HEADEND

The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


WINTER 2006


CALL FOR MOTORMEN

The museum has had a goal for over 30 years of operating trolleys for our visitors, and the dream will become reality this summer. Perhaps you’ve spent those 30 years waiting for your time at the controller, or maybe you’re new to the world of electric traction. Either way, Motorman/Conductor training will begin in the spring, and the time is now if you’d like to get qualified!


Charlie Lowe has prepared a detailed training manual and his classroom course will cover the basics of trolley technology and operation, all the specifics pertaining to our Philadelphia & Western cars 161 and 168, and the rules that you’ll be expected to know and obey. Shortly after the classroom sessions, hands-on training runs will take place to assure you (and us!) that you’ve mastered the techniques and are ready to provide a smooth, safe ride for our visitors.

The next step is yours. Email us at info@nymtmuseum.org and request a training application form. Fill it out and send it in, and we’ll add you to the list of trainees.


2005 IN REVIEW

It’s always good to take a look back at this time, to assess our progress and accomplishments in the past year, and to anticipate the new things those accomplishments have made possible. We’re happy to report that our attendance for the year rebounded well from a pretty dismal 2004. A total of 5,036 people visited the museum last year, an increase of 33.5% over the year previous. The May through October period, basically the joint operating season with the first 2 weeks of May added in, rose 35.6% for a total of 4,288. Group tours continued to be an important contributor to these totals throughout the year, with a big bump occurring in late May and early June, the final weeks of the school year. Groups this year accounted for just under 30% of total headcount.

With the sharply lower attendance experienced in 2004, we committed to spending $1,000 on advertising in 2005, shared equally between the museum and our friends at RGVRRM. We also opened to the public during most of July and August, spanning the period between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, in the hopes of attracting visitors who couldn’t come on Sundays. The results seem to verify the wisdom of advertising, and we have resolved to repeat the experience with some adjustments. Dave Peet, a member of both groups, handles the workload on advertising, and is laying plans for the upcoming summer season.


It’s not as clear that Saturday hours helped us. Although we didn’t quiz visitors, analysis of the attendance data shows that total attendance for Saturday plus Sunday during the full-weekend period was up by the same amount as Sundays during Sunday-only hours. This suggests that we were only successful at spreading the same total number of visitors over two days, which was very inefficient considering the number of volunteers needed each day. For 2005 we’ve limited Saturdays to the month between our July 15/16 trolley ride inauguration and the traditional Diesel Days weekend, August 19/20. We still envision the day when our museum can be open more days, which is a key to capturing out-of-town tourists and others needing more flexible options. This is something we have to grow into, and at the top of the list is convincing more members…current and new ones brought in by our trolley operation…to help with staffing the museum when open to the public.


We were blessed with better publicity from our friends at the Democrat & Chronicle, and from regional papers like the Batavia Daily News and the Finger Lakes Times in Geneva. Caboose Day got considerable attention, and with the cancellation of the NRHS Chapter’s Fall Foliage Rides, we aggressively promoted fall track car rides in October, to great success. Our gallery exhibits, “Steam Locomotives…Restored and Still Running” and “Main Street…a Look Over Your Shoulder” both got plenty of press, due especially to the quality and timeliness of the photos that the papers were able to illustrate their articles with. The D&C kept our listing in the Weekend section, which always helps too. Bring Your Own Train has already been given a photo mention in the two area papers, getting us started on 2006 in good shape.

You’ve read about our progress throughout 2005 in HEADEND, but to briefly mention the highlights, the big news is completion of our new substation, which has passed its UL inspection and is on its way to providing 600 volt DC power to our trolley overhead. This significant investment involved an incredible amount of time on the part of numerous volunteers, not only in the construction but in the behind-the-scenes meetings and discussions with various agencies and with our AC power supplier and deliverer. Just as important was the completion of track 2 into our new car barn, including the switch to track 1. With that done, we were able to bring under roof all the cars in our collection except newly arrived 1402. Major work continued on P&W 161’s windows, sills, and ceiling panels so that this car will be ready to serve as an alternate in trolley ride service. The training package for trolley motorman/conductors has been prepared—a significant volume of work and critical to successful, safe trolley operations. While there’s much more to do on our rail line, our joint (no pun intended) track team reports 80 ties replaced last year. If you’ve ever helped with just one tie replacement, you know how much effort went into this great achievement!


