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The New York Museum of Transportation


Volume 32, Number 1 January-Febuary, 2018


Record Holly Trolley Attendance

The 2017 trolley operation season ended in grand fashion on Sunday, December 17 with record crowds enjoying NYMT’s annual Christmas holiday offering. Altogether, the three days of 2017 Holly Trolley operations netted NYMT about 19% of its attendance for the entire year.


The museum is set to reopen for the season on Sunday, May 20. As we have learned, special events are a key part of having strong attendance at the museum. The following special events have recently been established for 2018.

Trolley Rides Begin (Sunday, May 20)

Fathers Day (Sunday, June 17)

Trolleys at Twilight (Saturday evening, July 7)

S.T.E.M. Event (Sunday, July 22)

Monroe County Fair (Friday, August 3; Saturday,
August 4; and Sunday, August 5)

Railroad Day (Sunday, August 12)

Antique Fire Trucks (Sunday, September 16)

Fall Foliage by Trolley (Sundays, Sep. 16 – Oct. 28)

Halloween Trolley (Saturday, October 20)

Holly Trolley (Sunday, December 2, 9 and 16)

Some additional events are also being considered as well so this is just a partial listing. These events require extra volunteerism to make it happen. Please consider volunteering for these crucial events!


By Charles R. Lowe

[The Town of Rush was formed through an act of the state legislature on March 13, 1818 which separated a north section of the old town of Avon to form the Town of Rush. The Town of Rush, in which NYMT is located, is therefore celebrating its bicentennial during 2018. In recognition of this landmark event, Headend offers this history of transportation within the town. Refer to map below of transportation routes in the Town of Rush in 1937.]

Seneca trails crossed the Town of Rush in ancient times. One trail ran between the site of Totiakton, about 2 miles north of Honeoye Falls, and a Seneca village near today’s Pine Hill Cemetery, just west of the hamlet of Rush. Another trail extended northwesterly from Golah through North Rush toward West Henrietta. In addition, the Genesee River served canoes as an important transportation artery to and from the Ohio Valley.

With the settlement of Rush beginning in the 1790s, some trails were slightly widened, and such woods roads created a network for horse and wagon travel. These were eventually surveyed with the width of land reserved for the highway generally being 4 rods, equal to 66 feet. On important routes, state roads were established. In 1810, one such state road was built from Arkport to the mouth of the Genesee River following, in part, the current course of NY-15. East River Road, on which is located NYMT, was opened in 1812. Later, private investors sought profit through improved highways. Today’s NY-15A was improved in the mid-1800s as the Hemlock Lake Plank Road; tolls were charged for its use. Mostly, though, early roads in Rush were built as strictly local improvements.

The Genesee River, being too wild for other than occasional transportation purposes, gave rise to canals. The Erie Canal was built several miles north of Rush between 1817 and 1825, and the Genesee Valley Canal ran along the west side of the Genesee River beginning in 1840. Neither touched into Rush but town farmers benefitted from their proximity.

In the 1850s, two railroads were pushed through the town of Rush. An east-west railroad, running through the center of the township from Canandaigua to Niagara Falls, was opened in 1853 and soon became a branch line of the New York Central. This line became the “Peanut” branch since, in comparison to the mighty NYC, it was considered but a peanut of a railroad. A north-south line, operating between Rochester and Mount Morris along the west edge of the town, opened in 1854 and eventually became a branch line of the Erie Railroad. The Lehigh Valley Railroad mainline, opened in 1892, traveled across the town somewhat to the north of the Peanut branch. The Lehigh Valley was the last of numerous rail lines extending from the vicinity of New York City to Buffalo to be built. (These included: New York Central; West Shore Railroad; Delaware, Lackawanna and Western; Erie Railroad; and, by circuitous routes, the Pennsylvania RR and the Baltimore and Ohio RR). Along with the Lehigh Valley mainline came a branch line to Rochester which cut across the northeast corner of the town of Rush.

