The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation
TROLLEY OPERATIONS COMING
The long-held dream of operating public trolley rides at NYMT keeps getting closer to reality! Thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of many volunteers, our new substation is completed, P&W car 168 is ready for training runs, the overhead wire has been installed into the new car barn, rail bonds have been installed, and cross ties have been replaced. See the Shop Report, page 8, for all the details. Classes for Conductors and Motormen began on May 6, 2006, with hands-on operation due to start by the time you read this.
an interesting “anniversary” year to be starting trolley
rides. As readers will discover in this issue, the Rochester Subway
ceased passenger service just 50 years ago, on June 30, 1956, and
one of the best-built interurban lines in the country, the Rochester,
Syracuse & Eastern, made its first run a century ago, June 23,
1906, and ran the curtain down 75 years ago on June 27, 1931. It’s
a bit startling to note that the entire existence of that Rochester
to Syracuse enterprise lasted just 30 years from incorporation to
demise. For NYMT, it’s taken longer than that (31 years) to
get from our incorporation to our first public trolley operations!
You’ll see Charlie Lowe in a lot of our electrification coverage, and here he’s installing a pull-over from the bucket truck.
Despite the great investment in time and money that has brought us to this point, there are many challenges ahead. We desperately need members to join us in staffing the gift shop, track cars, and depot. With several special events set for this summer, plus Saturday operations July 15 through August 20, we’ll need even more of you! And, there’s the on-going maintenance of equipment, mowing, cleaning, painting and restoration work, all looking for volunteer help.
Dick Luchterhand flags the driveway crossing as 168 starts a test run on the main line.
Charlie Lowe leads the trainees through Operating Instructions, one of several sessions to prepare us for safe trolley runs.
We look forward to regular public trolley rides adding a new feature to Rochester area recreation and an increase in our museum attendance. We hope, too, that it brings in new volunteers…including you…to help us handle the additional workload. Now’s the time to step forward and join us!
Dick Holbert and Dave Shields bring their utility industry know-how to bear in the substation as trolley test runs are made.
It all comes down to this—a watchful eye and steady hands on the controls—as 168 takes off on another run.
FIRST SECTION OF ROCHESTER, SYRACUSE & EASTERN RAILROAD OPENED IN 1906
By Shelden S. King
The formal opening of the first section of the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern R.R.—the finest of the interurban railways of the Empire State—occurred 100 years ago. On Saturday, June 23, 1906, members of the Garlock Club of Palmyra, New York filled two cars on which they rode to Newark’s Gardenier Hotel, where a sumptuous repast awaited.
Managers of the Garlock Packing Co. of Palmyra, NY are about to inaugurate service on the RS&E with their trip to Newark.
NYMT, Dave Lanni Collection
One of the items listed on the menu along with such delights as Lake Erie Whitefish and French Tea Biscuits was niederdruck (a packing material of asbestos and rubber) shaped like a dollar coin, and appearing as cheese. Placed as a joke, nevertheless one of the members tried to bite off a piece, thereby breaking his false teeth!
The Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern was completed between Culver Road, on the east side of Rochester—where connection to down-town was made via city car—and Lyons to the east, on September 14, 1906. A
year later, interurbans began to operate into downtown Rochester, city trackage rights having been secured by then. Also, in 1907, the eastern terminus was extended to Clyde.
Port Byron was reached July 23, 1908. At Port Byron, connection with the Auburn & Northern R.R., and the connection in Auburn with the Auburn & Syracuse Electric R.R., permitted one to “travelectric” between Rochester and Syracuse.
The RS&E built its own line east from Port Byron to Lakeshore Junction at Lakeland, immediately north of the present State Fairgrounds. At Lakeshore Junction, the RS&E joined the Syracuse, Lakeshore and Northern, permitting cars to run to the terminal in the Empire Hotel on Clinton Square in Syracuse, effective December 18, 1909.
