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The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


SUMMER 2005


I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW…

We always like to mark anniversaries, especially big milestones like centennials, so it seems appropriate to celebrate the invention of a certain Mary Anderson whose patent was granted 100 years ago. There’s even a connection to trolleys and to our part of the world.

Seems Ms. Anderson visited New York City in the winter back in 1903. The snow was pretty different from what she was used to in Birmingham, Alabama, but it troubled her to ride the streetcars in such weather. Early trolleys had open platforms for the motormen where they were exposed to the weather, but the newer cars were enclosed and the driver stood behind a glass windshield. Problem was, as snow built up on the glass, the motorman would have to stop and get out, wipe off the window, and climb back on to resume his trip.

Mary thought about this and envisioned a device that could sweep across the glass, especially one that could be operated from inside the car. Her patent application included an interior actuating lever and a spring-loaded exterior arm with a rubber blade, the whole thing arranged on a pivot to rotate across the window. Her patent was granted in 1905.

Our museum’s snow sweeper, C-130, has manually-operated wipers just like the original Anderson idea (see photo). Most traction equipment eventually was fitted with pneumatically operated wipers, but the next big advance for automobiles (probably because motorists couldn’t steer and operate the manual wipers at the same time) was vacuum motors to run the wipers continuously. Jim Dierks is still amazed that the vacuum wiper on his 1927 Buick is designed to “park” after it’s turned off…a nice touch for that early date. Of course, anyone old enough to remember driving with vacuum operated windshield wipers will recall how they slowed down or even stopped when you accelerated. Nothing was quite so exciting as pulling out to pass a slow truck on a night of rain and sleet, hitting the gas, and having your wipers stop! Electric motors, heated wiper arms, rain-sensing systems, even wipers for your headlights…a lot has changed since Mary Anderson’s winter inspiration riding a trolley in New York City over a century ago!

RECENT ACQUISITIONS

A number of interesting donations were recorded during the past period, enhancing our collection and our ability to enlighten our visitors. We thank museum friend Harold Crouch for the donation of a working model of a steam powered electric generating plant. Harold’s father was the stationery engineer at the State hospital in Newark, NY, and was intimately familiar with the ways of steam. When the man retired, he adjourned to the basement and commenced construction of the working model. It features a boiler, fired by propane gas, with steam piped to a single-cylinder engine that drives two bicycle light generators to illuminate a set of Lionel street lights.

The more you study the model, the more details you see and the more you appreciate the attention Harold’s father paid to detail. There’s a miniature water tower, and the shaft protruding from its roof is the water level indicator. All the proper gauges are there. Even the shiny red “floor” of the generating plant recalls the spit-and-polish level of maintenance associated with traditional electric generating facilities. When we find an appropriate display location for this great model, it will play a role in helping our visitors understand the early days of electric power and its association with streetcar companies across the country.

Harold Crouch shows off his father’s handiwork…a meticulous recreation of an early twentieth century steam power plant.

Another example of fine craftsmanship came our way when longtime NYMT supporter Dave Lanni donated a pair of 15” gauge interurban car trucks. Years ago, Dave set out to build a complete Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern interurban car, with intentions to operate on a backyard miniature rail line. He started with the trucks. Keep in mind: 15” gauge is about ¼ actual size! He created the drawings from which to work, and had castings made for the wheels and other components. About all that’s missing are the coil and leaf springs, and when we can create these parts we’ll have a nifty way to show how trolley trucks work. Dave also gave us a set of cast bronze letters from the Rochester New York Central station.

Sixty VHS videos were donated, with some of them going to our library and the rest heading for sale in the gift shop to benefit the fund that is directed toward enhancements to the visitor experience. Several nice books arrived: the “Diaries of Robert Sayre” (a former Lehigh Valley Railroad executive), “Trolley Through the Countryside”, and the General Railway Signal Company’s “Elements of Railway Signaling” among them. A shovel and cast steel paper weight, both marked for the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad, and a large collection of publications and photos pertaining to buses round out this report.

Donations such as these continue to enhance our knowledge, augment our collection, and improve our ability to tell the story of transportation history for our visitors. Thanks to all who made these additions possible.


ATTENDANCE

Visitor count this year is recovering from the severe drop we experienced in 2004, but hasn’t come back yet to the record level we enjoyed in 2003.

Last year’s series of rainy Sundays has so far been replaced by clear weather, although the extreme heat can’t be helping much. We also decided to open our doors on Saturdays, as well as the usual Sundays, during July and August. Saturday attendance hasn’t so far been overwhelming, but if we continue in future years it may take a while for the public to grow accustomed to our expanded summer hours.

