The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation

FALL 2006


…Or maybe we should say “signs”. Either way applied when we got a call from a man in Ohio who wanted to know if we would like some original signs from the Rochester Subway. Well let’s see…give us a second to think this over…!

The story began in the 1950s, or maybe even before that, when a young Rochester boy fell in love with trains, trolleys, and buses. John Eagle followed the ups and downs of public discourse in the final few years of the Subway’s existence, and was of course disappointed when it was ultimately abandoned. He watched sadly as the eastern portion of the line was promptly scrapped to make way for an expressway to link Rochester with the New York State Thruway, and it wasn’t much consolation that the New York Central Railroad was still operating parts of the remaining trackage to serve a few local industries (principally delivering carloads of newsprint to the Gannett siding beneath Broad Street). The western end, although now silent, still remained largely untouched except by occasional vandals. Track, platforms, stairways, etc. continued to stand, as if service was due to start up again at any time.

Long before our museum’s founders were given permission by the City of Rochester to salvage rail and hardware from the abandoned line, young John decided to save what he could from deterioration and destruction. In the 1970s, museum volunteers removed the rails to construct the railroad that today carries P&W car 168 on our trolley rides. Fifteen years earlier, however, John and his friend, Tom Brewer, salvaged about the only things they could manage: the station signs!

The saga progresses as a true labor of love, first detaching the signs and transporting them to John’s father’s garage, and years later moving them to Columbus, Ohio where they gathered dust, safely stored. This past summer, Bob Sardis, John’s long-time friend from his days working with Rochester Transit Service, started talking up our museum. Last year, Bob, a retired RTS driver, had offered us his collection of bus memorabilia, and we put it to good use in the bus exhibit at NYMT. Bob told John what a great place we have, and he must have been very persuasive. John decided we were the right place to preserve and display his collection of signs.

We scheduled a day for John to bring his signs (“the best donation is a delivered donation”, we always say), and he proceeded to securely lash them to the roof of his Chrysler minivan in preparation for the trip. He did a good job, as his visions of signs flying off at 70 m.p.h. weren’t realized, and the whole delivery made the trip in good shape. At the appointed hour, John and Bob arrived at NYMT. We were stunned.

John Eagle, on right, shows the full complement of signs to Bob Sardis after unloading them at the museum.

There they were. Not little signs, but big, long, hand painted works almost 80 years old, and except for accrued dust, looking pretty darn good. Especially nice to see were the Times Square signs, so well preserved out of the elements in the subway’s main station, under Broad Street. What a wonderful step back in time, fifty years after the line was abandoned, to see these large artifacts not only still extant, but looking good and now being donated to our museum.

The Rochester Subway signs are a great addition to our museum’s collection of memorabilia from the line.

Along with the Subway signs, John gave us two Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo interurban car destination signs of the porcelain-on-steel variety with small holes punched in the letters for illumination at night. There was also a small sign that said simply “Subway” with an arrow, one of many such signs that directed pedestrians to the nearest station. John even threw in the shop rags and bungee cords from his trip.


P&W 161 poses in the open air on October 21, 2006.

Almost ten years to the day since former Philadelphia & Western Railroad car 161 arrived at our museum, she emerged from the shop on Saturday, October 21, 2006 to reveal the fine restoration work that has been going on over much of the past decade. 161’s debut appearance was part of a massive effort to relocate several cars in our collection, in order to provide weather protection for Genesee & Wyoming caboose 8, position Rochester streetcar 437 for further restoration work, and locate 161 for live electrical check-out and operation on our trolley line in 2007.

Soaked in highway salt, roof tarp flapping, masonite window covers soggy, 161 arrives from Keokuk, Iowa, November, 1996.

