Headend in PDF

New York Museum of Transportation


Volume 34, Number 6 September-October 2020

Membership is a Great Way to

Support NYMT

Recognizing that membership renewals are of vital interest to the continued financial health of NYMT, a Membership Renewal Committee was appointed in September to prepare a plan for membership renewal for Board consideration. The committee consisted of Jim Dierks as chairman, Bob Sass and Doug Anderson. After several work sessions, the committee submitted its plan to the Board. Board approval was granted at its October 20 meeting.

Some of the features of this plan are shown in the membership form. Several categories of donation have been eliminated, since work on these projects is not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donation spots for cars 7, 157 and 437 have therefore been removed from the application. With an emphasis being placed on resuming trolley operation as soon as practical, extension of the overhead has a reduced priority right now, and the line for electrification is removed. Similarly, work on the inspection pit has been temporarily deferred, so the line for the pit has been removed. The Endowment Fund line is removed as well. Donations to any of these causes could be made, but only with the understanding that work on those projects is deferred pending a resumption of museum operations. What remains on the form are donation categories for the Strafford cars (nos. 161 and 168) and for the General Fund.

Donations to the Strafford cars will help provide for ongoing work to ensure they are truly ready to go in 2021 when, it is hoped, that operation of the museum for the public may resume. Headend readers will recall that the coach heater system in car 161 is undergoing repair, and donation to this fund will go a long way to getting this car ready for its next Holly Trolley runs, possibly in 2021.

Donations to the General Fund are most useful to the museum since this is a source of funds to pay for necessary expenses such as insurance and energy. With no income this year from visitor admissions, donations to the General Fund are critical to the financial health of the museum.

Another change in the form is the elimination of the option of paying $5 per year to receive a hard copy of Headend via U.S. Mail. This regretful elimination is a result of caution brought on by the pandemic.

Most importantly, though, is the hope that all present members of NYMT will renew their membership promptly upon receiving notice in the mail, or upon reading this article. Your contributions, large and small, will go a long way in determining the future of NYMT.

Here is the scene we are all hoping to offer visitors once more, in 2021. The entrance drive itself is a good representation of an interurban era highway, and the R&E shelter house in its authentic 1920s orange with blue trim is a striking “first impression” for our visitors. Seeing one of the museum’s Strafford cars approach the grade crossing can complete the scene. NYMT members can support the effort to reopen NYMT by renewing their memberships and providing active support to the museum by volunteering during times the museum is open to the public.


NYMT Line Car 2 — A 5-ft. by 5-ft. tarp was cut from a discarded tarp, and new hems and grommets were added. In early October, this tarp was placed over the roof hatch to prevent water leakage into the car at this point.

Northern Texas Traction 409 — Two 11-ft. by 13-ft. tarps were cut down from a discarded tarp, and new hems and grommets were added. These were placed over car 409’s two motorized trucks which are in storage in front of the hay barn. Not only will the new tarps make a better appearance than the old torn and tattered tarps, they will protect the trucks and motors from the elements.

The trucks for car 409 are located on track 24 in front of the hay barn. Since these trucks contain motors, it is important to keep them as dry and protected from the weather as possible.

Philadelphia and Western 161 — Car 161 was oiled by Jay Consadine and Bob Sass on October 29. This permits the car to be moved.

Philadelphia and Western 168 — Car 168 has been a workhorse as volunteers perfect a system of operating the car in a COVID-safe manner. Other runs have been made to give motormen a chance at refreshing their skills. Bob Achilles, Jack Tripp, Bob Sass and Cody Catlin were among those participating in these runs. However, a problem with the car’s sequencer developed. The automatic step-up in the series acceleration notch was skipping the second of four steps. Bob Miner assisted Bob Sass with this problem in early October. Bob Miner showed Bob Sass how to clean and lubricate the sequencer. Bob Miner also made his library of literature on the Strafford cars available for review.

