Headend in PDF

HEADEND

The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation


Fall 2012


LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW…

Most of us at NYMT agree that “big things that move” have a special attraction to us. Our visitors, young and old, seem to feel that way too. While trolleys and trains are at the top of the popularity list, there are many other “big things” at the museum that excite the imagination, and our 1924 Best Model “A” Sixty crawler tractor is certainly one of them.

The museum’s Town of Rush 1924 Best Model 60 road plow is featured on our 2013 membership souvenir magnet.

The mid-to-late 1800’s in the United States was a period of creativity and growth, and with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, the pace of settlement in the west quickened. Across the Great Plains and on to California, fertile soil was tilled on vast stretches of rich farmland. Inventive machines were developed to handle the plowing, planting and especially harvesting on these huge properties, and teams of 30 to 40 horses, mules and oxen were harnessed to provide the pulling power.

Animals had to be fed and cared for, however, and the development of steam powered equipment offered a solution. Steam traction engines had their advantages over animals, but also had some drawbacks. In addition to supplying the machines with fuel and plenty of water, farmers found the heavy weight of the equipment a problem, especially in the soft earth of the San Joaquin Valley in California. Widening the wheels, sometimes to ridiculous proportions, helped to distribute the weight over more area, but the most promise seemed to be in replacing the wheels with “crawler” tracks.

Charles Holt, a California manufacturer of threshing and harvesting machines, was the first to create a successful track-type tractor. The first model was tested in 1904, and in the following year “Caterpillar” was trademarked by Holt. By 1906, he was in production with a steam powered track-type tractor. But, steam still required a crew of seven men to tend the machine, and that insatiable appetite for water and wood or coal was still an issue too. By this time, gasoline internal combustion engines were starting to appear in autos and in

other machines for farm and industrial use, so Holt proceeded to develop a gas version of his “Caterpillar” tractor, and began selling it in 1908.

Crawler tracks, as shown in this drawing for a model 60 tractor, are a continuous assembly of links driven by the front wheel (sprocket) seen at left.

With the growth of his business, and a desire to more easily tap the Midwest market, Holt bought a shuttered steam tractor factory in Peoria, Illinois which produced its first model for the now-named Holt Caterpillar Company in 1910.

About this time, Daniel Best, a maker of farm tractors and harvesting equipment decided to retire and sold out to Holt. His son became part of the enlarged firm but soon left to start his own business, at first building gasoline powered wheel-type tractors but in 1913 introducing a 75 horsepower track-type machine, in competition with his former company. Best trademarked the term “Tracklayer” for his tractor.

World War I was good for business for both Holt and Best, as track-type tractors’ pulling power and ability to navigate rough terrain found favor in hauling munitions and supplies by the Allies. After the war’s end, both firms prospered with demands for equipment of similar performance in the fields of construction, pipelines, logging, and other areas. In 1925, Best and Holt merged, creating the Caterpillar Tractor Company whose familiar yellow machines are found today throughout the world.

The museum’s Best model “A” Sixty road plow tractor bears serial number 2151A, which tells us it was built by Best in 1924. Interestingly, the “Caterpillar” name is on the radiator housing, suggesting that the practical aspects of the 1925 merger with Holt may have been in the works in the preceding year or two. From a listing in an issue of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club, it appears that the 1924 Best that adorns our front yard is one of the oldest such machines known.

The Best model “A” Sixty has its plow full as it attacks a deep drift on Middle Road in Rush, in the winter of 1941.

Photo credit John H. Behnk, Jr., Supt. of Highways, Rush, NY

The Town of Rush originally bought the model “A” Sixty to clear snow from its narrow country roads, but as highways grew and the technology of plowing and sanding developed, “Big Bertha” as the machine was known (some say, “Big Bess”) was put out to pasture. It arrived at the museum in 1976, and has undergone various cosmetic restorations and repairs over the years. For the Town’s 175th anniversary in 1993, thanks to the good efforts of museum president Ted Strang and Monroe Tractor Company, “Bertha” (or “Bess”) was loaded on a tractor trailer and joined the big parade through the village.

