lowe spent several hours shifting equipment around as needed. The two Baldwin trucks were spotted on the mainline near the base of the hill leading down from the entrance road. Next, 161 was pulled out of the car house. Quite a bit of trouble was encountered on the upgrade and sharp curve near the entrance road, but copious amounts of sand helped L-3 move 161 past the difficulty. Further trouble was encountered when the braking on L-3 proved insufficient on the downgrade and a collision between L-3 and the Baldwin trucks ensued. Finally, though, everything was placed on the loop track, leaving the car house lead tracks free for removing 157’s trucks.
L-3 makes a run up a curving grade with P&W 161 as
L-3 makes a run up a curving grade with P&W 161 as
Shortly after moving the equipment out of the way, repair work on the Baldwin trucks began. Don Quant developed a plan for the repair work, and Don, Jim Dierks, and Rick Holahan took care of obtaining steel parts and bolts, and drilling the necessary holes. Later, Jim, Don and Charlie Lowe painted both trucks with a fresh coat of black paint.
After Charlie and Randy Bogucki disconnected electrical lines into the car and otherwise prepared the area for the lift, Jim arranged with Matthews for an early August date to lift 157 and remove its trucks. This critical part of the exercise was handled by a crew of half a dozen Matthews people, and involved a lot of heavy lifting in mid-summer heat. After agreeing on proper lift points, hydraulic jacks slowly raised the carbody, and heavy cribbing timbers were inserted to provide a secure foundation for 157’s new, up-in-the-air position.
Don Quant applies paint to spruce
up and protect 157’s new trucks
The Matthews crew then began to move the now-free wide-gauge trucks from under 157…harder than it sounds. First, thanks to an additional rail laid by our track crew, Randy Bogucki and Tony Mittiga, the rear truck was manually rolled out. A special, rubber-tired rig had been brought out from the Matthews plant, and the truck was suspended in position. With lots of planking, shoving and heaving, the heavy rig was eventually brought out the door of the building. This method of moving was, at that point, deemed unwieldy, and the rig with truck attached was parked there. For the front truck, the
Cribbing, steel beams and hydraulic jacks carefully raise 157
crew took the easier route of laying a third rail to a position behind the moving rig, and soon both trucks were resting outside the car house to await shipment.
With the carbody raised on its wood blocking and the trucks removed, Charlie was now able to confirm his worst fears: the center bearing plates on 157’s bolsters would have to be removed so the ones provided with the Baldwin trucks could be bolted in place. With considerable grinding, Charlie cut away the old bolts and removed the old center bearings from 157. These bearings had never fit the Brill broad-gauge trucks, and they no doubt dated from the original Stephenson-built 157 of 1903. A machine shop was used to drill the required new holes in the Baldwin center bearings so the original holes in 157’s car bolster could be reused as they were. In late August, Charlie and Randy were able to bolt the new center bearing onto the 157 car bolsters.
Randy, though, had been busy re-gauging the track under 157. The decision was made to tear up the entire length of track under 157 and to relay it with new plank ties. A few lengths of 70 pound per yard rail were located that matched what had been used in most of the rest of the car house trackage. As it turned out, several rail cuts had to be made. Many, many hours of grinding and hack-sawing by the Randy and Charlie team finally resulted in proper rail lengths. As part of this project, it was decided to extend both the 157 and 107 tracks about five feet toward the milking parlor. With car house track at an absolute premium, these small extensions figured to give just a little more room between car ends.
As work proceeded on 157, the work of preparing the items to be traded to WRM went forward as well. The four motors were staged in front of the fire truck, and two controller frames also being traded were prepared.
By mid-October, all preparation work had finally been finished. Due to the moving rig proving to be so unwieldy, the wide-gauge trucks had been left in a spot not readily accessible for loading on a semi-trailer truck. Bob Miner spoke with Art Mummery at Industry depot, and while the decision eventually was made not to borrow help from the Chapter’s fleet of construction equipment, Art was very helpful in suggesting Mendon Enterprises for the job of making the run to California and return. Their bid turned out to be the best among several we and WRM were able to obtain, and October 21 was set as the load-out date.
Matthews dug into their bottomless supply of special equipment and came out with a huge, rubber-tired fork lift that made quick work of loading the two trucks, four motors, two controllers and several boxes of parts onto Mendon’s flatbed for shipment. Later that week, L-3 was used to spot the Baldwin trucks under 157.