Unfortunately, cleaning and lubricating did not solve the problem. It turned out to be a loss of conductivity in a small wire hidden from view and running between various segments on the rotating drum of the sequencer. Doug Anderson helped solve this problem in late October by assisting Bob Sass. Doug and Bob made several runs with 168 to verify that all was working well.

On October 29, Bob Sass provided Jay Consadine with the opportunity for his 2020 refamiliarization runs on 168. While on these runs, Bob was able to confirm that the sequencer was operating properly.

Archives — Jim Dierks, NYMT’s archivist, recently took in several boxes of railfan materials from recently deceased Trustee Carlos Mercado.

Facilities — Dave Coon, our Facilities area manager, and Jim Dierks, Dave’s liaison to the Board, pondered the long-unused pickup truck once used to plow snow at NYMT. The truck’s brake system was inoperative, and repair costs would have been excessive. Working with Ted Strang, Dave and Jim moved forward and disposed of the truck. This made a net income of $300 for the museum for their efforts.

Mowing Crew — The mowing crew of Dave Coon, crew leader, and Rick Holahan, Taylor Reed and Rand Warner, continued to keep lawn areas mowed throughout September. The crew also made repairs to the Ford tractor’s mower in September.

Overhead — In September, an 18-inch-diameter tree on the west side of the railroad was taken down by a volunteer crew. This represented a savings of at least $600 that the Board had previously approved. In late October, the bucket truck was test operated.

Track — Brush clearing was ongoing in September and October. Jay Consadine worked south of the S-Curves in September, and northward in October. In mid-October, Jay concluded his efforts. This work has freed the right-of-way from tall ragweed stalks which lean over toward the track and brush the sides of cars as they pass. Jay made the accompanying photo of sunset at the end of his work session on October 2.

Trolley Crew — As of the end of October, the following trolley crewmen had made their 2020 refamiliarization runs: Charlie Lowe (3); Doug Anderson (5); Bob Achilles (7); Jack Tripp (16); Jay Consadine (20); and Cody Catlin (27).

Board — At its meeting on October 6, the Board voted to make Cody Catlin a Trustee. Cody fills the Board position created by the recent death of Carlos Mercado. The Board also approved two in-the-building projects: replacement of the pedal box cover on car 7, and exhibit work by Jim Dierks and the Thursday crew.

At its meeting on October 20, the Board approved a plan for membership renewals. This had been prepared by the Membership Renewal Committee, which consisted of Doug Anderson, Jim Dierks (Chairman) and Bob Sass. The new membership plan is detailed on page 1 of this issue of Headend.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a halt to visitor operations at NYMT, eliminating income from admissions. Despite an effort to economize, many expenses still must be paid.

Our largest single expense which cannot be deferred is for insurance. We were advised not to drop our insurance since the type of insurance held by NYMT is difficult to obtain.

The next largest expense is for energy. Energy consists of propane for heating, and electricity for the buildings and for the trolley. Some areas, such as the gift shop and the model train room, do not need to be heated when the museum is not in operation, but others, including the office, the substation, the bathrooms and the water room, all need heating during the winter regardless of whether or not we are open to the public. The trolley cars have been operated for training runs, but with electricity for a run over the line costing about $1 per run, the cost has been minimal. Both the building and the trolley services, though, have monthly base costs which still need to be paid; these cannot be deferred.

At present, our propane tanks are full, but the heating season has arrived. Bob Sass and Andrew von Rathonyi are working to see if energy costs might be reduced over the winter that lies ahead.

Other must-do costs include snowplowing (to provide emergency access) and lawn mowing (to keep parking areas and other, high-visibility areas from becoming overgrown). These are under the direct supervision of Dave Coon, our Facilities Manager.

There also were some routine expenses that happened just before the pandemic hit. If we had known, we might not have made these expenditures, but they were made so they needed to be funded.

With some heavy cutting of routine expenses, the deferment of capital improvement projects and the reductions attendant with not providing public operation of the museum, expenses are down some 40%.