To give credit where credit is due, the actual plow on the museum’s Best tractor is by the LaPlant-Choate Manufacturing Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This firm was started in 1911 by E. W. LaPlant and his nephew Roy Choate, and developed a variety of devices in the heavy-moving industry, including scrapers, stump pullers, plows and track-type tractors.

The V plow on the museum’s Best model “A” Sixty features a “scientifically rolled” moldboard (the V part) and patented wings “to continue the lifting and rolling motion of the snow as taken from the moldboard”. Raising and lowering of all sections is done hydraulically through cables and pulleys, and the whole affair (including driving!) is performed by one man. It must have been quite a job, especially on a cold night of wind whipped snow.

LaPlant-Choate was bought in 1952 by Allis-Chalmers, a maker of tractors, both wheel-type and track-type, as well as other industrial and agricultural equipment. Unlike the Caterpillar success story, Allis-Chalmers has pretty well evaporated after years of international buy-ups and selling off divisions.

But the LaPlant-Choate plow mounted on the museum’s Best model “A” Sixty tractor survives, and together the two remind us of another interesting chapter in our area’s transportation history.

Katy and the Big Snow”. That’s the title of a 1943 children’s book that caught the imagination of kids in an earlier generation as a plow much like the museum’s saved the day for the city of Geoppolis. It was written by Virginia Lee Burton, who also was responsible for “Choo Choo” and “The Little House”. Remember them? There’s a copy of “Katy” in our gift shop for those who want to reacquaint themselves with a childhood favorite, or to introduce the story to someone in the younger crowd.


RECENT ACQUISITIONS

Some donations to the museum are small and some are large. An example of the latter is the recent arrival of four lighted showcases, complete with glass shelving and sliding glass doors. The units were originally the property of Margaret Woodbury Strong, a wealthy local woman famous for her avid collection of what we would consider items of everyday life, covering dozens of categories, with a heavy emphasis on toys. Mrs. Strong opened her home to visitors to see her collections, and eventually received a provisional charter from New York State as a museum, but she died before her plans could be realized.

Our four new lighted display cases spiff up the auto exhibit aisle and add welcome space to show off our many car models.

Mrs. Strong was well known around Rochester, stomping into shops that dealt in used office furniture, followed by her chauffeur and laborers, whereupon in quick succession she would point out the display cases and storage cabinets she wanted, pay for them, and oversee the immediate hauling away by truck to her home.

The showcases now at NYMT may have been custom made for Mrs. Strong’s home museum, for they are well constructed of hardwood. We understand that when the Strong Museum was created in accordance with Mrs. Strong’s will, wooden cabinets didn’t fit the museum’s plans. The showcases were bought by the owner of the Victorian Doll Museum in North Chili where they served as display cases for antique dolls. The current owners of the doll museum are NYMT members, and with their retirement and closure of their museum, they offered our pick of the many display cases they had. The four we selected were moved to NYMT’s auto exhibit aisle on Thursday, October 4, and as soon as the cases are anchored and power provided to the interior lighting, we’ll be exhibiting car and truck models. The cases offer additional display space but also help us hide the many items in storage surrounding the auto exhibit aisle. We thank our members for this generous donation...and wish them a happy retirement!

Have you taken a look at the museum archive on line? If you click on the “archive” button on the home page, and type in a key word to start your search, you’ll find a few thousand images available for your viewing and research. Thanks to several recent donations, we’ll be putting more images up on the site in the coming months.

A long-time railfan in our area found a supply of prints that pertained to the trolley activity here, a stash of over 350 prints that he had accumulated from various sources over the years and that he had pretty much forgotten about. We’re grateful that he remembered the pictures and felt that NYMT was the appropriate home for them.