During the next week, the semi returned from California, and Matthews made another trip out with their fork lift to unload>the arriving streetcar trucks and controller. They also used that big machine to place Hornell Traction Company snow plow 34 onto a shop truck Charlie had built during the summer.
A few days later Matthews returned a final time to lower 157 onto its new trucks. Our track crew had repositioned the rails almost exactly centered under 157, and the car was lowered right onto the good looking Baldwin trucks.
Charlie Lowe watches intently as 157 is slowly lowered
Getting 161 back in the car house before winter set in had been driving the work schedule. Before hauling 161 back inside, 157 made a quick trip outside for photos. L-3 was used to make the move on November 3, with Bob Miner at the controls. As far as is known, 157 had not ventured outside since arriving at NYMT in October, 1973!
White flags flying in the breeze, R&E 157 enjoys a brief moment
Shortly thereafter, a Thursday work crew moved 161 inside and tarped 168 for the winter. It was a monumental effort, and the model railroad crew pitched in to help. Your Associate Editor was the "young guy" on that crew by a solid twenty years, and I was sore for days afterward. The crew consisted of Charlie Robinson, Bob Miner, Dick Luchterhand, Bob Nesbitt, Roger Harnaart and Charlie Lowe.
Attention now turns to reopening 157 for public viewing in 2003. This coming year is the 100th anniversary of the first runs on the Rochester and Eastern, and getting 157 ready for the 2003 summer season seems to be a good way to mark the occasion. Bob Miner, Don Quant and Randy Bogucki are hard at work building a proper wooden grade crossing between 107/157 and C-130/161. Charlie Lowe has installed proper steel steps in the right rear doorway of 157 so visitors can enter the car in an authentic manner. Bob Miner and Charlie Lowe have reattached the wiring needed for lighting the car’s headlight, destination sign and interior. Other planned improvements include floor repairs, installation of the car’s controller and a thorough cleaning of the car interior. With NYMT volunteers focusing on 157, reopening the car to the public is sure to happen early in 2003.
ROCHESTER STREETCARS No. 25 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
When eleven of Rochester’s streetcar lines were changed to bus operation in August, 1936, most remaining 355-449 cars, including NYMT’s car 437, were withdrawn from service. The 355-449 cars, built in 1904-1906 and by then Rochester’s oldest streetcars still running, had been largely reduced to tripper and fill-in runs. Eight lucky 355-449 cars, including 382 and 425, were retained after August, 1936 to supplement the ten 3000-3009 cars used on the University-West line.
New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 425
photo by Stephen Maguire
For almost a year, the lucky eight 355-449 cars labored on faithfully, but when busing of the Park and University-West lines was scheduled for August, 1937, no further need for the eight 355-449 cars was envisioned. Word of this may have leaked out to Rochester’s railfans, or they may simply have deduced such action. On August 9, 1937, the last full day of service on the University-West line, fans including George Slyford and John Woodbury, at least, and others rode and photographed final runs. At least one fan came from out of town, making what appears to be the first of many trips he made to Rochester during the 1937-1940 years. He was Steve Maguire, later the long-time traction editor for Railroad magazine.
Maguire cemented his place in Rochester streetcar lore with this scene, one of his very first Rochester streetcar photos. Car 425 is seen on University loop, once located at the southwest corner of University Avenue and Culver Road. The sign in the background admonishes young riders with the warning "NO BALL PLAYING ALLOWED". A lone rider, probably one of the railfans assembled to ride and record streetcars that day, can be seen hoisting himself up into the car. What makes this photograph especially important historically is that this may very well be the very last run of all time, so far, for a 355-449 car in passenger service. The "so far" is included because, in the not too distant future, NYMT’s car 437 will once again be serving the riding public.
There’s much to satisfy the varied interests of volunteers at our museum—history, vehicles, dealing with the public, the technologies of transportation, and so on. And some of us reveal our particular interests early in life. It seems Roger Harnaart developed an interest in things technical at a young age, and we’re glad he did. Welcome to the spotlight, Roger.
