Headend in PDF

The New York Museum of Transportation


Volume 31, Number 2 March-April, 2017

Looking south on Rochester Road (now NY-332) at Johnson’s Crossing, NYMT’s former Rochester and Eastern shelter house is seen at left. The R&E track is in the foreground while the New York Central Auburn Road is just beyond. This is the only known in-service photograph of the Johnson’s Crossing shelter house. C. Lowe Collection; all rights reserved.


One of the projects that the Board decided to provide funding for in 2017 was to have the R&E shelter house repainted. While this was done about ten years ago when the shelter was re-roofed, the paint now is cracked and faded. Since this shelter is located along the museum's main entrance drive and is the first historic artifact seen by our visitors, having it appear fresh and well cared for is vital.

A project report was written with the main goals being to make the door operative once again and to repaint the shelter in its present orange-with-blue-trim paint scheme. These were the colors that R&E shelters carried in the 1920s.

Carter Brown has taken on the leadership role as project foreman for this job. This project will be undertaken in the spring and summer months of this year. Much scraping and sanding will be involved, and Carter would enjoy having your help with this project. Contact Carter if you are interested in lending a hand.


Holly Trolley - A work crew led by Rich Fischpera took down the Christmas decorations during the first week in January.

Event, Parade and Train Show Committee - Well-attended meetings held on January 28 and February 25 came up with many new and interesting ideas being considered for implementation this year.

NJT 7 - The project report for the electrical and mechanical rehabilitation of car 7 has been completed.

P&W 161 and 168 - An examination of the air systems of these cars was made in February so that necessary work can be performed the beginning of the season.

Overhead - A supply of sub-assemblies for overhead construction on the loop track has been made up during winter months. These include parts of the span wires, downguys and backbones to be placed this summer.

Track - On January 10, the track crew installed the derail some 50 feet north of the property line at Midway. Carter Brown, Rich Fischpera, Rick Holahan, Gary Lamphron and Taylor Reed worked on this project. The track crew later installed a warning sign just north of the property line. On February 13, using tower car 020, the track crew cleared a tree branch from a bracket arm near Reid’s and cleared overgrowth on the rest of the line south to Midway. After the wind storm in March, the track crew worked at clearing numerous fallen branches from the track.

Carter Brown inspects the new derail placed at Midway while the rest of the track crew gets ready to ride back to NYMT.

Carter Brown, Taylor Reed and Rick Holahan stand by the newly-installed warning sign at Midway. Rich Fischpera photo.

Winterfest - NYMT was well represented at this years' Winterfest in Philadelphia. Making the trip were Jay Consadine, Dave and Kevin Coon, Charlie Lowe, Carlos Mercado, Jack Tripp and Rand Warner. The event was high-lighted by a tour of nearly all surface street railway lines left in Philadelphia and some nice, warm weather. Members from about ten museums with trolley operations attended this annual event.

Our two-car fan trip train is passed by a PCC-II car in regular service on Route 15. Carlos Mercado photo.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 82 in a series

Rochester Transit Corp. 1013
Shelden King Coll.

© Charles R. Lowe

Southbound car 1013 is seen above providing transportation services along North Avenue at University Avenue on its way to Main Street and, eventually, the Dewey terminal at Ridge Road. The billboards in the background tout the new 1941 Chevy, admonish young men to enlist in the U.S. Army, recommend Kessler’s “smooth as silk” product and note that Flower City Glass can repair not only auto glass but glass mirrors and store fronts as well. Incredibly, all the billboard items survive today but, of course, the streetcar does not. On March 11, perhaps just a few weeks or even days after this shot was made, Portland-Dewey cars were replaced by buses and the Dewey surface-Subway cars were withdrawn. Car 1013, serviceable until the last full day of surface streetcars in Rochester (March 31, 1941), was scrapped at Blossom Road yard in mid-1941.


At its January meeting, the Board enlisted the aid of area managers in establishing the budget for 2017. It was decided that three bids for tree removal at Midway are to be obtained. Work continues in obtaining funding for the milking parlor roof.

At its February meeting, Treasurer Bob Achilles noted that the budget would soon be completed. It was determined that those youthful members who had not yet obtained a driver’s license could not operate rail cars at NYMT.

Three Men and a Dream
By Charles R. Lowe

NYMT is an outgrowth of the efforts of three men, a proposed rail line and a storm.

In the 1960s, at Bloomsburg, Pa., the Magee Transportation Museum was created on a low-land farm by Harry Magee, owner of Magee Carpet Company. His personal collection of transportation artifacts was capped with a 2-mile-long electric railway featuring many operable and non-operable cars. Ed Blossom was the superintendent of the MTM railway.

In the late 1960s, Rochester-Genesee Regional Transit Authority was formed, and one of its charter mandates was to study a north-south rail transit line running from Charlotte, through Rochester and southward to the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology and the proposed planned community of Riverton. William H. Morris, Jr. was in charge of RGRTA's effort in this regard.