The real photo post card from which this image is derived has a December 13, 1906 postmark, dating the scene to the summer of 1906. We see an eastbound RS&E car ready to leave Newark southbound on Main Street. The car carries no front sign, suggesting this scene was photographed about the time the line’s first segment was opened. Collection of Charles Lowe
On February 18, 1913, the RS&E was consolidated with the Auburn & Northern and the Syracuse, Lakeshore & Northern to form the Empire United Railways, Inc. Empire United Railways was not successful, and was broken apart. The former RS&E was reorganized as the Rochester and Syracuse Railroad Company on September 19, 1917.
With this new beginning, the company succeeded in making a profit in 1921. It relocated its line in Lyons from village streets to the abandoned bed of the relocated Erie Canal in 1922, and on April 15, 1928 through cars began to use the Rochester Subway, connecting with that operation by means of a tunnel that passed under East Avenue and the Auburn Road of the New York Central. This tunnel was located close to the present “Can of Worms” intersection of Interstate routes 490 and 590. The company also rebuilt seven of its cars in 1927 to deluxe chair cars, with 2-1 seating in the main passenger compartment. Each car was given the name of one of the communities through which the line passed.
A lady has just gotten off the big interurban car on Commercial Street in East Rochester. Judging by the grim look on her face, the end is near. NYMT Dave Lanni Collection
However, deficits began to appear in 1927, as the private automobile use hurt ridership. The Great Depression dealt the death blow, and the Rochester & Syracuse Railroad entered receivership on May 12, 1930, with T. C. Cherry as receiver. By the time service ended on Saturday, June 27, 1931, losses were averaging $9,000 a month. The “Train Service You Can Set Your Watch by” came to a halt, and Rochester’s last interurban line passed into history.
Today, Interstate 490 occupies some of the R&S right of way east of the Can of Worms. A beautifully restored trolley stop is on display canalside in Fairport, and several of the more substantial stations live on as retail establishments. Twelve of the distinctive catenary towers, from the eastern end of the line near Weedsport, are now in use at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
RS&E line extensions and start of revenue service
Miles from to date
13 Newark Macedon 7-2-06
6 Macedon Egypt 8-6-06
3 Egypt Fairport 8-18-06
2 Fairport E. Rochester 9-1-06
7 E. Rochester Brighton 9-8-06
1 Brighton Culver Rd (see note) 9-14-06
6 Newark Lyons 8-18-07
7 Lyons Clyde 9-1-07
7 Clyde Savannah 6-27-08
8 Savannah Port Byron 7-23-08
27 Port Byron Syracuse 12-18-09
(note: service from Culver Road to downtown Rochester did not occur until 7-1-07 due to tight curves on grand unions in the city that had to be modified to accommodate the big cars)
Information from NYMT files of Charles W. “Bill” Yingling
The year was 1927, and while the rest of the country was caught up in the Charleston and Wall Street speculation, Mr. and Mrs. Kirn were getting used to having a little baby around. This is the story of young Tom (and old Tom, too)…how he grew up to become a true friend of the museum and one of its most valuable assets.
A Duesenberg engine and an O-scale Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester car 505—just two examples of Kirn’s fine modeling.
We’ll spend a little time on Tom’s early years, as they had a lot to do with his adult interests. Around 1932 the family moved to a house on Richard Street in the city, so the children could go to school at Blessed Sacrament on nearby Monroe Avenue. We can just imagine the discussion, as mom and dad considered the house ideal except for “those noisy subway cars” that happened to run right past the back yard. A fence was put up to keep Tom’s younger brother from wandering out on the right of way, but for Tom that fence just heightened his curiosity as the big cars rumbled past with just their tops and trolley poles visible.
The Rochester Subway was only a few years old at this time, and it made a big impression on young Tom, and he liked watching the big cars roll by. He soon became “friends” with at least some of the motormen as he climbed to the fence top and waved whenever he could hear a car starting up from the Meigs-Goodman station a short distance away. One of these friends was so faithful at waving back that Tom decided to give the guy a Christmas present. His dad suggested a cigar, so Tom went to the store and bought one (hey…those were the “old days”) and presented it to his motorman friend at Meigs-Goodman. He seemed to like it, says Tom.