Born in Sodus, New York just in time for the Great Depression, Roger grew up east of the village, and remembers his youth fondly. The family’s property backed up to the New York Central’s Hojack line, and whenever Roger and his playmates heard a train, they’d all come running. Apparently the trains kept the kids "on pins and needles" as they liked to put pins and needles on the rails (sometimes pennies, but back then pennies were worth saving). With his technical bent already showing, Roger observed that the pins would flatten and fall off when the heavy locomotive’s wheels ran over them, but the needles, being much harder, would get pressed into the steel rail surface. Note to readers: Let’s take Roger’s word for this, and don’t run your own experiment. The CSX mainline is a far cry from the Hojack!
While at Sodus Central School, Roger was photo editor of the senior yearbook. Since pictures of all the classes in the Sodus school system were included in the book, he had to go around to the five or six one-room country schoolhouses still harboring first through sixth graders. Having gotten interested in photography when he was 8 or 9 years old, Roger says he must have taken pictures of those Hojack trains, but he hasn’t dug that deep in his "files" yet.
Roger remembers playing around trains at the Sodus Cold Storage plant, owned by a friend’s father. It was a great place to play on hot summer days. In the warehouse, there were rooms and wide aisles, with stacks of locally grown apples, celery, potatoes, etc., as well as World War II food supplies in storage. The "reefers" on the siding at the plant were also a source of fun. Roger and his friends played inside the ice chutes in these refrigerated cars, and ran along the catwalks atop the reefers. He remembers having to stop running before carefully leaping across the gap between the car tops, and only later working up the courage to make the leap without stopping. Once, they released the air on a block of parked refrigerator cars. Hmmm…. time for another note to our readers…
Like so many families back then, Roger’s had members in the railroad business. His mother’s dad was a section foreman on the New York Central, and he worked out of Sodus, then Lycoming (East of Oswego, NY) and finally Richland (East of Pulaski, NY on the Watertown line). Roger remembers the wye at Richland, and still has his grandfather’s Illinois pocket watch, which still keeps good time. Grandpa’s son…Roger’s uncle…kept up the family tradition and worked out of Rochester on the NYC. Roger recalls that his uncle was responsible for driving a rail-wheeled limousine that served as an inspection car. Although he’s not sure where the car was based, it was driven on the Hojack several times. (Cont’d p.7)
Roger graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1952 with an associate degree in Electrical Technology. He had started at Syracuse University, but got tired waiting through the preliminary courses to get to the "interesting stuff". He did co-op work with Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, the company where his father was a line foreman based in Sodus and who retired from a 41-year career there. Serving in the Electric Meter & Lab Department at RG&E, Roger was involved in testing products that RG&E sold, such as stoves and refrigerators, and tested and calibrated all the company instruments, customer meters, and so on. The department also served as the National Bureau of Standards local reference lab, performing test and calibration work for area firms and utilities.
Once he graduated from RIT, Roger stayed with RG&E, but soon found himself called to Korea by Uncle Sam. He spent 1953 and 1954 as a radar system repairman for the Army there, and also made radio frequency crystals. He remembers the trains there after the armistice as random operations made up any way that was possible. With facilities and equipment in disarray, trains would sometimes come in with steam locomotives running in reverse, or even pushing a train. Roger got to tour the steam locomotive back shop at Yong Dong Po, south of Seoul. He also recalls the trolleys running across the river bridge between the two cities.
Back stateside, Roger found himself in the same department, but moved on to meter installation, the introduction of demand meters, and other areas. One of his main on-going responsibilities was keeping track of M-scopes, which were used to trace gas pipes underground. As technology evolved, he got involved in closed circuit television, the company’s private phone system, and remote control of substations (first by wire, then by radio). He was also foreman in the two-way radio shop. In 1992, after a 42-year career at RG&E that took him from the top of the East Avenue headquarters building to the depths of the penstock at Station 5 (in the Genesee River gorge by Driving Park bridge), Roger retired.
Time apparently doesn’t weigh too heavily on his hands. Roger is a ham radio operator (WB2BWQ) and a member of the Rochester Amateur Radio Association. His wife of 47 years, Ruth, has her license, as does their son, Ken. Other interests include his 21 years in the Genesee Valley Volunteer Fire Department where he worked his way up to House Captain and President. Roger and Ruth enjoy traveling, and in 1993 did a swing out west that included Promontory, Utah; a glimpse of Union Pacific’s steam locomotives at Cheyenne, Wyoming; and a stop at the National Museum of Transport at St. Louis.