After almost ten years of effort (161 entered the main barn for restoration work in 1997), it was crunch time for the car’s restoration crew. Our new car barn doesn’t have a paved floor, so the push was on to finish all exterior work facilitated by our scaffolding prior to the move. Looking back over the years of work, we’re all impressed with how much was accomplished. The most important challenge 161 faced was getting a new roof. In typical 1920s trolley fashion, the roof is ¾” thick tongue-and-groove hardwood, covered by a heavy canvas meticulously tacked all around on a wood drip edge. After removing what was left of the tarps and old canvas, several volunteers scraped and sanded to remove old paint, and replaced several sections of rotted roof boards. Some boards were in fairly straight sections but a hole over the motorman’s seat at the front end required three boards to be bent to conform to the compound curve created by the shape of the roof. Jim Dierks did this by soaking the pieces in hot water, clamping them in a vise, and hanging weights to get the right curve and twist in each board. By the second try, he got it right, and the roof was ready for canvas.

That step involved searching the city for a canvas supplier and ordering a custom-sewn blanket 15 feet wide and 60 feet long. We also had to have 130 feet of drip edge custom milled, with the two end pieces steam bent to conform to the curve of the car. Eric Norden’s talents were employed to create the pieces with the sharp radius at each of the four corners of the car. The canvas was soaked and then stretched across the four corners, with heavy weights hung for several months to avoid any wrinkles. Eric carefully attached the canvas to the drip edge with a bazillion copper tacks. Don Quant created new cleats and trolley boards for the roof and installed them along with the roof vents and trolley poles. Two coats of a special stain/preservative were applied to the canvas to complete the roofing job.

For the interior ceiling, many of the masonite panels had buckled from roof leaks and had to be replaced. Paul Monte, John Ross, Bob Miner, and Don all contributed to this effort. Doug Anderson and Eric rebuilt the ceiling vents for smooth operation, including new actuating levers and vent covers.

We wonder if 161 looked this nice in service on the P&W!

At the same time, Paul Monte took on the task of cleaning and patching dozens of rusted holes where the vertical members between the windows met the exterior window sills. These holes admitted rain that was doing damage inside the walls of the car. Above these areas, the windows themselves needed attention, and Tony Mittiga proceeded to strip and repair the lower sashes while Ted Thomas built two new windows where the old ones were too far gone to save. These windows were all reglazed with tempered safety glass, replacing the smoked acrylic panes. One of the 5-foot long upper windows was a temporary plywood job, and when Ted got into it he decided to make all new upper windows for the whole car! Reglazed with a stipple-pattern tempered safety glass, these windows really bring back the early look of the car.

Don tackled the all-important missing set of steps at the bus door where passengers will be boarding. The Pullman car steps placed here in Keokuk had to be torched off to meet clearance limitations during truck transport. Don made a cardboard pattern and had steel parts made, with the result a nice looking and functional set of steps. Bob Miner and Jim Johnson performed electrical checks on the car, and Bob lubricated the wheel and motor bearings, while Charlie Lowe installed two trolley catchers.

The core team of Don, John, and Paul, helped along by Bob, Eric, Jim, Charlie, Lew Wallace, Dave Daunce, and others, painted the interior of the car, cleaned and installed the ceiling light fixtures, built all new interior window sills, reupholstered and patched seat cushions, installed the headlight lenses, and installed all the windows. The cream colored paint on parts of the upper windows was probably still drying as the move day arrived. It was great to see the results in daylight, and we all look forward to successful operation of P&W 161 this coming summer!


Ask anyone who rode the Rochester Subway…or most of the enthusiasts today…and they’ll tell you Rowlands was the name of the southern terminus of the line. There was a loop there, and it shows up in many railfan photos and in the film, “The Steel Wheel” that is shown continuously in our museum gallery. Thanks to the recent donation by 97-year-old Alton Rowley of six scrapbooks of Subway clippings, we can learn a little more about the origin of the Rowlands name.

Rowlands Loop is clearly seen in this 1938 aerial photo, with Monroe Ave. at the bottom of the picture. Vestiges of the relocated Erie Canal extend beyond the loop across the picture to the right. The abandoned right of way of the Rochester & Eastern interurban line comes up from the bottom left corner, passes the loop (where it once crossed the Canal on a high bridge), and takes a graceful curve at top, heading toward Pittsford and east.

