The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation
RECORD ATTENDANCE AGAIN!
What a year we’re having at the New York Museum of Transportation. 2011 attendance through October, including both weekends and group tours, was 7,589. Compared with last year’s 5,997 through October, that’s a growth of 26.5%!
What makes this performance so gratifying is that it comes on the heels of a year-over-year increase in 2010 of 10.7% and a 2009 increase over 2008 of 19%. Folks are definitely discovering the unique experience we offer, and they’re coming in droves.
Things started to heat up on May 15 when we began our summer ride season. On that date, blow-out attendance came from our “Dinosaur Train” event co-sponsored with local PBS station WXXI-TV.
Busy days were encountered throughout the summer, and that led right
into “Fall Foliage by Trolley and Train” which posted a
26% increase in attendance over last year’s event. This
year’s leaf-peepers averaged out at 303 per day, with two of
the seven days topping 400, close to maxing out our caboose train
As we write this, NYMT volunteers are looking forward to continued good attendance during the four weekends of “Holly Trolley Rides”. We’ll be open both Saturdays and Sundays November 26 through December 18. Come join us for a snowy trip aboard our trolley car, and on November 27 meet Santa and Mrs. Claus between 2 and 4 p.m.
NEW EXHIBIT OPENED
The museum was treated to a generous donation this past spring by Yakima, Washington enthusiast Fred W. Spurrell of a collection of 3-rail O-scale trains. With financial support from an anonymous donor, we’re pleased to report that a display of these trains is complete and already capturing the attention of our visitors.
Many of us think of 3-rail O-scale as the toy trains under the Christmas tree when we were young…nice fun for kids, but not the exact replicas demanded by serious model railroaders. While many of these early toys have found value to collectors, the 3-rail world has changed and now offers true-scale reproductions in a wide variety of railroad designs and eras. In many cases the only tip-offs that the trains are meant for 3-rail track are the couplers and wheel flanges that provide the trouble-free operation familiar from the toy train days.
Our collection comprises sixteen trains ranging from the 1831 “John Bull” steam locomotive and train, to the Union Pacific’s gigantic “Big Boy” steam locomotive, and from short freight trains to multi-car passenger trains of the 1950’s. Altogether, the exhibit shows off the fine work currently available in 3-rail model trains and displays the history of trains down through the years.
The Thursday crew of Don Quant, John Ross, Bob Pearce and Jim Dierks created the design of a 16-foot-long display case to contain all the trains, then they built, mounted and painted it. This new permanent exhibit is now on view in the main corridor at the museum. Stop by and see!
There’s still one more shelf available in the new 3-rail O-scale display, and our generous donor already has ideas to fill it.
When we’re not hosting Sunday visitors or group tours we have other contacts with the public who need us. This summer we were contacted by a director at Vicart Entertainment, a New York City film company, seeking help with some shots in an upcoming movie. Their story line involved riding on a suburban electric train, and after we emailed them interior shots of our cars, they selected Rochester & Eastern car 157. The mahogany interior and some rattan seats that we had temporarily placed there were what they were looking for.
A group drove to Rochester and checked us out, pronounced the car just right, and then went on to an abandoned house on Westfall Road to inspect that site for other parts of their film. A date was set for the shoot, and around noon on September 12 a large contingent arrived. In addition to the two actors (a man and a little girl, accompanied by her mother), there was a producer, a director, a lighting director, several assistants, and a local crew who handled the set-ups for lighting.
157 is buried behind light reflectors and diffusers, a green screen, and a baffle to eliminate color from our skylights.
For what will probably only be a minute or two of screen time, the crew worked until 10 p.m. (with breaks for catered lunch and dinner). The “filming” was all done with video cameras. The green screen outside the car window would allow post-production to add passing scenery, and the effect of motion was enhanced with some “special effects”. Each take was preceded by the assistant director shouting, “Cue effects”, whereupon two crew members began waving tree branches in front of the light reflectors and another stood on 157’s steps, jumping up and down to gently rock the car.
