Headend in PDF

New York Museum of Transportation


Volume 34, Number 3 May 2020


Plan Affects Re-Opening of NYMT

On Monday, May 4, during a press conference held in Rochester, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a four-phase reopening plan for businesses in New York State. As an entertainment and educational venue, NYMT would fall in the fourth and final phase.

The first phase in the Rochester area commenced with the expiration of “NY Pause” stay-at-home order on May 15. Before beginning its phase 1 reopening, each region in New York State must meet each of seven criteria: 1) a continuous 14-day decline of COVID-19 hospitalizations, or a total of no more than 15 new hospitalizations per day on average for three days; 2) a 14-day decline in COVID-19 hospital deaths, or fewer than five deaths per day; 3) a three-day rate of new hospitalizations below two per 100,000 residents per day; 4) a hospital bed vacancy rate of at least 30%; 5) an availability rate of at least 30% for intensive care unit beds; 6) a weekly average of 30 virus tests per 1,000 residents a month; and 7) at least 30 working contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

The four phases are: 1) construction and manufacturing, along with some retail stores through curbside pick-up; 2) professional services, additional retailers and real estate firms; 3) restaurants, bars and hotels; and 4) schools, and attractions including movie theaters.

New York’s ten regions are centered around the following cities: Melville, on Long Island; New York City; Poughkeepsie; Albany; Utica; Watertown; Binghamton; Syracuse; Rochester; and Buffalo. Rochester’s “Finger Lakes” region includes nine counties centered around Monroe County.

As each phase of reopening is attempted, careful analysis will be made of data concerning cases of COVID-19 to determine when the next phase can begin.


Mowing Crew Re-Activates With Warm Weather

The mowing crew, under the direction of Dave Coon, has resumed its work at the museum. Unusually cold weather had prevented the crew from any earlier work. With the arrival of warm weather on Wednesday, May13, the crew was finally able to begin mowing operations.

The crew, consisting of Dave, Rick Holahan and Taylor Reed, worked on the John Deere lawn mower and the Ford tractor. Sharpening blades took Dave and Taylor most of a work session on May 15. Rick, using his own lawn mower, cut all the areas near and around the main buildings. An assist in mowing the large front area was made by the Town of Rush. Rand Warner joined the crew when they worked the following week.

Those wishing to assist the mowing crew should contact Dave Coon regarding future work sessions.

Regional Transit Service bus 815 had suffered a window failure at some time in the recent past. The mowing crew, upon discovering the fallen window, replaced it and secured the bus. This is an example of necessary protective action undertaken by the mowing crew. Photo by Dave Coon.


Museum Inspections — Jim Wiesner made a Board-sanctioned security inspection of NYMT buildings and grounds on Saturday, May 9. Jim walked the perimeters of the buildings and the rail line down to Midway and found no problems. Jim, in his role as Water Quality Manager, entered the water room and found everything to be in order there as well. Charlie Lowe inspected the railroad and overhead on May 23.

Board — Bob Sass, NYMT’s Information Technology Manager, set up a system whereby Board members can conduct business meetings remotely from home. An informal meeting was conducted on May 12.

Mowing Crew — The mowing crew, under Dave Coon, has begun its mowing season for 2020. Its exploits to date are detailed on page 1.


In our last issue, we studied a unique photo showing car 2006 on the Rochester and Syracuse interchange track of the Rochester Subway during a 1949 fan trip. The photographer of that photo, Jack Collins, was roaming the subway with his camera on June 30, 1956, the last full day of passenger service. Jack provided the following three photos to Tom many years ago with captions. The original captions are given, along with additional information in brackets.

Car 46 rests at Rowland’s loop on the last day of operation. Despite minimal maintenance in the months prior to abandonment, the cars held up quite well and performed their duties admirably. [Rowland’s Loop was at the extreme southeasterly end of the Rochester Subway. Its site today is just north of the I-590 interchange with Monroe Avenue. Note the left-hand operation, which is always confusing when studying Rochester Subway photos. This unusual (for the United States, at least) method of operation was adopted so that standard streetcars and interurban cars could use their right-side doors to permit passengers to reach a single between-the-tracks loading platform at each station. This minimized costs since only one platform needed to be built at each station. Note the signal at left in the photo. A complete General Railway Signal system was in use on the Subway right to the end of passenger service. Since the Subway was double tracked, the signals were most important in preventing following cars from colliding with a stopped or disabled car ahead. The signal system also provided protection at the many sidings along the line.] Photo by Jack Collins; Tom Brewer Collection.

Car 50 leaves Lexington Avenue station westbound on the last day of operation. Note large number of passengers; four cars (instead of the usual two) were required to carry the “farewell day” crowds. [The last full day of passenger service on the Rochester Subway was June 30, 1956, a Saturday. The schedule for that day had a few runs which ended in the early morning hours of July 1, 1956. Stories abound about the heavy crowds taking a last (or first-and-only) Subway ride in late June of 1956. Photos indicate that cars 46, 50, 52, 54 (fan trip car), 62 and 68 were in use at some point during the final day of passenger operations. The Subway remained in operation for electrically operated freight service under Rochester Transit Corp. until August 31, 1957. After that, the Subway continued in use, in ever-diminishing form and using diesel motive power, until early 1997. Today, over a mile of Subway rail remains in use at NYMT, continuing the tradition of the Rochester Subway.] Photo by Jack Collins; Tom Brewer Collection.