Mom and Dad must have been pretty understanding people, as Tom eventually was allowed to use the back gate, and often played out there on the right of way. He once came up with a grand scheme to ride his coaster wagon down the steep grade from the fence line to the tracks, planning to lay boards across like a grade crossing. His father apparently had a limit to his understanding nature, however, because the idea got squelched before it could become a headline in the Times-Union. That wagon sure would have gotten up some speed, though, reflects Tom today.
Many of Tom’s remembrances from his days living by the Subway are contained in the long out-of-print book about the line, “Canal Boats, Interurbans & Trolleys”. Among his favorites are the day the company ran a four(!) car special to promote the subway and its many freight sidings. This was a big deal. He could hear something coming and looked up in time to see the tops of the especially long train fly by above the fence. He waited for it to return (on the freight track, by the way), and the memory is still with him.
Tom rode the Subway to work for his first job after high school, as a rewind operator at Defender Photo Products, a local manufacturer or photographic paper. But the Subway wasn’t the only way, for Tom. The siren call of city buses had beckoned him early on too. As a young teen, he and a buddy, Jim Nagle (later a State Assemblyman) used to while away summer days riding buses throughout the system, dutifully recording all the details—driver badge number, “train” number (streetcar terminology for the run number), bus number, etc. He can still show you the pocket notebooks he kept all this vital information in. And, he still has the weekly passes he used for these excursions. A couple of them have serial number 1 on them.
One notebook contains a list of motormen with their transfer punches next to each name. There are over 200 of them, and as with the railroads, each punch mark is a different symbol. Judging by the times listed next to each punch, Tom must have stationed himself at a busy location like Main and Clinton and spent the afternoon collecting these treasures.
Tom rode streetcars too, until the last cars ran in 1941, but he preferred the buses. He says they were “cozier” and you could get closer to the driver (we’ll bet the drivers didn’t always appreciate that…). A favorite was the low-100 series ACF buses, with the “railfan seat” up in front, all by itself, beside the motor and ahead of the door. There was always one of these in the lineup at the end of classes at Aquinas, and always a struggle over who would get that seat.
Three years in Germany wearing a U.S. Army uniform brought a respite in Tom’s local transit interests. He rode German trains a lot, and especially remembers one trip from Stuttgart to Karlsruh on the Orient Express…the real one, with luxurious, ornate sleeping cars from all over.
Back in Rochester, Tom joined Eastman Kodak Company as a photographic inspector, soon advancing into drafting and product design. The company gained 37 years of his creative thinking and thorough attention to detail, in projects from electronic flash to movie projectors.
The same character strengths that served Kodak so well, are also evident in everything Tom does for fun. Not one to dabble in something that interests him, he tends to jump in with both feet, immersing himself and mastering every aspect. An example so valuable to the museum is Tom’s decision to collect all the images he could find of the Rochester Subway. His efforts, certainly the most thorough that anyone had ever launched, resulted in thousands of images, each one expertly copied and printed. This extraordinary collection of 8 x 10 black and whites, is the core of the museum’s Tom Kirn Collection.
Brrr…One of the many subway shots in the Tom Kirn Collection shows a car approaching Monroe Avenue westbound, ca. 1954.
Other examples of the depths to which Tom will go include his collection of gasoline pump globes, a fleet of 15 Tootsietoy Greyhound Scenicruiser bus toys, and his current passion, collecting airline glassware from all over the world. And true to form, these aren’t just “collections”. He took one of the Scenicruisers and fine-tuned it into a scale replica of the real thing. Not satisfied just collecting that glassware, he’s employed his artistic talents to create framed replicas of the airline logos.
Tom’s first car was the 1943 Ford Army Jeep he drove while in Germany, and about 15 years ago he got a hankering to have one again. A complete frame-off restoration ensued, and to top it off, he created a montage of parts illustrating the various Ford subcontractors’ attempts at the Ford script “F”. Cast, stamped, and so on, the variety of interpretations of the familiar symbol is fun to see, and the inspiration to gather them together is pure Kirn.
