Headend in PDF


The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation

Summer 2016


Every Sunday is a Special Event at NYMT, but there are times when we do a little extra to celebrate special seasons, anniversaries and historic recollections. We hope our readers have already enjoyed "We're In the Movies" , "Rochester Subway 60th Anniversary", and "The Streets of Rochester". Looking forward, here's what's coming up:

August 13 (Saturday) - TROLLEYS AT TWILIGHT

Many trolley companies across the country once created popular amusement parks and picnic grounds. The New York Museum of Transportation recreates an evening at an old-time "trolley park". Ice cream will be for sale, and the happy sound of the calliope will provide the background for trolley rides through the rolling hills. SPECIAL HOURS 4:00 p.m. - dusk

September 18 (Sunday) - ANTIQUE FIRE TRUCKS

Pumpers, hook-and-ladders, fire engines...they'll all be there to kick off the museum's annual Fall Foliage ride season. These beautifully restored fire trucks are proudly displayed by the Genesee Valley Antique Fire Apparatus Association. Find out why firemen wear red suspenders! Trolley rides throughout the day.

September 18 - October 30 (Sundays only) - FALL FOLIAGE BY TROLLEY

Enjoy the beauty of autumn in western New York State from the window of an authentic 89-year-old electric trolley car. No reservations needed.


All aboard the Halloween Special! Children and their parents are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and join us for a special day at the transportation museum. The trolley takes you to the Pumpkin Patch were you'll decorate a free baby pumpkin and enjoy delicious cider and donuts. In the museum there's unique trick-or-treating in Halloween-decorated trolley cars! Special prices prevail and reservations are required.

December 4/11/18 (Sundays) - HOLLY TROLLEY RIDES

Santa may still use reindeer power, but sometimes he joins you to enjoy a ride on our authentic 89-year-old electric trolley car, recalling another time when families rode trolleys from their rural homes to do their holiday shopping in the city. The museum will be decorated for the holiday. Also, nothing says Christmas like model trains. The museum's large model railroad will be running three trains at once!

Sundays through the winter (dates to be announced)

The museum is open all year, Sundays only. While our trolleys won't be running outside, we're still running model trains inside! And, we'll be scheduling a series of "mini-events" to brush away those winter blues.


HEADEND, the Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation, has been published quarterly for most of the past 35 years. As such, it's primarily been a report to museum members and to the local and trolley museum communities on progress at the museum. And HEADEND has also featured historic articles as part of our mission to interpret the history that dwells within our large archive of photographs, books and documents.

Readers will learn more about changes to HEADEND with our Fall/membership-renewal issue as we aim for more frequent reports on doings at NYMT, and more fully utilize digital and on line opportunities for distributing the news. Stand by!


By Charles Lowe

On July 9, 2016, the installation of overhead wire was completed on Tracks 21 and 23. This is the first addition to electrified track at NYMT since 2008.

Several weeks earlier, wire had been loosely hung from inside the hay barn to a section insulator about fifty feet outside the doors. Installing the rest of the wire was scheduled for July 5 and 6, with Bob Achilles, Carter Brown, Dick Holbert, Charlie Lowe, Bob Sass and Jack Tripp on the crew.

Work began at 8:00 a.m. on July 5 with the installation of the Track 21 Switch's wire frog. Connecting the support cables for this heavy fitting required the rest of the morning.

Spread-eagled amid four supports and three sections of contact wire, the wire frog is to guide the trolley pole wheel at turnouts.

Charles Lowe photo

After lunch, the rest of the contact wire was hung. The wire train, with TC-1 pulling the tower car 020 and reel car 04, was moved out to the section insulator. When the barn side of the wire had been attached to the section insulator, an hour or more had been expended. Now, with experience, fitting the contact wire to the remaining side of the insulator took only a matter of minutes.

The wire train was then slowly moved forward while pausing at each span wire so that the contact wire could be loosely wired in place. The crew turned the wire reel as the train moved forward. By using a come-along, the wire was stretched fairly taut between span wires, forming a series of straight sections approximately following the severe curve of the track. The wire was connected to the wire frog, but the weary crew did not finish all this until 7 p.m.

Charlie Lowe and our new bucket truck are hard at work.

