The Semaphore - May 2005 by Levone


									                  The Semaphore
                                 Newsletter of the Rochester NY Chapter, NRHS
                                                                                                                    May 2005
                                  P.O. Box 23326, Rochester, NY 14692-3326; Published Monthly                       Volume 47, No. 9

      Program for May 19:
                                                      The NYMT and R&GV RR Museums
    Dunkirk, NY -                                          open on Sunday, May 15.
   A Railroad Town                              Opening Day Attraction: Despatch Shops Revisited
                                                  Celebrate the history of the East Rochester Despatch Railroad Car Shops & the
             by John Stewart                    Merchants Despatch Transportation Corporation.
    Dunkirk has a rich railroad history. The
                                                  Step INSIDE our new exhibit for the Despatch Car Shops & MDT located in the
original western terminus of the Erie Rail-
road was here. The New York Central and         MDT ice-bunker refrigerator car No. 14053!
the Nickel Plate Railroad also served this        Tour restored East Rochester built Penn Central transfer caboose No. 18526!
city. At least one interurban line did
likewise. And to top it off, there were TWO
locomotive manufacturers located here.              ***   Chapter Banquet ***                     Elections of two Trustee at
    John has frequently visited Dunkirk to         Sunday, June 5, 2005                            May meeting
investigate historical as well as current                                                              The Nominating Committee has selected
activities.                                           Newport House                               three candidates for the two trustee positions.
    Meeting starts at 7:30 followed by the            (overlooking Irondequoit Bay)               So you have someone to vote for!
program. The Chapter Store will be open          Cash bar: 6:00 PM; Dinner at 7:00 PM                  The ballots and the 2005 membership list
before and during intermission.                                                                   were mailed on May 2 nd , and you should
                                                            Program follows
                                                                                                  have received yours by now. Return them by
Future Programs                                           Cost: $25.00 per person
                                                                                                  mail, or bring them to the May meeting.
                                                   Send check payable to: Rochester Chapter                candidates are:
June, July & August: Operations at the
                                               NRHS to:
   Museum.                                                                                             1. Robert Achilles Bob is active in
                                                   Banquet Tickets                                maintaining our Track Cars, and also a
Oct. 12: New York's Bridges by James
                                                   c/0 Janet Dittmer                              model railroader.
                                                   983 Winton Rd. N.                                   2. Mike Roque Mike is President of the
Nov. 17: Rochester Transportation by
                                                   Rochester, NY 14609                            RIT Model Train group, and assists around
   Donovan Shilling
                                                   We are in the upstairs banquet room with       t h e M u s e u m a n d b r i n g s i n o t h e r RIT
(These Programs are subject to change.)        an outdoor balcony.                                personnel.
                                                   Don't miss getting the latest collector             3. Don Wawrzniak Don is in charge of
            Chapter Library                                                                       our Store and takes it to area train shows.
                                               mug, which highlights another piece of
 11 May Street, Webster (by OMID Tracks)
                                               rolling stock in the Chapter's collection.
     Hours: 7:00 to 9:30 PM                                                                       Joint ESPA/RRTC Meeting
                                                   Directions: The Newport House is                                           by Dave Luca
        Monday, May 23                         located at the end of Newport Road, which is
                                                                                                     On the evening of Monday, April 25,
                                               the first left after going under the 104
        Library Phone: 872-4641                                                                   members of the Empire State Passenger
                                               expressway bridge on East Ridge Road.
                                                                                                  Association (ESPA) and The Rochester Rail
                                                   More information on the enclosed flyer.        Transit Committee (RRTC) met to discuss
    2005 Capital Fund Drive                                                                                                  (Continued on Page 3)
      The 2005 Capital Fund Drive Com-
  mittee is happy to report that the drive     R&GV RR Museum polo shirts available
  got off to a great start in the month of                        The R&GV RR Museum has embroidered polo shirts available for sale. The
  April. We would like to report that the      polo shirts are high quality, short sleeved shirts embroidered on the left breast with the
  Chapter received $4,550 in dollar for        museum’s ‘Route to Industry’ logo. The shirts are hunter green and are $20.00 each. Shipping
  dollar matches from ten donors. This         & handling will be $4.00 extra (for up to 3 shirts) if you want your shirt sent to you vs. picking
  meant that the status of the fund drive as   it up at a Chapter meeting or at the R&GV Railroad Museum. These are the shirts we
  the month ended stood at $9,100 and          encourage our depot guides to wear when they volunteer on our open Sundays. This helps our
  that we have reached 12.64% of our goal      visitors know exactly who are tour guides are.
  of $72,000. The 2005 Capital Fund                               If you are interested in ordering a shirt, please contact Chris Hauf
  Drive Committee thanks you for your          ( 585-381-8583) to place your order. Delivery will take 2-3 weeks.
  generous support of our Chapter.
Page 2                                                              May 2005                                                      The Semaphore

