The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation

Fall 2009


We’ve been gratified by a big boost in our attendance so far this year…up 13% for the year through November 1, and up 19% for our busy summer ride season (May 17 through November 1). For our weekday groups, we experienced a 15% rise year-to-date, which is a remarkable reversal of the slow decline we had been seeing in the past couple of years. Mailings we reported on in our summer issue that targeted senior facilities, schools, and the local Scouting network have helped boost group attendance.

Sundays, the daily headcount has routinely been over 100, even topping 200 on several days. Clearly, the word is getting out that we offer a unique experience for visitors. This year, the Rochester Chapter, NRHS, committed to operating diesel/caboose trains on selected Sundays to carry visitors from Midway station to their Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum at the far end of our shared rail line. Connecting the only trolley ride in New York State with a ride in a caboose cupola or diesel cab has proven to be irresistible to the public. When the Chapter agreed to operate their train through the entire foliage season, we were able to promote leaf peeping by "trolley and train", to great effect.

Passengers watch as the trolley poles on 161 are reversed and RGVRRM diesel 1654 idles in the foreground.

Another couple of words on group visits: many times we've been asked by a Scout leader or other group representative about visiting the museum, and when we describe the extra features of a Sunday visit including both trolley and train rides, they often decide to attend then, and usually with a large contingent. Birthday parties are another growing part of our business, and again most of them can be steered to a Sunday. We've also encouraged trolley rides for weekday groups who are willing to pay an additional $2 per person and can satisfy a $100 minimum. In fact, customizing group tours to the wants and needs of our visitors has added time and complexity to the planning, but has also had a beneficial effect by catering to our customers' preferences.

We continue to be amazed at the number of visitors who claim they had no awareness of us, despite an aggressive effort, somewhat successful, to get ourselves mentioned in the local press whenever possible. Some tell us they heard about us on the internet, which says a lot. We are currently working on updating the look and content of our museum website, and in a combined effort with the RGVRRM folks, we will look for other ways to reach people via the blogosphere.

Whether for a weekday visit by a small group of special needs adults or two bus loads of railroad enthusiasts from out of state, we're here to share the transportation history of our area as well as the enjoyment we find in the vehicles and artifacts of days gone by. There's nothing like seeing our trolley comfortably full of eager kids and adults as it departs for another scenic interurban trip. We're doing something right, and the public is finding out about it!


Feedback from our readers is always welcome and we recently heard from one of our members who asked us to be careful in our use of railroad and trolley jargon so that a wider audience can more fully appreciate what we're saying. We actually tend to separate our articles into two styles. Your editor tries to write with a general audience in mind, hopefully avoiding hyper-technical terms and expanding as necessary to explain or define things. He'll redouble his efforts in this regard.

On the other hand, our shop reports and some technical articles serve as a valuable record of the things we are doing. In true "journal" fashion this record provides reference material for the future and captures our own history while we are busy interpreting the history of transportation. In either style, though, we want you, our readers, to be enlightened rather than left "in the dark", so feel free to ask a question if we use a term you're not familiar with. In fact, is there some aspect of trolley technology or our own work that you’d like us to feature? You can reach us at info@nymtmuseum.org.

Our friends and visitors sometimes come through with interesting tidbits that continue to fill in empty spaces in our knowledge of local transportation history. One recent visitor, after the almost obligatory admission of pulling the streetcar trolley pole off the overhead wire (it's always somebody else who they saw do it), mentioned that while waiting for the streetcar he would put his ear to the steel pole that supported the wire, in order to know when his car was near. As the car approached, he could hear the sound of the trolley wheel on the wire. Better than putting his ear to the rail!

Apparently there were lots of ways for young people to frustrate and aggravate streetcar operators and passengers. Yet another method came up at a recent slide talk Jim Dierks was giving in Brighton. A man in the audience allowed as how he and his buddies would get the trolley car rocking from side to side until the trolley pole came off the wire. We’re not sure what would be more troubling to the other people on board…the instant blackout or getting seasick from the rocking motion. We have our problems today, but apparently things weren't all that smooth all the time in the past.

Locally well known to antique car enthusiasts, Temstad owner Kay Salerno told us that her mother lived at the Industry reformatory where her parents both worked. Kay's mom traveled to school in Avon, NY on the Erie Railroad as there were no schools in the immediate area. As a result of her familiarity with the railroad people and her connections to the Industry facility, she got a job handling the mail between the two. Despite her small stature (5'-1"), she wrestled those big mail sacks like a pro. The depot where she picked up the mail is now Industry Depot, a focal point of our partners, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Now, isn't it too bad Kay's mom never had time to take pictures!