According to recollections of Frank W. Rowlands in the August 5, 1953 Rochester Times-Union, his grandfather came to the U.S. from England in 1842. The elder Rowlands rode a packet boat on the Erie Canal, and when he arrived in our area he decided to settle here. Things were fairly undeveloped at this early time in Rochester’s history, and he was able to acquire a large plot of land bounded by what are now Winton Road, Westfall Road, and the right of way of the former Auburn Road of the New York Central. Rowlands was instrumental in settling this large area of what would become Brighton.

This 1954 view shows Rowlands Loop and the former R&E right of way. The dotted line surrounds city property (left over from the Canal) in a proposal for a park-and-ride lot to attract riders from Pittsford and elsewhere beyond the end of the line.

When this photo appeared in the February 5, 1943 Rochester Times-Union, heavy snow followed by a thaw and a quick freeze had flooded Rowlands Loop. Here we see car 60 in the interesting 2-tone green paint scheme getting her feet wet. The view shows the waiting station located between the loop track, the abutment for the R&E bridge, and the connecting track (visible behind the station, and in the other two accompanying photos) that let the R&E use the Subway from downtown and then attain its own right of way from here to the east.

The first Rowland farm house was located near the intersection of the Erie Canal and an early stagecoach route that is now Monroe Avenue (NYS Rte. 31). The house was a stop on the stage line and was known originally as the Black Horse Tavern. In the late 1800s, a second family homestead was built a little farther west on Monroe. The “new” house was Frank W. Rowland’s home until 1953 when he sold it to a furniture dealer. The structure became the well-known Monroe Cherry House furniture store, at 2349 Monroe Avenue. The site of the original homestead—2450 Monroe—is now occupied by the popular Char Broil Family Restaurant.


Somehow the word has gotten out to senior centers around the area, because we’ve been treated to a number of group tours this year from the folks who can tell us as much as we can tell them. We’re happy to pass it all along to our readers, too. A couple of ladies recently shared their memories:

Most of us got to high school on a school bus, and now and then some tell us they rode the Rochester Subway, but from 1938 to 1942 Jane Ramsey used to ride the Erie every day! She lived on Erie Station Road, fairly near the Erie’s West Henrietta station, and attended Monroe High School on Rochester’s southeast side. Mrs. Ramsey says it was a pretty quick trip traveling the eight or so miles to the Erie’s station by the Genesee River on Court Street. Then she’d cross the river and take the steps down to the Court Street Subway station for an even shorter ride to the Meigs-Goodman stop, as close as she could get to the school.

In 1907, the Erie Railroad electrified the line from Rochester to Avon, NY and on to Mt. Morris, NY, a total distance of 34 miles, with an 11,000 volt AC system, the first in the country for a steam railroad. However, electric trolleys were several years in the past by the time Mrs. Ramsey patronized the Erie here at the West Henrietta depot. Dwindling traffic levels in the Depression caused the Erie to end electric service in 1934 and replace it with a few daily runs of a more economical gas-electric car..

Mrs. Ramsey was one of over a dozen kids who went to Monroe High this way, and she says the conductor on her regular run, a Mr. Darron she thinks, did a good job of maintaining order among the teens. We note that in the 1920s, the Erie’s electrified line had boasted a dozen or more trains each way from Rochester to Avon and beyond, but according to a 1945 Official Guide, by then the line was listed as freight-only. So, Mrs. Ramsey was lucky to get her riding in when she did. Her mother, too, by the way. Once a month, Mom would don her white gloves and hat, grab her purse, and head for the big city for some downtown shopping, by way of the Erie Railroad.

Of additional note to local history enthusiasts, Mrs. Ramsey says the West Henrietta station became a youth club in the 1960s. It didn’t last long, but her daughter met her future husband there. Mrs. Ramsey and her husband ran Ramsey’s Lounge on East Henrietta Road, and we understand it was a tip from her husband to Gordon Cartwright in the 1950s that convinced that man to buy a place called Meyer’s that we know today as the Cartwright Inn…located at the corner of West Henrietta Road and, appropriately enough, Erie Station Road.

June Fornieri listened to Jane Ramsey’s recollections, and chimed in with her memory of a time when Rochester was apparently a little too tame for young folks. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, friends would take the New York Central to Buffalo where things were a bit more “happening”. A favorite spot was the revolving bar at Chez Ami, and no matter how things went, there were plenty of trains in the Great Steel Fleet to get the partying gang home safely in the wee hours!