There are more stories than we have room for, but one has to be told. Years ago, Tom was shown a book of photos of model automobiles built to exacting scale and true to the tiniest detail. The Jeep restoration was complete, and Tom had been wondering what he’d do next. Shazam! Why not try creating a scale model of a 1934 Packard Dietrich coupe, a car he wanted once but couldn’t have? Most of us would have come up with two hundred reasons “why not”, but Tom headed for his basement machine shop and self-taught his way to the creation of some of the most beautiful model autos you’ll ever see. After learning on the Packard, he went on to make a 1931 Duesenberg Murphy coupe, and three chassis too.
The smallest details are faithfully recreated in Tom’s model of a 1931 Duesenberg chassis.Tom Kirn photo
If you don’t have an inferiority complex yet, Tom’s expertise with large format photography is something to behold too. He has wandered the West emulating Ansel Adams, has great collections of photos he’s made through the years, and has used his skills to photograph his models for publication in several national magazines.
When not accompanying his precious models to a museum show in a distant city, Tom shares his Rochester home with two Shiloh dogs—Kayla and Shawna—and enjoys the companionship of Penny Burkhart, his “weekend passion”. He has three daughters—Anita, Michelle, and Monika—and so far has three grandchildren and three great grandchildren on the family roster.
From time to time, Tom has donated to the museum items from his personal collection, including photo scrapbooks, models, subway artifacts, hundreds of Rochester photos depicting street scenes, streetcars, autos, etc., as well as passing along the complete photo collection of noted trolley enthusiast Wally Bradley. He’s also ready with an anecdote or an answer to a question about Rochester and its transit service years ago. For the future, he looks forward to seeing the museum’s trolley rides starting this July, and to the electrification extended farther down the rail line. On the personal side, his only goal is to “lean forward and give myself a kick once in a while”. Keep going, Tom. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to try next!
HONORING THE SUBWAY’S 50th
Half a century ago, on June 30, 1956, the last passenger cars ran on the Rochester Subway. The museum commemorates the date with a photo exhibit Paul Monte has prepared and mounted in the gallery, and with slide talks by Shelden King throughout our trolley ride weekend of July 15/16.
Rowlands loop never saw so much activity as car 68 prepares to make the last westbound run, around midnight, June 30, 1956. John D. Wilkins photo, NYMT Kirn Collection
It’s ironic that we will be bringing back the growl of traction gears and the spark of 600 volts DC just 50 years after those sounds and sights were last heard here. It’s all the more relevant as we examine the traffic patterns that changed during the life of the Subway and which played a role in its demise. Those patterns came from (and led to) the growth of Rochester’s suburbs and outlying towns, places that could only be reached efficiently by private automobile and the occasional park-and-ride bus. With the current high gasoline prices threatening to put a damper on the nation’s economy, it may be that our trolley operation will be seen as more than a recreational amusement. Museum visitors will reacquaint themselves with this efficient form of transportation and may be prompted to think more deeply about the impact it could have on local growth and development. History involves a clear view of the past, but it can also provide keys to the future. That’s what we’re here for.
A nice article about NYMT has been published in “Allt Om Hobby”, a Swedish magazine devoted to model planes, trains and automobiles. At least we think it gives a favorable review, as our command of that language is a little rusty. Full disclosure: the author, Rolf Stahre, is a personal friend of the Editor of HEADEND, so we’re pretty sure we came out looking good. The full-page article includes color photos of R&E 157, our steam locomotive 47, our cut-away Alco prime mover and, of course, our HO model railroad. The caption under this last shot says, “HO-anlaggningnen med hog trafikintensitet. I autolage kan den ocksa koras i morker. Mycket effektfullt!” Take that, HO crew.1 And thanks, Rolf, for the nice review!
1 “The HO installation has high traffic intensity. In auto mode it can also be run in 'nightlight'. Very impressive!"
|Rochester Transit Corp. 60|
|Photo by Shelden King|
The beautiful, sunny day of May 12, 1956 smiled on all the railfans as they gathered in the early afternoon at the Rochester Subway’s car house. They can be seen milling about in the background at right; the gentleman walking away from the star of this photo, car 60, seems to be one of the fans, too. On this day, cameras will click and film will be exposed in great quantities; not one but two cars would be needed to carry the well-subscribed fan trip that day. Therein lies the story of this photo.