While the big accomplishments get the limelight, it’s well to remember that a lot of the volunteer hours that accumulate during the year are in the more routine, but just as important, ongoing jobs. The gift shop and ticket desk have to be staffed, the vast fields and lawns have to be mowed, the snow plowed, and the building kept in good repair. The model railroad crew continue to build their N-scale model of the Rochester Subway, while keeping the HO layout running smoothly and operating the layout for visitors on Sundays. They are also key contributors when we host group tours. Even further behind the scenes are the bookkeeping, facility maintenance and administrative hours included in our annual figures, and plenty more that never get figured in. In 2005 our total volunteer hours were 7,631. This is down about 10% from 2004, and we’ll suggest that this is in large part due to the loss of Ted Thomas and the gradual deterioration of his health during the year. Ted single handedly contributed thousands of hours over his few years with us, developing and maintaining both our computerized archives and our website.


There’s much more ahead, and we thank our many members for their support and encouragement. It’s never too late to raise your hand and join the fun, so if you’re not already an active volunteer, give us a call at 533-1113. We want to be talking about you in this spot next year!



TALES FROM THE RAILS

To some of us, the glory days of train travel seem like yesterday; to others, stories about steam locomotives and Pullman sleepers are like folk tales from ancient history. So, whether for nostalgia or edification, from time to time we like to call forth the memories of those who once enjoyed travel by rail. Museum member Arlie Anderson contributes these glimpses of the past.


Like so many of us, trains made an impression on young Arlie. The steam locomotives were big and noisy, with lots of fascinating movements of the side rods and huge drive wheels. Sometimes, there were other things that found a place in her memory. As a young girl in the 1930s, Arlie enjoyed summers with her family on the Jersey shore, and the Pennsylvania Railroad was the logical way to attain that warm weather paradise. Trips began in New York City’s majestic Pennsylvania Station with a fast ride on the Standard Railway of the World’s electrified four-track mainline to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. From there, steam-hauled local trains departed for the east, with Arlie’s train being one of many on the line to Long Branch. The farther along the train went, the more remote the territory became and the smaller the stations got.


The family’s retreat on a barrier island in Barnegat Bay was reachable from Berkeley station, one of the smaller stops on the line. Out there in the wild, many services taken for granted back home on Staten Island were hard to come by, but mailing letters was easy—you just went down to the station and handed your mail to the agent on the Railway Post Office car. One evening, Arlie wanted to send a postcard and decided the dinner-time train to Philadelphia would be just the ticket. At the station, the train came into view right on time; the huge steam engine whistled once, and roared past, brakes smoking.


The train ground to a halt, and the Conductor hastily stepped off, beckoning the girl to board quickly. “I just want to mail this postcard”, she responded meekly. At this, the Conductor barked back, bawling her out for stopping the train unnecessarily and giving her a lesson in railroad operating practice. Turns out that Berkeley was just a “flag stop” station, and she had just stopped the whole train unaware of this nuance in the timetable. How was she to know? After all, the train always stopped when she was getting off or on…


Apparently the Pennsylvania Railroad wasn’t the kind of railroad to hold a grudge. Sometime later Arlie’s grandmother had to take the train to Philadelphia, and she only got to the station in time to see the tail end of her train disappearing around a far curve in a trail of coal smoke. Arlie’s grandfather from the other side of the family, visiting from California where he worked in railroading, sprang into action, got to a phone, and somehow persuaded the mighty Pennsy to hold the train at the next stop until they could catch up with it by car.


Arlie attended Cornell University in the 1940s, and although college life changed her in many ways, she never lost her love for trains nor for her tendency to rely on the RPO for last-minute mailings. She knew the Lehigh Valley train schedules better than most of the other girls in her dormitory, and more than once hightailed it down to the Ithaca depot close to midnight to hand a letter to the postal clerk on train #4, an overnight run from Buffalo to New York City.


