ROCHESTER STREETCARS......................... No. 68 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
Our photo has defied ROCHESTER STREETCARS for many years. You can see it, for example, in Bill Gordon’s Ninety Four Years of Rochester Railways (volume 2, page 45) where it is noted that this car has just arrived at Rochester’s St. Paul Street Shops from Utica. A real photo version, though, has been elusive until this version showed up in one of the late Bill Chapin’s scrapbooks. How fortunate we are that Bill preserved this photo for us to enjoy now.
It is interesting that Gordon noted that this car made the journey under its own power, indicating it and the other 9 cars from Utica made the journey via the Rochester and Syracuse Railroad. These trips probably occurred in November or December of 1927 during early morning hours so as to not interfere with regular R&S runs.
Car 336 had been part of the 310–336 (even numbers only; 14 cars total) series of center entrance center exit cars. These had been rebuilt about 1916 from single-end railroad roof 14-bench open cars built by Brill in 1902 for use in Utica.
Once the City of Rochester finally agreed, in late 1927, to have New York State Railways operate its new Subway, ten cars of the 310-series were selected to form a fleet of Subway cars. Cars 310, 320, 322 and 330 remained in Utica. As remodeled, the Rochester Subway cars received a roof-mounted headlight, a new pilot (replacing the city fenders used in Utica) and new paint. All were numbered into a new series, numbers 2000–2018 (even), with 336 becoming car 2006.
The 2000s entered Subway service between January and April of 1928, and provided nearly all local passenger service on the Subway from 1928 to 1937. Once the Dewey surface-Subway operation began, 2000s were used on those runs as well. In late 1937, another fleet of Utica cars, the twelve 46–68 (even) cars, were brought to Rochester and brought into Subway service in August and September of 1938. At this time, the 2000s were relegated to rush hour runs or the Dewey surface-Subway operation, and a few of the 2000s were scrapped. Car 336/2006 survived the end of surface streetcar operations and remained in rush hour use until two-man operation ended in 1949. Being center entrance cars, the 2000s could not be changed to one-man cars and thus were withdrawn from service. One of 2006’s last passenger duties, along with the other surviving 2000 car, car 2010, was to carry National Railway Historical Society members in town for the 1949 National Convention when they toured the Subway.
After 1949, car 2006 remained in a service of sorts by being a heated crew room at the Subway car house. It burned to its trucks in 1952 because of an overloaded electric heater. The trucks, though, survived to the end of Subway passenger service and were scrapped along with the last remaining passenger cars in late 1956.