Unless a miracle happens between the time of this writing and publication, HEADEND is now being printed in black and white. For several years, through the courtesy and technology (and employees) of NexPress division of Kodak, our journal has been coming to you in living color, bringing to life the progress we are making and enhancing the information we provide to you. Not to mention it's made us look like the first class outfit that we are! The current business climate and the "downsizing" it has fostered are responsible for this change. Our thanks go to those who made color possible in HEADEND, and we wish them well as they transition to new phases in their careers.

For those who just have to have color, here's P&W car 168, ready to be decorated. Get out those markers or crayons...

We'll continue to hope that arrangements can be made to keep HEADEND in color. Failing that, we will be publishing at some increased cost. Due to this, as well as ever-increasing postage costs, we have decided to offer our members the option to receive our journal electronically. Note that on the membership renewal form there's a place to indicate your preference to receive an email notice when each issue is published, with a convenient link to the issue on our website. While many of us prefer to read books and periodicals "in hand", we understand many others are fine with the electronic method—and it can help us reduce our costs. So, let us know your preference when you renew, and please know that whether you opt for the website or stay with paper, we'll continue our efforts to bring you an interesting and informative quarterly that's worthy of you, our valued members.


We often note that anniversaries can provide themes for events and the publicity they can generate. Given all the start dates, last-service dates, etc. for our many local trolley lines and railroads, we could be honoring a special day almost every month (read about the RS&E's 100th on page 9). We have our own museum anniversaries to celebrate as well.

2010 marks the 35th anniversary of the chartering of NYMT by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. We also took a look back through our newsletter files, prompted by Charlie Lowe's milestone "Rochester Streetcars...No. 50 in a series" in our Spring issue, and discovered that the very same issue was the 75th issue of HEADEND. Volume 1, Number 1 came out in February, 1982 and ran as a quarterly to summer 1984. Publication resumed in the fall of 1990 at two issues per year, returning to quarterly with the Winter 1996 issue.

The look and quality of communication with our members and friends have improved with technology over time.

The original museum newsletter was "The Crosstie Walker" which went out to museum members and friends periodically in the 1970s. The earliest issue we have in our files is from late spring, 1975, with the last issue appearing in early 1979. Director Mike Storey wrote these as newsy letters describing progress, crediting those who helped and identifying needed tools and skills. That kind of content is still an important part of our present-day communications with you. Taken together, the full complement of our member publications provides a valuable record of the progress we've made-what we've accomplished, when, and by whom.


In our Summer issue we presented the saga of the barn lead switch—one of the earliest pieces of trackwork to be installed at NYMT and finally showing its age. Switch timbers are those extra-long cross ties needed to support the switch (and train load) and keep all components of the switch in correct dimension relative to each other. Most of them had rotted with time and weather so they were no longer doing their job. There were also some "issues" with the overall alignment of the switch that needed a professional eye, so as we related last time we contracted with Nicholas P. Giambatista Railroad Contractors to bring things up to snuff. Well, not quite to our surprise, there was more switch work in store.

Our loop switch is an important element in our eventual trolley operations. The "loop" is the track that encircles the museum complex, and the two legs of the loop meet at a switch such that a trolley coming northbound toward NYMT would be able to come up one leg, circle around the museum, stop for passengers, and continue on down the other leg, passing through the loop switch and continuing south.

If you follow that, you may take note of several things. First, just like turning a car around by making a big circle in an open area, the trolley has managed to reverse direction. Second, by doing so, changing ends on the trolley at NYMT as currently done (raising and lowering trolley poles, then departing in the other direction on the same track as arrival) is eliminated, saving time and crew effort. Third, reversing the car each trip means wheel wear from track curves will be more evenly distributed, as currently the same wheels see the same side of the railroad each trip.

But what about the loop switch itself? At least it has to be in sound condition and it better be easily operable too, as it will have to be actuated each time a trolley has to come through on a southbound run. Rail operations such as the Rochester Subway often made use of spring switches in situations like this, permitting passage through a switch even if the points are aligned against the intended move. Unfortunately our loop switch was not equipped with the essential spring apparatus for the points and in fact did have a spring frog. Through all our years of track car operations in ride service, we had to block the spring frog, forcing it to remain in a fixed position since the track cars were too light to force the frog components into position against the heavy springs.

The frog in a switch lets the left and right rails cross, and this is the spring frog from the loop switch (removed from service).