Little pieces of transportation history keep showing up on our doorstep, each one eventually finding its place in the large mosaic that continues to take shape, bringing the past back to life.

In August, an elderly man’s decision to move to a retirement home, and his granddaughter’s thoughtfulness in helping him move, netted us six wonderful scrapbooks of Rochester Subway clippings, and a 200-foot reel of 8mm movie film revealing new views of the Subway in action. Alton Rowley, 97 years young, was an advocate for the Subway back in the 1930s to 1950s. He faithfully kept every article, ad, editorial and letter to the editor that appeared in the local papers, and the net result is an eye-opening record of an ongoing debate over the line’s future, often involving creative and sometimes bizarre ideas for expanding service. As we read through the pages, we get a new appreciation for the widely varying images people had for the future of transportation and regional growth. The scrapbooks are a valuable addition to our archives and to our understanding of the Subway’s position in our community’s development.

A large collection of miscellaneous rail and trolley memorabilia came our way in August, including headlights, ticket punches, trolley gongs, fare registers, cast iron trackside signs, and assorted tools and fixtures…even a couple of carts to move all the things around on. Several of the items have already been tagged for our future restoration projects.

A set of 80 year-old photos of a train wreck in Great Bend, PA; two 1904 timetables; a carton of trolley and transit paper items; and the Rochester Subway station signs described elsewhere in this issue all add to our knowledge of area transportation history.

Mary Hamilton Dann, author of “Upstate Odyssey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Western New York” donated ten copies of her book for sale in the gift shop, and Alstom Signaling donated a closed circuit video surveillance system no longer needed at their facility here. Equipment for our model railroad; assorted small hardware and hand tools; and an original 3’ x 4’ rail theme painting round out this term’s report, and we thank all the donors for their generosity.


A lot more happened on Saturday, October 21, than the debut of car 161 (p. 2). It was time to rearrange our rolling stock so we could make more efficient use of our space under roof and better position car 437 for restoration work to come. Charlie Lowe did all the measuring and established the desired line-up, and Bob Achilles took on the important role of coordinator for the event, including planning each individual move for each piece of equipment involved. The event lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., involved a dozen volunteers, moved ten pieces of rolling stock, required track car TC-1 and Trakmobile L-3 for motive power, and at the end of the day, everything fit right where it was supposed to! Special thanks go to our friends at RGVRRM for retrieving our G&W caboose from the freight car line and locating it by our new car barn. That double-header pushing #8 up the steep grade on the south side of the loop track was a sight to see and a great way to start the day!

RGVRRM’s caboose hop arrives as L-3 pulls on 437.

If our readers would like to get a taste of this big project, here is a diagram of our track with a list of the various items of equipment and the locations they are to move from and to. The rules: (1) L-3 and TC-1 can only move one car at a time. (2) only L-3 can move P&W 161, Rochester 437, Hornell 34, and G&W 8. (3) only TC-1 can move weed sprayer, crane, reel car, and tower car. Have fun, but try not to derail 437, OK?

Rochester city car 437 enjoys a rare moment outdoors.


G&W Caboose 8 from 1 to 2; Hornell 34 from 2 to 9; streetcar 437 from 3 to 8; reel car from 4 to 6; P&W 168 from 6/7 to 5; P&W 161 from 8 to 3/4; tower car from 9 to 7; Trakmobile L-3 returns to location 10 after powering the moves; the weed sprayer and the crane have to be moved out of the way from positions 11 and 12, but must be returned there.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS............ No. 40 in a series

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 523
New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 523
Photo by Arthur J.Holland

by Charles R. Lowe

Late summer and fall weather should remind us all of schools returning to session. While school buses are now prevalent, it appears from a recently-discovered photograph that Rochester’s streetcars once carried students, too.