Of course, we issued news releases about the Saturday hours and made sure they were mentioned in our weekly newspaper listings; all our signs were changed to indicate Saturday openings, as well as the website and phone answering machine. The hardest part has been getting enough volunteers to staff the many jobs at the combined museums, essentially doubling the requirement during these two months. We have pressed Officers of the Day into gift shop duty, and dispensed with depot guides, having one of the day’s two track car operators serve in that job. The operators change roles half way through the day, and so far only one track car has been needed to cover the Saturday traffic.

Our visitors come from all over the place, and a check of the guest book shows recent arrivals from as far away as Quebec City, Wiesbaden, Germany and Elphin, Ireland. Domestically, Texas, Florida, California, Missouri, and Georgia are all represented. Of course, our customer interviews tell us that most visitors are from the immediate area in and around Rochester, but we note many who came on day trips from Elmira, Buffalo, and nearby Pennsylvania towns. Among the comments in the guest book, we find “The children love it…thanks!”, “Happy members”, “Excellent tour”, and “It’s one of the best museums ever!” We seem to be slipping in the “awesome” category, with only one recent use of that superlative, and some of our visitors display some creative spelling with “Rilly cool” and “So kule”. We’re glad that we’re pleasing our guests (and according to a Lakeville, NY comment, “enlightening” them too). We agree with a Rochester visitor…”A load of fun”. That applies to the visitor’s experience, but also to the enjoyment we volunteers derive from sharing transportation history.

There’s an “act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic” aspect to our operation. If we want to be a popular attraction, busy all through at least the summer vacation months, we have to be open enough days of the week to justify getting the message out. It doesn’t help to spend money on brochure distribution, roadside signs, etc. if we won’t be open when the traveler stops by. But it all takes volunteer hours, and many more volunteers than are now carrying the load. Your museum needs your help. If you’ve ever considered helping out as a depot guide or in the gift shop or at the ticket desk, now’s the time to volunteer!

Volunteer to help run the museum. Just call and leave your name and number at 533-1113. We’ll show you the ropes and ease you into a rewarding and fun time!

Caboose Day was an innovation started this year, a kind of mini diesel day, and it did well in building attendance. Over the years we’ve learned the obvious: people come when there’s something special going on and when the publicity gets out to let the community know. The insidious thing is the event has to be special enough to grab the attention of the media in order to crowd out the competing events. Dave Peet did a great job at assembling releases and following up with the media to be sure Caboose Day got mentioned, and we had a nice, busy event day. The publicity for the day, which we held early in the summer on June 19, probably helped acquaint the public for visits later in the season too.

Both NYMT and RGVRRM agreed this year to devote $1000 to local advertising, and this is helping too…directly with the public, but we also think we may get more attention for free media mention if we are also buying ad space.

Casey Jones Day was our July event, featuring our venerable Rochester Subway model-T powered track car getting its annual airing. With the City wanting to fill in the old Subway tunnel under Broad Street, the system is in the public eye these days. That and a broadside salvo of our usual PR brought in a good crowd, along with camera crews from several TV stations. The evening news that Sunday was filled with reports about us. Every little bit counts!

Bob Mader, interviewed by several local TV stations at our July 17 Casey Jones Day, lays it out for Channel 13 (ABC).

By the time this issue of HEADEND goes in the mail, Diesel Days 2005 will be history, and hopes are high that this event will bring ‘em in and continue to raise our profile in the community. We’ll report more in the Fall issue.


BRADLEY NEGATIVES DONATED

One of Rochester's very earliest railfans, Wallace Bradley
made many 116-size (2-1/2" x 4-1/4") negatives of the area's steam railroads and electric railways. As his most active era was the late 1920s to the early 1940s, he captured many interurban and streetcar scenes just before they ceased to exist forever. Bradley is best remembered today, though, as the Rochester Times-Union artist, and his most enduring work remains the line-drawing sketches of many Rochester-area railroad stations. These sketches were used for years to
adorn the Times-Union calendars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Looks like Wally’s work on a sports cartoon at the Times-Union is being interrupted by some local admirers.

When Bradley died in the mid-1970s, his entire collection of
negatives passed to area railfan and longtime friend of NYMT Tom Kirn. Many of the negatives were used as illustrations for the 1985 history of the Rochester Subway to which he contributed photographs, fine artwork, and several interesting vignettes. In recent years, Kirn has donated to NYMT many prints he made of these and other negatives, forming the Tom Kirn Collection at NYMT. Now, completing the cycle, he has donated the entire set of Bradley negatives to NYMT.