The plan was to rebuild the loop switch when we could afford it, similar to the barn lead switch earlier this summer, but also to change out the spring frog and install a switch stand that would allow the points to spring over as needed. The plan was moved to the front burner after a diesel was operated improperly through the blocked frog, damaging it and surrounding rail, and necessitating a short-term fix with a severe speed restriction for trolley runs through that location. So, it was now time to rebuild the loop switch.

Dick Holbert and Charlie Lowe went into action, collecting the needed components, while Jim Dierks placed a call to Nick Giambatista to arrange an encore performance. Finding a window of time among weekday group tours and regular Sunday operations was tricky, made more difficult by Nick’s busy schedule of work around the multi-state area. Things came together in the week of August 17, and happily the work was completed just in time for our two-day "Diesel Days" event that weekend.

Carefully outlined by Dick Holbert, the work plan required furnishing and installing 19 of those long switch timbers and 8 standard crossties, removing the spring frog and installing our new standard frog, installing and adjusting the Racor #20B spring switch stand, and raising the entire length of the switch a good 12 inches, placing 33 tons of stone ballast, tamping and doing final alignment.

The new frog is in place (center of photo), being bolted up before new switch timbers are installed.

The Giambatista crew (Nick included) worked hard for us and the result is not only a smooth, safe switch, but also the completion of a key part of our eventual operating plan as described above. Poles have been set along the south leg of the loop, and with all the wire and components on hand it won't be long until that "eventual" plan becomes a reality and our passengers will be treated to the slap of the points as their trolley negotiates the loop switch and proceeds on its southbound run.

We have over a mile and a half of mainline track that we share with RGVRRM; some of it needs serious remedial work and all of it must be regularly inspected and maintained. The loop switch project was paid for using the "Joint Enhancements Fund", a reservoir of gift shop profits aimed at improvements to the visitor experience. We are now working with RGVRRM to arrange for a more predictable flow of cash to fund track rehabilitation, and to have it overseen by a joint team who will set priorities and monitor the work by our volunteers and the professionals.


No...as you just read we're putting money into the shared rail line. It's the HO model railroad (more precisely the great number of extra cars, locos, and structures that we have no use for) that we are selling. Credit Mike Williams and Kevin Griffith for tackling the job of developing an inventory of the small mountains of things that have accumulated since the model railroad first arrived at NYMT. They carefully segregated the work of Master Modeler Ed Van Leer for safe keeping, and also set aside anything that could be operated on the model pike for our visitors (on busy days the trains run almost constantly and they eventually need to be replaced). Thanks to many generous donations, we have many good cars and engines for service on the layout, and we continue to invite more.

Meanwhile, though, all the things we couldn't use were consolidated by Mike who has poured himself into a sales effort that has brought in hundreds of dollars for the museum. He has set up "garage sales" on event days, and our gain in dollars translates into happy smiles on the faces of visitors leaving with new additions to their home layouts or with starter sets for budding model railroaders.


A frequent visitor is NYMT member Rich Carling, a guy with trains in his background but a lot more too. Born in Miami in 1953, Rich had an American Flyer S-gauge electric train when he was a boy. It was always around the base of the Christmas tree at that holiday ("yes", says Rich, "we had a tree...just no snow!"). Like so many of us, the model trains got him hooked not only for more of the models but with an interest in the full-size equipment too. During his youth, he added to his S-gauge model pike, and he still has the trains, including many more additions made in his adult years.

There wasn't much railfanning in Rich's early days. He does remember well a church class trip to New York City when he was in junior high school. The famous "Silver Meteor" provided the ride at a time when that was an impressive train.

Rich took computer science courses at Georgia Tech until he had exhausted the curriculum there. He then transferred to Michigan State University where he continued study in that field, graduating summa cum lauda. Sticking with academe, Rich took a job at Harvard University working on computer graphics. He also served as a research assistant on requests from foreign countries. This latter work had some nice fringe benefits. For example, he got a trip to Caracas, Venezuela, to consult with an oil company.

Staying in Boston, Rich moved on for a seven year stint at CCA for a job in government defense contracts that he says was interesting and futuristic. While there he built a system that coordinated submarines, planes, foreign satellites, etc. in the vicinity of our aircraft carriers. As at Harvard, this work involved computer graphics, and even more foreign travel, with trips to Japan, Korea and Monaco. With his first wife from the Rochester area, the family eventually moved here, and Rich’s next stop was at SUNY Geneseo, teaching data base systems.

Some time at the Rochester office of the West Group, a Minneapolis firm with business in the legal profession, led Rich to a start-up company called Fresher Information. The tech collapse resulted in closure of the Rochester office of Fresher, but Rich recalls that at least he had been working in the High Falls area, close to the CSX mainline.