Riverton, planned to be located south of the Thruway between East River Road and the Genesee River, had Henry Hamlin among its management. Rail transit was an important part of the Riverton concept, and there is no doubt that Morris and Hamlin began conversations about the transit to and within Riverton by the early 1970s. One fascinating idea was to provide intra-Riverton transit with a streetcar line using ex-El Paso PCCs, but contacts with National Coach Lines were made just after the El Paso cars' ownership passed from NCL to local control, and the cars were no longer available.

In June 1972, mighty tropical storm Agnes struck a large area of the northeastern United States. New York and Pennsylvania were particularly hard hit.

In Rochester, five days of rain brought waterways such as Irondequoit Creek well out of their banks. The Genesee River nearly filled the Mount Morris dam, and was rated as a 585-year storm at Portageville. In Bloomsburg, Pa., MTM was struck a severe blow. Fish Creek, which ran along MTM, rose and completely inundated the museum. The railway track was lifted out of place and ruined. Nearly all the museum's extensive exhibits were waterlogged beyond salvation or coated with a fine, tan-colored silt.

After the storm, Blossom assumed that he would be put to work restoring the museum's trolley line. However, once Magee entered a hospital in August 1972, and passed away shortly thereafter, it became clear that the museum would be liquidated. Panic soon set in as Blossom had spent the better part of a decade restoring trolley cars for use on the MTM line. Of particular concern to Blossom were a group of four New York State cars for which he was personally responsible. These were Rochester horse car 55 and early Rochester electric car 162, both owned by Rochester Museum and Science Center; Elmira, Corning and Waverly 107, owned by Cleveland, Ohio railfan Willis McCaleb and his wife; and Rochester and Eastern car 157, owned by a group of donors who had rescued the car from destruction in 1970.

With three of these cars from Rochester, Blossom turned his attention northward and found that a trolley operation was being considered for Riverton. In late 1972, Blossom contacted Morris and Hamlin about the idea of moving the four New York State cars at MTM to Riverton. With a ready-made nucleus of local cars now suddenly available, Blossom, Morris and Hamlin soon went to work forming NYMT.

(To be continued)

By Jim Dierks

An NYMT tradition has been providing projects for Eagle Scout candidates, and the museum has benefited greatly. We invite our members and friends to contribute funding for the projects of the next two young men in this tradition as they seek this highest honor in Scouting.

Benjamin Brown will be creating four exhibit placards for vehicles in the main hall and will construct a wooden safety railing surrounding the brick trolley boarding platform. Ryan Russell will be assembling a picnic pavilion and building a picnic table for visitors and volunteers to use when the weather isn't cooperating.

Eagle projects are intended to provide a community service, and they require the Scout to develop a plan and budget, and lead his fellow Scouts in the effort to complete the project. To purchase materials and rent tools for these projects, Ryan and Ben will be needing several hundred dollars. They will be canvassing their friends and neighbors, as well as encouraging local vendors to donate supplies, but more help will be needed.

Won't you please help? Make your check out to the New York Museum of Transportation and note that your donation is intended for the Eagle Scout projects. We'll provide you with an acknowledgment, and we'll make sure the funds go to support the good work of these fine young men.

    Thank you!


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!

Consider becoming a member www.nymtmuseum.org/Membership.php .


Volume 31, Number 2 March-April, 2017

HEADEND is a publication of New York Museum of Transportation, © 2017. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
www.nymtmuseum.org (585) 533-1113


Editor Charles R. Lowe
Associate Editor James E. Dierks
Printer Bob Miner
On-Line Publication Bob Sass

Officers and Trustees

President and Trustee Bob Sass
Vice President and Trustee Doug Anderson
Secretary and Trustee Jim Dierks
Treasurer and Trustee Bob Achilles
Trustee Charlie Lowe
Trustee Ted Strang

Department Leaders

Archivist Jim Dierks
Chief Engineer Charlie Lowe
Chief Lineman Charlie Lowe
Chief Track Car Operator Rich Fischpera
Exhibits Manager Jim Dierks
Event,Parade and Train Show Manager Rich Fischpera
Facilities Manager Dave Coon
Gift Shop Crew Manager Beth Adams
Gift Shop Manager Doug Anderson
Group Tour Manager Jim Dierks
Historic Car and Building Manager Charlie Lowe
Marketing Manager Jim Dierks
Master Mechanic Strafford Cars Charlie Lowe
Master Mechanic Track Cars Rich Fischpera
Model Railroad Coordinator Bob Nesbit
Membership Manager Bob Sass
Officer of the Day Manager Jim Dierks
Substation Chief Operator Bob Sass
Trainmaster Charlie Lowe


One of the aspects often lost at a museum is the history of the museum. This is just as interesting as the history being preserved by the museum. To fill this gap, I will be telling the fascinating story of NYMT's history in HEADEND . We begin the story in this issue.

I also hope that area managers noted above will favor me, as Editor, with articles and photos describing activities under their supervision.

Charles R. Lowe, Editor