As the private car “Genesee”, car 523 had once been the haunt of Rochester Railway Company executives and their guests. Built in 1900, the car soon was numbered 403 (then 36, and finally 523) and demoted from its lofty status to that of a regular-service city car. By the 1930s, with streetcar riding slowly diminishing from the effects of the Great Depression and automobile usage, 523 slipped to a once-a-day run, the afternoon school trip. Photographer Holland, who made our view of 523 on October 5, 1934, recorded that the car left State Street Station at 2:36 and was back in the barn at 3:52. Here, 523 pauses on Court Street just west of South Avenue, a point its COURT ST. ONLY sign suggests was its terminal. We do not know what route the school car might have made but one can imagine it running between several schools on streetcar lines and downtown where connections could be made to all of Rochester’s streetcar lines. Such school car runs could not have lasted long for 523. Photographed by a railfan in October, 1936 at Blossom Road Yard, ready for scrapping, car 523 surely met its fate soon thereafter.

[This installment of “Rochester Streetcars” marks the end of the first ten years of this column. I hope readers have enjoyed partaking of Rochester’s interesting streetcar history as much as I have had writing it for this series. …Charles Lowe]


We always ask the victim for each issue’s Volunteer Spotlight what their connection is to transportation, what little seed was planted years ago that eventually blossomed into a full-grown enthusiasm for trains or trolleys or cars. Some had relatives in railroading or a neighbor who was a trolley motorman, but others seem to have been affected in more subtle ways, as is the case for our subject this time. Let’s find out how Jerry Doerr got the bug.

Jerry is a life-long Rochesterian, born in 1936 and spending his youth in a home his parents built on Oneida Street. Dad was a city fireman working out of the downtown firehouse, and he had the job we’ve all probably wanted to have at some time in our lives, driving the big Ward LaFrance hook and ladder truck. Jerry must have heard lots of interesting stories over the dinner table, for he recalls his father told him his worst experience was in the 1950s as he was passing the Main Street triangle (at North and Franklin Streets). He hit an auto driven by a priest who apparently had his car radio on too loud to hear the wailing siren. (Hmmm…so much for the Sterling “Sirenlite” we profiled in our previous issue. Ed.)

Well, Jerry didn’t grow up to be a fireman. Perhaps it was all the dinner table tales, but more likely his head was turned by trips he and his dad used to take over to the Linden Avenue overpass. There, Jerry and his brothers would thrill to the

sight of New York Central steam-powered freight and passenger trains roaring through on a frequency that rivaled the streetcars on Main Street. Dad must have had a special affection for those trains too, as he built a large Lionel layout in the basement with Jerry’s uncle, his dad’s younger brother. Most of us know that Lionel was a leader in producing realistic, quality toy trains for many years. The 3-rail track had the advantage of avoiding polarity problems that 2-rail O gauge track had, but the penalty was track that didn’t have the prototypical look of 2-rail. The two men came up with an interesting solution by mounting a “third rail” outside of one of the running rails. This rail was made of brass square stock, and the locomotives were modified for pick-up on the side. The rest of the layout featured scratch-built switches and hand-laid track with broad, sweeping curves.

Little Jerry has his hand on a locomotive while his uncle and father take a break from laying track on the basement empire.

Jerry’s dad made his own passenger and freight cars, sometimes out of wooden Velveeta cheese boxes (we’ll pause a moment here to fondly remember Velveeta bought in oblong wood boxes that found so many uses around the house…). The layout took up half the basement, and the three locomotives were kept busy navigating around the intricate trackwork, including a main line for passenger trains and one for freights.

Sadly, Jerry’s uncle was killed in Germany during World War II, and his dad didn’t have the heart to continue with the layout. In the late 1940s, Jerry decided to “do something about the layout”, and went to work completing the trackwork, building structures and scenery, squeezing in everything he could on a layout that was built primarily with operating in mind. His teen years brought other interests, of course, and the layout was taken down, with the track and equipment safely stored to this day.

Jerry’s not sure when the model railroad bug bit again. He married Jeanette in 1959, and he says he wanted to build a layout in the basement of his first home, but other interests got in the way. First, there was daughter Roberta, who arrived in 1963, and then there was a 16-foot boat with a 40-horse outboard, and eventually there was the Rochester VW club and the road rallies they put on. Jerry and Jeanette participated as a team in their ’59 beetle for several years.