Of course, “the Lehigh” was the way to go back and forth to home for holidays, and one trip stands out in her mind as most memorable. Near the end of World War II, the University had curtailed holiday breaks to limit student travel. Trains at that time were always jammed from the extra traffic of military personnel and less reliance on the private auto due to gas and rubber rationing. Arlie decided to take advantage of the one-day Christmas break, however, and took that overnight train. She recalls that the cars were crowded and filthy, with smoke and soot sometimes so thick that you couldn’t see from one end of the coach to the other (“Arlie, haven’t you taken a bath since you left?” her mother asked once). Arlie met a young sailor who was on leave from assignment at Sampson Air Force Base near Geneva, NY, and as seats were at a premium, they spent the night propped up against each other in some small, uncomfortable space.


Most Lehigh Valley passenger runs were held down by pacifics like engine 2098 in this 1940 view at Rochester Junction, NY.

Ed VanLeer photo


As soon as dawn seemed imminent, the sleepless duo decided to get some breakfast, and they headed for the café car. Service hadn’t started yet, so the maitre de told them to come back later. As they turned to go, the door at the far end of the car opened and two nattily dressed gentlemen entered, obviously coming from the sleeping car on the end of the train. These two were seated immediately, and seeing Arlie and her sailor friend, they called to them to join them for breakfast. One man kept referring to the other as “governor”, as the table conversation moved along. The men asked how things were at Sampson, and also queried Arlie about the ROTC program at Cornell.


The breakfast was delicious and when the two gentlemen got up to leave, they took the check for Arlie and her friend too. The waiter came over to Arlie as she left the table and asked her if she knew who she had just breakfasted with. “That was Governor Charles Edison of New Jersey”, he said, “The former Secretary of the Navy”. Arlie spent the entire Christmas holiday trying to convince her family that she indeed had been treated to breakfast by Thomas Edison’s prominent son!


For a while, Arlie worked in offices of the Guarantee Trust Company, a large bank that catered to executives of several large corporations. Part of her job was arranging travel for bank officers and for some of their important clients too. She became quite adept at navigating the Official Guide of the Railways, a telephone book sized monthly publication containing timetables for all the U.S. railroads as well as schedules for Canada and Mexico, and even pages covering steamship and airline operations. She not only enjoyed “arm chair travel” as she thumbed through the pages, but as many of us can relate, also learned much about our country, its cities and villages, geography and industries.


Recently, Arlie had to check the Amtrak schedule for a family member planning to come to Rochester for a visit. At the station on Central Avenue she was startled to be handed a slim, magazine sized publication. The train service that used to take over 1400 pages to describe—mainline limiteds and branchline locals, posh Pullmans and hard-seat day coaches, shiny new diesels, wheezing old steamers, and fast interurban trolleys—has been reduced to a spare skeleton service that, barely, connects the far corners of our country.


That’s why museums like NYMT exist, and why stories from people like Arlie Anderson are more and more appreciated as time passes.



WHERE’S 157?

In the Summer issue of HEADEND, Number 35 in Charlie Lowe’s Rochester Streetcars series showed us the last photo of Rochester & Eastern 157 in operation, a grab shot made by Wally Bradley on July 30, 1930, the day before the R&E shut down. Here’s that photo:


Charlie has a pretty clear idea of where the photo was taken, and he did his best to describe it in the article, but for some of us, “What do I have to do, draw you a picture?” is usually an appropriate suggestion. So, we prevailed on Charlie to show us on a street map what was going on with 157.


Brief background note: One of the reasons for building the Rochester Subway was to get the heavy interurban cars off the city streets, and after the Subway’s completion a couple of years earlier, that’s how the R&E had been entering and leaving the city, using the Times Square station as its terminus. To provide access from the Subway to the extensive network of streetcar lines, and to the large facility on East Main Street in particular, a ramp was built on Broad Street, west of Main on the city’s west side.


The accompanying map shows the layout of street trackage in the neighborhood of this ramp. With abandonment now only a day away, New York State Railways is clearing the R&E line of equipment, and taking it to East Main Station for disposition. 157, one of nine cars not needed to handle the last day’s service, is shown having come up the ramp from the Subway, and heading south on Oak Street. Bradley must have been standing in the Broad/Oak intersection, and the map indicates his camera’s approximate angle of view. 157 would make the turn at Main Street as the arrow shows, and proceed east (to the right on the map) right through downtown(!) and over to East Main Station where it would await its fate.