Since two cars were needed for the fan trip, hastily-made “A” and “B” signs were displayed in the front window of the fan trip cars, 60 and 66. Here, car 60 proudly displays its “A” sign. Tahe signs allowed the railfans to easily distinguish which car was the one they had ridden on. Several stops were to be made along the Subway so that photographs could be made, and to avoid overloading either car the signs had been deemed necessary. During the fan trip, it may have been found that overloading was not really a problem, and the signs were either removed or blew down; photos made later on in the day do not show the “A” and “B” signs. Our photographer, Shelden King, recalls that at Court Street yard he changed cars. The fan trip car he had been riding, car 66, was returning to the car house but the other car, car 60, would be making one last run to the loop just east of Winton Road before returning to the car house.
Car 60’s fan trip outing may very well have been its last under power. After passenger service on the Subway ended in the early morning hours of July 1, 1956, eleven of the twelve cars of the 46-68 (even) series were scrapped. One car, lucky car 60, was donated to the Rochester Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society for preservation. Having no place to properly display the car, the Rochester Chapter made a long-term loan of the car to Rail City in Pulaski, N.Y. When Shelden made a trip to that museum in 1958, he was amazed to find on car 60’s floor the cardboard sign from the May 12, 1956 fan trip, with its red-paint letter “A” still boldly denoting its fan-trip service. In that shop crews certainly would have cleaned this from the car had it been used again in regular service, it appears that car 60 may very well have been run for the last time on that fan trip. Shelden belatedly “cleaned” the discarded sign from the car when he saw it at Rail City and saved it as a memento of the fan trip.
That car 60 was the one selected for preservation was explained several years ago by Fred Ruh, a Chapter member in the 1950s. In 1956, car 60 was considered to be in the best overall condition, and the subway’s shop crew selected it for preservation on that basis. Apparently, no sentimentalism was attached to the car for its fan trip service. After a long, circuitous trip back to Rochester via a thirty-year layover in Albany, car 60 is now located inside the Chapter’s restoration building, serving as a visible link to the past.
We’re always eager to hear what our more senior visitors have to say about the “old days” riding on the cars in our area. For all the roster lists and photographs, the best way to bring history to life is to hear about it from one who was there. Bob Wentworth, 86 years young, recently shared his memories.
Bob grew up on Halstead Street in the city, near Winton Road and the New York Central tracks. Not a bad location, for by the time he was old enough to get around by himself, he had a choice of the Park Avenue streetcar, the Main Street line, or the Subway. This worked to the advantage of his mother’s household account when she sent young Bobby to pay the coal bill at Langie’s downtown. Armed with a nickel, he would ride in on one streetcar line, get a transfer, run over and pay the bill, then dash back to the other streetcar line for the (free) ride home!
He told us about the usual prank of pulling the trolley pole rope to disengage the trolley wheel from the wire, of course, but he also told of greasing the streetcar rails at Blossom Road loop on Halloween. Judging from other stories we’ve heard, that holiday must have been a real nightmare for local transit management. Once “some other kids” (sure…) ran a cable around an outhouse at Blossom loop and hooked it onto a streetcar there! We didn’t ask how far into downtown the outhouse traveled.
Bob liked the streetcars and Subway. They were always crowded, but they got you there fast, and you didn’t have to ante up the 50 cents a week to park your car. An interesting transportation side note: One of Bob’s first jobs was in the dental supply business in the 1930s, and errand “boys” on bicycles used to deliver their products to local dentists. We say “boys” because most were old men—retired streetcar motormen mostly. Bob says the $1 unlimited weekly pass helped these guys a lot. He notes that Western Union, another Rochester-grown company, delivered telegrams by bicycle into the late 1930s.
Despite their general reliability in bad weather, streetcars sometimes succumbed to the famous upstate winter storms. Bob says there was one blizzard around 1938 or 39 that had all the plows snowbound at Charlotte, so when the evening rush hour came, there weren’t any trolleys to be ridden. People stayed overnight in hotels and offices, and Bob spent the night sleeping on his desk!