The air is crisp and so is this ca. 1928 image of Rochester Subway car 2008 boarding westbound riders at Winton Road.

Wallace Bradley photo

The collection, dubbed the Bradley-Kirn Collection to commemorate the two railfans who made its inclusion in the NYMT archives possible, consists of about 3,500 negatives. A great many of these, perhaps half of the entire collection, are copy negatives of varying quality. While some are common views for which original negatives still exist, a great many are extremely rare scenes of which these copy negatives may very well be the last remaining version. A small group of original New York State Railways negatives, mostly 5" x 7" or 8" x 10" in size, also are part of the donation. These are mostly rare scenes of electric railway cars, and include famous images such as one showing freshly-shopped R&E 163 in July, 1924.

By far the most significant part of the collection is the group of original 116-size negatives Bradley made himself. Some highlights already discovered include: over twenty negatives of New York State Railways sand car 0243, which resides in NYMT's collection of trolley cars; rare interurban and early Subway scenes of the late 1920s; and a vast record of Rochester's streetcars from the 1930s.

Ca. 1928, near South landing Rd., a Rochester & Syracuse car disappears around the curve, heading east.

Wallace Bradley Photo

To preserve this collection, Shelden King and Charlie Lowe are working at sleeving and identifying the best of the negatives from this collection. Already, several hundred negatives have been conserved, using proper archival storage materials and methods. To acquaint NYMT members with this fascinating collection, a sampling of the more interesting views will be seen in the “Rochester Streetcars” series, beginning with this issue's coverage of Bradley's shot of NYMT's R&E car 157.


GROUP TOURS

The sight of a line of school buses disgorging hundreds of 10-year-olds no longer causes our palms to sweat, but each group brings challenges as well as new friends for the museum. Thanks go to the many volunteers who spend the better part of a morning or an afternoon to run track cars, serve as depot guides, tour the visitors through NYMT and operate the model railroad. Special tours also involve several gift shop people to handle the quest for books, Instant Railroads, whistles, earrings, and the many other goodies Doug Anderson stocks in the shop.

Groups often throw us a curve…getting lost on the way (but still needing to leave in time to get back to school by a certain deadline), showing up with many more (or fewer) attendees than planned, sometimes not showing up at all. But we enjoy the chance to share transportation history with the younger generation, some of whom are well prepared for their visit, while others can be totally clueless about how we “got around” years ago. We’ve recently discovered that no one has any idea what that thing is under the front of R&E 157. “Why do you suppose we call it the cow catcher?” we ask. Then someone will pipe up, with a puzzled expression, “Because it catches cows”? By the way, remember the old timer who told us that cows weren’t really the problem anyway. “The cows bounced off”, he said. “It was the pigs that you didn’t want getting mushed up in the traction motors”.

We’ve been lucky with the weather in this year’s group tours. Our biggest group, French Road School, came for their annual two-day event, and their leader, Mary DuBois, as usual had things perfectly organized and prepped, while our many extra volunteers had things humming and on schedule. Near the end of the second day’s activities, the skies were darkening and we were afraid we might have to annul some track car runs on account of rain. Pressing on, we kept one eye on the sky and the other on the clock. As the last track car run came rolling up to the museum, sprinkles started, and just after that last group reached the security of the car barn, the heavens opened (see photo). The same has been true several times this year…rain stopping, or starting, right on cue.

R&E, EC&W, G&W, P&W…now we can add PB&J in the exhibit hall as almost 200 kids find a place to eat lunch when it rains.

TROLLEY WHEEL

No, we’re not talking about the wheels under the streetcar that ride on the rails. “Trolley” is actually the term applied to the little grooved wheel that rode along on the overhead wire above the electric streetcar, picking up power for the motors. The word traces its derivation back to the French troler meaning to stroll or run about. In English, “Trolling” is one term we are familiar with (and it’s not hard to see the connection with “trollope” either…). Before electric streetcars, “trolley” was used to refer to small carts used in factories and elsewhere to wheel things around, as well as wheeled baskets that were pushed or pulled along overhead wires to send messages in a large facility, collect items for assembly, etc.

