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HEADEND

The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


Fall 2010


EXCELLENT ATTENDANCE

Each year at this time we pause to take stock and tote up the attendance figures so far. Traditionally our busiest time is the summer ride season from mid-May to the end of October. We’re delighted to report that the 2010 ride season showed an increase of 9.6% over 2009. Total headcount for the period was 5,457. Even better, year-to-date through October, total headcount came to 5,997 for a 10.2% increase. Keep in mind that this great performance is on top of last year’s 19% step up over 2008!

The word is certainly getting out that there’s a unique family experience to be had at our place…an authentic trolley ride with beautiful country scenery; a museum stocked with full-size train cars, trolleys and other vehicles; a big model railroad; and a volunteer staff that interacts with visitors in a genuinely welcoming manner.

It takes more than that to keep building our business, though. Events are important. They let us show off an aspect of our transportation history, but they also are an opportunity for publicity. There’s no news value in just “continuing to be there”, but pulling off a one-time event is worth a mention in the local press and might bring out a TV cameraman too. This year we inaugurated “Trolleys by Twilight” for a totally different experience. With the calliope playing in the background and Bruster’s ice cream and hot dogs disappearing at a rapid rate, visitors enjoyed the beauty of a country sunset from the windows of our trolley car.

Then too, RGVRRM replaced “Caboose Day” with the newly minted “Railroad Day” that picked up on kids’ interest in trains and offered demonstrations of coupling cars and handing up orders on the fly. Once a month, RGVRRM operated a diesel/caboose train to meet the trolley at Midway station for the continuation of the trip to Industry Depot. The diesel train also ran for the seven Sundays of “Fall Foliage by Trolley and Train” when we experienced some of the busiest Sundays we’ve had in a long time. Those seven Sundays accounted for 1,687 visitors (fully 28% of our total year to date) and is a 39% increase over 2009’s fall foliage event!

Our new push to promote group tours among day care centers, schools and other organizations brought in several new group tours, and selling the museum as a venue for kids’ birthday parties has become another business builder. So far this year we’ve had 44 group visits, and seven of them were birthday parties. While most group tours are weekday events, requiring volunteer staff to travel to the museum and open it for the visitors, we’re happy to note that all but one of the birthday parties came on a Sunday when we were already up and running. In fact, 12 of the 44 groups were Sunday visits. Several groups opted to include a trolley ride in their visit instead of just the track cars. We charge a premium for that, of course, and it makes for some extra work to create an operating plan that covers all the bases in the time the group has available for their visit.

Conductor Carlos Mercado helps some young trolley converts off the car as their weekday group completes their ride.

Although it doesn’t add to the visitor count, we’re always glad to consider off-site slide talks that not only relate the story of our transportation history, but also help get our name out there. This year 172 people attended a total of seven talks, with one more scheduled in late December.

No matter how special our events are, we can’t rely solely on word of mouth or the luck of the draw in local media, so we’ve continued to advertise. Our joint operating season ad in the Democrat & Chronicle’s Community Connections section ran for three months in the summer, and NYMT has paid for a month of similar ads to promote our “Holley Trolley Rides”. With our attendance obviously weighted toward families with youngsters, we also took out an ad in Genesee Valley Parent Magazine. We take every opportunity we can to offer guest passes as door prizes and at the WXXI auction, and our colorful brochures are handed out everywhere possible.

And…”Holly Trolley Rides” are still to come! Last year’s event brought in almost 600 visitors, and we hope to build on that number by offering the rides for four weekends this year instead of 2009’s three. All in all, it’s been a good year of continued growth in attendance…a great reward for all the effort our volunteers put in!


TIME TO RENEW

If your mailing label on this issue of HEADEND has an ORANGE STRIPE on it, it’s time to renew your museum membership. We hope you will recognize our efforts by renewing your support. See the letter on the center sheet. Thank you!


We’ll be operating Saturdays and Sundays,
November 27 through December 19. Join us
and be sure to visit with…

SANTA AND MRS. CLAUS

Saturday, December 4, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.


WATER, WATER…

The third chapter in the museum’s water saga has been written. As dedicated readers of HEADEND know, when BOCES closed their Rush campus, we lost the use of their water and sewer system. Our response was first to drill a well, and second to install a septic system. That cost a lot of money but it kept us in business, providing vital services needed by our visitors, volunteers and other needs such as track car radiators and plant watering. So far so good.

