ROCHESTER STREETCARS................................ No. 47 in a series

New York state Railways, Rochester Lines 1402
Company Photo


by Charles R. Lowe

In the mid-1920s, car 1402 was chosen to represent its class, 1400-1410, in this company photo. No doubt happenstance took a role in this choice, 1402 probably being the only 1400-series car in an open part of the Lake Avenue yard when the company photographer decided to make his photo.

Built in 1904 as one of twenty 12-bench open cars (numbered 25-44) for the Rochester and Suburban Railway, car 1402 was changed to a center-door open motor car in 1914. Seventeen of the cars of this class (25–29, 31–37, 39–42 and 44) were so rebuilt; the other three were rebuilt as closed motor cars with end doors. Open cars with bench seats, by 1914, had fallen into disfavor because of safety and economic reasons.

Six years later, the seventeen center-door opens were again altered, this time to center-door closed trailers of the 1400-series as shown above. Six (1411–1416) were sent to Syracuse while the remainder (1400–1410) stayed in Rochester. Throughout the 1920s, the homebuilt trailers served well during rush hours, but the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 led to a drop in streetcar ridership, which permitted the discontinuation of the 1400-series cars. After several years of storage, the 1400s were scrapped or otherwise removed from the property.

At least two of the Rochester 1400s escaped destruction in the 1930s. Car 1406 became a farm building and was brought to NYMT in the 1970s to serve as a pattern car for an open car that was never built. It was in such poor condition that after a few years it blew over in a windstorm and only a few pieces could be salvaged. Car 1402, meanwhile, became a cottage in the Times-Union Tract on Honeoye Lake. In fair condition, it was donated to the museum and moved to NYMT in 2005. In an incredible stroke of luck, the missing front end of 1402 can someday be replaced with the salvaged front end of 1406, thereby preserving both cars. Today, though, 1402 rests outside under a heavy tarp, awaiting the day it can be restored to service on the museums’ joint railroad.