When overhead electric wires were envisioned as the arrangement whereby power could be distributed for streetcars, the issue became one of getting the power from the wire to the streetcar. The most common solution in the early days was a pole mounted to the roof of the car and upwardly loaded by heavy springs to force the end of the pole onto the wire. There had to be a way to keep the end of the pole from slipping off the wire, but merely cutting a groove in the pole end wouldn’t do the trick, as the friction would wear both the pole and the relatively soft copper wire.

The idea of using a small wheel to ride on the wire solved that problem, and the wheel became known as a “trolley” probably from its similarity to those aforementioned overhead baskets. As material technology improved, manufacturers developed sliding heads to replace the spinning wheel (consider: at 60 miles per hour, the wheel was probably rotating at a pretty spiffy 5,000 rpm!) and even came up with designs that offered improvements on the trolley pole, such as pantographs.

Thanks to member Don Shilling, we have in our collection a reproduction of an early advertisement for the National Trolley Mfg. Co., a Rochester firm with its offices in the Powers Building at Main and State Streets.

Illustration from the National Trolley Mfg. Co.’s catalogue.

According to the catalogue, the National wheel “will out-last three of any known makes of trolley wheels in use to-day”, and the secret appears to be a roller bearing design. We suspect the copy editor was out of his depth when he resorted to the following: “Instead of here offering a lengthy and detailed description of the principle and working parts of the “NATIONAL” we ask that the illustration of the above engraving be shown to any intelligent, practical mechanic in your Company’s employ.” And presumably if you still didn’t understand, you just weren’t smart enough.

You’ll see trolley poles on the roofs of many of the cars in our collection, and at their ends you’ll find a trolley wheel. Also, John Corzine has put together a nice exhibit incorporating a wheel and short segment of overhead wire to let our visitors get a close-up view. Stop by yourself and take a look…the next time you’re out “trolling” for something to do.

Robert Baker

We note the passing June 17, 2005 of former volunteer Bob Baker, husband of Sue Baker who serves in the Gift Shop. Bob and Sue discovered us years ago, and before his health began to deteriorate, Bob was always eager to help with a variety of small jobs around the museum while Sue held forth at the counter. Through several years of his struggle with ALS, Bob always had has wife by his side. Our sincere condolences go out to Sue and the Baker family.


ROCHESTER STREETCARS............ No. 35 in a series

New York State Railways, Rochester & Eastern 157
Wallace S. Bradley photo

by Charles R. Lowe

Rochester's R&E riders of 1930 learned only a few days in advance that R&E service would cease forever with the runs of July 31. As that date approached, final preparations for the discontinuance were made. Nine R&E cars were run off the line and out to East Main Station in Rochester, leaving in readiness only the five cars needed for last-day operations. Wallace Bradley, a Rochester newspaperman and a fan of Rochester's electric railway network, was visiting his sister at her place of employment, the Graflex plant near the intersection of Main Street West and Broad Street, on Wednesday, July 30, 1930. From a window several floors above street level, Bradley saw one-of-a-kind R&E car 157 coming up the ramp on Broad Street from the Subway. Knowing the end of the R&E was near and that this might be his last chance to photograph a car in action, he grabbed his loaded camera and raced out the door. Making a mad dash to catch 157, hoping his camera was ready to go, Bradley did manage to take one precious photograph of 157 before the car disappeared on its way to East Main Station. This was the car's very last run, and his hurried shot is the only known action view of NYMT's car 157.
The exact location of this scene is a bit tough to really identify because of its fuzziness. Prior to 1923, a wye on Oak Street at Main Street West had been used for turning cars. Construction of the Rochester Subway included a ramp to the surface on Broad Street just west of Oak Street, and new track built in 1923 formed a loop on Oak and Broad Streets. Cars from Main Street West traveled west on Broad, then south on Oak to regain Main Street. Cars entering or leaving the Subway followed these same directions of travel. Thus, when 157 left the Subway ramp, it would have turned right onto Oak Street and continued south to reach Main Street West. The dark rear end of 157 tells us it is indeed traveling generally south; the long shadows on the west side of the car mean it is still a morning hour. What had been Oak Street in 1930 is now the short section of Broad Street where it intersects Main Street from the north, a rearrangement of streets being made necessary in the early 1970s by the construction of I-490.


Not only is Bradley's photograph historically important now as we pass the 75th anniversary of the cessation of R&E service, this image's negative has finally wound its way to NYMT. As related elsewhere in this issue of Headend, Tom Kirn has recently donated all of Wallace Bradley's priceless negatives to NYMT. Examination of the original negative, the very piece of film that was in Bradley's camera during his race with 157, shows us that he did indeed use his own camera. Each of Bradley's 116-size negatives (2½" by 41/4") has a distinctive four-notch marking on the edge of the frame and, sure enough, Bradley's negative of 157 has the tell-tale four notches.