FREDERICK J. PERRY
1938 - 2006
The place is a trolley barn in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, the date is Saturday, September 21, 1996, and what you see here is a relationship just hours old. A trip to Keokuk, Iowa to inspect potential additions to our museum’s trolley fleet included a side trip to the site of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion to meet the man who would become a vital resource for our electrification program. Fred Perry had overseen the rehabilitation of those two ex-P&W cars so that the Keokuk Junction Railroad could offer a unique tourist experience. Now, he was spending his weekends driving up from St. Louis to oversee trolley work at the Mt. Pleasant facility. So, it was logical to go there to meet him.
We found a man who knew more about trolley systems than we could imagine. Suggestions and advice streamed forth faster than we could absorb it. In a short afternoon we were briefed on the rehab work he had done on the P&W cars; shown around the Thresher Reunion complex; been introduced to the full roster of cars, as well as several volunteers; and—most important—offered his help and encouragement in obtaining the two P&W cars for NYMT. We left Fred that afternoon not imagining the value of that short meeting.
At the end of October, Fred came up from St. Louis to help us prepare the cars for transport to the museum. His tools, his acetylene torch, and his knowledge were all critical in this work. We had arrived expecting to undo the hundreds of screws that secured the trolley boards to the roofs in order to meet height restrictions for the trucking move, and we didn’t look forward to all that tedious work. Fred climbed up to the roof of one of the cars and with a couple of good yanks, wrenched a section of the trolley board free and tossed it to the ground. “That’s the way you do that”, he asserted. The vignette captures a bigger truth about Fred. He knew what to do, and he did it. No internal debate, no misgivings, just grab it and run. And he got a lot done that way.
Fred was there, usually on the heavy end of something, helping load the first car on the semi trailer. He tossed in some controller handles, a train step, and other materials we’d need, and sent us on our way. Over the years, though, he continued to help us. His advice was always true. He built a rectifier for our substation. He made sure we got the components we needed to prepare to string wire, and he and his son, Chris, came to personally start us on that important step in our electrification effort.
Over the years, the phone would ring, and it would be Fred, just checking in, seeing how we’re doing. He’d helped so many other museums, and been the key player in constructing overhead for numerous light rail and heritage trolley operations around the country, but there was always time to share his vast experience for our benefit.
To say that Fred Perry will be missed is an understatement. We know he’ll be with us in spirit as we begin regular trolley operations at the museum this summer. It will be a big moment for us, an event that has been helped along in so many ways by the guy in the greasy work clothes in a trolley barn in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
AN END TO ROCHESTER TRANSFERS
By Charles R. Lowe
On April 2, 2006, Rochester’s Regional Transit Service issued its last transfers. Sold to riders for 15 cents, transfers allowed the extension of a continuous ride on a second bus. Introduction of the one fare zone system on April 3 eliminated the need for transfers.
Rochester Railway Company was formed in early 1890 with the purpose of acquiring and electrifying Rochester’s horse-powered street railways. One of the conditions imposed by the city was that the new company institute a system of transfers by November 1, 1892. A transfer system would allow riders on any inbound streetcar line to continue their trip on a second outbound car by changing cars in downtown. Such a system would permit rides on any two lines, regardless of how the company might through-route its cars through downtown.
The paper ticket used for such transfers in Rochester is attributed to John Stedman, also the inventor of the fuzzy pipe cleaner. Several Stedmanic devices distinguished his transfers, the most important of which was a means to denote by punch marks the time limit for use of the transfer. Such time limits were important to ensure the rider was engaged in a single trip by transferring immediately to another line. Printed on the right end of the transfer was a column of numbers, 1 through 12, each denoting hours. Each hour had a row of numbers 1 through 5 next to it, each of these representing 10 minutes of an hour. By making but one punch on this grid of numbers, a conductor could indicate the expiration time in 10-minute increments over a 12-hour time period.
One of the most famous of Rochester transfers was the Stedman “face” transfer of 1895. To help prevent transfer misuse, conductors punched the face that most resembled the person to whom he issued the transfer. An “over 40” indication could additionally be punched, reportedly quite a source of indignation with women riders when improperly applied by conductors. Partly because of such problems, use of this style of transfer ended on June 23, 1896.