An assistant touches up the young actress as director Brendan Butler views laptop images from the camera at his right.
A curious dichotomy occurred to us: Our museum ride is done in a way that enhances the historical experience, with crew uniforms, ticket punching, period car advertising cards, and even the way the railroad track is built and maintained. The “field of view” so to speak is as wide as we can make it. On the other hand, in motion pictures the focus is entirely on the small frame that will show up on the screen, with everything in that small frame done to perfection, but everything outside of it amounting to a chaos of equipment, cables, lights, lunch leftovers, crew members and the like, all of which we assume is there but happily ignore as we enjoy the movie.
We understand the filming at NYMT is part of a short film, and when we learn more about it we’ll share it with you. Watch for us at the Academy Awards…!
CAPACITY LIMITS THREATEN GROWTH
As we celebrate the increased attendance we’ve experienced in recent years, we also find ourselves at the limit of our ability to accommodate all our visitors. There are several issues here, and we are now setting our sights on what we can do to alleviate the situation:
Parking. It may sound mundane, but the first part of the visitor experience on arrival is finding a place to park the car. The size of our stone-paved lot is nowhere sufficient to handle the load, so we routinely direct visitors to an adjacent field. This requires special attention to mowing what we call the “auxiliary parking lot”, and becomes a serious problem in wet weather. Lack of a spacious, clearly marked parking facility tempts visitors to improvise, and cars quickly end up blocking each other and making conditions unsafe for pedestrians.
Ticketing. We’ve designed new tickets that clearly indicate the ride being sold, which at least minimizes confusion. But the whole process of selling tickets in the gift shop is time-consuming and exhausting on busy days, as lengthy explanations are given about the combined ride, where the various exhibits are, etc. We clearly need more volunteers to help in the gift shop, run credit cards when offered, and share the work load. With more help, an additional “guide” could be stationed in the museum to handle those “lengthy explanations” thus moving things more quickly at the ticket desk.
Restrooms. Our single, unisex visitor restroom often has a line outside the door on busier days. When we can afford the volunteer time to monitor things, we allow the overflow to use the less attractive “crew bathroom” which involves a non-obvious passage through both the archive room and the office. The situation is not only an inconvenience, but some visitors miss their scheduled ride when they don’t allow enough time for a trip to the restroom before departing. We’ve spent a lot of money putting in a well, septic system and water chlorination; now it’s time to expand our restroom facilities. Preliminary ideas have been suggested and we hope the 2012 season will “go” more smoothly.
Ride. Our visitors are always surprised and pleased to discover all the exhibits and things to do that we offer, but the clear reason they came in the first place was the ride. We not only offer the only trolley ride in New York State, but we are the closest to the Rochester community of the several rail attractions in the upstate area.
order to link to our partners at the Rochester & Genesee Valley
Railroad Museum, our trolley ride connects at Midway
The ultimate solution will be extending the trolley wire to RGVRRM to eliminate the “shuttle”, and using both of our trolleys and/or a diesel train running over the full rail line to provide plenty of seats with no waiting. As we work toward that goal, RGVRRM hopes to bring a third caboose on line by next summer. They also are trying to find more train crew volunteers so that the caboose runs can be made more weekends than at present, hopefully soon to eliminate track cars from Sunday service.
Boarding and deboarding visitors on and off trolleys, cabooses and track cars is time consuming and a strenuous chore for many older visitors and others with physical limitations. We are putting our creative juices into play to analyze the whole process from NYMT to RGVRRM, to eliminate unsure footing, provide clear direction, and simplify getting on and off the ride equipment. Paved walkways, raised platforms, ramps, and other means are all in consideration.
None of these capacity improvements will come free of charge, and most will involve more volunteer time…and all as we continue to serve more visitors, extend the overhead wire, maintain our trolleys and attend to the administration of our operation. The help of our members and our community will be vital as we look forward to continued growth at NYMT.