Rich Fischpera photo

The crew assembled again the next morning at 8 a.m. but even hotter weather than the day before was expected. Work began with the installation of 11 pullovers. Pullovers are used on curves between span wires to hold the contact wire in place over the track centerline. By pulling the wire laterally, an increase in the contact wire's tension occurs.

Unfortunately, when all the pullovers were in place, the contact wire was so tight that the mainline contact wire bunched up to the point of sagging in several spots. This had a disastrous effect at the wire frog. When car 161 was run northbound on the mainline, the trolley wheel tracked for Track 21, not the mainline. This obviously was an unsafe condition and really needed resolution before the next day of public ride operation, just four days away. Much discussion followed but, again, the work day was ending at 7 p.m. so the matter was tabled for the time being.

After a needed day off, some of the crew reconvened on Friday, July 8. Many options were discussed. Carter Brown was convinced that some careful fine tuning would remedy the situation. As crew foreman, I was concerned we could not fix the frog and might have to use an awkward parallel wire system with no frog. Bob Achilles came up with a solution, suggesting we ease the three pullovers nearest the wire frog, thereby allowing it to straighten a bit. When we tried that idea and ran 161 northbound through the Track 21 switch, the trolley wheel followed the correct path and the bunching on the mainline disappeared.

With Bob Sass at the controller and Bob Achilles keeping a watchful eye on the trolley pole, 161 eases onto Track 23.

Charles Lowe photo

Charlie Lowe and Dick Holbert consult motorman Bob Sass, as 161 emerges from the hay barn on Track 23. Bob Achilles photo

A work session was called for the next day, with work beginning with Dick Holbert and myself at 8 a.m. We rewired one span wire and reset the three pullovers loosened the day before, allowing the contact wire to remain in line with the frog and not unduly tight. When the rest of the crew arrived, we were almost ready to retest the work with car 161. This time everything worked perfectly, and several training runs were made.

After all this, Dick Holbert led the crew in placing the various cables leading from the section insulator to a heavy-duty switch. By closing this switch, the section of overhead leading into the hay barn is energized, but this will only be used for testing purposes, and for when a car is to move in and out of the hay barn. This work completed the project of building Track 23.

When we have our volunteer picnic at NYMT on August 20, car 161 will be operated over this new section of track. You will see just how complex a design this was, with massive car overhangs, tight curves and a narrow doorway. I think you will agree, though, that having this project finally completed, just about three years after its need first arose, is a real bonus for the museum.


The track crew has rebuilt BOCES Crossing using twelve standard railroad crossties. In addition they installed two crossbuck signs there. work was performed by Rich Fischpera, Rick Holahan, Taylor Reed, Tony Mittiga, Carter Brown and Gary Lamphron.

This crossing is now on a Town of Rush hiking trail. The new grade crossing will provide safer footing for hikers and better access for trail mowing equipment, while the signage will provide ample warning to all of railroad activity.

Another crossbuck, recently provided by Dave Coon, will soon be in place at Giles Crossing.

Prior to bolting them in place, the ties in the rebuilt crossing are laid out to check flange clearance. The crossbucks (below) are set at eye-level height for hikers. Rich Fischpera photos

ALL'S "FARE" (part 2)

In our Spring issue we reviewed early means for collecting fares on public transit vehicles, usually accomplished by a conductor. However, when cost reductions led to one-man car operation, the need arose for minimizing the intrusion on the motorman. In this conclusion to "All's 'Fare'" we'll see what manufacturers came up with to address this need.

In 1909, the Johnson Fare Box Company introduced their model D recording fare box. The device accepted coins of several denominations, counted them, and registered the amount in a running tally of fares throughout the day's operation. Company officials could quickly determine operating results by calculating the difference between the counter reading at the start of the day and at the end (and it better match the amount of money in the box!).

The Model D first came out in a manual, hand-crank version, and in 1935 a low-voltage electric model was introduced too. Both were equipped with interesting features. First, as coins or tokens were dropped into the box, they passed a series of holes designed to eliminate larger coins (like 50-cent pieces) and slugs. As the coins passed below the holes they hit a bell to announce their arrival and rattled down a zigzag chute. Then, as with any fare box, there was a need for the crew member to see and confirm the amount being paid, and this was accomplished with a four-sided glass enclosure where the coins landed on the inspection plate. Satisfied with the payment, the crew member pushed a small lever that opened the inspection plate like a two-part trap door, and the coins dropped into the counting chamber.