On top of all this, Roger has spent 26 years coordinating radio communications at check points for the Sports Car Club of America rallies, and does lots of amateur radio public service work, including the Monroe County Office of Emergency Preparedness, so vital in today’s world.
Roger’s involvement at NYMT came via yet another interest of his—volunteering at WXXI in Rochester. Another NYMT volunteer who also volunteers at WXXI, Ted Thomas, suggested Roger come out and see what was going on at our place. He discovered another mutual acquaintance, Don Quant, with whom Roger worked years ago in Don’s RG&E days. Always ready to lend a hand where it is needed, Roger has helped tarp P&W car 168, mowed the lawn, "moved stuff", and helped with the complex wiring of the museum’s model railroad. He’s currently working on getting the signals and grade crossing flashers to function with trains operating in either direction on the mainlines. Roger made a major contribution to car 168 crew safety and convenience when he constructed and installed an extended stirrup step at one end of the car. This will make it much easier for operating crew to climb down to reverse poles at the end of the line.
With the skills and experience Roger Harnaart has to offer, and his ready willingness to help, we see a bright future for him at NYMT. Trolley operations are on the horizon, and he says he’s looking forward to helping make that happen. So are we!
PREVIEWS OF THINGS TO COME
The start of a new year often is a time for reflecting on the past. While we’ve presented full coverage in this issue of this past summer’s major project, there just isn’t room to give credit to the many other accomplishments of 2002. From computerizing our archives to keeping the grass mowed, from overhauling TC-1 to painting the passenger platform doors, from installing a snow-slide protector to getting the snowplow pickup truck started, from staffing the Gift Shop to replacing ties on the rail line, over 6,000 volunteer hours in the year just ended have gone into serving the public and helping us grow.
But the new year is also a good time to look to the future. A major overhaul and remodeling of the Gift Shop is already underway, to enhance the shopping experience and improve the layout for our volunteer staff. Rochester & Eastern 157 is being prepared to take the spotlight with new exhibits and continued work on the car itself. Work on our substation has started, with the location cleared in the building and trenches marked for power lines, so that we will soon be able to run trolleys at the flick of a switch. And Rochester streetcar 437, with support from museum members and friends, will be placed on its new trucks and brought inside for restoration.
What else? We need a new structure outdoors to cover our two operating trolleys, 161 and 168, as important restoration work continues; the corridor needs a new roof; and we desperately need more people to help staff the Gift Shop and Ticket Desk.
We’ll be reporting on all the work, needs, accomplishments and fun in future issues of HEADEND. We hope you’ll be among those who are getting the credit. Happy new year!
B. G. COSTICH & SONS
A couple of years ago, we were summoned to the Hayward Avenue facilities of B. G. Costich & Sons, Inc., a well known local moving and storage company. The firm had recently gone out of business, and the proprietor had some things he thought we might want for the museum. We’re always open to donations, but we were also interested in this closing chapter in one of Rochester’s many transportation stories, so we were quick to take Mr. Costich up on his invitation.
Arriving at the large storage warehouse, we were immediately welcomed in and found Bernie to be personable and upbeat, especially considering that he was busy with the affairs of a century-old family business in its last days. Right away we noticed framed photos from the early days of the firm decorating the walls in the neat office area. No, they certainly weren’t going to throw those old pictures out, but yes we could have copies for our archives at the museum.
Most of the transportation part of the history of B. G. Costich & Sons, Inc. was gone by the time we took our tour of the facilities. The cavernous warehouse was now almost empty where once were stored home furnishings and industrial and commercial items awaiting their next service, as well as reams of paper files held for local companies’ record retention programs. Up in the freight elevator, through the rafters from one part of the building to another, flashlights in hand, we combed through a hundred years of business. There were several old items of lifting apparatus—hooks, block and tackle, chains—but Bernie thoughtfully pointed out that he could only let us have them for cosmetic display. Actually using these antiques might be too risky.
Each item we came across seemed to have a story connected with it…a special moving job, a unique piece of machinery to carry, unusual items to be stored. As we came back down to the office, we took stock of what we had seen and decided to take several heavy-duty sawhorse-like stands, a freight dolly, and several wooden storage pieces. Almost as an afterthought, we stopped on one floor and noticed some modern looking free standing steel cradles. It seems these were part of a cable laying job that Sprint recently completed in the area. Hmmm…. …cable… wire… trolley overhead! We quickly added the cradles to our list.