TWO NYMT CARS REACH 100
By Charles R. Lowe
Two cars in the NYMT collection of trolleys have reached the century mark this year. Both have been long-time fixtures in the NYMT Exhibit Hall, and both have interesting stories.
This circa-1912 photo shows Elmira, Corning and Waverly car 107 meeting another EC&W car in the Chemung River valley.
Interurban car 107, ordered in January 1911 from the Jewett Car Company of Newark, Ohio, was one of six such cars (106-111) for the Elmira, Corning and Waverly Railway. Seating 52, these double-truck wood interurban cars were purchased in conjunction with the completion of the EC&W. With their 46-foot lengths and four 60-horsepower motors, these cars were among the finest to ever run in the Chemung Valley region of New York State.
City streetcar 33 was one of five cars (33-37) ordered by Warren Street Railway in July 1911. These short, 21-foot-long cars rode on a single truck, centered under the wooden car body, and were ideal for small-city streetcar operations. Seats for 24 passengers were provided.
Both cars 33 and 107 were double-end cars, with controls at both ends, much as NYMT’s P&W cars 161 and 168 are arranged. While 107 operated on the EC&W until that line’s demise in 1930, car 33 saw little use after about 1920 when WSR invested in more economical one-man Birney cars. After several years of storage at Warren, car 33 was sold to Batavia Traction Company in 1924. It ran on that two-mile line until the company expired in 1927.
After their uses as electric railway cars ended, both 107 and 33 became buildings. Car 33 eventually ended up as a small shop on West Main Street in Batavia. Shorn of its truck and operating equipment, little car 33 waited out the decades quietly. Not so with 107. It was saved complete and used as a small residence on Lamoka Lake near Tyrone, New York. It sat for forty years on its trucks with nearly all its equipment intact, all protected under a wooden roof added to the top of the car in the early 1930s. Activity bustled around car 107 as it was the center of Barnard’s Camp, a series of other trolleys collected and put in use as fishing cabins.
In 1970, Ohio railfan Willis McCaleb purchased 107 and had it moved to Magee Transportation Museum near Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. That museum, ruined by flooding in 1972, was soon dispersed, and 107 was brought to the fledgling NYMT in late 1973 along with other New York State cars from the MTM collection. Soon, a flurry of restoration work began on 107, but early optimism faded. That and the need to construct the museum’s railroad doomed plans to operate 107. Today the car sits as the first piece of railway equipment visitors see as they exit the gift shop on their way to the rest of the museum.
EC&W 107 has found a home at NYMT. That’s then-director of the museum, Mike Storey, on the right.
arrived at NYMT in 1980 after a desperate struggle to remove the car
body from its muddy site. The Batavia newspaper mournfully
mentioned the car’s last journey, on a flatbed trailer, along
Main Street. The car, now minus its ends and most of one side, was
placed on display along the east wall of the Exhibition Hall. Over
time, other exhibits have surrounded the car to the point that,
these days, it takes a diligent search to find the car in its hiding
spot behind steam locomotive 47.
Company car 33 lurks behind steam equipment often unnoticed by
visitors heading for their ride.
near term, the cars are safely stored indoors at NYMT. Car 107
functions as a display car which visitors can enter by means of
stairs. Restoration to actual service of car 107 and, especially,
car 33 remains low priority as NYMT continues to extend its
electrification of the Museum Railroad. Someday, though, a large
work force of volunteers may assemble at NYMT and settle into the
gargantuan task of restoring one or both of these magnificent cars.
In the meanwhile, do pay your respects to these, NYMT’s newest
centenarians, on your next visit to the museum.
year at this time we honored car 33 by featuring it on the annual
membership magnet. Now it’s car 107’s turn. Send in
your membership renewal soon to receive this latest piece of museum
Batavia Traction Company car 33 lurks behind steam equipment often unnoticed by visitors heading for their ride.