Then we learned that under Federal (and therefore local) legal determinations, the museum is classified as a public water supplier and must maintain a water purification system to assure safe drinking water. Museum visitor interaction with our well water would only be toilets and hand washing, and monthly tests have shown our water to be free of coliforms such as e-coli. However, per the law we forged ahead and arranged to have a chlorination system designed and installed.

We’re happy to report that the installation is complete, and as of this writing we are awaiting final inspection by the County and the engineer in order to obtain permission to go live. Handles will be put back on the two lavatory sinks, the water heater will be returned to service, and we won’t have to keep buying refills for the hand sanitizers.

Bob Pearce and Don Quant assembled Don's "insulated wall kit" of cut and drilled pieces all in an afternoon.

The chlorination system involves a chlorine solution tank, an injection pump that is actuated automatically when the well pump runs, and two 120-gallon retention tanks to provide dwell time for the chlorine to do its work before arriving at the sinks. The whole arrangement fits into one portion of the “outdoor tool room”, and has been walled off in an insulated area that will be minimally heated to avoid freeze damage.

We’ll be required to test the water every day we are open for the public, record our readings, and submit them to the Monroe County Health Department in a monthly report. Meanwhile, the water is tasty and safe. Come on out and have a drink on us!


STEAMPUNK

For an organization that is as steeped in history as NYMT is, you’d think our museum would be a little more aware of a movement that’s informed by the Victorian era and has apparently been around for over twenty years. “Steampunk” refers to fiction and fantasy writing, and more recently art, clothing, and even rock music, that imagine a world built on steam technology. Picture dirigibles, mechanical computers and communication systems all powered by steam engines! The atmosphere is usually dark and the inventive machines are all black and brass. What a concept.

We recently were “hired” by a professional photographer who wanted our trolley and museum exhibits as background material. The project was additional portfolio content for local fashion designer Lectra Paris who calls her company Quixotic Inventions. The models wore outfits and carried strange devices all in the steampunk theme and it made for an entertaining and different group tour.

A cut-away Alco diesel prime mover has the industrial look that sets off Lectra’s clothing and accessory designs.

This is the second time during the year that we’ve been sought out for photo work, and we’re glad to accommodate this interesting expansion of our business.


SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Track: As we’ve covered in past issues, the railroad we built many years ago (with Rochester Subway materials that were already old at the time) is showing its age and needs continual attention. We routinely inspect the track and identify locations requiring gauge adjustment, joint bar replacement and installation of new crossties. Most of the tie work has been handled in recent years by a professional track contractor, taking a small bite of the problem each year to the extent we can afford it.

But sometimes situations pop up that need immediate repair. Such was the case over Diesel Days weekend when eagle-eyed Steve Huse noticed a rail spreading out of gauge just south of BOCES crossing. At fault were a failing rail joint on the outside of a curve and too few ties in good enough condition to maintain rail alignment. During the following week, a joint NYMT-R&GVRRM project corrected the situation.

First off, Charlie Lowe marked nine ties in need of replacement. That evening, Dave Scheiderich, Chad Timothy and Charlie removed the nine ties using the R&GVRRM backhoe. On Wednesday, Tony Mittiga and Bob Achilles installed two gauge rods at the spread rail, and brought the track close enough to gauge to permit a track car group tour to pass through safely on the following morning. On Wednesday evening, Chad and Dave set the nine replacement ties in place, using ties previously obtained by R&GVRRM for mainline repairs. A large work crew was summoned for Thursday afternoon. Jim Dierks ran our track car work train. Jack Tripp, Bob Sass and Tony shoveled ballast for use in tamping the new ties. Charlie, Dave and Chad wiggled the necessary tie plates in place, spiked the rail and tamped ballast. The bad joint was rebuilt with new bolts, and a badly rusted angle bar in another joint was replaced. Dave Coon and his son Kevin made an appearance later on and helped with the cleanup.

(top) Jack Tripp and Tony Mittiga tighten a new track bolt. (above) Charlie Lowe notes that driving spikes is still hard work even with the RGVRRM pneumatic hammer manned by Dave Scheiderich.

By dusk the job was finished. What made the difference was that the backhoe made moving the ties easy, and that once they were set by hand, spikes were driven by a jack hammer. By bringing the best aspects of track building from each end of the railroad together, a tough job was finished in good order.