While we can lament the passing of the R&E, it is much more comforting to realize that not only does the interurban car in our present photo reside at NYMT, so too, now, does the negative of its only in-service action photo.


TRACK CAR MILESTONE


It’s July 19, 1980, and TC-1 inaugurates regular track car rides as a popular visitor feature at NYMT.

We clearly recall the words of museum founder Henry Hamlin back in 1980 when he advised that the key to drawing visitors

and new volunteers was to offer a ride. Track cars had been operated sporadically up to that point, but not as a regular feature of a museum visit. So, that summer when we began operating the museum on a regular basis (at that time, Saturdays and Sundays), track car rides became a prominent part of the offering. The whole thing was kicked off in July of that year, a quarter century ago.

Rides did not operate on a fixed schedule at that time. With our present rail line only half completed (to a point somewhere south of the “S” curves), it only took about 15 minutes for a complete round trip. So, rides were sold as an extra option for a small additional price, and departure was whenever the visitor was ready to go. With the quick turnaround, there was never a very long wait if another visitor missed the chance to go along.

In 1993, with the link-up to the RGVRRM half of the line, we could no longer afford to operate on such a casual basis. We not only had more visitors, but it took a half hour for a round trip. Worse, greater ridership necessitated a second track car train set, so sending runs out on a casual basis raised the concern of messed up schedules or even collisions. We quickly settled on a half-hourly schedule of departures, mnemonically arranged on the hour and half-hour, with a ticketing system that assured selling only the number of seats available on each run (22).

NYMT’s track car is TC-1 (motor car and trailer) and has been under the care and maintenance of Ted Strang for all of the past 25 years. The aging equipment is getting harder and harder to find parts for, and if they can be found even parts for a simple tune-up are expensive and of poor quality. Bob Achilles oversees key aspects of the track car fleet, especially wheels, making sure that wear is monitored and any cracks or defects are caught early.

Despite all the care and attention, the TCs manage to remind us of their age with a host of problems that crop up and demand repair in short order. Of course, with no backup, some major work has to be postponed until winter, resulting in work-arounds and a continuing effort to keep operators informed and trained in proper technique.

With the problems increasing in severity and frequency, we all look forward to operation of trolley rides in the near future. Someday, we’ll be offering trolley and train rides the full length of our rail line, and our faithful track cars will be given the retirement they deserve. Until then, happy 25th anniversary everyone. You were right, Henry…the rides are what bring the people in.


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

We’re getting used to the fact that so many of our volunteers have a connection to transportation that runs through most of their life. Seems like all of us have a life story with wheels on it, and our subject this time has almost more than he can count. Meet Lew Wallace.

Lew is a 1937 product from right here in Rochester. After an early childhood on Clifton Street, his family moved to the Swillburg section of town, on Whalin Street. They rented three different houses on Whalin, and Lew is proud to point out that he bought the last one himself when he was only 22 years old. He had managed to snare a full scholarship at Rochester Institute of Technology from Gleason Works and the money he earned in the co-op program enabled him to make the purchase. He says he had the whole thing paid off by the time he was 27!

Lew’s father was a photographer, initially in aerial work in World War I. After several photo jobs, he settled at General Railway Signal Company. Lew chose to work for a solid local company too, but it came about somewhat indirectly. He skipped Latin class at Monroe High School one day in his junior year in order to hear a presentation from a Gleason rep promoting the firm’s opportunities. Gleason Works worked hard to seek out young people with a mechanical aptitude and at least a B average, to keep their company in the forefront of their specialized gear cutting technology. Lew eventually earned two Associates degrees…one in Mechanical Engineering, and the other in Production Management.

Lew’s dad nicely composed this shot of a New York Central 4-8-2 westbound on the West Shore line out of Wayneport.

After many manufacturing engineering jobs, Lew shifted to technical writing and ad copy writing, and when the marketing communications function was outsourced, he moved to Xerox as a contract worker. There, he performed much the same work as he had done for 31 years at Gleasons. Over a broad line of copier products, he wrote repair manuals and trained company people around the country. Lew says his experience at disassembling copiers, analyzing repairs, and reassembling was good training for his current museum work cosmetically restoring our 1951 Chevrolet, although in our case the parts had already been removed (so he bought a shop manual).