For the near term, the cars are safely stored indoors at NYMT. Car 107 functions as a display car which visitors can enter by means of stairs. Restoration to actual service of car 107 and, especially, car 33 remains low priority as NYMT continues to extend its electrification of the Museum Railroad. Someday, though, a large work force of volunteers may assemble at NYMT and settle into the gargantuan task of restoring one or both of these magnificent cars. In the meanwhile, do pay your respects to these, NYMT’s newest centenarians, on your next visit to the museum.
Last year at this time we honored car 33 by featuring it on the annual membership magnet. Now it’s car 107’s turn. Send in your membership renewal soon to receive this latest piece of museum memorabilia.
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING
The trolley ride and our many fine exhibits are the face of our museum, but there’s a lot “out back” that has to be in good order for everything to run smoothly. Just one part of that story is the maintenance and upgrading of our facility.
Dick Holbert and the bucket truck attach the gutter mounting board prior to installing the gutter sections.
This summer, with the good work of Dick Holbert and the bucket truck, an important section of gutter was installed over the door that leads to the trolley boarding area. Attaching the gutter to the building, especially considering the loading from ice and snow, presented challenges. The Thursday crew created a design and completed the two 8-foot gutter sections in 2010, but time ran out to install them. With the sections now in place, if it’s raining, visitors can nip across to the trolley barn for their ride without passing under a waterfall cascading off the main barn roof.
Water and gravity are two things that should never be allowed to get together. The aptly nicknamed “water room” where we house our new well water chlorination system, as well as lawn mowers and other materials and equipment, has had a leak in the roof for some time. With the chlorination investment in place, the decision was taken to fix the roof. The Thursday crew came to the rescue and as far as we can tell successfully sealed things up.
Don Quant of the Thursday Crew puts the finishing touches at the edges of the roll roofing above the water room.
It’s Dick Holbert to the rescue again, this time honchoing the upgrade of our telephone line. Several years ago when we built our trolley line’s substation, power lines were run under the track. At that time an additional tube was placed to carry our phone line which otherwise would be suspended in the air unacceptably close to the trolley overhead. With imminent extension of the overhead down the front side of the loop track, work is underway to move the phone line and at the same time make improvements to the system inside the buildings.
Dick has handled everything from wrestling wires through tight spaces, to the planning that looks to the future with some sophisticated capabilities. We find in his progress reports that we’re preparing ourselves for eventual wifi and streaming video, security system, Ethernet cables between the office and the gift shop and the ability to network computers when that day comes. All this is in addition to replacing the existing patchwork of makeshift phone wires with new wiring in conduit, allowing future expansion when needed. And, the all-important radio communication system is being protected and strengthened as well.
We’re grateful for the kind of expertise embodied in the work of Dick and our other volunteers with special knowledge and experience. If it were up to this writer, the following could just as well have been written in Greek:
I am going to install the 110 Cross Connect in the junction box for the voice grade circuits and a Cat 5e patch panel for the data circuits. This will provide bridging capability for additional voice circuit drops and the capability to easily add network equipment for multiple data drops.
No report on facility maintenance would be complete without recognition for the many volunteer hours spent aboard the Ford mowing tractor, the John Deere riding mower, the weed whacker, rotary mower and Charlie Lowe’s mowing tractor. Thanks to Dave Coon for taking over the job of scheduling this important work and to Steve Huse, Bob Miner, Dave Peet, and Tony Mittiga for putting their hours in.
Late this summer we got some good help from the lawn maintenance class at BOCES 1 in Fairport. In need of lawns and fields to work as the hands-on complement to their classroom work, the instructors chose NYMT as one of their regular customers. At no charge, too! Between their efforts and that of Dave Coon and his crew, the place has never looked better.
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, again covering four weekends in an event that’s fast becoming a holiday tradition for many. In 2012 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.
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, 2012 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 2012 membership and by becoming an active participant in our exciting progress.
Theodore H. Strang, Jr., President
R&E SHELTER HOUSES
No, we’re not talking about facilities for homeless people. This is the proper name for the way stations that the Rochester & Eastern interurban line placed at lesser stops along their tracks between Rochester and Geneva. Some of these tiny structures were saved after the line folded. It was the early days of the Depression, and the houses could be used for storage or playhouses.