As Charlie noted, this whole area has been transformed by the addition of I-490. Today’s Broad Street coming west from the city center “ends” at Main Street, then resumes where Oak Street was back in 1930.


Just to complete the picture, here’s a map of the Subway tracks on the lower level at this site:


Note that Subway equipment traveling in either direction on either passenger track could access the ramp directly or after reversing direction on the loop.


Now, take a good look at Wally Bradley’s photo again. What is that dark object beyond 157, down about where Main Street is? Could it be one of the older, center-door Subway cars? Was its passing the thing that alerted Wally to grab his camera and come running? Or is the old emulsion just playing tricks on us?





Can you spare a Sunday?


…or maybe a Saturday between mid-July and mid-August? It takes at least two people to sell tickets and staff the gift shop when we’re open for visitors, and we invite you to be part of the fun. There’s a serious need for your help, especially with the expected increased patronage from trolley rides and those six Saturdays added to the schedule in mid-summer. We truly need to add volunteers to the gift shop and ticket desk staff list. Please make this your year to help out. It’s easy and fun! Call us at 533-1113 or email info@nymtmuseum.org and we’ll take it from there. Thank you!



2006 EVENT SCHEDULE



Through April 30 (Sundays): B.Y.O.T. (BRING YOUR OWN TRAIN) Budding empire builders can take the throttle and watch ‘em roll on our super-sized model railroad in a day of family fun at the museum. Whether or not visitors “bring their own” HO-gauge model trains and engines, they are welcome to take the controls on the museum’s giant 11’ x 21’ layout.

May 21 (Sunday): Track car rides start. Open-air track car rides connect the New York Museum of Transportation with the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. The trip takes 15 minutes each way through unspoiled country scenery, and the 30 minute guided tour at RGVRRM visits a 1918 country train station and a host of railroad cars and engines on display. The track car ride and RGVRRM tour are all included in the price of admission.

June 18 (Sunday): Caboose Rides. Known as vans, cabin cars, crummies, or “the little red caboose”, visitors are welcome on this special day to ride the rails and live the life of a railroader for a day, aboard several freight train cabooses of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. The track car ride will take you to the staging area where knowledgeable guides will help you aboard for your trip. Keep an eye out for hoboes!


July 15 and 16 (Saturday and Sunday): Trolley Rides begin. The goal for the museum since it was incorporated over 30 years ago has been to bring back the days of interurban trolley travel. This gala weekend commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of passenger service on the Rochester Subway, and at the same time brings a new and unique feature to Rochester tourism with authentic trolley rides. Special attractions for this weekend include slide talks on the history of the Rochester Subway, demonstration runs of the Subway’s Casey Jones track speeder, and archival films from the Subway’s last days.


July 15 through August 20 (Saturday and Sunday): The museum is open both Saturday and Sunday during this period, to accommodate our visitors. Hours on both days are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come see us!


August 19 and 20 (Saturday & Sunday): "Diesel Days" A two-day celebration of diesel locomotives features the operating engines of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, including visitor rides on the diesels and in cabooses. Relive the days of a half-century ago when these first-generation diesels were in their glory, shouldering aside old-fashioned steam locomotives and ushering in the modern diesel age.


October 29 (Sunday) - Track car season ends Track car rides close for the season, but the museum remains open throughout the year, Sundays only, with exhibits of trolley cars, models, photographs and artifacts pertaining to our area's transportation heritage.


ROCHESTER SREETCARS............................ No. 37 in a series

Rochester Transit Corp. 48
Charles R. Lowe Collection
by Charles R. Lowe

In not-so-long-ago 1956, Rochesterians and railfans prepared to say farewell to the Rochester Subway. The onslaught of the private automobile after World War II had rendered the 8-mile line unnecessary, and the clamor for a modern expressway from the east into downtown Rochester had planners eyeing the perfectly oriented Subway right-of-way. With the State Department of Public Works considering routing the expressway along University Avenue, City Council finally bowed to the inevitable on September 14, 1954, and voted to end passenger service.  Several delays in the development of proper highway plans permitted the Subway to continue on a short-term basis but finally, in December, 1955, City Council decided that the Subway would continue its passenger service to the end of June, 1956 " . . . and no longer." The long, slow end to Subway passenger service allowed railfans ample opportunity to document the unique railway. While many fans still used black-and-white film exclusively, a few venturous railfans had moved into making color slides. Those fans who used Ektachrome film had the unpleasant experience of seeing their precious slides fade in just a decade or two, but those who shot with Kodrachrome film have given posterity the most life-like of all Rochester trolley scenes.