The "nex" stop for Rich was at Kodak's NexPress division, writing "front end" software (user interface, information screens, and the like). During his seven years with NexPress, Rich was granted four patents for Operator Replaceable Components. In todays' high tech world, NexPress printing and copying machines transmit operating data to NexPress so that the company can be alert to potential troubles. With the ORC’s the customer can often make the repair without the need to send out a technician. While at NexPress, Rich was a big help to NYMT with color printing of HEADEND.

Rich Carling and son, Gavan, enjoy a ride on P&W car 161

You'll usually see Rich at the museum accompanied by his son, Gavan, a mentally challenged 16-year-old with a strong interest in trains...both full size and models. You also might see Nancy enjoying the museum with the guys. Rich and Nancy met at a dance and seemed to hit it off. Things almost didn't get off the ground, though, as their first date involved meeting at the carousel in Syracuse's Carousel Mall. There was a severe snowstorm at the time...so severe the mall was closed. While Rich waited in the snow on one side of the mall, wondering where he might find Nancy, she was on the other side thinking the same thing about him. She eventually found him and they had a nice warm breakfast somewhere nearby.

Nancy is originally from Syracuse, and is a cytologist at Rochester General Hospital studying cells for various medical conditions. Besides Gavan, the family also includes Nancy's daughter, Megan, and Megan's white basset hound, Lola, who's taken up residence while she's in nursing school.

Rich is candid about Gavan's condition, although there's no specific diagnosis. Without fine motor skills, Gavan's speech and balance are affected. That doesn't stop him from liking trains and enjoying them at the museum every chance he can get. He is fond of many of our volunteers and especially likes hanging out in the model railroad room with Lucky and the gang. Gavan is a regular at our winter Bring Your Own Train continuing event, where he and his dad own engines to pull Gavan's favorite, the Amtrak train. This may come from some Amtrak trips he's made, seeing the New York State Fair in Syracuse and visiting his mother in Buffalo for Thanksgiving.

The Distillery on Winton Road is a favorite place to eat for the family, since it's close to the New York Central West Shore line, but the museum is at the top of the list for Gavan and his family. We're glad to have them, and we thank Rich for his part in the volunteer effort that keeps us going.

Fall 2009

Dear Friend of the New York Museum of Transportation:

Attendance at the museum has gone up dramatically this past year, as more people are learning about the unique features of a visit with us. The only trolley ride in New York State, many times connecting with a diesel-and-caboose train, has given us many busy Sundays. Group tours also have added significantly to our attendance. And, the year isn't over yet; Holly Trolley Rides will take place again the first three weekends in December, fast becoming a holiday tradition for many. In 2010 we are planning some new events to please our members and our visitors, and we hope you'll come out often to join us. It all happens through support from members like you-your membership dollars, additional donations, and valuable encouragement. Please take a moment right now to renew your membership with us, and consider raising to a higher level of membership and adding an extra donation to support our many worthy projects.

Membership form

Remember too: The key to continued growth of our museum is in the active participation of volunteers—people like yourself—who come from our membership ranks. If you haven't yet discovered the fun of working on a restoration project, creating an exhibit, selling tickets, archiving, or operating a trolley or a track car, 2010 is the year for you to get involved! As can be seen from the many exciting activities described in this issue, our volunteer opportunities are expanding in number and scope, and there surely is something for every interest, time constraint, and skill level.

Thank you for the support and encouragement you have provided during this past year. It's a valuable expression of confidence in the vision we've established for the museum and the work we're doing to make that vision a reality. Please help us continue to grow, by selecting a generous level for your 2010 membership and by becoming an active participant in our exciting progress.

Theodore H. Strang, Jr., President

P.S. Remember, your membership contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law and entitles you to a 10% discount in our gift shop, a collectible museum souvenir gift, and four quarterly issues of HEADEND. Family level memberships and above entitle you to free family visits to the museum.


Any summer Sunday is "trolley time" at NYMT, but we like to put on some extra emphasis once a year to spotlight our unique "traction attraction". Over recent years we’ve operated the restored Rochester Subway Casey Jones track speeder, given guided tours of our substation, and included slide talks and invited exhibitors. This year's event took place on July 19 and we were pleased to have several special exhibits to add to the mix. Member DeWain Feller, founder of Rochester Rail Transit Committee, a local rail passenger advocacy group, brought an exhibit showing rail transit possibilities for our area. Mike Governale set up a good looking table of items pertaining to the Rochester Subway and local transit. Mike is a graphic artist and has created some great posters about the Subway. Check out Mike's website at rochestersubway.com and look for RRTC at www.rrtc.info/.