Our museum has one of these saved shelter houses, standing guard at the entrance driveway crossing. Our Collection Manager, Charlie Lowe, tells us we believe our shelter originally served at Johnson’s Crossing, about halfway between Canandaigua and Hathaways where the R&E crossed the old Rochester Road (now NY route 332). Charlie points out that this was a dangerous crossing for early motorists as the R&E crossed over at a very mild angle from paralleling the highway on the north side to running along the New York Central’s Auburn Road south of the crossing.
The shelter arrived at the museum in the 1970s in a light grey or faded blue color, and has been painted a couple of times since then in our best estimate of the original color. A new roof added a few years ago is holding up well. The shelter house might be considered one of our “signature” features, as it’s seen by all our visitors as they arrive and leave, and is noticeable from the highway too. Here’s a shot of our shelter house looking like it’s ready for the arrival of the next car to Geneva:
Meanwhile, Friends of the Railroad, Inc., based in Victor, NY, is restoring the shelter that once served nearby Fishers. Warner Fisher is leading this volunteer effort, and when the work is completed the shelter will be located in downtown Fishers next to the firehouse and the cobblestone building that once served the Auburn Road. The cobblestone building, by the way, is believed to be the second oldest railroad structure in the United States, after the 1831 Ellicott station on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
This project is still underway, but the exterior has been painted…with colors based on chips the volunteers were able to lift from the building and which closely match the colors we found for our shelter. It’s great to see another piece of area interurban history saved:
The Fishers restoration crew take a break and show off their handiwork at an open house, July 23rd. Photo by Charles Lowe
This summer, a museum visitor gave us a model of the R&E shelter house at Algerine Street:
Note the correct offset in the roof line in Mr. Kaveny’s model of the Algerine Street shelter.
The model has an interesting story to it, as told by his daughter, Karen Collins:
This model was made by Paul J. Kaveny. He and his wife, Elsie, were married for 67 years and raised five children. Paul and Elsie were born 10 days apart in Canandaigua, and as the years passed they went all through school together and graduated in the same class at Canandaigua Academy.
As a young boy, Paul would often ride on the R&E with his father, William, who was one of the conductors on the line. In fact, one day when Elsie was only six years old, William found a strand of pearls and gave them to her. Little did he know that she would eventually become his daughter-in-law.
Paul was a master at woodworking who enjoyed surprising his growing family with hand-made treasures. One of his talents was reproducing buildings that he liked, one of which was the trolley stop at Algerine Street.
Paul died in July 2010 and his family donated this model to the New York Museum of Transportation.
The Algerine Street model is on display in our gift shop. And in case you’ve always wondered, “Algerine” rhymes with “tangerine”, not with “Clementine”. Thanks to our reliable historian, Charlie Lowe for that.
SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe
Electrification: On Sunday, August 28, Tropical Storm Irene caused a dead tree to fall onto the trolley wire near Midway, immediately bringing trolley operations then in progress to a halt. The next week, a work crew consisting of Bob Achilles, Jack Tripp, Tony Mittiga, Jim Dierks, Bob Sass and Charlie Lowe assembled along with the NYMT tower car and removed the tree from the wire. The wire did not break but had become very slack, so the crew re-tensioned the wire after the tree had been fully cut up and removed from the railroad.
Charlie Lowe and his trusty tractor pull the remainder of the downed tree off the overhead after removing upper limbs.
The five remaining poles and four remaining ground anchors for the loop track electrification were set in place in late October by Scott Gleason, Dan Waterstraat, Bob Achilles, Tony Mittiga and Dave Coon. Ted Strang spent countless hours working on the auger truck’s engine this fall, finally getting it back into running condition after much effort.
Also nearing completion is the relocation of the low-hanging telephone line into underground ducts. This phone line sags to about a height of just 14 feet over the track near the NYMT office, obstructing the movement of full-sized rail cars as well as the construction of the loop track’s overhead. Bob Achilles, Dick Holbert and Jim Johnson have been steadily working on the telephone line’s relocation, to be completed soon.