Witness, then, our glorious Kodachrome view. Our unknown photographer has set his camera to an aperture opening of f/6.3 and a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second, such information dutifully recorded on the slide mount. Car 48 has reached the front of the car house, located near the western terminus of the line. A stop was always made at this point. A safety stop seems to have been required before cars entered the yard area at the west end of the line. At this point, operators could easily avail themselves of rest facilities inside the car house, if needed. This was also a convenient point for operators to change their roll sign early, as car 48's operator has done.


At the extreme left of this scene, a mother and her son are seen wandering through the Subway yards. A youthful curiosity has no doubt provoked this trip, but the mother's possible worries about being accused of trespassing would be needless. In those more trusting days, railfans were generally not challenged in their ventures through the Subway yard.

Car 48 will soon be run west several hundred feet to the General Motors stop to begin another run. Following car 46 will await its turn to do likewise. It is the afternoon of Tuesday, June 26, 1956, and the Subway has just four more full days of operation remaining.


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

Tom Kirn has been generously showering us with donations of photos, negatives, and local transportation memorabilia. There’s more: we now have two photo albums he assembled—one full of black and white Rochester streetcar photos made by Thomas McCabe just prior to abandonment of the system in 1941, and the other containing enlargements of individual frames from 16mm movies about the Rochester Subway (one from the late 1920s and the other about 1940).

Tom has donated his mounted photo show “Main Street—A Look Over Your Shoulder”. We had this exhibit of Rochester street scenes and trolleys in our gallery once before, and it’s been reinstalled for our winter season. As in many cities across the country, Rochester’s downtown vitality is nothing like it has been in the past, as is clearly shown in the “Main Street” exhibit. Amid local concern for the city’s future, we’ve received several responses from publicity for the show, and we hope it stimulates thinking about the future of downtown. Tom also managed to find even more Bradley negatives to add to the large supply reported on in our last issue.


Shelden King is hard at work cataloguing the Bradley negatives, and finding plenty of great material along the way.

As if all the negatives, lantern slides, and photographs weren’t enough, Tom Kirn has presented us with a Beseler model 45 MXT enlarger and compensating metronome; a second eave bracket from the Lexington Ave. Rochester Subway station entrance; a mounted trolley wheel; a collection of over sixty passes, tickets, and transfers dating back to the 1880s; and has made our possession of his Rochester Subway diorama official (it had been on loan to us).

Nicely detailed Rochester Subway car models in two different paint schemes surround a reproduction of a station on the line.

The diorama is on exhibit in our gift shop. Tom and Jim Dierks recently completed installing the sideframes on the model subway cars, and they will likely finish the cars by adding trolley poles and some other details in the near future.

Trucks for the Tom Kirn O-scale subway models await their equalizers; in the background is the original brass sideframe Kirn created in order to make the rubber mold it’s resting on.

The ever-vigilant Rand Warner spotted a trolleyman’s manual coin changer in an antique shop recently, and with an eye toward our upcoming trolley operations, decided to buy it and donate it to the museum. The McGill High Speed Changer has slots for quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, and tokens and is in fine working condition. Rand also brought in a cuspidor which adorns the “platform” of our station façade. Let’s hope nobody decides to actually use it!

One of Ted Thomas’ last acts of generosity before he passed away in October was donation of the materials in his partially completed exhibit table he designed that will let us display two of Don Shilling’s miniature “modules”. Ted and Anna Thomas arranged to direct memorial gifts to NYMT in lieu of flowers, and several items in Ted’s shop have been tagged for donation to our museum. Last summer, Anna made and donated a Raggedy Andy doll which had been requested by a gift shop customer.