Some of the images are familiar to us, but others appear to be new additions to the photographic history for transportation in our part of the world. Here is a sampling of the kind of things that are in the donated collection and that the museum is carefully guarding for the future:

This shot is dated July 14, 1925, and is looking north at the grade crossing of East Avenue and the New York Central’s Auburn Branch. When it began operations, the Rochester & Syracuse interurban line left Rochester on University Avenue and crossed over the Auburn Branch on the high bridge in the background of this photo. With the advent of the Rochester Subway, the big R&S cars would be removed from city streets and instead leave town on the Subway tracks. To reach the R&S mainline from the Subway, an extended underpass was built beneath East Avenue and the Auburn Branch. This view documents construction of the underpass, and appears to show East Avenue’s eastbound lane in the foreground. The westbound lane is beyond the diamond-shaped crossing sign (where the former grade crossing was. Note the small crossing guard’s shanty behind the man in the dark suit).

Many recall downtown alive with shopping at stores like McFarlin’s men shop, seen in the background of this shot. The streetcar tracks and safety island for waiting passengers seem to be taking up a lot of Main Street, resulting in a 1920’s version of a traffic jam.

Judging by company photos, altercations between streetcars and other vehicles happened with discouraging regularity. Since all such incidents were documented in photographs for legal reasons, the museum has a large collection of 8 x 10 pictures of damaged Rochester streetcars. Here’s a view of number 445 having suffered some pain on its right front.

A collection of copy negatives made for the Rochester Transit Service’s “History Bus” surfaced recently in Canandaigua, along with several old photos that are new to us. Among them is this interesting scene:

A crowd has gathered as an equally large assortment of laborers removes medina stone pavers from around the streetcar tracks on State and Andrews Streets in preparation for smoother macadam paving around 1900. Details in these old 8 x 10 shots are wonderful…in the background we find an early location for Odenbach’s famous restaurant, and on the streetcar line in the distance is a crane on the tracks and bearing the number 2. It’s apparently electrically powered as it has a trolley pole in contact with the overhead wire.

More images arrived in the form of a short 16mm film from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s showing Rochester street scenes. Chief among these is a view of Main Street on the west side of the overpass over the New York Central. We see the last of the Rochester streetcars rolling by, and in the next shots, the rails are being torn up and new paving installed for the buses that finished taking over in 1941.

Lanterns, books, videos, framed railroad pictures, tools for use in overhead work and for display, a World War II vintage shipping crate, and a 1940s Greyhound travel folder round out the arrivals to report on this time. Our archive room is bursting at the seams, but it provides a safe and welcome home for things that provide a unique view on the past. Their value to history will only increase as the years go by.


LUCKY REMEMBERED

We’ve said our final farewells to too many of our volunteers lately, but they are never far from our thoughts. On Sunday, October 7, a brief ceremony in the model railroad room let us recall the contributions of Dick “Lucky” Luchterhand, and unveiled a reminder of him that will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.

Dick was involved in so many aspects of our museum—as a trustee, operating track cars, preparing the facility for group tours and Sunday operations—but mostly for his work with the model railroad. Dick led the effort to bring the layout to NYMT, and over the years did much to enhance it, maintaining the track and wiring, and adding the many details that capture the imagination so well. One of Dick’s special interests was an amusement park on the layout. As Dick always said, it isn’t a carnival or a circus…it’s an amusement park, just like the ones built by trolley companies in the old days to boost ridership, especially on Sundays when most businesses and stores were closed. True to life, this amusement park is connected with the layout’s miniature city by a trolley line.

To best remember Dick, it was decided to add a Ferris wheel to the park. Using some of the funds donated in Dick’s memory, Gerry Doerr bought an elaborate kit and spent hours constructing it. The result is motorized and illuminated, and is a source of delight for all our visitors.

The new Ferris wheel is the star attraction at NYMT’s popular amusement park…and a nice reminder of Dick Luchterhand.