On the last day, car 62 makes a brief stop at Driving Park Avenue on an eastbound trip. Weeds have taken over the right-of-way as a prelude to the terrible, final end. [The railroad passing overhead is a branch line of the Baltimore and Ohio which, prior to 1932, had been the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway’s line to Charlotte. Behind the photographer is the Subway car house and the line’s extreme west end. As Collins suggests in his caption, the pain of abandonment was keenly felt. The lure of the private automobile on publicly financed roads and expressways, though, was compelling. The eastern half of the Subway was used for the construction of parts of I-490 and I-590 in the late 1950s and early 1960s; great public benefit has resulted. The “what ifs” will always abound, but history has rendered a final judgement on the Subway.] Photo by Jack Collins; Tom Brewer Collection.


The north terrace of the Rundel Memorial Library, part of the central library complex of the Rochester Public Library system, is undergoing replacement. Built in 1936 along with the Rundel building, the north terrace has now been largely removed, and daylight reaches parts of the Subway which have been covered since 1936. On May 12, 2020, Charlie Lowe was invited to tour the construction site, and made a few photos. Readers are reminded that this is an ongoing construction site, and trespassing is not permitted.

This photo is taken from underneath the Rundel building, looking north-westerly along the northern-most of the Subway’s two freight tracks.

This photo looks northeasterly at the site of the small office building of signal maintainer Carl Gardner. Broad Street is above at left; South Avenue is above at right.

This snapshot is inside the Rochester Aqueduct on the northerly half of the bridge, looking west. The two passenger tracks once were located here.

The Rundel library’s north terrace has been removed. All the supporting beams and columns will be replaced.

ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 99 in a series

Rochester Railway Co. 295
Photographer unknown

Our photo was a bit of a puzzle for ROCHESTER STREETCARS when first viewed. A few clues, though, are easy to see. The car number, 295, is plainly visible so at least we know the car's number. The roof sign reads EAST MAIN ST. & PARSELLS AVE. so we know the line the car was on. What is interesting is that this line was not through-routed with any other line. Company records indicate that the Parsells line was opened in 1893 as a trolley line so we know that the photo dates no earlier than that year. A tour of Bill Gordon's 94 Years of Rochester Railways tells us (vol. 2, p. 25) that the Parsells line was through-routed with the Saratoga line by 1904. So far, we have gotten the date range down to 11 years.

Today, the brick building and the house at right are
still standing in the eastward-looking scene at N.
Goodman St., Garson Ave. and Webster Ave. Alas,
car 295 is long gone.
Photo by C. Lowe
All the early photos of the 1890-91 Gilbert cars such as 295 show very ornate "Rochester Railway Company" lettering on sides below the windows. Such lettering is not on our photo, and the Gilbert cars seem to have been repainted and renumbered to the 200-298 series about 1898. The size of the contact print, 2 1/4" by 3 1/4", corresponds to Kodak film size 105, introduced in 1897, and the still-available 120-size film, introduced in 1901. For a date, we can make a reasonable guess that this photo dates from the 1899-1902 era.

The location is given away by the building in the background, which is still standing at the northwest corner of Garson Avenue and North Goodman Street. Our car is westbound on Webster Avenue and crossing Garson Avenue. In a few moments, car 295 will clatter through the switches at Goodman and Main as it turns right onto Main Street for the long run to the Four Corners in downtown Rochester. Within one or two years, though, larger double-truck cars will replace all of Rochester Railway Company's antiquated single-truck cars such as car 295.


Volume 34, Number 3 May 2020

HEADEND is a publication of New York Museum of Transportation, © 2020. 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
On-Line Publication Bob Sass

Board of Trustees

President and Trustee Charles R. Lowe
First Vice President and Trustee Carlos Mercado
Second Vice President and Trustee Jack Tripp
Third Vice President and Trustee Nancy Uffindell
Secretary and Trustee Jim Dierks
Treasurer and Board Member Bob Achilles
Trustee Doug Anderson
Trustee Jim Wiesner
Board Member Bob Sass

Department Leaders

Archivist Jim Dierks
Chief Engineer Charlie Lowe
Chief Lineman Charlie Lowe
Exhibits Manager Jim Dierks
Event Manager Nancy Uffindell
Facebook Managers Nancy Uffindell and Doug Anderson
Facilities Manager Dave Coon
Gift Shop Manager Doug Anderson
Group Tour Manager Jim Dierks
Historic Car and Building Manager Charlie Lowe
Information Technology Manager Bob Sass
Marketing Manager Jim Dierks
Master Mechanic Strafford Cars Charlie Lowe
Model Railroad Manager Kevin Griffith
Membership Manager Bob Sass
New Volunteer Manager Carlos Mercado
Officer of the Day Manager Jim Dierks
Substation Manager Bob Sass
Trainmaster Charlie Lowe
Water Quality Manager Jim Wiesner


Please keep in mind that NYMT will need your help in the coming months and years. Our service to the community will necessarily be evolving as we all learn more about coronavirus implications. In the meantime, it is most important that volunteers do their utmost to stay safe and be well.

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 .