While these railroads served well in their day, modern motor vehicles and paved roads doomed them to full or partial abandonment. Service on the Peanut branch ceased between Holcomb and Caledonia on January 15, 1939, and mainline operations on the Lehigh Valley ended on March 31, 1976. The Erie’s line through Rush, which was operated as an electrified railroad between 1907 and 1934, was discontinued south of Avon in 1941 but survives to this day in Rush as a part the Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad. The Lehigh’s Rochester branch in Rush remained in use to about 1971.

Beginning in 1898, after a hiatus of many years, state funds once again began being invested into highway construction. Five state highways, comprising Rush’s state touring routes 15, 15A and 251, saw their first state contracts between 1912 and 1923. These contracts improved former town roads and made them part of an inter-connected system of long-distance highways. Prior to 1917, the state-funded highways in the Town of Rush were made with waterbound macadam, a mixture of finely crushed rock dust that was held together by tiny amounts of water between the particles. Heavy truck traffic during World War I (1917–18) ruined such highways, and after the war the state turned to using either asphalt or concrete pavements.

The western north-south state highway in the Town of Rush, now designated as state touring route 15, consists (in the town of Rush) of a single State Highway, S.H. 648. This road, extending southward from West Henrietta in the town of Henrietta to the south line of the town of Rush, was built in 1916 with a 16ʹ-wide broken stone surface for its entire 7.37-mile length. It was partially rebuilt with 18ʹ-wide concrete paving in 1926; the remainder was rebuilt with 20ʹ-wide concrete in 1931 and 1936.

The eastern north-south state highway in Rush is now designated as state touring route 15A as it is a sub-route of NY-15. This road consists of two State Highways, with S.H. 575 to the south of NY-251 at the hamlet of Rush, and S.H. 1283 to the north. S.H. 575, the first state high-way to be constructed in the post-1898 era in Rush, was first built in 1912 with a 16ʹ-wide rock macadam surface. This 4.08-mile-long road was rebuilt with 20ʹ-wide concrete paving in three sections undertaken in 1930, 1931 and 1935. The 1932–34 delay occurred when the Great Depression forced a near complete stoppage to state highway construction projects. S.H. 1282, 1.51 miles in length and originally built in 1916 with a broken stone paving of either 12ʹ or 16ʹ width, was rebuilt in 1930 for part of its length with 20ʹ-wide concrete paving. Department forces widened the remainder of the highway to 20ʹ in the depression-struck year of 1933 using “old macadam” for a subbase and “retread” (old asphalt strengthened with new bitumen) for the surfacing.

The east-west highway through Rush is touring route 251. It consists of S.H. 1393-A 5.26 miles) west of the hamlet of Rush, and S.H. 1392 (3.69 miles) east of Rush. The acceptance of the original state construction of these highways came late, in early 1922 for S.H. 1393-A and early 1923 for S.H. 1392. For this reason, these highways never were true waterbound macadam highways; S.H. 1392 was built as a 16ʹ-wide bituminous macadam road while S.H. 1393-A was built as a 16ʹ-wide concrete road. In 1932, S.H. 1393-A was resurfaced and widened to 18ʹ with retread by Department Forces.

In the years since World War 2, these state highways have been widened to have 12ʹ-wide lanes, and have seen several asphalt overlays. The N.Y.S. Thruway was built just north of the Town of Rush in the 1950s, but it would not be until the 1970s that an expressway, the Genesee Expressway, was built south from Rochester and through Rush on its way to the Southern Tier. This modern superhighway, built under two contracts, features sturdy concrete pavement and an interchange in the town of Rush at the intersection of NY-251 and NY-15. It was opened late in 1980 and continues to serve the public to the present day.

Map showing Town of Rush transportation in 1937. A fold in the original map accounts for the horizontal gap near top.


N. Y. S. Rys., Rochester Lines 1402 — Several torn ropes holding the tarp in placed were re-tied in January.

Overhead — Numerous overhead parts, including two section insulators, were obtained in February through the generosity of Halton County Radial Railway Museum.