About a dozen members of the Luchterhand clan were with us for the ceremony. Vern Squire and Jim Dierks offered words of remembrance, and the Ferris wheel was started up. What a treat! A photo and brief words about Dick are on the wall of the model railroad room to tell everyone the background on the model railroad’s latest addition—what we have come to call the “Lucky Wheel”.


Holly Trolley Rides

It’s become an annual tradition! Board the museum’s trolley for a ride through the winter beauty of the Genesee Valley. Our neighbors at Remelt’s Evergreen Acres will be selling Christmas trees, wreathes, and decorations, and you can even board at the platform that adjoins their property. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the museum on Sunday, December 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. Members are free, of course, and for non-members museum admission including the ride to Midway and return is $5 adults, $4 under 12. Mark these dates on your calendar, and we’ll see you on board!

Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

November 24 and 25
December 1 and 2
December 8 and 9
December 15 and 16


ANOTHER EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT

The museum has happily connected with seven Eagle Scout candidates over the years, and we have just added our eighth. Nicholas (“Nico”) Banghart contacted us this summer seeking a community service project which is one of the many requirements a young man who has reached the rank of Life Scout must meet to attain Eagle. After discussions with Doug Anderson and the Board of Trustees, the decision was made to stabilize the hexagonal crossing shanty at the Forest Lane crossing at the museum.

The shanty received a non-historically-correct paint job back in the early 1980s as part of an effort to improve appearance of the grounds and to help preserve the structure. We were also able to participate in a U.S. Navy Seabee helping hand effort that put a much needed roof on the shanty. Since then, the elements and vandals have taken turns working on the structure. Rather than engage in a full-scale restoration, it was decided that stabilizing was in order (arresting the ongoing deterioration, installing new windows to keep out the elements, filling in woodchuck burrows beneath the building, and adding replacements for wooden pieces that had fallen off or rotted away). The project specifically did not include removing anything already on the building other than a few rotted boards which are being preserved for future reference. No paint was removed, although chips were saved for analysis in future restoration.

Charlie Lowe gives Nico a lesson in Civil Engineering as they use track jacks to lift and level the crossing shanty.

Our Collection Manager, Charlie Lowe, happened by on the first day of work on the shanty and proceeded to lead Nico and his crew in leveling up the structure. This would be an important step prior to any future restoration, so it was good to have the work done now. This work also raised the structure out of the surrounding dirt and allowed new soil to be placed around the shanty, properly sloped for drainage.

Nico’s job was to plan his work, obtain donations of funds and materials, manage his fellow scouts, and finish the project on time. The result is a structure that is better able to withstand the weather, situated in a re-landscaped area which is more attractive and accessible for mowing.

Scouts put their backs into it with a pile of crushed stone on its way to surround the shanty prior to adding a layer of top soil.

Thanks to Nico and his fellow scouts, their dads, his donors, and to Doug and Charlie for one more improvement at NYMT.


Fall 2012

Dear Friend of the New York Museum of Transportation:

Another year of exciting progress is drawing to a close, as the word continues to spread about the only trolley ride in New York State. Major track improvements, new exhibits, dramatic growth in birthday parties, the first diesel train run end-to-end on the joint railroad, and on-going service to the public are just some of the things we can look back on with pride of accomplishment in 2012. Plans are taking shape for additional track needed to take trolleys all the way to our friends at RGVRRM, with construction to begin in 2013. 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, 2013 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 2013 membership and by becoming an active participant in our exciting progress.

Theodore H. Strang, Jr., President

Click here for the Membership Application Form
(in a new window)

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.


KEEPING OUR NAME OUT THERE

Thanks to Phil McCabe for once again coming to the rescue in the continuing effort to keep our name out in front of the public. Our highway sign was first erected in 1982, and over the years we’ve redone both faces and replaced the orange molding. This was the year to redo the north face, and Phil pulled out the files and arranged for the new 4’ x 8’ white aluminum sheet with computer-formed vinyl lettering and logo. The Thursday team of Bob Pearce, John Ross, Don Quant and Jim Dierks put it all together.