Charles Robinson aided us in receiving a generous donation of valuable trolley books from noted collector and traction authority James McFarlane. Other recent arrivals include a large, antique print of an Erie Canal scene; street signs and lanterns; antique milk and cream bottles for our horse-drawn milk wagon; a brake handle for use on P&W cars 161 and 168; a trumpet air whistle for R&E 157; 16 photo prints of trolleys around New York state, and a massive life collection of railroad ephemera…tickets, timetables, magazines, books, documents, etc.

Not to forget the non-motorized part of our collection, we’re pleased to report that Kris and John Murray not only donated a complete harness outfit for our horse and buggy exhibit, but also set it all up on old dobbin. They were assisted in this massive effort by their son, Patrick, along with Martha and Jeremy Tuke who helped arrange the donation. We should have made a video of the harnessing operation to show to visitors…a lot more time-consuming than turning the ignition key in the SUV for a trip to Wegmans!

Last summer, member Bob Fitch donated several black and white photos, most of which depict Rochester streetcars near the 1941 end of service here.

We get a good view of the bus-body waiting station at the Blossom Road loop, as Rochester Transit Company car 1009 makes the turn ca. 1940. H. B. Dryer photo, Bob Fitch Collection


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

As with so many of the players who show up in our spotlight, we visit this time with a guy who has just the right background for the volunteer work that needs doing at the museum. It’s time you got to know one of our more versatile crew members, Al Emens.

Al is an authentic Rochester product, born in July of 1943 at Rochester General Hospital on Main Street. He’ll tell you there wasn’t anything special in his background or childhood that caused an interest in transportation, but when prompted he’ll mention an all-day Cub Scout excursion to Buffalo in the early 50s. Just your usual kid’s train trip… starting at the old Rochester New York Central station with its Bragdon-designed vaulted ceilings and glazed tile details, then a fast ride with awesome NYC steam power up front, a tour of the spectacular Buffalo terminal’s gleaming waiting room and bison statue, lunch at the Buffalo Zoo, then back to the Flower City on a diesel-powered streamliner. Yep (yawn) another boring trip. Wouldn’t bother to walk across the street for that even today…

There’s a little transit in Al’s blood too, it seems. His great uncle worked for Rochester Transit, retiring in the late 1950s. He was in maintenance at the East Main Street car house, and spent his years first in the trolley era and then in buses.

Al’s father was a carpenter, just like his father and his father’s father before that. While the family tradition was mostly in home building, Dad eventually specialized in finish work. Al’s father built the family home in Irondequoit in 1948, and then another home six years later in Webster on Forest Drive, where Al still lives. Back in Al’s childhood it was standard practice in many parts of our country for the family to take a drive on Sunday, and Dad was always ready to slip into the driver’s seat and put some miles on the old buggy. Al recalls being impressed by construction of the Mt. Morris Dam (that’s not a “Sunday drive”, Al, that’s an all-day excursion!). The thing that sticks with Al from that visit is seeing the massive dump trucks climbing out of Mt. Morris, loaded with crushed stone or sand. At the batch plant at the top of this long climb, the drivers would set the manual throttle and climb out on the running board to trigger the tail gate, all the while guiding the truck with one foot on the steering wheel!

After high school failed to interest Al, he dropped out and at age 16 began a short career of odd jobs...baling hay, mowing lawns, etc. When that started to get old, he joined the Army in 1965, and while stationed in Germany he was a truck mechanic and driver, working with deuce-and-a-halfs and 5-ton tractors. By the time his tour of duty was over, Al had had enough of lying in the mud under a truck, so he got a job at Cross Brothers doing assembly work on the firm’s conveyor systems for local companies like Kodak and Taylor Instruments. When Cross needed a truck driver, he figured that would be more interesting than working on the line all day, and began a career of local and regional delivery for the company. His work took him to area cities like Corning and Elmira, but also to customers as far away as Ohio and Virginia.

After time off for two years to care for his mother who had suffered a stroke, Al resumed his time behind the wheel in 1993 for a couple of different firms. He recalls the long-wheelbase Mack he drove for ABR Wholesalers. He says, “You had to plan ahead where you were going to turn that long rig around, but out on the Thruway it sure rode nice.”

This caring guy retired again in 2001, this time to take care of his ailing brother. After his brother passed away in 2004, Al decided to come out and see us. He had been reading about us in the paper, and wanted to find out more. We signed him up as a member and volunteer right then.

