Article From the Winter 2004 Issue of


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


Once again the museum is spicing up the winter months with "Bring Your Own Train", giving visitors a chance to run their own HO cars and engines on our 11 ft by 21 ft model pike. Dick Luchterhand, Bill Chapin, Bob Nesbitt, Jack Allen, Vern Squire and Roger Harnaart have been at work on the layout, and the latest news is the addition of lights in many of the structures. Streetlights are on the menu for the near future, and of course the block signals, crossing flashers and headlights are already operating. So, now we can turn off the room lights and enjoy "Nighttime on the Railroad" as a new addition for 2004. Members are welcome too, so if you have an HO train you’d like to see barreling through the tunnels and over the bridges of our model railroad, here’s you chance to take the throttle! We’re there any Sunday through April, ready to get you going.

The guys also report that the Young Modelers group continues to meet (youngsters with a parent, learning model railroading construction and operating techniques). One project of this group is construction of an N-scale layout depicting the Rochester Subway. Dick reports they now have power to the line and the control panels are operational. Young Modelers meet on the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and they’d be happy to include you and your son or daughter.

The model railroad room is a popular place when we’re open to the public. It’s also fun for the rest of us once in awhile to be able to re-rail a train car with one hand or realign a piece of track in 20 minutes using only small hand tools.



For some time now, Ted Thomas has been the keeper of our internet website, updating the events calendar and adding archive items as he progresses through another of his big accomplishments for NYMT, computer cataloguing the items in the museum’s collection. Clicking the Archive button on our home page (at lets a website visitor search our archives and bring up images of photos, documents and small artifacts, all thanks to Ted’s efforts.

We were concerned to learn a few months ago that our server was planning to convert from Windows to the Linux system, and that staying with Windows would require us to find another server at unacceptable annual cost. So, Ted dug in and learned some new computer languages so he could convert our site and stay with our present, low-cost server. He spent about 100 hours at home learning the languages and generating the website pages in the new code, and we are now up and running in the new system.

We often bless ourselves to have volunteers whose knowledge reaches back to the days of trolley technology, early autos, and even horse-drawn vehicles, but we are just as grateful for volunteers who keep us up to speed with the digital age, extending our contact around the globe as the world of museums keeps growing and changing.


The Guest Book at NYMT reveals that our visitors come from all over the world, and the "comments" section tells us they had a good time. Notes such as "awesome" and "neat" and "a little known Rochester treasure" show up frequently. We also enjoy the feedback from our group visitors. Last November a well-behaved group of 40 preschoolers from the Jewish Community Center’s "Discovery Rooms" came to see what transportation is all about. After enjoying their visit, they returned to school and created a large poster to tell us what they liked best.

Adina liked "going in the trains" (those are interurban trolleys, sweetheart), and Brian liked "going through the old fire truck" (let’s add him to the team, Don). Ellie was taken by "the big room with all the trains moving" (keep that HO layout on the rails, guys) while Madelon responded with "the tables in the train that used to be a restaurant" (and presumably the snack they all enjoyed on those tables). Mitchell, Erin, Mikayla, Elyse and Lucas all gave the nod to "going in the bus outside" (future transit patrons). You’re apparently never too young to learn diplomacy, though. Several youngsters "liked the whole place". Thanks kids! We enjoyed having you with us and receiving your thank you list too. Come again!


We ran out of room in our fall issue to credit some of the "little things" that are so important to our museum:

• Harold Russell has gone through our entire collection of models, repairing and cleaning them. We’re especially happy to see the scratch-built O-scale models of Rochester area trolleys, on display in the Gift Shop, looking so nice.

• As part of the Gift Shop remodeling, Paul Monte and Doug Anderson removed the pot-belly stove chimney above the shop and Paul installed a replacement roof panel to keep the new shop nice and dry. Ted Thomas and Doug blew in insulation in the shop walls and added more insulation over the ceiling.

• Jim Dierks repainted the 157 mural on the building exterior where it had been scraped and primed, and while the brush was wet he repainted the picnic table too.

• Dave Peet and Bob Miner continued their great efforts at keeping the lawns and fields mowed during our particularly plenteous growing season.

• Randy Bogucki and Tony Mittiga did yeomen’s duty on replacing ties, greasing rails, and keeping our rail line in good shape. Stay tuned for news of Randy’s weed steamer!

• Charlie Robinson has sorted and catalogued the Dave Lanni Collection of negatives pertaining to the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern, and is now organizing the many prints that came in with this fine collection.

• Ted Strang has prepped the Holland Snow Plow for the season (little details like battery and brakes…); he and the truck have already gotten a workout in our snowy winter.

• The first phase of the museum’s Strategic Plan has been completed by a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees. We’ll have more to report as this work continues during the year.


It looks like we’re having winter again in upstate New York, right on schedule. But our newly remodeled Gift Shop and entry foyer, with improved heating system and insulated walls and ceiling, is keeping our volunteers and visitors comfy despite the cold outside. We need people to staff the shop on Sundays, and hope you will make this the year that you step forward to volunteer a couple of days for the museum.

It’s an easy job, with no track car ride ticketing to complicate the task…just take admission payments and help visitors buy what they or their family would like from our selection of toys, souvenirs and books. Marie Miner is eager to bring you into the program. She’ll provide a brief training session, then pair you on a Sunday with an experienced staffer to give you hands-on learning. It’s easy and fun! Give Marie a call today.

How Do I Sign Up to Help?

Call Marie Miner at 671-3589


A classy cushioned bench covers the new air return duct
in the Gift Shop entry foyer, thanks to Ted and Anna Thomas.