The real genius of Stedman’s transfers was the method he devised for indicating the AM or PM hour. Recognizing that the fewer punches made would speed the whole transfer process, Stedman made one half of each issuing route’s name on the transfer light background with dark letters and the other half dark background with light letters. The light background area denoted AM hours, while the dark represented PM hours. The punch used to indicate the line which issued the transfer, necessary for proper accounting, was therefore also used to indicate AM or PM. An additional punch was required for both the month and the day of the month, making a total of just four punches needed on each transfer.
Stedman’s “Time Limit” transfers were brought into use on October 5, 1891, more than a year before required. A few problems experienced soon thereafter were quickly solved by education the riding public as to the proper use of the transfers. So unique was Stedman’s transfer that he was able to obtain a patent on August 23, 1892 for his innovations.
Stedman transfers, or at least some of the Stedmanic devices, remained in use in Rochester for decades. The AM-PM punch system was replaced with a detachable PM coupon, worth nothing if detached but indicative of the PM hour if present with the transfer. Transfers of this style without the PM coupon were AM transfers. Finally, soon after Rochester became all-bus (except for the Subway) on April 1, 1941, tear-off transfers were instituted. On these, the position of the tear through a series of hour and minute indications served the same purpose as the former punches without making the bus driver have to use both hands to mark the transfer. This style of time limit transfer remained in use in Rochester until soon after 2000 when the old paper transfers were replaced with magnetic card transfers.
This last-day transfer may well be one of the few to be in any collection as the day went all but unnoticed. Note that the bus number and times are clearly shown. The author made a special trip on the Clinton-Monroe line just to collect these final transfers.
RTS now offers its standard $1.25 fare for all rides, regardless of length. One-day and on-month passes are available as economical substitutes for transfers. Gone forever, though, are the little slips of paper, headed by the long-time transit line names such as lake, Monroe, St. Paul and dozens of others, that were a part of Rochester’s transit history for well over a century.
We’ll be starting regular trolley rides for the visiting public on the weekend of July 15/16. Join us for a special Members’ Day on Friday, July 14, from mid-afternoon ‘til dark to get a sneak preview!
SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe
Electrification: In spite of wintry weather, great progress on the construction of yard and car house overhead was made in February and March, with the track 1 trolley wire being placed in march. The wire frog placed over the loop track-to-track 1 switch was the first placed at NYMT. During April, the trolley wire for track 2 was placed, and the trolley wires for both tracks tensioned. Charlie Lowe, bob Achilles and Dick Holbert operated the bucket truck in constructing the overhead, and dick Luchterhand also aided the work.
Track bonding in the electrified portion of the museum’s railroad was also largely completed, including the very difficult and extensive bonding required at three switches. While a few bonds remain to be welded in place, the track is now usable for test runs. Rand Warner has led the bonding work, with Jim Johnson, Charlie harshbarger and Dick Holbert working with Rand. Charlie and Jim also installed the additional cross-bonding and grounding needed at the present south end of the electrified track.
With live trolley wire reaching into the new car house, an initial test run of car 168 was made on April 1, 2006, 65 years to the day since the last surface streetcar runs in Rochester. This was the very first trolley operation made at NYMT using the new substation. A balky reverser, so frozen in place by dried grease that it barely could be moved by hand, delayed the return of the car to the barn for a short while. Additional test runs were made in successive weekends, allowing several additional small problems to be resolved as they arose. A series of power consumption tests were made by Dave Shields on May 6, and initial analysis indicates that power usage by our trolleys will be well within the limitations of the system.
Philadelphia and Western 161: The arrival of warmer weather allowed Don Quant and John Ross to finish painting the ceiling panels, and the ceiling light fixtures have been put in place. Some of the reflector rings in the fixtures are being modified to allow the light bulbs to seat fully. Repairs to the window sill areas of the car have been completed and have been primed and painted. Charlie Lowe has mounted trolley catchers on the car. Many of the parts for the steps at the front of the car were fabricated by McDonald Welding in Webster, NY, and a trial fitting has been completed. Don’s design work on the steps was complicated by having to accommodate alignment problems in the step well. A trial fitting confirmed that the design meets the functional requirements, and the pieces will now be welded together and bolted into place.