At his convenience, the motorman or bus driver could crank a handle on the side of the Model D to activate the internal device that sorted and counted the coins and tokens. The later electric models performed this task automatically.

If all this were not enough, the Model D had a small ball and pin suspended from a chain and resting in a recess. If the ball was out of its recess, this indicated that the box had been turned upside down to steal coins. The thief would have to be strong and pretty determined, as the model D weighs in at around 50 pounds.

Another major manufacturer of fare boxes was the Cleveland Fare Box Company, eventually to become part of the Johnson firm. A unique Cleveland model in NYMT's collection is painted gold and bears a plaque commemorating years of service on the board of the Rochester & Genesee Regional Transit Association. This unique gift was presented to Hetty Jean Crapsey on her retirement from the board. It recognized her years of tireless advocacy for public transit and for the people who depend on transit for their transportation needs.

The paint is losing its luster on the Hetty Jean Crapsey Cleveland fare box, a unique part of the museum's collection.

Just as railroads once built their own steam locomotives, cars and tools, trolley companies often resorted to producing items for their own needs too. An example in the NYMT collection is a fare box from the Milwaukee County system. It dates to 1919 when The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company developed this design and used the boxes on their streetcars. The durability of the design is demonstrated by the blue stick-on labels bearing the Milwaukee County Transit logo with an image of a bus in the center, suggesting a service life well over 50 years. And we'll bet that "chicken wire glass" did its part in combating theft, too.

The full story on fare boxes includes many other manufacturers as well as transit companies that had their own unique designs. However, the Johnson Model D was really the start of the parade of machines that has led to today's modern, electronic systems. Wave your iphone or swipe your card today, but it just isn't the same as watching the coins drop down the zigzag chute.

Here's some fun for our younger readers! Let us know how you like this, and send us your suggestions, quizzes and creative ideas. Enjoy!


Dispatcher Bob on the Stop, Look & Eastern Railroad is getting worried about a situation out on the line. Freight train number 9 left Hawkins Corners with two box cars, a flat car with a new tractor for farmer Jones, a hopper car full of coal and a caboose. At Centerville the train picked up three gondola cars and dropped off one of the box cars. When it got to Small Town, the crew dropped off the flat car for farmer Jones and picked up an empty tank car and two refrigerator cars full of cabbages from farmer Jones' farm. Now, freight number 9 has to go into a siding to let the passenger express train go past. The siding has space for an engine and a caboose and 8 freight cars. Will number 9 fit OK, or will the passenger express have to stop?


Here's a challenge for you on your next visit to the museum. Let us know how well you did!

1. I came from Brighton where I did a lot of important work. What color am I? ____________

2. One of our trolley cars used to travel from Rochester to Geneva. Add up the three digits of its number: ______

3. Rochester used to have a subway. What was there before the Subway was built? _______________________

4. I tell you when to go and I tell you when to stop. Now you have to tell me: what color is on top?___________

5. Wheels...you couldn't take your trolley ride without them. How many are on trolley car 161? ___________


There are different ways to warn people that something is coming. Can you match them up?

1. Car ___                           a. Gong

2. Sleigh ___                       b. Flashing lights

3. Streetcar ___                   c. Jingle bells

4. Steam locomotive ___    d. Horn

5. Railroad crossing ___     e. Whistle

Turn the page and color the horse car!

Click on the below picture to get a tab/window with just the picture to print.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 79 in a series

New York State Railways, Rochester Lines 374
Shelden S. King Collection

In this year of observing, in March, the 75th anniversary of the end of Rochester's surface streetcar operations and, in June, the 60th anniversary of the end of passenger service on the Rochester Subway, we would be remiss if we failed to look back on the day when ten Rochester surface streetcar lines ran for the last time.

On August 29, 1936, some 80 years ago, the Allen, Jefferson, South Clinton, Webster, Clifford, Central Park, Goodman North, Sea Breeze, Hudson and Joseph lines all ran through their last full days of service. Buses took over the next day.