When we ask our visitors how they heard about us, they often say they’ve seen our sign as they drive past on their way to work, and decided it was time to come and see us. So the sign is one more important part of our efforts to get the word out to the public. The refurbished sign now presents a bright, clean face for the museum.

Bob Pearce and John Ross secure trim pieces on the redone highway sign. Yes, that’s traction orange…

We continue to work every angle we can think of to promote the museum and all it offers for the public. Releases go out via email to dozens of outlets, including newspapers in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Geneva and Batavia, plus local papers. The internet has brought us a lot of business, not only through our own website, but also through “Kids Out and About”, Genesee Valley Parent magazine, and a number of websites around the country that provide free calendar listings for outfits like us.

We don’t always get attention from our local TV stations, but they do show up eventually. This year, both YNN and WHAM came by for “Diesel Day”. It almost became the battle of the TV cameras, but we managed to keep them separated and offered unique comments and views to both. Of course, this kind of coverage is at the mercy of other news of the day, but we did show up on their local news broadcasts that evening. Yes, evening coverage doesn’t help attendance at that day’s event, but it does show the museum off for visits on future Sundays, so you’ll hear no complaint from us.

Nate, from WHAM TV13, takes a ride and gets some video footage to be edited and broadcast later in the day.

The publicity effort is a joint affair, working with Jesse Marks, representing the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, NYMT’s Jim Dierks, and Dave Peet, who is a member of both organizations.


ATTENDANCE REPORT

The visitor count so far this year hasn’t kept up with last year’s stellar numbers, due to the loss of the French Road School’s annual 2-day field trip and the bump in attendance last year from the one-time “Dinosaur Train” event. But both of these changes were anticipated, and we haven’t been resting on our laurels.

Maybe it was the heat, but our summer ride season started slowly. Attendance at our summer events was variable. “Railroad Day” in June brought in 17% more than last year, but “Trolleys by Twilight” saw a drop of 21%. “Diesel Day” managed an increase of 1% over last year’s attendance.

We are looking hard at our events, seeing what we can add to refresh them and also considering what new events can be added to the schedule. Two big issues apply, of course: first, with paid advertising out of our reach, we are at the mercy of the media for free mention of our events. Second, it takes a lot of volunteer effort just to operate a typical Sunday for our visitors, so we need extra help to plan and put on any new events.

Conductor Bob Sass punches tickets for another Sunday run on the only trolley ride in New York State.

This year, we’ve been more aggressive in promoting birthday parties, with a poster in car 409 where the parties are held, and with handouts at the ticket desk. We’re pleased with the results, especially as almost all birthday parties come on Sundays, so special trips to the museum and extra staffing aren’t required.

The tables are set for another birthday blowout. We’re always surprised to see the adults out-numbering the kids.

If you’re interested, you bring the party and we provide the trolley. You pay the regular admission for your invited guests and agree to clean up your debris and take it home with you. We save ride tickets for your party on the ride that best fits your party plan. And…don’t think this is just for kids. Family reunions, anniversary celebrations, and birthdays for old timers all qualify. Give us a call at 533-1113 if you’d like to set something up!

Along with Sunday birthday parties, a number of other group visits have been scheduled on our regular operating day. By a quick count, including groups scheduled through the rest of this year, over 1,500 admissions come from group arrangements, and almost a third of them are on Sundays.

In addition to all this, we still find audiences interested in the history of the interurban era and the Rochester Subway. Our slide talks on these two topics resulted in an audience count of 126 in 2012…one more way we acquaint the community with the museum.