Since then, Al has found many opportunities to help out. You’ll usually find him in the model railroad room, running the trains on Sundays and working with the rest of the HO gang on the continuing tasks of keeping the trains on the track. But looking back over those two short years, Al’s also helped with mowing, and a whole variety of miscellaneous tasks around the museum. He was part of the team that built our track car platform extension in front of the new car house, and is looking forward to taking the training course to become a certified track car operator this spring.

Given Al’s long history with driving and maintaining trucks, he’ll be a natural at the controls of TC1 or 3, although we hope he won’t try to relive a story he tells from his truck driving days. After a breakdown in Elmira, the tow truck showed up…a big Kenworth and a driver who must have been at least 75 years old. The guy hooked up to Al’s dead rig, and drove away using the clutch only in first gear. On all the other changeups, he just listened to the engine speed and slipped it in.

As to the future, Al is totally behind the trolley operations we expect to begin this summer, and we suspect we’ll find him at the controller sometime soon too. Thanks, Al, for your versatility and willingness to do whatever needs to be done!


ELECTRIFICATION

With so much work being invested in this important part of the museum’s exciting future, we’re separating this part of Charlie Lowe’s “Shop Report” to give it the full visibility it deserves. The professionalism and thoroughness that is going into every aspect of this work is really something to see, and it covers a broad front, including the substation, the rail line, and erecting additional overhead wire. It’s all in the name of starting on time this coming July 15 with a safe, reliable trolley operation.

Final connections between the NYMT substation and Niagara-Mohawk were made in mid-December, and on December 17 the overhead was energized for the first time. The lateness in the year and a few items of pending work prevented any testing of the system with car 168. The substation crew of Dick Holbert, Jim Johnson, Charlie Harshbarger and others have recently been busy with installation of ground rods and cross bonds on the railroad. The entire electrified portion of the railroad recently had its second rail bonded by Rand Warner. Ted Strang recently began trimming the floor plates to be used to cover the conduit trough leading into the substation so that they match the new construction. Charlie Lowe has been working on preparing the components needed for electrifying the tracks leading into the new car house. This work is being complemented with bonding work on the track by the substation crew. The goal is to be able to operate 168 directly from the new car house without having to rely on NYMT's trackmobile L-3 to haul the car to the present trolley wire every time we need it. Toward this, Bob Miner and Charlie Lowe finished the installation of wire hangers on the track 1 trough in December.


The new year brought renewed activity. An Electrification Committee meeting was held at Jim Dierks' house on January 3 so that the aggressive schedule needed to initiate trolley operations in 2006 could be established, understood and agreed to.


In January, some unseasonably warm weather helped many of the work crews at NYMT. Jim Johnson and Dick Holbert installed ground rods at the ends of tracks 1 and 2 in the new barn, and connected these to both rails of their respective tracks. Scott Gleason, with Dick's help, placed end-of-track poles and ground anchors for both tracks. Using newly-purchased 3/8-inch-diameter cable, Charlie Lowe and Bob Achilles built up the necessary downguys and end-of-wire fittings. These were installed on the new poles by the end of the month. Cars inside the new barn were shuffled around so that installation of wire supports over track 2 could take place during February.



SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Philadelphia and Western 161: John Ross, Don Quant and Jim Dierks pressed forward with the necessary window glazing on car 161. The cold weather has forced this crew into the small confines of the NYMT office, the only continuously-heated area where paint can dry. The photo to the right shows John using the air-actuated brad nailer to secure the specially milled mahogany quarter round which in turn retains the tempered stipple glass in the upper windows of the car. This crew is also tackling the difficult job of rebuilding the steps at the car's bus door. Don Quant made a mock-up of cardboard to develop sizes of the 1/8-inch-thick steel to be used in the construction of these steps, and the temporary wooden steps built several years ago by Bob Miner are now being removed.

Philadelphia and Western 168: Bob Miner has been busy recently getting 168 ready for use in the spring of 2006. An extensive plan for testing all motors, lubricating bearings and testing the air brake system is now underway. The operating rules and procedures for the car have been updated for crew training to take place in early 2006.