In other work, Bob Achilles and Charlie Lowe cleaned out the inlet and outlet for a culvert just south of Forest Lane on the loop track on September 5. Also, two gauge rods were installed in the ballasted area which is used to load passengers at NYMT.

So far for 2010, a total of 92 ties have been installed on the mainline of the Museum Railroad as follows: 63 by NYMT under contract with Nick Giambatista between the Loop Switch and the S-curves; 1 by NYMT to fill in “Bob’s Pit”; 19 at Switch 6 by R&GVRRM forces; and 9 at BOCES crossing by a joint crew effort.


Electrification: A donation of poles from the former RG&E training center in Scottsville was made in August. About 50 poles arrived, over half of which will be suitable for use on the Museum Railroad’s overhead. Now, enough poles are on hand to finish the electrification south to NY-251.

Philadelphia and Western 161: Final work on the motors for 161 was completed in August. Bob Achilles led this project, with Jim Johnson and Dick Holbert performing most of the work. A trolley pole broken during test runs with 161 was replaced on September 11. A new pole obtained last year from Trolleyville was used since the old pole was badly bent. That same day, caboose 8 and car 168 were placed on track 2 while car 161 was placed on track 1. Bob Achilles, Dave and Kevin Coon, Tony Mittiga, Jack Tripp and Charlie Lowe were on this work crew, with Jim Johnson and Dick Holbert re-adjusting the car’s compressor governor during the testing process. Car 161 performed flawlessly when first used in service on September 12 and was used extensively later that month and into October.

New York Museum of Transportation line car 2: Replacement center pins and keepers were fabricated on August 28 by Dave Coon and Charlie Lowe. At a special Board meeting held on September 5, it was decided to re-truck the car this year since all preparation work was finished. A rail and a switch frog were removed from the work area, and the work area mowed the next day. Bob Achilles greased the center bearings, center pins and side bearings just prior to the re-trucking.

On Tuesday, September 21, the Matthews Building Movers crew arrived to slide the carbody sideways onto its two trucks. We’ve had the Matthews people do jobs for us before, and we are always awed by their speed and skill, making big things go where they want them to. With steel beams, hardwood rollers, and an assortment of other tools, the move went smoothly and the Matthews people made it look easy. The line car job was more difficult than usual, as the carbody wasn’t parallel to the track where the trucks were waiting, so the carbody had to be rotated slightly as it was moved. With a day and a half’s work, the line car is now safely on its trucks awaiting restoration and use as a storage and work area for the overhead crew.

Line car 2 has a large “overbite”, because it started life as a snow sweeper with large brushes underneath fore and aft.

Genesee & Wyoming Caboose 8: Caboose 8 has been moved back into the trolley barn and the temporary tarp removed. Additional repair work has been done on the lower edges of some side boards, and a small amount of cosmetic work there still needs to be completed. Windows and window trim have all been installed. The old eave boards on the main cabin have been removed and new replacements have been made by Bob Pearce. Several of these new pieces have been installed. A considerable amount of work still needs to be done to the roof surface prior to installation of canvas, with flashing at the cupola being a major issue.


HEADEND ON LINE

While many organizations are turning to the internet for distribution of their newsletters, we appreciate that many folks still prefer to read about the museum they support with the publication in hand. We’re proud of HEADEND with its mix of historic articles and reports on museum progress, and we want our readers to be able to enjoy each issue in the mode they prefer. So we ask people when they submit their membership application form to tell us their choice…receive HEADEND via U.S. Mail or read it on line. There’s a box to check for either one, right there on the member form.

The issue on line is in color and can be read in pdf format as well as broken down by individual articles, and it occurs to us that even members who like holding paper in their hands may want to see things in full color on the internet too. If that describes you, go to the following website:

http://nymtmuseum.org/headends/ 10fallnk49snhw74/Fall10.html

To view the issue in pdf format, look in the upper right-hand corner of the first page and click on “Headend in pdf”.

Be sure to check your preference when you fill out your membership renewal form for 2011. Every issue read on line is one less issue to print, fold, seal, label and stamp. But if you still like curling up with the latest issue of HEADEND and a warm mug of cocoa, we’re fine with that too. Either way, we’re pleased to have you as a member. Thanks!


GREAT RS&E BOOK

One of several interurban trolley lines that once served our area is the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern. Now, its story and that of related lines that were part of the Beebe Syndicate have been offered up in a splendid new book by the late James R. McFarlane: TRAVELECTRICThe story of the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railroad and Associated Lines.