The adjacent photo, light struck and inked on (apparently done by the assumed photographer, George Slyford), is a rare view of the Joseph loop. In its last years, Joseph was through-routed with Clifford, and had an unusual looping in downtown that crossed over itself. Deck roof cars such as 374, built some thirty years earlier, held down many of the runs on these lines and soon faced scrapping. When ROCHESTER STREETCARS recently visited the northwest corner of Joseph and Norton Streets, no trace could be found of the loop. But hidden in our photo is an advertisement for a company very much alive and well. On the front of car 374, the white sign reads: NOW OPEN, Wegmans BIG NEW MARKET, MONROE near GOODMAN.

It's been a hot, dry summer for much of the nation, Rochester too. Perhaps this scene from the early 1930s will cool us off. We're looking south on Jefferson Avenue at the intersection with, appropriately, Frost Avenue. It's so cold the only snow is that fine, icy powder that's blown its way into each crevice in the brick street. In the distance we can make out a passing place on the single-track Jefferson line. The double wires overhead avoid wire frogs at the switches. A lone pedestrian braves the biting cold, perhaps heading to the car stop to catch the streetcar. Brrrrr....


Tie replacement is ongoing along the unwired section of the loop track from the NYMT passenger boarding area to the Loop Switch. Rich Fischpera and Charlie Lowe pooled some personal funding to provide six ties for installation. Other volunteers, including Rick Holahan, Tony Mittiga, Bob Achilles, Carter Brown, Taylor Reed, Jay Consadine, and Doug Anderson, provided enough funding that the track crew was able to purchase and deliver 22 ties, and to augment the Board authorized expenditure for additional loop track work.

Gary Lamphron and Carter Brown clean out the cribs prior to inserting ties on another hot day. Rich Fischpera photo

Ties in poor condition-in the middle of a long stretch with no good ties or at a joint-were marked for removal, and all were pulled out. At present, the crew is pressing the installation of the ties between the boarding area and Forest Lane crossing so that the effort to move car 7 will be as safe as possible. The car 7 move is planned for late August or September.

Those working on tie installation include Rich, Rick, Tony, Taylor, Carter, Justin Micillo, Gary Lamphron, Vin Steinmann, and Patrick Reynolds. Please consider joining this crew to help make the work go as easily as possible. Contact Rich at rfischpera53@rochester.rr.com.


When not handling other duties, the track team has been taking care of TC-1 maintenance and attending to needs on the mainline, including removing brush and weeds near the right of way. Tony Mittiga does regular maintenance on the switch machines, oiling and greasing, checking parts and adjusting targets.

One project begun some time ago was the replacement of old rail joint bar bolts with proper Dudley bolts. This work was completed prior to the opening of the trolley ride season (except for a few near rail bonds) with 14 bolts replaced on May 12.

Taylor Reed and Rich Fischpera looked over TC-1 to sleuth some starting problems, and found a "suspicious wire" on the alternator, which they replaced. Other track equipment work includes replacing the spray car pump. The first run of the spray car has been made on the line. In addition to Taylor, Tony and Rich, Rick Holahan and Carter Brown participate regularly on the track team.


The former New York Central crossing shanty has been given a new coat of paint, following a lot of effort scraping and patching the wooden structure, and replacing rotted boards.

Long ago, before the advent of modern grade crossing gates and flashing lights, railroads provided work for their disabled employees and pensioners as crossing guards. At the sound of a distant whistle, the guard would step out into traffic with a "stop" sign, to hold buggies, cars and pedestrians until the train passed. Protection from sun and inclement weather was provided by small shanties like ours.

Careful research was done to find the historically correct colors for this work. It was accomplished by many in the track gang: Rich Fischpera, Rick Holahan, Taylor Reed, Tony Mittiga, Justin Micillo and Carlos Mercado. The result of their efforts speaks for itself, and another step is completed in dressing up the museum buildings and grounds.


At its June meeting, the NYMT Board of Trustees approved the installation by contract of 50 ties for the mainline between BOCES Crossing and Midway. This work is to be accomplished later in the summer or early in the fall, depending on the contractor's schedule.

The Board also approved the purchase of a post for installation of a crossbuck at Giles Crossing and a replacement pump for the weed sprayer.