New York Museum of Transportation 04: The museum's line car has finally had its decking installed. Bob Miner and Don Quant assisted Charlie Lowe in this work. These boards were then primed and painted in a green paint that approximates the olive green used on Rochester city streetcars from 1916 to 1941. Work on building the tower arrangement can now commence.

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!


VISITOR FEEDBACK

We’re always happy to hear from HEADEND readers, and it’s just as gratifying to receive notes from the visiting public too. A Fairport, NY resident wrote us after attending Diesel Days last summer, and both NYMT and RGVRRM earned her praise:

“Last Saturday my family and friends attended Diesel Days. We all had a wonderful time. We all had never been there before. All of your volunteers were friendly, helpful and courteous. It was also educational. The children had never been around such huge trains before. Thank you again for your good volunteer efforts.”

We received a nice letter from Little Path, one of many day care groups that visit us regularly. “Thanks so much for your hospitality at the museum!”, the director says. “The kids had a great time. We hope to see you next year!” Included in the letter was a montage of photos of the children operating the G-gauge model train, taking the wheel of our fire truck, and learning all about the diesels at RGVRRM.

The Asbury Day Care Center’s letter says they were pleased that our staff was so knowledgeable and patient with the kids. “The amount of information that the children absorbed was astounding. Our classroom has been full of ‘train talk’ and other information that they picked up while visiting the museum ever since.” Enclosed with the letter was artwork from the kids, and we always get a kick out of seeing just how their visit impresses them. It looks like young Owen is proposing a transportation breakthrough with a unique blend of an interurban car, our steam locomotive, and one of the 4-wheel track cars. Hey, it just might work!


DID YOU KNOW?

* Substation work isn’t all electrical; Charlie Lowe and Trevor James took care of reconnecting the track where we installed the underground conduit, and Tony Mittiga laid ties there too.

* Looking ahead to relocating the track car route when trolley operations begin, Tony has been taking down the forest of tall weeds on the back side of the loop track.

* Maintenance is crucial to keeping the museum open, so Bob Miner has the mower fleet winterized and Ted Strang has patched our snowplow together for another snow season.

* Thanks to Scott Gleason, Charlie Lowe, Trevor James, Don Quant and others, we now have regulation cross bucks at our main entrance driveway crossing. These familiar signs have been used for years to alert motorists at grade crossings like ours, and with trolley operations due to start this summer, they’ll be needed.



* Eric Norden has been working to complete the display table that will allow us to exhibit Don Shilling’s impressive “modules”. The lighted table was designed and started by the late Ted Thomas, and will feature two turntables that will rotate when activated by the visitor. The 1 rpm spin speed will allow plenty of time to study the intricate details in Don’s HO-scale scenic modules, and it will all be under a protective acrylic cover. Expect to see the exhibit installed once Eric can complete the job in the spring.

* Paul Monte was a guest on local TV recently, talking about our new “Main Street…” gallery photo exhibit. Thanks to Virginia Butler at RNews (and to Paul for getting up early!).

* We don’t have an official anti-violence policy at the museum, but we do try to keep things down to a dull roar when we host birthday parties. The event pictured here was our first encounter with a piñata, however, especially one in the shape of a locomotive. We wonder what our future volunteers will think when they start restoring Elmira, Corning & Waverly car 107 (the venue for the attack) and find candy and trinkets lost in the woodwork.


A PORTER’S DILEMMA

Our great tale spinner, Don Shilling, let us in on this New York Central episode, so take it with a grain of salt. By the way, if any of our readers don’t know what a porter was, we’ll be glad to clue you in…

Late in the evening a local attorney got on a train at Rochester’s Central Avenue station instructing the porter: “I must be sworn in tomorrow morning as a Legislator, in Albany. It is very important that I get off there. Even if I’m asleep and in my pajamas, don’t fail to put me off when we arrive in Albany. The porter faithfully promised he’d see to it.

The next thing the Legislator knew he found himself in Grand Central Terminal. He was livid; rushing up and down the platform in his pajamas, yelling and swearing at the top of his voice. The porter spotted him and hid behind a column. Another porter walked over to him and asked, “What the heck is the matter with that man running around in his pajamas? Boy, is he mad!”

“Yeah, but nothing compared to the man I put off in Albany.”


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? For non-members, 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.

Tell your friends about us, too!


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