ROCHESTER STREETCARS.............................. No. 64 in a series

Rochester Railway Company 425
Photographer unknown

by Charles R. Lowe

Railfans have a way of preserving interesting information about long-lost streetcars. Witness car 425, photographed in shining new paint in front of its birthplace, the St. Paul Street shops. The year is 1903 or 1904 but certainly not much later. Let’s have early-day Rochester railfan A. W. Crittenden, who wrote to Shelden King on June 15, 1958, tell the story. “I remember well,” wrote Crittenden, “when the 355-399 and the 400-449 type [cars] arrived at the Erie freight house on Exchange Street about 1905, but I think this 425 was one of the old ‘bowling alleys’ of the 450-489 type. You will note that this one [car 425] had 16 windows, even longer than 479. This car was painted a sort of chocolate brown, which was even before the orange and yellow colors were adopted.” Thus, we learn the car’s original color, a fact that has eluded historians for decades and which is not possible to divine from a black and white photo. Crittenden then adds in his note to Shelden the all-important “you may keep this print if you wish…” Luckily for us, both letter and print were preserved together as part of Shelden’s trolleyana collection.

Our history of car 425 remains sketchy despite having a photo. We are guessing that the construction date for the car was 1904, but it might easily have been a year earlier. Whether the car was built from scratch or included parts of other cars is now unknown. From about 1899 to 1904, Rochester Railway Company used the low 400s to number its double-truck cars. This was a ramshackle collection of cars, with some built by car builders and others the product of Rochester’s St. Paul Street shop which had opened in 1901. The building behind 425 is the St. Paul Street shop, and our view of 425 may well be a builder’s photo.

The great increase in streetcar riding in the early years of the 1900 decade prompted Rochester Railway Co. to purchase a great many new double-truck cars starting in 1904. The next available block of numbers above 425 started with 430. The initial twenty double-truck, ten-window, semi-convertible cars (including NYMT’s 437), ordered in late 1904, were numbered 430-449. A group of double-truck cars, 450-461, had been so numbered when they arrived in 1902, blocking the use of numbers above 450. Additional ten-window semi-convertibles, therefore, were numbered down, eventually reaching 355. This necessitated renumbering the old low 400s. Some were renumbered into the low 500s while other, such as 425, were renumbered into a new 462-487 class. We know car 425 was renumbered 465; its extremely long body length, about 40 feet, matches only 465 as listed in rosters of the 1910s.

Air brakes were installed about 1912; it boggles the mind that this behemoth was hand-braked until that time. Two of the 462-series cars were gone by 1916. Surviving 462-series cars were repainted from yellow to green-and-cream about 1920. By 1927, with a vast array of newer city cars plying the streets of Rochester, many cars of the 462-series, including 465, were scrapped. The last of the series, the Bombay-roofed 479, survived as a railfan curiosity in Blossom Road Yard until it was scrapped in late 1935, ending the era of 462-series Rochester-built cars.



SHOP REPORT by Charles Lowe

Track: Rich Fischpera and Rick Holahan installed a much needed new tie in the mainline at a rail joint just north of BOCES Crossing in early September. This brings our season total so far to 87 new ties installed on the mainline, all north of BOCES Crossing.

Ballast was delivered in early September. Again, the slinger truck was used at a slight additional cost to directly place stone with a minimum of volunteer hand work. Tie ends on the loop track between the loading area and the Track 1 Switch received about 10 tons, and another 10 tons was used on the loop track between Forest Lane and the Loop Switch. In subsequent weeks, various volunteers worked on cleaning stone off ties, removing stone from lawn areas, clearing out ballast-filled culverts and tamping as needed. Aiding in these track projects were Rich Fischpera, Rick Holahan, Tony Mittiga, Mike Rizzella, Bob Achilles and Charlie Lowe.

About 50 original Rochester Subway track bolts have been reconditioned. While rusted, they will be used on a truck storage track to be built in line with Northern Texas Traction 409 (the “Spaghetti Warehouse” car), avoiding the cost of new bolts, nuts and washers for this section of track.

Trolley Bypass Design: The survey baseline angles and distances were measured on September 15 and 22. A transit was used for the angles and a steel tape was used for the distances. The notes were reduced and local coordinates established for each baseline point-on-line (POL) and point-of-intersection (PI). The POLs and PIs had been set with nails and ribbons into good-condition ties during March 2012.