NYMT reel car 03 was built by our volunteers in 2000, and
Back at the office, Bernie took a few more minutes to tell us about his family’s moving and storage business. The company was started by his grandfather, Bernard G. Costich, back in 1902. He started out with a team of horses and a hay wagon, and developed a thriving business hauling furniture. In just eight years, Costich expanded his operation to 30 horses and a number of wagons of various types, and some sleighs for winter work.
But tragedy struck in the form of a fire that destroyed vehicles and took the lives of all the horses as well. Today, Bernie recalls fondly that his grandfather’s competitors each loaned him a few horses until he recovered from this loss.
By 1920, the appeal of motor trucks, with their greater hauling capacity and freedom from the care and feeding required by horses, became too much to resist. Costich began the process of building a fleet of trucks to serve its growing and increasingly varied list of customers.
Judging by the photos the Costich family donated to us, Federal trucks were the fleet standard back in the early days. Federal Motor Truck Company had their plant in Detroit,
Another solid rubber tired X-2, number 40 looks like the big guy
of the fleet, ready for machinery moves, rigging and erecting.
Michigan, and began production in 1910. By the late 1920’s, they were offering an extensive line of vehicles from a 1-ton delivery truck to their 15-ton capacity "Big 6" tractor trailer. Like many early builders, Federal called on a variety of suppliers for components to cover this wide range of offerings, including engines from Continental, Hercules, and Waukesha. The Federal-Knight line was established in 1924 as Federal’s lowest priced line and featured trucks in the lower capacity range. They were powered by 4-cylinder Knight sleeve-valve engines (the only trucks on the market so equipped). Federal-Knights were made until 1927, but the Federal company continued in business into the 1950’s when it was folded into NAPCO Industries and operations were moved to Minneapolis.
There were four Costich sons: Francis, Louis, Charles, and Edward, and they all eventually joined in the business. Charles’ son, Bernard (our host), came into the firm in 1966. Bernie soon oversaw some big changes in the company, with the purchase of new cranes, rigging trucks, forklifts, and other equipment needed for the new demands of modern industry. As a United Van Lines agent, B. G. Costich & Sons, Inc. provided household service for out of town and international moves. The air-ride equipment also became popular for transporting copiers and computers.
As global trade grew in importance for Rochester area businesses, Costich became a customs-bonded carrier to expedite handling of imported machinery. This allowed them to avoid time-consuming U. S. Customs clearance at port ofentry and bring the shipment directly to port of destination for clearance there. Their warehouse was also customs-bonded, and 20,000 of its 80,000 square feet were under modern temperature and humidity control.
Asked if there were any favorite stories about the costich version of local transportation, Bernie mentioned two big operations he was responsible for. When the statue of the Roman god Mercury was to be placed atop the Lawyers Cooperative building in downtown Rochester, Costich got the job. Bernie directed the move, from the storage site at the Port of Rochester all the way until the long pole on the base of the statue slipped into a sleeve in the Lawyers Co-op tower.
A Costich brochure from the early 1980’s carries this
Another big Costich move brought Albert Paley’s 40-ton sculpture "Genesee Passage" from the west side of the city to its intended display site in front of the Bausch & Lomb building downtown. The Costich company had done all the moves of Paley’s famous works, including ones at Harrow East and the Strong Museum, but this was the biggest so far, with a height of 65 feet and a base diameter of 14 feet. Bernie is glad that all the careful timing, paperwork and effort of September 7, 1996 is over, including a rented expansion trailer and rented 250-ton crane, and having to let the air out of the trailer tires to clear (by about an inch!) an overpass on I-490. Thanks to Bernie’s careful professionalism, and that of his team, the sculpture is a popular artistic feature in the city.
And, thanks to Bernie’s thoughtful generosity, NYMT now has two large shelf units, one of which contains the inventory of surplus magazines for sale in our Gift Shop. We also have a Costich-labeled wooden wardrobe container, currently standing in the back bed of our 1926 International truck. These containers were used to carry armloads of clothing on hangers in household moves, as is done today with corrugated board boxes. Those heavy-duty sawhorses have found many uses, including putting our 1941 fire truck up for the winter.
These useful items, and the photos that accompany this article, are a reflection of the Costich dedication to accommodating the unique needs of their customers. B. G. Costich & Sons, Inc. is history now, but we’re glad to have these reminders of what made them a Rochester institution for nearly a century.