Meanwhile, out on the front lawn, Gary Stottler of GM's Honeoye Falls hydrogen fuel cell technology group brought one of the company's fuel cell equipped Chevrolet Equinox cars that are currently deployed around the country in use tests. The car and Gary's willing discourse were popular with our visitors.

Almost stealing the show, though, was Bob Fordyce's award winning 1956 Packard Patrician. Bob just happened to come by for a visit with his friends and was pleased to park his symbol of 1950s auto size and luxury for all to enjoy.


We're happy to report what appears to be a major, positive step in the process of securing our future. Monroe #1 BOCES, owner of the land and buildings we occupy, has begun a process of transferring the full 200+ acres and its structures to the Town of Rush. We have received verbal assurances that the Town intends to maintain the acreage in its current natural state, and to continue providing us with use of the land and buildings. We continue to stay in contact with Town Supervisor Bill Udicious and we'll report on further developments as we can.

Monroe County Health Department engineers recently presented Federal and State ground water regulations that apply to us, and they are now recommending a chlorination system for our well water instead of the ultraviolet system we were pursuing. At present we are awaiting a firm proposal from our plumber for the required system, which will include a chlorine tank, a peristaltic pump, a large holding tank, new containment structure to avoid freezing, and associated plumbing. It will be (another) major investment for us, but when finished we will be in full compliance with the regulations, and will be able to turn the faucet taps back on.


1933 - 2009

An active volunteer with many varied interests was lost to us with the recent passing of Gale Smith. From his early days growing up in Ohio, Gale was fascinated by trains and pursued them in models and in full-scale all his life. With a PhD in Chemistry, his career at Eastman Kodak Company's Research Labs led him to work on lithographic plates, dovetailing nicely with another life-long interest in printing. His love for pipe organs got him involved with the Rochester Theater Organ Society, and for many years he published the Society's newsletter. At our museum, Gale volunteered in the gift shop and at the ticket desk. He also tackled the daunting task of cataloguing 17 boxes of papers and blueprints salvaged from Rochester's New York Central station. Always a gentleman and willing to help, Gale was a valued member of our museum and will be missed. For more about Gale's life and his many interests, he was featured in the Volunteer Spotlight in the Spring 2002 issue of HEADEND


We continue to be gratified by the generosity of our members and visitors who donate items of historical value and materials for use at the museum. Among the items recently received in the former category are a number of documents pertaining to area trolley lines. A file of records and correspondence made by an agent for the Rochester & Eastern responsible for arranging property for the line's right of way provides much new information. Besides the names and property details, the agent’s rather candid reports give us an entertaining view of the business arrangements at the human level. We note that one owner who was approached by the agent totally rejected use of his land. He was vehemently against encroachment by modern transportation as something that would ruin the bucolic countryside with ensuing development. Hundreds of property maps covering city streetcar and interurban lines contain a wealth of information and detail and are valuable additions to our archive.

Traction-related files from NRHS Rochester Chapter's collection have been transferred to NYMT. Twelve scrapbooks of photos and news clippings by trolley enthusiast Wally Bradley and five similar scrapbooks by another local fan, Lloyd Klos, are at the heart of this collection. As further expression of the Chapter's support for electrification of our shared rail line, a large quantity of new and used books were passed to us for sale in the gift shop with proceeds tagged for the "Destination Depot" electrification fund. Prices on these books are very attractive, so stop by and add to your own library. A nice collection of items about the Jamestown, Westfield and Northwestern interurban railroad came in and, following one of our off-site slide talks, a collection of railroad negatives is coming our way.

Other collection additions include a tin first-aid box from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, some Pullman hand towels, a Cleveland fare box, and several railroad maps from the 1920s and 30s. Of special note is a career-collection from a retiree of Eastman Kodak Company about the Kodak Park Railroad. During his many years at the company, the donor collected photos, rosters, technical specs and correspondence about the steam and diesel locomotives that served the huge manufacturing facility in northwest Rochester. We've seen some of this information before and reported on it in the Fall 2007 issue of HEADEND but having the additional information-and having it all in one file'is a great contribution to our archives.

Former Monroe County legislator Charlie Webster visited us early in the summer and donated a bag full of old light bulbs. When we discovered they were 32-volt bulbs, we happily put them to work in North Texas Traction car 409. Somehow, when the Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant chain restored the car for use in its Central Avenue location, the interior lighting was rewired with a transformer to step the 110-volt power down to 32 volts. The antique bulbs are clear, not frosted, so they enhance the period look of the car, and they're likely to last longer than modern 32-volt bulbs (which, by the way, cost $6 each).