An Eagle Scout project, consisting of four display stands and a roof repair to the Town of Rush snow plow, was approved.

At its July meeting, the Board decided to direct the recently awarded Farash Foundation grant toward track repairs on the East Leg of the Loop Track. Work contemplated includes 75 ties in addition to the 22 ties now being replaced by the track maintenance crew. This work will upgrade this last section of the loop to the standards required for public trolley operation.

Other actions included authorizing the Volunteer Picnic on August 20, changing HEADEND from a quarterly to a monthly publication, and commencing a trash service.


It was 60 years ago, June 30, that the final passenger runs on the Rochester Subway were made. The right of way that once held the Erie Canal and then provided fast, convenient trolley service to downtown Rochester was soon turned over to the construction of Interstate routes 490 and 590. NYMT decided to commemorate the anniversary with a weekend-long event.

Things were kicked off on Saturday morning, June 25, with the inauguration of Track 23, future home of our PCC streetcar. Doing the honors was Bill Carpenter, CEO of Rochester Transit Service, joined by the only vehicle left from the Subway that's restored and operational: the Casey Jones speeder.

Bill gave some well-considered remarks about the importance of public transit in years past as well as in Rochester's future growth. He signaled Casey with a stomp on a trolley gong prepare for the occasion, at which point the doors on Track 23 were opened and Casey emerged, breaking the gold ribbon and officially presenting Track 23 to the assembled onlookers.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Casey gave demonstration runs for our visitors. In preparation, many hands made light work of moving Casey from its usual static display spot onto Track 23 where a training program was run by Don Quant. Rich Fischpera and Taylor Reed qualified at the Model T Ford controls of the unique speeder, and Rich, Taylor, Don and John Ross were operators for the event.

Along with the Casey Jones demonstrations, Kayla Morse and Tim Reilley staffed the kids activity table, with coloring, scavenger hunts and other things to amuse the youngsters.

Door prize drawings took place throughout both days, giving away coupons for Bruster's Ice Cream, Rochester Subway posters from RochesterSubway.com, and Animatus Studio's "End of the Line" DVDs, all generously donated.

On Sunday, RTS brought both their restored 1950s GMC transit bus and a brand new example of the comfortable vehicles today's RTS riders enjoy. The contrast was there for all to appreciate, as 60-year-old history was seen in light of the many changes that have taken place in public transit over the years.

Thanks go to Doug Anderson who headed up the many detailed tasks that assured a successful operation for the two-day event. His many helpers beyond those named above include Bob Achilles, Beth and Trevor Adams, Cameron Anderson, Carter Brown, Jay and Todd Consadine, Dave Coon, Dale Demaison, Jim Dierks, Al Emens, Kevin and Rob Griffith, Steve Huse, Dan Landers, Charlie Lowe, Carlos Mercado, Dave Mitchell, Tony Mittiga, Steve Morse, Bob Nesbitt, Laura Pearce, Tim Reilley, Bob Sass, Don Shilling, Vern Squire, Jack Tripp, Nancy Uffindell, and Mike Williams!

A highlight of the Subway 60th event was a recreation of a photo that appeared in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on July 1, 1956, the day after Subway passenger service ended. Museum member Tom Brewer rode the Subway a lot as a boy, and was photographed at age 12 with motorman Charlie Daniels on the last day of service. Rich Fischpera has taken the place of motorman Daniels and car 161 is subbing for the Subway car in the photo, but it's still Tom! We thought you'd like to see a comparison with 60 years ago.


The New York Museum of Transportation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit museum chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. We are managed and operated entirely by volunteers, and the welcome mat is always out for anyone wishing to join our work. Open for visitors all year on Sundays only, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., we also welcome group visits during the week by appointment.

We are located at 6393 East River Road in the Town of Rush, and our mailing address is P.O. Box 136, West Henrietta, NY 14586. www.nymtmuseum.org is the place to find us on the internet and learn much more about us. Also, you can visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NYMTmuseum.

Want to contact us? Call us at (585) 533-1113 or send us an email at info@nymtmuseum.org. And, remember to tell your friends!

HEADEND is published four times a year by the New York Museum of Transportation, © 2016. 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
Publication - Doug Anderson, Bob Miner, Bob Sass