Our income normally comes mostly from the proceeds of operating the museum. Other income consists of membership renewals, donations and interest on saved funds. With no public operation of the museum this year, income may end up being down 80% or more.

With income down more than the decrease in expenses, a funding gap of several thousands of dollars exists this year. To pay for this difference, several options exist:

1) Use funds earmarked for capital improvements not specifically designated as such by the donor. This will have the effect of deferring or eliminating projects such as construction of a pit, improvements to the model train room ceiling, tie replacements on the railroad and construction of the overhead on the loop track.

2) Reduce expenses. As noted above, a team is now engaged in this task.

3) Memberships.

4) Donations to the General Fund. Donations made by volunteers, members and friends of NYMT can go a long way to paying NYMT’s essential 2020 bills. For some, the CARES Act of March 2020 may be a way to make such a charitable donation and get tax relief at the same time. Amounts up to $300 may qualify; consult your tax accountant for details.

As we wind down our 2020 calendar year and look toward an improvement in life during 2021, I hope you will join others and consider making a sizeable General Fund donation to NYMT before the end of the year. I hope to see some of you rally to the cause of keeping NYMT financially strong this way as we move forward to the better times that lie ahead. Charles R. Lowe

ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 102 in a series

Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester 205
Photographer unknown

Niles Car and Manufacturing Company, of Niles, O., built some of the most sturdy and beautiful interurban cars ever produced during the interurban era. The company was formed in 1901 and began producing electric railway cars in 1902. In addition to majestic interurbans, Niles also made streetcars and work cars. Niles produced a quality product, and a few of its cars were operating in regular service as late as 1957.

Our photo is a builder's photo showing Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester 205 on the transfer table at the Niles factory just prior to being shipped to Rochester. Car 205 was part of a series of sixteen cars, numbered 200-215, which were built for the opening of the BL&R in 1908. These cars were used through the changeover to Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo Railroad in 1919 to the end of service in 1931.

One of the enduring mysteries of the 200-series is whether they had controls at both ends. Bill Gordon noted, on page 9 of his BL&R/RL&B book, that "[a]lthough [the 200-series] cars were built for single e operation, temporary controllers were built in the rear end to take care of [operations on] the first section of the line when opened from Rochester to Albion." Jim McFarlane suggests that the rear platform controls were a permanent feature. He states (Travelectric, p. 132) that "[t]he 200-series cars were designed for single-end operation with their baggage compartment ahead. However, they were equipped for double-end operation because there were no car turning facilities between the car barn near Rochester and the Lockport city line." A photo (p. 130) shows the rear platform controls (and a pilot) on car 205 about 1909.

Our photo shows a pilot on only the front of the car (shown in the photo's left side), indicating that the cars were indeed built for single-end operation. The Rochester-Albion operation lasted only from September 3 to November 17, 1908, when the road was opened throughout its full length; the work needed to install controls temporarily seems hard to justify. Nearly all photos of 200-series cars show them being operated baggage-end forward. However, throughout the life of the line, between a third and half its runs terminated at villages along the line, suggesting most if not all the line's cars were double-ended. As if to acknowledge the need for double-end cars, the six 500-series BL&R/RL&B cars, built in 1909, were double-ended as built.

It may well be that both Gordon and McFarlane are correct. While the 200s probably were delivered as single-end cars, they surely were soon equipped so that they could be run from either end.

[RL&B car 206 from the 200-215 cars is part of the NYMT collection of city streetcars and interurban cars. It is one of just 22 Niles cars known to be extant today; NYMT's Rochester and Eastern car 157 is also a Niles car. For further reading, see Lawrence Brough's The Electric Pullman, A History of the Niles Car & Manufacturing Company, Jim McFarlane's Travelectric, and Bill Gordon's Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo R.R.


Volume 34, Number 6 September-October 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 Vacant
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
Trustee Cody Catlin
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 Vacant
Officer of the Day Manager Jim Dierks
Substation Manager Bob Sass
Trainmaster Charlie Lowe
Water Quality Manager Jim Wiesner


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 .