Track: The NYMT track between BOCES Crossing and the loop switch has been carefully inspected and any necessary repairs made in anticipation of moving the R&GVRRM freight train south this fall. An exceptionally large work crew was assembled in late August to repair a 100-foot-long area of wide gauge in the S-Curves. One rail was entirely unspiked, rodded at all joints and respiked to the proper gauge. Two new ties were also installed as part of this work. The crew included Bob Achilles, Bob Sass, Jim Dierks, Tony Mittiga, Dave Coon, Rick Holahan, Jack Tripp, Vin Steinmann, Jay Consadine, Todd Consadine, and Charlie Lowe.
Another project was to improve the switch in front of the main car house so that line car 2 could be moved closer to the car house. This was to improve sight distance at the main entrance road grade crossing. Bob Achilles, Tony Mittiga, Dave Coon and Charlie Lowe installed three ties and two gauge rods here, and then carefully moved line car 2 into its new position. This work was completed on October 1, 2011.
In late October, Bob Achilles, Tony Mittiga and Dave Coon inspected the loop track for loose or missing bolts at track splices. Numerous bolts were tightened, two were replaced and five “spinners” were catalogued for eventual cutting and replacement with new bolts.
Philadelphia and Western 161: Repairs are ongoing for this car’s folding door. The control rod cracked at a brazed connection, the hinged doors were loose and not closing properly, and numerous attachment bolts were missing. These problems and the lack of rubber seals in some spots are being tackled by Bob Miner and Dave Coon in the lull between the end of the regular operating season and this year’s Holly Trolley runs.
Philadelphia and Western 168: This car has been spotted in the car house so that the car’s body can be lifted off its trucks to permit an inspection and necessary repairs to the brush holders in the traction motors. This preventative work is being performed to avoid a meltdown in the rare brush holders as occurred last year on car 161. Pete Gores led the effort to lift the car on November 5, 2011 along with the Saturday crew. Jim Johnson will perform the motor work.
Genesee & Wyoming Caboose 8: To permit car 168 to be jacked off its trucks, caboose 8 was tarped by the caboose crew of Don Quant, John Ross and Jim Dierks, and moved outside by the Saturday work crew in September.
Our policy is to give our members exclusive access to the most current issue of HEADEND, and to offer the option to read it in hand (sent via U.S. mail) or to read it on line, in color. The latter option also provides a pdf version for printing in color if that’s preferred.
If you’re happy to skip the black-and-white printed issue and just read on line, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven’t already so indicated. But if you’d rather read hard copy, we’ll keep it coming in the mail. Either way, we’re glad to have your membership support. Thank you!
THE NEW WORLD OF GROUP TOURS
Visits to the museum by school classes, group homes, senior facilities and the like have always been an important part of our service to the public. They extend our reach beyond Sundays and they make a valuable addition to our income statement too. We’ve seen some changes lately.
First, the current state of the economy has tightened school budgets, with a resulting reduction in visits from public schools. Private schools, nursery schools and day care centers tend to be not affected as much. Senior facilities also continue to be interested in visiting, and we always enjoy learning transportation tidbits from the old timers when they come.
A senior group has completed their tour and is heading off to lunch in this huge coach….a transportation artifact in itself.
This year we’ve experienced a rise in group attendance on Sundays. The advantage for us is we don’t have to arrange for four or more volunteers to make a special trip to the museum on a weekday, but on the other side of the ledger is the problem of fitting a group into our limited capacity. On a busy day, holding 20 or 30 tickets on a particular ride can inconvenience walk-in visitors, so we do our best to accommodate everyone.
Many of the Sunday groups are birthday parties. We make North Texas Traction trolley car 409 available for these events. The car formerly served as a feature in the Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant in downtown Rochester, and is still equipped with tables and chairs to fit 36 people.