Philadelphia and Western 168: Bob Miner, Dick Holbert and Jim Johnson went through an exhaustive testing and lubricating program for this car. The air brake system was tested with a separate source of compressed air, and all was found to be in working order. Westinghouse “trombone” whistles, one of which formerly was used on a Rochester Subway car, were placed on the car. Components including the car’s reverser and air compressor governor were found to be inoperative and were repaired.
Track: Eighteen new standard ties and two switch timbers were stockpiled at NYMT in 2005 for reconstruction of the loop track. The electrification of the track into the new car house released these ties for use along the mainline of the electrified territory. Charlie Lowe and Rick Holahan placed the ties along the track, and various additional volunteers including bob Achilles, Charlie Harshbarger, Trevor James, Jim Dierks and Tony Mittiga have lent a hand replacing ties. Already, the two switch timbers and four of the standard ties have been installed. In some cases, the old ties were in such poor condition that they were removed in small pieces. Jim Dierks and Rick Holahan cleared away much brush and many tree limbs that had overgrown the track to the point that they swept car 168 with each passage of the car.
The “Shop Report” in each issue of HEADEND reveals the kind of work we have ongoing. Your help would be welcome. Stop out on a Thursday afternoon or a Sunday and get acquainted. You’ll enjoy work that is fun and a benefit to the community, and it’s with some great people too!
DID YOU KNOW?
* Members Jay Consadine and son Todd turned a church communion project to NYMT’s advantage in early April with some much-needed outdoor cleanup.
Todd and Jay have the willow branches under control.
* After serving many years as a Board member and Treasurer of the museum, Tony Mittiga has “retired”, and will be spending his volunteer time on the track gang (some retirement!). His replacement is Bob Nesbitt, who has served over the years in the model railroad crew, and in group tour and track car service. Thanks, Tony for all your help, and welcome to the Board, Bob!
* Thanks to the many donors who remembered the late Ted Thomas with a designated contribution to NYMT, we have purchased 32 padded chairs for the video gallery, replacing the wood benches and allowing more flexible seating set ups.
Sooooo much nicer than those hard benches…
* We’ve set up the ability to contact our members by email for last-minute news of events and volunteer opportunities. We promise not to abuse the privilege. To confirm your email address, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Cam Anderson has taken over maintenance of our website and will be keeping it up to date for us.
Perhaps the most riveting arrival at the museum archive is a video tape from the collection of the late Lloyd Klos of a 16mm black and white home movie made in 1956. The film covers a Saturday family outing on the Rochester Subway, probably in anticipation of the impending abandonment of passenger service that year. While not a full documentary nor a “railfan” work, the film is well executed with good close-ups and steady tripod shots, and is a welcome new addition to the small pool of movie records of the Subway.
The museum also received a large scrapbook of general Rochester history from the Klos collection. The newspaper clippings cover a range of subjects beyond transportation, but they do a lot to fill in details of life in our city and provide welcome information for our work. Thanks to Tom Lockwood, executor of Mr. Klos’ estate, for these donations, along with several books.
Other arrivals include a number of books for our library and for sale in the Gift Shop, and 36 railroad video tapes. The latter will be offered for sale in the Gift Shop, and they even came with a 25-slot rack for display. Also for the shop, member Vince Reh donated 14 copies of his book, “Railroad Radio”. Two copies of the 1930s “Famous American Trains”, inscribed by the author, Roger Reynolds, arrived for our library. The remaining portion of the life collection of the late Daniel Stahl came to us, including a number of books and over 1,000 railroad and traction photos from around the U.S.
Beyond the archives, step components for P&W car 161 were donated, as was the replacement windshield for fire truck 307. A professional pole lopper was given to us, to help clean up the overhanging branches along our rail line. Antique stereo cards, some 8 x 10 prints, a New York Central conductor cap badge, and a new “welcome” sign for our visitor entrance round out the list this time.
All donations are promptly acknowledged and, for archive items, placed in a receiving area for accessioning, cataloguing and proper storage. This is ideal “light work” for members who want to help but just aren’t up to replacing ties or riding a mowing tractor. If you would like to help in the archives, give Jim Dierks a call at 473-5508.
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