In early October, the north half of the project area was surveyed for topographical features. Bob Achilles assisted Charlie Lowe with this work. The features located by station and offset from the baseline included existing rails, the access road, overhead power lines, ditches, the edge of the embankment at the east, culverts and underground utilities. These were plotted on the survey linen.

Genesee and Wyoming Caboose 8: The caboose crew of Don Quant, John Ross, Bob Pearce and Jim Dierks finished attaching water-and-ice shield to the two lower roofs, and put the two pieces of canvas in place, then thoroughly soaked them with water to help level out folds and wrinkles. Tie plate weights were hung along the edges of the canvas to gradually draw it into final, smooth position for tacking in spring 2013.

Philadelphia and Western 161: For most of its long service life, car 161 did not have trolley poles. The US-13 trolley bases now on the car were added when the car was in Iowa to allow operation under wire. These bases use four hefty coil springs to maintain an upward force of the pole on the wire to assure good electrical contact. One small imperfection in the spring will cause breakage. This happened once before, in November, 2007, when a spring broke. Luckily, we had one spare spring, and used it to make the base functional, but it was probably about 75 years old. At that time, Western Railway Museum sold us a set of eight springs, just enough for both trolley bases on car 161. On October 14, two of the springs which came with the bases broke suddenly. The car was left in the barn that day and car 168 was substituted for revenue service with no problems. A work crew assembled at the end of the day to replace the broken springs. Jim Dierks handled the substation while Charlie Lowe and Ted Strang wrestled the springs in place. Dave Coon assisted with handling the ladder used for getting up on the roof of the car. It was a close call getting the new springs in place before dark, but all was done by about 6:30.

Charlie Lowe and Ted Strang atop car 161 prepare to install one of the two new springs for one of the car’s trolley poles.

New York State Railways, Rochester lines 437: Side bearing shims, made early this year, were installed on both sides of both trucks for car 437. This has virtually eliminated the annoying side-sway formerly felt when entering the car. The shims placed are one-quarter-inch in thickness, and reduced side bearing slop from about 5/8 of an inch to a nearly ideal 1/8 of an inch.

New York Central Waterport Crossing Shanty: A full report on this Eagle Scout project is included on page 4 of this issue.

Northern Texas Traction 409: Charlie Robinson provided tarps and roping, and was assisted by Charlie Lowe, in late September when the two motorized trucks for this car were re-tarped.

Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo 206: Planning is underway for a storage track for the two trucks intended for this car. This “truck track” will be in line with the trucks for 409 and, eventually, can be converted to a new track leading into the main barn and under car 409. Removing the trucks for 206 will free space on the tracks into the main barn for the display of G&W caboose 8 next summer.


Marie Miner

Aboard the American Queen, south of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River, July 30, 2012.

We are saddened to report the passing of a long-time museum volunteer, Marie Miner, on September 25, 2012. In her years with us, Marie helped in the archives and took on the task of calling volunteers to staff the gift shop for weekly duty. Of course, she was one of the mainstays of that group, and even after relinquishing the staffing job, Marie could be counted on frequently for service in the shop and at the ticket desk.

In earlier years Marie and her husband, Bob, adopted the Rochester Chapter’s fall foliage train rides, handling the ticket reservations, checks, charge cards, and other duties to assure a smooth operation.

Both Marie and Bob represent the best in volunteering…not just performing a task, but taking on full responsibility and “owning” the job. We continue to benefit from Bob’s efforts maintaining our operating trolley cars and lawn mowing equipment, serving on the Board of Trustees, and printing this newsletter, among other tasks.

Our sympathies go out to Bob and the extended Miner family. Marie was a dedicated volunteer with the museum for many years, always willing to devote her time to our visitor operations. The service that she and Bob both have given, and continue to give, to the museum stands as a model for us all.


HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2012. 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
Publication - Doug Anderson, Bob Miner, Bob Sass