In recognition of the increase in children’s parties, the Thursday Crew re-covered the tables in car 409 this summer.
(As an aside, adults who visit our museum almost never are old enough to remember the interurban era, usually didn’t experience the city’s streetcar system, and only sometimes recall riding on the Rochester Subway…but many faces light up in recognition as they recall eating in car 409 at the restaurant!).
While we don’t charge extra above the usual admission for the use of the car, we expect the party host to provide the party and clean up after words. Of course, this brings in additional visitors (it’s surprising how many birthdays come with 25 or 30 guests, and with the adults outnumbering the kids). Better yet, there’s a multiplying effect as kids who attended a party often want to have their own party at the museum too.
We’re happy to be the venue for birthday parties and other gatherings, as they are an important part of our recent growth in attendance. Just don’t ask us to bake the cake!
Hey…we’re on Facebook! If you are too, be sure to “like” the museum at www.facebook.com/NYMTmuseum to be part of our online community. We’ll remind you of events and share updates and photos with you. And you can tag us, too, in your museum photos, to help spread the word about what a unique and wonderful destination NYMT is. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with our members and friends between visits and newsletters. We’d love to have you follow us…and spread the word to your friends too!
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 email@example.com, and we’ll take it from there.
ROCHESTER STREETCARS.............................. No. 60 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
[This is the fourth and final installment in a year-long tribute to Kodachrome. The last shop still handling the film ceased processing it on December 30, 2010.]
Only three work cars are known to have survived the end of historic street railway and Subway operations in Rochester. Sand car 0243 survives in a disassembled form inside the main exhibition hall at NYMT and awaits restoration to its original form as passenger trolley 162. The Subway’s gasoline-mechanical track car “Casey Jones”, superbly restored by NYMT volunteers about a decade ago, remains the only fully restored car from Rochester’s electric railway systems. One other work car, gasoline-mechanical Subway locomotive L-2, is stored in a disassembled form at NYMT, awaiting the time when it can be restored. It is therefore safe to say that no electrical Rochester work car will survive the test of time as a work car.
Line car 2 (ex-SEPTA C-125, later Pennsylvania Trolley Museum line car 2), currently still dressed in a chalky and peeling coat of the garish red paint used by Pittsburgh work cars, sits outside in desperate need of paint. Rochester Streetcars then hatched a plan. Perhaps the total loss of Rochester’s electric work cars could somehow be compensated with the repainting of line car 2 in the colors used on Rochester’s work cars.
Again, it was Kodachrome to the rescue as the many black-and-white photos of Rochester work cars only reveal a somber, dark toned paint scheme. Refer, if you will, to our photo of wreck car 0343, made in 1948 at the Rochester Subway’s yard near its car house. All the detail which could be desired is set forth, from the dark olive green body color, to the sienna sash color, to the dull red roof canvas, the black bumpers and, of course, the golden yellow numbers.
Car 343 had a varied history before arriving in front of our photographer near the Subway’s car house in 1948. Purchased in 1891 as (probably) a single-truck 200-series car, the car was lengthened and rebuilt as a double-truck passenger car in 1903 or shortly thereafter. Displaced by the then-new 1200-1249 Peter Witt cars in early 1917, car 343 was rebuilt into wreck car 0343 later that year. Wreck cars were used to haul disabled streetcars back to the car house for repair, and for various maintenance tasks. Car 0343 served on city lines until it was transferred to the Subway, probably in the 1930s. After 1950, when the ten 600-series cars stored since 1941 for possible Subway use were scrapped, 0343 became the last former city passenger streetcar in service in Rochester. Remaining in use right to the end of the Subway, 0343 was scrapped in the summer of 1958 along with nearly all the rest of the Subway’s work and freight locomotive fleet.
Perhaps, though, with the help of the long-lived magic of Kodachrome and our view of 0343, at least the colors of Rochester’s work car fleet can live on with a repainting of line car 2. Such a project would be a fitting tribute to Kodachrome.
HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2011. 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
and photographer - Jim Dierks