Antique bulbs lend a warm glow to 409's mahogany interior.

Many books and video tapes came in over recent months, some destined for sale in the gift shop and the rest placed in our over-flowing library. A 5-drawer map cabinet was donated and it will be useful as soon as we figure out a place to put it!

Portable railroad radios, a spike puller, barn door paint, a very nice radial arm saw, two office chairs, and materials for a new gutter over the door that leads to the boarding area were all valuable contributions that improve our facility and operations. Archival boxes were donated to preserve the best of our collected model railroad cars and engines.


We hear that Santa will be visiting with us on Sunday, December 6 to find out if we've all been bad or good this year. Mrs. Claus says she's coming along for a trolley ride too. Got your list ready?


We don't have enough room here to do articles about everything that goes on at the museum, but the following should give a little credit where it's due, and give readers an idea of the variety of opportunity for involvement offered at NYMT.

* The Don Quant, John Ross and (sometimes) Jim Dierks Thursday team have kept our trolley boarding platform safe with railing repairs, plank replacements, a coat of deck preservative, and repair after a minor skirmish with car 161.

* Kevin Griffith and Mike Williams brought out our collection of model cars and trucks from their storage location and set them up in a surplus display case next to the G-gauge model railroad. The lighted exhibit presents an interesting array of vehicles, down there at little kid level for easy enjoyment.

Model cars and trucks show the development of automotive technology over the years in our newest exhibit.

* Jay Consadine and his son, Todd, took on the task of repainting four sets of barn doors on the milking parlor and the main barn, and the result is a big improvement. The guys did a great job of scraping down the old paint, caulking, priming and applying the top coat, and even managed to obtain the paint at a discount from Sherwin Williams.

* The Thursday crew (see above) are installing a new gutter over the main barn doorway our visitors use to go to and from the trolley boarding area. Secure attachment of the gutter to the building rafters has proven to be a major challenge.

* Keeping our buildings and grounds in presentable shape is a continuing task and requires plenty of volunteer hours. Kevin Griffith and son Rob McCulloch handle the janitorial tasks of vacuuming, mopping and trash removal, and we are grateful for it! Outdoors, keeping our fields and lawns looking clean-cut falls to Bob Moore and Dave Peet on the John Deere riding mower, and to Paul Monte, Steve Huse, Bob Miner and Al Emens on our Ford 8N tractor. Charlie Lowe has handled right-of-way mowing too.

* Our 1941 Mack fire truck decided to spring a leak in its radiator as the Thursday team (them again?) were preparing it for its annual New York State inspection. Mack enthusiast (and Beam Mack Service Manager) Mike Ziegler brought a colleague, Mike Eyre, and with some help from Don Quant removed the radiator and delivered it to Empire Radiator for recuperation. The repair will cost us, but the free professional labor to remove and re-install the radiator is a great help.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS................................ No. 52 in a series

Rochester Railways 341
company photo

by Charles R. Lowe

The car in our present photo, Rochester city car 341, is a bit of an enigma. This company photo and an accompanying 1909 scrapping report are the only surviving records of this car.

From the photo, the car appears to have been a company-performed reconstruction, made by splicing together two high-120/low-130 single truck cars from 1891 to form one double-truck car. Note the distinctive ironwork, typical of these single-truck cars, at the corner formed by the car body ends and the underside of the platform roofs. One odd feature of this car, though, is how closely the trucks are located toward each other. Scaling off the photo gives us a truck center-to-center distance of 12'-6", much less than the 16'-0" on NYMT's car 437, originally equipped with the same type trucks (Brill 27G) shown under 341. On 341, no thought seems to have been given to equipping the car with the compressor and air tank needed for air brakes; these normally would have been placed between the trucks. This lack of consideration for air brakes suggests an early date for the reconstruction, but it’s odd that the car has a high 300-series number which would be typical of later cars. The 300-400 cars were similarly spliced cars but had room between the trucks for equipment; they were built from old single-truck 100- and 200-series cars about 1901-03.

Something appears amiss until a close examination is made of the side panels interior to the numbered panels. Here, figures can be seen under a fading over-painting. With a little imagination, we can read across the car from left to right 341 ]2 4[ 341. Eliminating the present car numbers gives ]2 4[ or, if we place these groups in opposite order, 4[ ]2. Translating further, we see the original car number of 402!

No car 402 is known on any Rochester Railway roster, but cars 400, 401 and 403 are documented early-day double-truck cars. All of Rochester Railway's original low 400s had to be renumbered in 1904-06 when the 355-449 cars were purchased, explaining why 402 received an "add on" number in the low 300s. Mystery solved!

SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Electrification: During September and October, Dick Holbert and Jim Johnson installed a 480-volt heater, salvaged from car 168, in the substation. This heater will keep the substation temperature just above freezing in the winter months to prevent damage to substation components, and its higher voltage will make it more economical to operate than the present 120-volt unit.

During September, pole and ground anchor locations were re-staked along the right-of-way for the upcoming electrification of the remainder of the loop track and the mainline between Midway and Switch 6. At this time, poles were placed at all locations in these two work areas for setting with the auger truck. Maintenance on the truck was performed during September by Dick Holbert and Bob Achilles, making it ready for use this fall and winter.

Philadelphia and Western 161 and 168: Charlie Robinson continued his motor bearing oiling on these cars with various sessions in September. Bob Miner repaired the loose journal box covers on 161 at this time as well. In October, Charlie Lowe obtained a supply of new trolley rope, and on October 11 new rope was installed at both ends of both cars by Bob Sass, Dick Holbert, Bob Achilles and Charlie Lowe. Trolley wheels rebuilt by Bob Miner were also installed on 168.

Cleveland Union Terminal tower car: NYMT made a successful bid, via a consortium of museums, on a tower car to be used for overhead maintenance and construction. This trailer can be pulled by a track car to reach areas not easily accessed by bucket truck. The tower car is part of the former Trolleyville, U.S.A. collection, lately called Lake Shore Electric Railway, of Cleveland, Ohio. The failure of this group resulted in the sale of the collection to a consortium of fourteen trolley museums. Also coming to NYMT is a one-fourteenth share of the collection's spare parts.

Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo 206: This car was delivered to NYMT on September 23. Several weeks later, its trucks were also delivered. (See "Car 206 Arrives", on the next page).

Track: Bob Achilles, Tony Mittiga, Jack Tripp and Dick Holbert spent several Saturdays in September and October mapping out loose and missing joint bolts on the mainline north of Reid's Crossing. During this survey, a cracked joint bar was discovered near pole 16. On September 26, Bob Achilles, Bob Sass, Dick Holbert and Charlie Lowe replaced the cracked bar, installing it with new bolts. The crack had gone up from a second-from-the-end bolt hole to the top of the bar and was not in need of immediate replacement, but getting the work done before winter was a big plus. Joint bars crack on the museums’ railroad at the rate of about one per year, mostly because of rusted, loose and undersized bolts, missing lock washers and poor tie condition. The bolt survey north of Reid’s was completed on October 2, with 18 bolts needing to be torched off and replaced. The section of railroad between Midway and Reid's was inspected and repaired for bolts in 2008 when bonds were applied. The 18 "spinner" bolts were torched off by Ted Strang on October 24, with the rest of the crew following behind, installing new bolts. Having exhausted the museum’s supply of new bolts, Bob Achilles and Tony Mittiga traveled to Syracuse the next week and purchased a new keg of bolts for future repair work.

On October 3, the broken-off base of a concrete whistle sign was rebuilt with cast-in-place reinforced concrete, the form having been previously prepared. The reinforcing rods used were those which had been used for laying out track in 2005. This whistle sign had once been located for southbound trains at the Forest Lane grade crossing but was broken at the ground level years ago.

On October 10 and 11, a total of 19 joint bars were recovered from the former B&O/Subway interchange track. A permit from the City was issued for this purpose. Bob Achilles, Paul Monte and Charlie Lowe participated in these salvage sessions, later joined by Vin Steinmann. Joint bars are used to bolt rail sections together, and those for the museums’ 90-pound-per-yard ex-Subway rail are extremely rare. The bars now being salvaged are from the last remaining sections of Subway track.

On November 1, a total of 56 more joint bars were salvaged from the P&O interchange track, and placed in secure storage at NYMT. Ted Strang once again torched off reluctant bolts, and to move the heavy gas tanks up and down the track, the 2-piece 4-wheel work cart was brought along. Once the bars were removed, they were brought to waiting cars on the cart at 3:00 p.m., surely the very last run of a flanged-wheel vehicle on original Subway track. In early November, the crew moved on to salvaging tie plates. By November 6, the totals had reached 79 joint bars and 402 tie plates.


By Charles R. Lowe

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009, Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo RR 206 made its first journey in a decade and traveled north from RGVRRM to NYMT. Its arrival surely makes NYMT the interurban headquarters of the Northeastern United States, with no less than six of these large cars now part of the museum’s collection. The story of car 206, and how it came to NYMT, is a fascinating story of survival.