Published as Bulletin 143 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, the 256-page volume lays out the whole story of the RS&E in well-informed text and numerous period photos. Credit is given in the Introduction to five NYMT members and friends, Charlie Lowe, Shelden King, Charles Robinson, Dave Lanni and Tom Kirn, for their assistance with the book, and several of the photographs are from our museum collection.

McFarlane co-authored a 1961 book with Bill Gordon on the RS&E, and this latest opus is in an entirely different league, with much more historical information, more pictures, and top quality printing. As the title suggests, in addition to thorough coverage of the RS&E from construction, through operation, to abandonment,

TRAVELECTRIC also includes histories of a dozen and a half electric and steam roads that came under the Beebe umbrella. These lines ranged from small operations like the 8.19-mile Newark & Marion Railway to another Rochester interurban giant, the Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester Railway.

The RS&E was built to high standards as this Memphis, New York photo of car 119 and the stylish standard shelter shows.

McFarlane grew up in Syracuse, home of the Beebe Syndicate and the focus of many of the organization’s lines. His first-hand acquaintance with these operations and the fact that he began accumulating information, photos and interviews as early as the 1930s has led to an authoritative and fascinating work. Sadly, James McFarlane died in 2009 before he could see his book published. But his work lives after him for all of us to learn from and enjoy. The museum gift shop will stock a limited number of copies for sale. You’ll want to pick up your copy soon!


ANOTHER EAGLE SCOUT

Over the years our museum has benefited from the public service projects that are part of fulfilling the requirements for the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts. This past summer, Scott Colby presented us with an interactive display aimed at safety around railroads. The 4’ x 8’ board features large color photos, clear text, and a movable model diesel, showing the impossibility of an engineer seeing trespassers in time to stop.

Eagle projects foster leadership in the scout, and Scott’s twelve friends joined him in devoting 178 hours to the project. Congratulations to Scott on his achievement…one that brings a good public service feature to our museum!

Scott Colby points out the features of his Eagle Scout project to NYMT’s Doug Anderson, and Scott’s father Richard.


Fall 2010

Dear Friend of the New York Museum of Transportation:

Attendance at the museum has gone up again 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. In addition, new and redesigned special events, and promotion of group tours and birthday parties have all added significantly to our attendance. And, the year isn’t over yet; Holly Trolley Rides will take place again, expanded to four weekends this year in an event that’s fast becoming a holiday tradition for many. In 2011 we’ll continue to explore 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.

If your mailing label on this issue has an ORANGE STRIPE, your membership will expire at the end of the year. It’s time to renew!

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, 2011 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.

The gift of your time is a valuable contribution. Now more than ever, we need you to help keep the museum open to the public. Call us at 533-1113 and we’ll take it from there!

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.


ROCHESTER STREETCARS................................ No. 56 in a series

Rochester Transit Corp. 018
Photographer Unknown


by Charles R. Lowe

By November, the month when the season’s first flakes of snow started drifting out of gray skies, Rochester’s street railway shop men had surely prepared the snow fighting fleet for action. Motors, controllers, resistor grids, brake rigging, compressors, air piping, air cylinders and other parts were cleaned and oiled. Consumable parts such as burning tips in controllers and seals in air components were replaced as needed. By the time of the first winter fury, snow fighting equipment such as RTC 018 shown here would be ready for battle.

Car 018 was the former S-12, a Ruggles-design electric rotary snow plow. Car 018 saw much action on the long side-of-road Lake Avenue line to Charlotte. This north-south streetcar line was prone to being plugged with snow drifts. Notice that instead of the single chopper fan used on interurban lines, 018 had two small chopper fans so as to more closely clean snow from the tracks. Once the fans had chopped the snow into chunks, the paddle blades would lift and loft the snow to either the right or left.

Captain George W. Ruggles of Charlotte, a Lake Ontario ship captain, must have been inspired by the action of ship propellers and paddle wheels as a means to keep the electric railway between Rochester and Charlotte open all winter. He developed his first electric rotary snow plow in 1890 and secured his first patent in 1893; improvements followed in succeeding years. Once the concept was perfected, Ruggles assigned the right to manufacture his plow to the Peckham Motor Truck and Wheel Company of Kingston, N.Y. Such plows were soon found on countless street railway and interurban properties plagued by snow in both the United States and Canada.