The ’51 Chevy enjoys a brief moment in the sun as Lew Wallace cleans out the engine compartment prior to painting.

Dot Wallace is the “woman behind the man”, and a very understanding one at that. The two married in July of 1993, and the very next month the garage extension at their Fairport home was completed. That extension, of course, accommodates Lew’s passion for automobiles. Lew tells us that on their honeymoon trip around western New York and Pennsylvania, they managed to visit five different auto junk yards. Talk about understanding! Between them, Dot and Lew have five children from previous marriages, and seven grandkids to keep things interesting.

So, where do the wheels come in? Like just about any boy, Lew liked cars and mechanical things from as early as he can remember. Limited family finances precluded “toys” per se, but there was always something in the sugar bowl for more “constructive” gifts like blocks, Erector sets, and Lincoln Logs. The interest in cars boiled over once Lew reached driving age, and he soon joined a hot rod club. He had two Chevrolet two-doors in succession, a 1930 and a 1937, but his interest waned and he joined the Genesee Valley Auto Sport Club so he could take part in road rallies.

In the rallies, Lew drove “aggressively”, but that was primarily because his navigator wasn’t very good and they spent a lot of miles getting back on course. At first, Lew drove a 1956 MGA retired factory race car, and later a 1961 Volvo 122S took over the honors. He did manage to take first place in one rally, surprisingly one that was run on snow and ice. Lew remembers well one rally with the MG that started at midnight and ran until 7:30 a.m. As usual, he got off course several times and drove fast to recover. After a fast night in that hard-riding car, when he got home he discovered he couldn’t make his arms and legs work to get himself out of the car. He lost seven pounds that night as well!

Lew has owned over 60 vehicles so far. The serious collecting started back when his first wife nixed a motorcycle he came home with one day, and he replaced it with a pretty well beaten 1962 Corvette convertible. After a six-year restoration, he worried that the “Vette might not be the best car for his teenage sons, so he sold it. Over the years, Lew has bought cars that he’s re-sold in a few months, and others that he’s kept for a couple of years. At times he’d have half a dozen or so. Generally, he had a “newer” car for his daily driver, and an “older” one to work on (from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s). His favorites? A 1937 Buick Special four-door comes most immediately to mind. That Volvo 122S was a real gem too. But as Lew says, “Most of them were no great loss when I moved on to another car”. Currently he’s working on a 1967 Chevrolet Impala four-door hardtop “resto-rod” (looks stock, but it isn’t), and Dot’s nifty Buick Skylark convertible.

Lew and Dot have both been very active in the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Buick Club of America. In fact, Lew came to us through acquaintance with museum members Jim Dierks and John Ross who are also in the Buick club. Lew offered to clean up, paint and reinstall the engine compartment components on our Chevy, and he’s been doing a neat job of it.

About 20 years ago, Lew got interested in smaller autos when a friend gave him about 150 Matchbox cars that her kids had outgrown (we can just hear them today…”Mom! You gave away our Matchbox cars??!!”). Lew outgrew them too, and graduated to bigger stuff—Tonka, Smith-Miller, Hubley, Structo, Auburn Rubber, and various other makes of those wonderful trucks and cars we used to play with in the neighborhood sandbox. He repairs and repaints some of these old toys, but Lew points out that you have to be careful at that kind of thing as some rare items—like other antiques—can be worth more “as is” than repainted. He estimates his collection currently numbers between 500 and 600.

Other interests for Lew include coin collecting (specializing in silver dollars from 1878 to 1935), as well as target shooting at the Williamson Target Range.

Lew says he enjoys working on the Chevy, and we are glad we’ll be able to show off the engine compartment looking like new. One fly in that ointment, he points out, is that we have the heavy springs that counterbalance the heavy hood, but we don’t have the special tool he needs to attach them. Can anybody out there loan that to us? With the completion of the engine compartment and attachment of those springs, we’ll thank Lew for a job well done, and we’re sure to find something else he can help us with!


KIRN COLLECTION GROWS

Years ago, longtime friend of the museum and of Rochester history Tom Kirn set out to gather every image he could find pertaining to the Rochester Subway. From various local government and private collections, he collected negatives and made 8 x 10 black and white prints, eventually amassing a collection well over 1,000. True to Tom’s nature, the search for images was thorough and didn’t stop until he’d exhausted every resource. Also typical of Tom, he applied his skill in the dark room, making sure each print was as clear and sharp as possible, often making several prints in a quest to get just the right exposure. The result of all this work is a proud part of NYMT’s archives and is dubbed the Tom Kirn Collection.