Your Associate Editor's first acquaintance with this car came in 1988. At that time, the car was serving as a shed at a house on Main Street in Knowlesville, N.Y. and I was in town inspecting the lift bridge over the canal. Each year, I would look in on the RL&B car and it would look ever more forlorn. Finally, about 1993, I saw that some of the siding that had been added on was coming loose, so I asked the owner if I could take a look for the car number. At one corner, in very faded paint, was "206", definitely identifying the car. As far as I know there are no original car number markings left on the car today, so I'm glad I checked when I did.

Built by Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. of Niles, Ohio, in 1908, car 206 comes from the same builder as NYMT's Rochester and Eastern car 157 of 1914, and is similar in size and layout to 157. After a productive service career of 23 years, car 206 was stored along with the rest of the line's rolling stock when the RL&B was abandoned , April 30, 1931.

The 206 car body was sold about 1932 for use as a cottage on a side street in Knowlesville. Later it was moved and became a shed alongside a house on the hamlet’s main street (Knowlesville Road). Here it stayed until 1999 when Bernie Cubitt led an NRHS team that brought the car to Industry depot. Some work, primarily frame stabilization, was undertaken during the first few years of the car's stay at the depot. A heavy tarp applied to the car in 1999 has protected it from the elements.

With interest within NRHS growing for the construction of a siding for its Empire State Express cars, the need to move or scrap car 206 became apparent since it sat on the site of the projected siding. Rather than lose an authentic Rochester interurban car at this late date, NYMT agreed to accept the car as long as NRHS moved the car and its trucks to NYMT.

For the move, a strong crew of NRHS volunteers took charge. Led by Pete Gores, the crew included Dan Waterstraat, Joe Scanlon, Dave Peet, Dave Luca, Jim Johnson, Rand Warner, Jeremy Tuke, Chris Hauf, Scott Gleason, Chad Timothy, Dave Scheiderich and Bob Achilles. At RGVRRM, a flatbed truck was backed under the previously raised car body, and the car lowered onto the truck. After maneuvering into position at NYMT, the car body was jacked off the truck, the truck moved out of the way, and the car lowered onto permanent blocking.

Pete Gores inspects a journal bearing before rolling the truck into storage, while Dan Waterstraat and Jeremy Tuke look on.

On October 17, several from the NRHS crew delivered the car's trucks to NYMT; they are now located on the main barn lead. These trucks have an interesting history. They were built by Baldwin in the late 1920s for 4000-series Chicago Rapid Transit cars. These cars had one motor truck and one trailer truck each; our trucks are each motor trucks and therefore came from two separate cars. Both trucks were shipped from Chicago to Illinois Railway Museum in the late 1970s. According to IRM officials, one of our trucks was under CTA 4289 and suffered a "spectacular" hot box fire when moved on December 26, 1978. The C&NW set the car on a siding and later made repairs to the journal; the car was delivered to IRM on December 30. Our two trucks were sent to Pittsburgh in 1980 and used as display trucks under a Lake Shore Electric interurban car serving as a gift shop at Station Square before being acquired and subsequently traded, without motors, by Pennsylvania Trolley Museum to RGVRRM in exchange for a front-end loader about 1999.


By Charles R. Lowe

Area railroad historians have a momentous anniversary to celebrate in December. After five long years of construction, the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern was opened for its full length in December 1909. Previous to this opening, Rochester-Syracuse interurban passengers were carried via a circuitous Rochester-Port Byron-Auburn-Syracuse routing, using track of the Auburn & Northern (Auburn-Port Byron) and a passenger transfer to the Auburn & Syracuse. The last RS&E segment opened connected Port Byron, eight miles north of Auburn, and Lake Shore Junction near Syracuse. Between Lake Shore Junction and Syracuse, track of the allied Syracuse, Lake Shore and Northern was in effect part of the RS&E route.

Three dates of opening, however, occurred. On December 16, 1909, a special train was run on the new line from Syracuse to Rochester and return. Two days later, a Saturday, saw local service initiated on the Port Byron-Lake Shore Junction-Syracuse route, but Rochester-Syracuse passengers were forced to continue using the roundabout service via Auburn. On Sunday, December 19, through service on the Rochester-Lake Shore Junction-Syracuse direct route commenced, and the prior runs via Auburn ceased. So, which date is best to celebrate? That depends on your point of view unless, of course, you choose to follow my example and celebrate all three!

HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2008. All rights reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. www.nymtmuseum.org (585) 533-1113

Editor and photographer - Jim Dierks
Contributing Editor - Charles Lowe
Printing - Bob Miner, Chris Hauf, Rich Carling
Publication - Doug Anderson