Car 018 was built by Peckham in 1900. As seen here, it was painted dark green with golden yellow car numbers and a barn-red canvas roof. This plow served faithfully for 40 winters until 1941 and was the last of several single-truck city rotary snow plows. Since the Lake Avenue line was part of the last surface streetcar operation in Rochester (last full day of operation was March 31, 1941), 018 remained on the property right to the end of Rochester streetcars. Our photo may very well show the car just after having been removed from service in 1941 since the door is blocked by an unpainted wood board roughly nailed in place.

Although preservation of 018 might have been a great way for Rochester to honor a local inventor, no one at the time was interested and 018 was scrapped in the summer of 1941. We are fortunate, though, that one Ruggles plow, from Montreal, is preserved at Shore Line Trolley Museum near New Haven, Connecticut.


A BATAVIA ANNIVERSARY

This year’s membership souvenir magnet has been created to honor the 100th anniversary of the construction of a trolley car that eventually found service as Batavia Traction Company car 33 in 1911. Since the unrestored body of car 33 in the museum’s collection bears little resemblance to the original car, we thought it helpful to come up with our best guess as to its in-service appearance in light of the occasion.

Not so fast. Needless to say, there are no color photographs from the three years in the mid-1920s when car 33 operated on the Batavia (New York) line. Examination of the car body reveals layers of paint of various hues, and only a more thorough, microscopic analysis will sort out the story there. Before we go on with our excuses, let’s summarize a little history…

According to Charlie Lowe’s NYMT Bulletin No. 2 “Batavia Traction Company 33”, a proposed Buffalo-Rochester interurban line started construction with a line down Main Street in Batavia. The venture failed, but the 2 ¼ mile line was taken over by new owners in 1914 as a local streetcar operation. Without adequate shop facilities to perform major repairs, the company managed to keep operating by buying cast-off equipment from other lines whenever an in-service car reached the point of no return.

In 1924, the line picked up well-worn single-truck car number 33 from the Warren Street Railway in Pennsylvania. This car had been one of an order of five built in 1911 by J. G. Brill Company at their Kuhlman plant in Cleveland, Ohio. The 24-passenger car was mounted on a single truck and featured side windows that could be slid up into recesses in the ceiling to provide open, breezy relief from summer heat. This feature was less labor intensive than removing windows on fully convertible cars, and the type was referred to as “semi-convertible”.

By the time 33 arrived on the property, service was heading downhill due to continuing equipment problems. In fact, in early spring of 1926 none of the cars on the roster ran and service was temporarily suspended. That “service” finally ended completely when the line called it quits on June 13, 1927.

Car 33’s body was stripped of its truck, motors, and other hardware and became part of an antique shop in Batavia. According to Bulletin No. 2, “During much of the 1970’s, car 33 and its surrounding building lay vacant. By 1980, owner Helmut Thieleman decided car 33 was worth preserving and donated it to the New York Museum of Transportation. NYMT member Lynn Heintz coordinated the move. The building around car 33 was torn down by NYMT volunteers, allowing Diegelman Brothers Excavating to pull car 33 from the muddy ground it had rested on for fifty years.”

Batavia Traction Company 33’s carbody once again sees the light of day and prepares for its 1980 trip to the museum.

After being loaded on a flatbed trailer, car 33 was trucked to NYMT on Saturday, September 27, 1980. As noted in the Bulletin, car 33 “represents what has become a very rare type of city car; only a handful of single-truck semi-convertible city cars remain extant”. Although Batavia 33 is only barely “extant”, it’s still a unique and valuable part of our museum’s presentation of local transportation history.

Back to the saga of the color scheme for car 33. From a builder photo of sister car 34 at the Kuhlman plant, the Warren Street Railway design suggests a dark color for the doors, letter board, window sashes, and a band below the windows. A lighter color prevails elsewhere, and the canvas roof is also light colored. Looking at car 33 at NYMT, there appears to be mahogany-colored paint in the window areas and on the end walls, and lighter colors (orange, cream) under the after-service white paint on the sides. No idea whether we’re looking at original Warren paint or what might have been left there by the Batavia people. Word is that Batavia painted their cars orange, but given the financial condition of the line, we wonder if the company would have spent much attention on repainting second-hand equipment. So we’re tempted to imagine a combination of orange hues as seen on the magnet art.