Around about 1973, Jerry joined the Rochester Model Railroad Club, and he came to the realization that modeling trolleys would be more space-efficient than modeling mainline railroading. Trolleys, typically operating on city streets, were capable of making sharp turns, so a layout with considerable activity could be fitted into a fairly small space, with minimal benchwork and not large areas requiring scenery. Also, just like his dad, he appreciated that the overhead trolley wire relieved him of any polarity problems in his trackwork. He built himself a 2’ x 4’ module in HO-gauge to operate his trolleys on. Jerry was President of the club in the 1970s, and for a while planned to model the Manitou Beach trolley line.

Today, he has an HO-gauge fleet of 30 trolleys, mostly streetcars, painted (by museum track car operator Dave Mitchell) to represent various Rochester trolleys. Invited to
Jerry’s still got his hands on the merchandise, but now it’s an HO gauge trolley model, dressed in Rochester colors.

come out and play at NYMT by our chief HO layout man, Dick Luchterhand, Jerry at first was too busy, but eventually caved and is now up to his ears in museum activities. He joins the model crew on Thursdays, working on the N-gauge subway layout, and is also a licensed track car operator and group tour assistant.

Retired from a 32-year career at Kodak in 1989, Jerry enjoys traveling with Jeanette in their new 30-foot “Day Break” motor home, and they often hit campgrounds near Seashore Trolley Museum, the East Broad Top Railroad, and Altoona’s Horseshoe Curve. Jeanette is into quilting, but confesses she likes trolleys too. There are several members in the Rochester Model Railroad Club who own motor homes, and Jerry organizes group trips with them from time to time.

Jerry thinks he might try his hand at the controller and become one of our trained motormen/conductors. We hope he can fit us into his busy schedule, and we thank him too…another volunteer who helps keep us moving forward and serving the public.

SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Electrification: Rand Warner has completed enough power bonds on track 2 to permit testing of car 161’s electrical systems. Work has begun on installation of an emergency shut-off switch near the trolley boarding area, which will permit both simpler and safer electric operations.

Track: A crack team of Ted Strang, Charlie Lowe, Jim Dierks, Dick Holbert and others re-installed the BOCES farm road crossing which had been removed for summer tie work. To prepare for the car moves of October 21, many track repairs were made. A spot of very narrow gauge (55-1/2 inches!) was adjusted at the frog in front of the main car house with push rods. Unfortunately this did not prevent derailment of city car 437 as it was being pushed into the new barn. It was suspected that movements made by Trakmobile L-3 may have widened the gauge just enough to cause the derailment.

Charlie Lowe drives another spike.

The major track project being under-taken this winter is the installation of a fixed frog to replace the spring frog in the track 1 switch between the loop track and track 1, in front of the new car house. The spring frog now in place came from the Rochester Subway. Photos show such frogs in place in front of the Subway car house near General Motors, but that car house was a one-way facility, for single-end cars, with cars entering from the west side of the building and leaving from the east side. With this operation, switches would be traversed in one direction only, a requirement for the use of spring frogs. Our new car house can only be entered from one side, and all its switches will be run through in both directions. For such operations, only fixed frogs are appropriate. The spring frog had been placed in the early years of the museum, and steel blocks were used to jam the frog in a centered position. While this was adequate for track car operation, such a compromise positioning of the frog can not safely be used by trolleys.

The fixed frog to be used here also comes from the Rochester Subway. Mike Dow, of RGVRRM, prepared this frog, which came from stocks in storage there, by torching off four of its through bolts. Section loss on these bolts ranged up to 90%, and the fear was that under routine use by trolleys they might fail. These have been replaced with new grade 5 structural bolts which are one inch in diameter. Mike also oversaw the delivery of the frog to NYMT.

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 437: Builder’s plates, such as are found on locomotives, were also placed on streetcars. These were often cast steel plates about 6 inches in diameter, ¼-inch thick, and as in 437, placed over the truck kingpins, forming part of the car’s floor. When 437 was moved to Tyrone, N.Y. for its long (1936 – 1997) stay as a cottage, one kingpin was lost, but the other was retained, probably to serve as the anchor point for the highway dolly during the long haul. Prior to relocating the car this fall, Charlie Lowe stripped and repainted the plate and re-installed it, including the slightly rotated position it originally had. He also restored the maple slats which run across the plate (and help secure it from theft). The plate reads “G. C. Kuhlman Car Company” around its perimeter.