We may have to modify that name a bit, as Tom has just donated two more very special photographic collections. One of them, the collected negatives of longtime trolley enthusiast Wally Bradley, is described elsewhere in this issue. The other is a large set of prints of Rochester street scenes and some transportation related shots, all of which Tom uncovered in his Subway effort, and couldn’t resist capturing in a print.

Main and Franklin in the 1890s (now site of the Liberty Pole).

We’ve always felt that the wealth of background detail in good quality prints, often from sharp 8 x 10 negatives, is valuable extra material. Often the location for an identified scene can be pinned down with an eye loupe and a distant street sign. Prices can be read on hand-painted signs in store windows. Styles in clothing of pedestrians, makes and models of autos and trucks, street lighting and lane striping are just some of the things lurking in these old prints. (Continued)

100 years ago on the Main St. New York Central overpass, a water wagon wets down the manure drying in the hot sun.

Some of the pictures date back to the mid-1800s, most notably when Rochester’s downtown suffered a major flood from the Genesee River, well before construction of the Mt. Morris dam. Others show a picture of life in the city a century ago, with horse-drawn buggies and wagons on the wane and early autos showing up on the streets. Residential streets that are now shaded by large maple trees show up as new developments with little saplings near the curb of a dirt street. Still other shots bring back memories of a lively downtown Rochester, sidewalks crowded with shoppers, streetcars and cars vying for space on Main Street, and all those wonderful stores many of us remember from a lifetime ago.

Rush hour traffic piles up at Exchange and Broad on September 30, 1939 as the Times Square Subway kiosk looks on…

This great addition to the Tom Kirn Collection will surely add to our ability to shed light on our past…a light that hopefully will help guide our community as its future takes shape around its transportation systems.


SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Track No. 2 at New Car House: Construction of the second track into the new car house has been completed to the point that it is now in service. During the past three months, the last rails needed were hauled to the work site, set in position and bolted together. Work then focused on spiking the rails down to the ties. Pre-drilling for each spike with a ½-inch-diameter hole has made spike-driving noticeably easier. Work remaining on this project includes ballasting and grinding of uneven rail joints.

NYMT Substation: Recent meetings held with Niagara-Mohawk have solidified the design for connecting our virtually complete substation with commercial power. A new pole will be set by N-M just outside the loop track near the NYMT office. This pole will carry the three transformers needed to step the high-voltage alternating current to a proper voltage for the substation. Conduits from this pole will carry three-phase a.c. power under the railroad and into the substation, avoiding problems with overhead clearance of the trolley wire by the three-phase lines. An additional easement for this construction is being obtained so that N-M can place the new pole and downguy. It is expected that NYMT-NRHS volunteers will construct the underground conduit once the new pole is in place. O'Connell Electric will be performing much of the required electrical work from this point forward; the substation itself is all but complete.

Philadelphia and Western 161: Work on this car by Don Quant and John Ross continues with efforts being focused on the side windows. The last of the inside ceiling panels have been secured, replacing the final sagging panels ruined by roof leakage. The car's interior lighting was inspected and found to be intact. The curved panels inside the car above the side windows where advertising car cards were placed, have recently had distortions straightened and have been re-installed. The interior of the car above the belt line was

With the last of the warped ceiling panels replaced, John Ross and Don Quant reattach the advertising panels in P&W 161.

sanded in preparation for painting. The window stools for one side of the car have been painted and are ready for installation. Ted Thomas’ upper window frames and lengths of specially made quarter-round are all painted and ready for installation of the textured, tempered glass, and this work is next on the list for completion. Bases for two trolley catchers were recently donated by member Fred Perry. Catchers are spring loaded devices that control the rope tied to the end of the trolley pole. The motorman or conductor can pull the pole off the overhead wire by pulling down on the rope working against the heavy springs that load the pole onto the wire. As this happens, the catcher neatly reels up the rope inside its cast shell. As its name implies, the catcher also arrests the rope and pole if the latter were to come off the overhead wire.