This may be entirely wrong, but pending more scientific scrutiny of what paint is left on the carbody and/or another piece of solid, credible evidence, your resident magnet artist is sticking with this.


VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Believe it or not, our guest in the spotlight this time doesn’t have an ancestor in the railroad business and as far as we know didn’t have a model train in his basement during his formative years. But his story is an interesting one, so stick around…and meet one of our newer volunteers, Pete Schenck.

Pete arrived on this earth in 1974 and with his parents’ membership in Pittsford Ambulance and his mother’s specialty in advance life support, we assume the trip to the hospital went just fine. Growing up in Pittsford, young Pete wasn’t bitten by the “train bug” but rather took an early interest in fire and rescue. We’re sure Mom and Dad’s active participation in that field had something to do with that. Mom was president of the Pittsford Ambulance organization, for that matter.

Living only about a half mile from the Brighton Fire Department’s Station 1 (that’s the one at the corner of East Avenue and Linden Avenue) had to be another influence. Each October during Fire Prevention Week, Pete would go to the Station 1 open house to take in all the potential excitement. After going through the traditional process of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, when he reached the age of 14 Pete joined the Explorer Scout post at the station, one of the first such posts in scouting.

There were about twenty boys in the post, and it was run just like the fire department, with line officers…Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief…to keep things real. At age 18, Pete was eligible to join the force as an adult volunteer and he’s been with BFD in that capacity ever since.

The department has 36 career (paid) fire fighters, divided into four groups that rotate their duty shifts to provide 24/7 protection throughout the year. They drive the trucks and are first on the scene at accidents, fires and other emergencies. The sixty volunteers receive notification by voice and alphanumeric pagers on a network that is countywide. The number of volunteers responding is based on their perception of the need (how serious the incident is) and their availability. There’s a minimum number of required turnouts per volunteer to stay on the list and to keep up to speed with ever changing methods and requirements.

Pete’s enthusiasm and good performance have helped him gain the position of captain in the volunteer ranks, achieving that level in 2008. The volunteer organization has its own chief, deputy chief and assistant chief, so Pete has something to aspire to. Recognition has already come his way, as he recently received an Emergency Medical Service Life Saving Award for his role last August in saving the life of a 4-month old baby that wasn’t breathing.

The volunteers often have support roles when called to emergencies, but their experiences run the predictable gamut from house fires to missing person searches, auto accidents and ice and water rescues. One memorable experience for Pete was the March, 1991 ice storm when he was still an Explorer Scout. He put in hundreds of hours, basically living at the firehouse during the recovery from that storm. Without electric power for basement sump pumps, many home basements flooded, creating dangerous conditions. Pete and others were responsible for checking these places and turning off utilities such as gas water heaters.

Pete attended the University of Rochester and graduated with a degree in religious studies. He spent two years in Israel at an archeological dig uncovering a site destroyed by the Romans in 67 AD. The region is arid but with a rainy winter season, and the site had gradually been buried under several feet of soil. Goats grazing in the fields had no clue that Pete and his colleagues would eventually unearth an intact oven made of clay bricks and the largest fresco mural from that era ever found in Israel. There was time in the students’ schedule for field trips, night classes in biblical archeology, and social activities. One night about 2 a.m. a knock on his dorm room door turned out to be Israeli police officers. At first Pete was pretty worried, but it turned out that his wallet had slipped out of his pocket on the cab ride back from an evening in town, and it was just being returned to him!

A career at the University of Rochester in the Information Technology Department keeps Pete busy managing electronic and audio-visual systems throughout the many conference rooms, lecture halls, etc. Considering the additional workload (and crazy hours) associated with his fire department duties, Pete’s wife, Kathy, must be a pretty understanding woman.

As we reported last issue, Pete and several others from the Brighton Fire Department have joined the museum and taken on the responsibility of fixing up our former-Brighton 1941 Mack fire truck. Along with a polishing that has the truck shining, the guys have fixed some lights, removed some non-authentic items, repacked the hoses to “accordion load” (better looking for parade purposes), and helped us learn more about the truck and its history.

All spit and polish, the Mack was once again a feature at the Brighton Homecoming Parade in October.

Best of all, they’re available and have been qualified by our Don Quant to drive the truck in parades, bearing our NYMT banner for all to see. Most recently, the truck was a feature at Station 1 for Fire Prevention Week, ogled by 450 residents at the open house and countless other children visiting with school classes. The Brighton Homecoming parade on Friday evening, October 8, was the truck’s last excursion for the season, but there will be more to come next summer.