Northern Texas Traction 409: Charlie Robinson performed his annual pre-winter tarp maintenance for the two interurban trucks, stored just outside the main barn, which are slated for eventual installation under this car.

Philadelphia & Western 161: Recent work proceeded at a good clip in order to get this car ready to be relocated to our new car barn. Preliminary electrical checks were made by Jim Johnson, and Bob Miner lubricated the wheel and motor bearings. The “Thursday Gang” of John Ross, Eric Norden, Lew Wallace, Jim Dierks and Don Quant completed installing the upper windows and the sheet metal plates that seal the seams between these 5-foot sashes. With the application of the top coats of cream paint, the appearance of the car really came together nicely. Some lower sash lifts were installed, windows washed, and the car broom-swept prior to the equipment move on October 21. Bob will be working on electrical and mechanical prep prior to operations next season, while the rest of the sash lifts, seat cushion repairs, and one last sheet metal plate should finish things.

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 1402: The tarps so laboriously placed on this car in late 2005 blew off in the howling fury of a windstorm early in 2006. November 5, 2006 was calm and reasonably warm, so Charlie Lowe, Bob Achilles and Al Emens spent most of the day re-tarping the car. NYMT is indeed fortunate that nearly all its equipment is now indoors, and that only a pair of interurban trucks (for NTT 409) and the carbody of 1402 require tarping.


Carefully fold two heavy-duty canvas tarps. Tie rope to tarps, climb on roof of car, and haul tarps onto roof using a Flexible Flyer sled and three ladders. Unfold tarps so they drape over ends and sides of car. Attach temporary ties through grommets to insure tarps won’t blow off before final ties are secured. Obtain “California Truckers’ Rope” (black and orange) and using time-tested method of the late Ben Minnich, run vertical lines in five places around the roof, sides, and underbody of the car. Run two circumferential lines laterally around the sides and ends. Do not use grommets in this final stage, as they are prone to tearing in high winds. Tie these seven lines to each other at each of the 20 intersections they formed to create a secure netting over the tarps. Attach short sections of foam tubes (for insulating water pipes) at all corners to prevent ropes from chafing and parting. With any luck, this “netting” technique will give you several years before you have to do it all over again.


A fifth tag has been mounted on the Eagle Scout recognition plaque in our museum entryway. Once again, a young man has made a contribution to NYMT in the form of a community service project as one of the many rigorous requirements to achieve the honor of Eagle Scout. Greg Livingston saw our “wish list” registered with the Community Wishbook when it was published in the local Messenger Post newspapers this summer, so he called us to see if we’d like his help. After discussing several ideas for projects, we mutually agreed on building two new picnic tables for our visitors to use, and repainting our one, lone table.

We were impressed with Greg’s organization as we reviewed the design of the new tables and sent him on his way for the traditional round of fund-raising and collecting friends and families to help with the work under his direction.

Greg (left) and friends pause for a photo at the “table factory”.

All this culminated in a work session in late August for Greg and his fellow scouts to assemble the tables and deliver them. Twelve Boy Scouts, five adults, and two neighborhood friends mustered for the big day, put away a good supply of donated pizza and donuts, and by mid-afternoon, the new tables were in place, ready for service at NYMT. Total person hours for the job came to 133! Going the extra mile, Greg also built two bluebird houses for our property, and instead of just repainting our existing table as we had suggested, he rebuilt it, replacing several rotting boards and giving it a new top. To top it all off, there was almost $300 left over, which Greg donated to the museum!

Dan and Felicia Livingston pose proudly with their son, Greg, and one of his finished products.

As with all our Eagle Scouts, we’re pleased to be a part of Greg’s experience and we thank him for the contribution he has made to improving the visitor experience at NYMT. We wish him the best in the future, and we know he’ll do well.

HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2006. 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