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 437: Car 437 was moved inside the new car house with trackmobile L-3 and placed on recently constructed track no. 2. Bob Miner, John Ross, Dick Luchterhand and others assisted with this move on July 27. Soon afterward, a few small restoration projects

Charlie Lowe watches from an end window as Bob Miner and L-3 ease 437 into the new car barn on brand new track 2.

were undertaken. The first project completed was the reinstallation of the car's trolley hook. When the car was moved to NYMT in 1997, the hook was removed to lower the overall height of the car and to prevent the hook from snagging an overhead wire en route. Cleaned and painted during the years that the car spent under its tarp, the hook is now back on 437’s roof and held in place with its original squared-headed bolts. Another small effort was the replacement of a correct side-view mirror. During the car's one-man era (1922-1936), 437 was a rear-entrance-front-exit (REFE) car. The mirror was used by the motorman to insure that all passengers stepping onto the car at the rear door were inside the car before he closed the door and started on his way. Both the front and rear doors were air-operated when the car was one-manned as the motorman could not be expected to leave his station at the front of the car to open the rear door. Fares were paid as riders left at the front door. The right front window would have had the legend "PAY AS YOU LEAVE" in red paint on the window glass, but when this pane was cleaned of old house paint and dirt, no trace of the lettering could be found. A final small project completed was the selection of a trolley pole for the car. It was roughly straightened, its old trolley slider removed, and a restored trolley wheel assembly attached. The pole was then painted black by Trevor James. These small projects serve as a kick-off for a long-term restoration effort that will result in an operable Rochester city car at NYMT.


Hornell Traction Co. 34: As part of the effort to ready the loop track for trolley operations, snow plow 34 was moved inside the new car house along with car 437. This was the first time since 1926 that a Hornell streetcar has moved on rails!

Dick Luchterhand signals Bob Miner on L-3 as Hornell 34 is eased to the end of track 2.

Brighton Fire Truck 307: Don Quant has the big Mack’s engine running well, but there were several items found needing work when annual New York State inspection took place in early August. Don is currently awaiting a quote for rear wheel bearing seals, and we also need to replace the windshield and a section of exhaust pipe.

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 501: In late May, Jim Dierks received a tip that one of the former Rochester city streetcars in Lakeville was being scrapped. A quick trip by Jim yielded many artifacts, and it was decided that museum volunteers might be able to harvest additional parts. Thursday afternoon volunteers Dick Luchterhand, John Ross, Don Quant and Jim Dierks were led by Charlie
Lowe a few days later, and many valuable items were harvested from the car. These included passenger call buttons; two hand sanders; a great many windows; two headlights; body panels with sound paint (for use in
creating proper paint colors for other restorations); roof

Salvaging what they can, Don Quant, Dick Luchterhand, John -Ross, Jim Dierks and Charlie Lowe take a well-deserved break (that’s the revealed car number 501 above Dierks’ head).

braces; and car bolsters. These last items were somewhat of a disappointment in that despite requests to the contrary the car owner's scrapping crew mistakenly chopped these into pieces. Fortunately, the all-important castings that were part of the bolsters were not damaged when the steel
planks were cut. Hoping to salvage the castings, at least, Charlie and Dick loaded the large chunks of car bolsters into Dick's truck and hauled them to NYMT. One nagging question, the car's number, had for years remained
unknown. After selection of a likely spot, Dick carefully sanded several painted layers away to reveal the car's number, 501. Discovering the car's identity, just before it was scrapped, does add one more small piece of information to our understanding of Rochester's streetcar history.

Don’t be shy…volunteer! Call 533-1113 today!

KEEPING IN TOUCH

VISIT US: Your museum is open Sundays, year round, 11 am to 5 pm. and on weekdays by appointment. Museum membership admits you free any time, and allows you to bring a limited family group to enjoy your museum at no charge. Why not stop out and see the progress first hand and check out the new items in our Gift Shop? Summer admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors 65 and over, $4 ages 3 – 15; children age 2 and under are free if they sit on an adult’s lap on the ride. Winter admission is $3 adults and $2 under 12. We’re at 6393 East River Road. Take I-390 Exit 11, Route 251 West 1 1/2 miles to East River Road, then north 1 mile to our entrance.

E-MAIL US: info@nymtmuseum.org

CALL US: (585) 533-1113. Leave a message if we’re not there, and we’ll get back to you.

WRITE US: P. O. Box 136, West Henrietta, NY 14586

CHECK OUT OUR WEB SITE: www.nymtmuseum.org

JOIN US: If you are not already a member, complete the form on the back page of this issue of HEADEND, and we’ll take it from there.

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HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2007. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. www.nymtmuseum.org

Editor - Jim Dierks
Contributing Editors - Charles Lowe, James Root
Printing - James Root, Peter Leas
Publication - Ruth Magraw, Doug Anderson