Pete is optimistic that more serious restoration work can be done for the truck, and will be developing a “to do” list with us and local companies. We’re excited by the possibilities, and we appreciate Pete’s volunteer efforts…at NYMT and also in the important work of keeping Brighton residents safe.


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

“Recent” is a relative term. We haven’t had space in HEADEND this year to keep readers informed on incoming donations, so let’s try to make up for that now.

Books and video tapes arrived in abundance, and all of good quality. Per our policy, some go to our library, and the rest become available for sale in the gift shop to benefit the museum. A collection of 35 VHS tapes arrived last spring, and in early summer a large grouping of 179 books, DVDs, photo sets, timetables and other artifacts was donated.

Smaller donations of books and tapes also came in during the year totaling several dozen.

Also for sale in the gift shop, 28 HO gauge freight cars were donated and were put on sale. Many of the cars were quite detailed and weathered, ready to grace anyone’s home layout. They were offered at just $10 each and have already been sold. Other artifacts for the shop include the Pennsylvania Railroad commemorative cocktail set of glasses and shaker decorated with images of GG1 electric locomotives. Bobbie Corzine’s busy hands have created a couple dozen railroad-theme pillow cases that have flown out of the shop as fast as she can put them in the display case.

Adding to our archives of historical items, six photos of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad from 100 years ago have been donated, as have two old railroad stock certificates. Two large maps of New York State showing rail lines came to us, both from the early 1900s. The cash box and pocket watch of a man who started as an interurban trolley motorman on the Manitou Beach and Rochester, Lockport & Buffalo lines were donated by his daughter. His traction career continued on the Park Avenue trolley line and eventually concluded behind the wheel of city buses.

Parker Remelt, grandson of the late John Remelt, stopped by with a nice donation of items from his grandfather’s collection, including a beautiful panoramic photo four feet long showing the area around the corner of South Avenue and Court Street in Rochester circa 1927; some 1920’s Erie Railroad tickets (for travel between Avon and Mt. Morris); several transit tokens; and over 80 weekly passes. The colorful passes carry messages that, when compiled in a collection, illuminate the lives of Rochesterians earlier in the twentieth century.

Weekly passes—a bargain for transit patrons in Rochester—carried promotions for various activities and causes.

Of use around the museum, a spike puller and a can of spikes were donated, as was a folding table, a utility cabinet to more neatly store our cleaning supplies, two electric drills, paint and other supplies. A twin-blade Ariens riding mower was added to our collection of machines to keep the lawns mowed. The cast-iron parts for three 1939 New York World’s Fair benches were donated, and once the wood parts can be made, we’ll have some nice (historic) seating for visitors awaiting their trolley ride.

A large collection of HO gauge structures, track, and accessories arrived, some of which is destined for our own model railroad, and the remainder will show up for sale in the gift shop. Another recent arrival is a collection of about 60 die-cast model trucks and plastic race cars. The trucks represent a variety of eras and will be useful in a future exhibit on trucking as part of the world of transportation.


DID YOU KNOW?

Things keep happening at the museum, thanks to the good work of our volunteers. Here are just a few accomplishments of the past months.

In June, Steve Huse put a fresh coat of white paint on several cross-bucks at our grade crossings. They look great.

Jay and Todd Consadine did a nice job of updating our museum quiz board with new photos and quiz questions.

It’s been a great growing season for our lawns and fields. Thanks to Bob Miner for keeping our equipment running, and to him, Steve Huse, Rick Holahan, Dave Peet, Dave Coon, Bob Moore, Charlie Lowe and Jim Dierks for keeping it all under control.

Our resident sign maker, Phil McCabe, repaired the two banners that adorn our fire truck in parades, made a new sign for our office, and contributed materials for our highway sign.

Jim Dierks repaired and augmented some of the exhibit labels in the main barn

Don Quant, John Ross, Bob Pearce and Rick Holahan gave our road plow a new coat of paint.

So much more goes on at the museum…and if you’d like to join the fun, we’d be glad to have you! There’s plenty to do, from helping our visitors at the ticket desk and gift shop, to heavier work on the railroad. Give us a call at (585) 533-1113 or email us at info@nymtmuseum.org, and we’ll take it from there.


HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2010. 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, Bob Miner