Winterfest — Various NYMT motormen made their way north in February to enjoy a day of trolley operation at Halton County Radial Railway Museum. HCRRM hosted this year’s annual “Winterfest” get-together of the museums in the northeast which feature street railway operation. Your editor operated a Toronto Peter Witt and a former Cleveland PCC car on HCRRM’s one-mile line. HCRRM also hosted a tour of the new Leslie car house, opened recently in Toronto for that city’s new streetcars.

Board — At its January meeting, the Board elected Nancy Uffindell as a Trustee. Nancy also serves as NYMT’s Event manager. A new museum policy, requiring that detailed budgets and spending plans be in place before museum funds are expended, was approved. An emergency funding plan for snow plowing was approved. The 2018 special events budget and schedule were approved. The inspection process for this winter was presented to the Board. At its February meeting, the Board approved the 2017 annual report. The Board determined that volunteer users of heavy equipment at NYMT will have certification of training. The Board also determined that heavy track maintenance would be performed by a contractor. A committee formed to study having a future Winterfest at NYMT was approved by the Board to continue its deliberations.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 87 in a series

N.Y.S. Railways, Rochester Lines 507
Photo by George Slyford

© Charles R. Lowe

When the Brill-built low 500s (cars 500–509, shop order 13029, entered November 15, 1903) were delivered to Rochester in early 1904, they dwarfed the many single-truck cars still dominating Rochester’s street railway fleet. At an overall length of 41 feet, the new double-end cars featured four 25-horsepower motors and a new-to-Rochester seating arrangement. As Street Railway Journal reported in its February 27, 1904 issue, the cars had “longitudinal seats for 44 extending half the length of the car placed at diagonally opposite sides, with transversely placed double seats opposite.” This seating gave passengers wide aisles and, at the same time, balanced the load on the car’s trucks.

The low 500s spent much of their working careers in obscurity, but the fact they were double-end cars kept them in operation on lines which were severed by construction work, and on lines such as Driving Park and Jefferson which never received turning loops.

The low 500s seem to have been rarely photographed, and our current photo may well be the only known photo of car 507. With the demise of eleven streetcar lines in Rochester late in August 1936, the low 500s were retired. We are fortunate that George Slyford decided to make his way to Blossom Road Yard to record this portrait in the late summer or early fall of 1936. He acted at the very last moment, though, as a worker can be seen on the next car in the row, removing roof-top components for possible reuse. Soon after this photo was made, the cars in this row would be doused with kerosene and set afire so that the scrap metal could then easily be recovered for sale.


Volume 32, Number 1 January-Febuary, 2018

HEADEND is a publication of New York Museum of Transportation, © 2018. 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 Charles R. Lowe
First Vice President and Trustee Carlos Mercado
Second Vice President and Board Member Bob Sass
Third Vice President and Trustee Jack Tripp
Secretary and Trustee Jim Dierks
Treasurer and Trustee Bob Achilles
Trustee Doug Anderson
Trustee Ted Strang
Trustee Nancy Uffindell

Department Leaders

Archivist Jim Dierks
Chief Engineer Charlie Lowe
Chief Lineman Charlie Lowe
Chief Track Car Operator Rich Fischpera
Exhibits Manager Jim Dierks
Event Manager Nancy Uffindell
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 Manager Bob Nesbit
Membership Manager Bob Sass
New Volunteer Manager Carlos Mercado
Officer of the Day Manager Jim Dierks
Substation Manager Bob Sass
Track Maintenance Manager Rich Fischpera
Trainmaster Charlie Lowe


Just as this issue was being completed, the new 25-year lease was signed. This culminates a long process of negotiation, led by NYMT Secretary Jim Dierks. It was my pleasure as President to sign this document, allowing milking parlor roof repairs to take place.

Charles R. Lowe, Editor


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 .