Track Car Operator Schedule                                                                          Membership Report
                                                                                                                               Janet Dittmer, Chair
  Date                Operator A           Operator B         Operator C         Primary Car         Welcome to these new members:
  May 15              Bob Achilles         Harold Russell                        TC-1                 Donald and Suzanne Stinson
                                                                                                      PO Box 98, 7709 Main St.
  May 21 *            Bob Achilles                                               TC-1
                                                                                                      Kanona, NY 14856
  May 22              Greg Harris          Steve Huse                            TC-3                 607-776-8433;n sn y. c
                                                                                                                     dtin2 a o
                                                                                                                     o o@ m
                                                                                                                      _ 0h
                                                                                                                      s 0o
  May 29              Gary Dettman         (open)                                TC-1                 Interests: Rolling stock restoration; Trips;
                                                                                                         Museum tour guide; Historical
  June 5              Ryan Kane            Steve Huse         Bob Moore          TC-3
                                                                                                         construction equipment; Museum
  June 12        Bob Achilles      Harold Russell                                TC-1                    operations; Track car driver
  * NMRA-NF Lakeshore Divion Meet: 9-12                                                               Experience: Switched cars, working off 60-
                                                                                                         ton Brownhoist.
  Qualified Operators Please Note: Pick a date that you like, then contact Harold Russell to be
  put on the official schedule. Harold's e-mail address:                      Michael Root
                                                                                                      52 Nettlecreek Rd.
Depot Guides Schedule                                       Please Note ...                           Fairport, NY 14450
  Date                Guide #1             Guide #2             We are starting off the season        Interest: Museum tour guide.
  May 15              John Stewart                          with several vacancies in the
                                                                                                     A Renewal absent from the 2005 list:
                                                            Depot Guide and Track Car Op-
  May 22              Dave Peet            Ira Cohen                                                  Thomas Ewert
                                                            erator Departments. This is not
                                                                                                      165 Floverton St.
  May 29              (open)                                a desirable situation if it extends
                                                                                                      Rochester, NY 14610
                                                            further into the season. Please
  June 5              Jeremy Tuke                                                                     288-0131
                                                            volunteer a date, rather than
  June 12             Dave Luca                             have the coordinator call you
  June 19             Mike Root            Lynn Heintz
                                                                                                     About those 2nd Notices
                                                            Steam Team Meets                             Some of you may have receive a 2nd
  It is desirable to have TWO guides for each Sunday.                                                Notice from National. If you renewed before
                                                                This team meets the first Satur-
  Please consider when you would like to serve and          day of each month. Anyone inter-         February 20, you have received your 2005
  contact Dave Peet at:         ested in 'steamers' is invited to        membership card. National has your renewal
                                                            attend. For information, contact         and the 2nd notice is an error on National's
                  Jean Bellenger                            John          Redden             at      part.
     Chapter member, Neil Bellenger and his brother,                                                 Membership Contact:
 Boyd, lost their mother, Jean, on April 30. She was
                                                              2005 Chapter Rail                         Janet Dittmer, Membership Chair
                                                               Tours                                    983 N. Winton Rd.
                                                                                                        Rochester, NY 14609-6824
                                                              The Spring Tour:
Two Groups to visit May 21                                                                              <>
                                                                  Canadian Spring Adventure
RR Modelers:                                        to Quebec City and Montreal by Rail; May
                                                    30 (5 days, 4 nights). Visit Montreal, Quebec,             Membership Rates:
    The Lakeshore Division of the National
Model Railroad Association will be visiting         and along the sores of Lake Champlain.              National + Chapter membership: . $40
in conjunction with their Spring meeting.           The Fall Foliage Tour:                              Above as Family membership .... $50
They w i l l b e h e r e i n t h e morning a n d       Fall Foliage Tour by Rail: Boston,               Local* .................................. $20
midday, for tours, track car rides and a            Portland and the Maine Coast; Oct. 6 -              Local as Family*...................... $27
midday train ride.                                  Oct. 10 (5 days, 4 nights). Visit Boston,            (* Holds National membership
Boy Scout Troops:                                   Portland, Freeport (shopping at L.L. Bean),      elsewhere)
   A group of scouts from Livingston and            Kennebunkport, Trolley Museum.                      National only .......................... $20
Wyoming Counties will visit to complete             The Pre-Christmas Tours:                            National as Family only ............. $23
work on their Railroad Merit Badge. A                   Dec. 1 - Dec. 3 (Thursday-Saturday) &           Subscriptions only: ................ $10*
small work party will be on hand.                       Dec. 9 - Dec. 12 (Friday-Monday)                * Effective January 1, 2005.
                                                        Off to the "Big Apple" for the famous
Contributors to this issue                          Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall,         Young Railfans Dates:
    Janet Dittmer, Dale Hartnett, Chris Hauf,       and shopping.                                    Sat., May 21              10 AM-3 PM
Chris Hausler, Dave Luca, Dave Peet,                    If interested in any of these trips, make    Sat., June 4
Charles Robinson, Harold Russell, Joe               reservations with Jim East. His phone is 585-
Scanlon, John Stewart, Rand Warner and              377-5389.
various publications as indicated.
                                                        Space still available on all trips.              Another installment of Chris Haulser's
                                                                                                           "Telegraph" starts on Page 6.
The Semaphore                                                       May 2005                                                                        Page 3

                                                   Railroad: (Motive, Rolling stock, MOW, ROW)
                                                     Chris Hauf: 381-8583;
                                                   Infrastructure: (Buildings, grounds, shops, construction, communications, signals & power,
                                                     heavy equipment)
                                                     Dave Luca: 288-0318;
                                                   Visitor Experience: (Visitor, Train & Track Car operations, 4-Q Vision, Special events)
                                                     Dale Hartnett: 243-0139;

                                                   or Saturdays. You never know who might
                                                                                                      ESPA/RRTC Meeting
 MUSEUM MUSINGS                                    turn into a great volunteer who has badly-                                  (Continued from Page 1)
                                                   needed skills.                                     the possibility of working jointly to explore
    I hear the same plea from fire                     There are lots of community organiza-          and promote ideas to improve passenger
departments, service clubs, churches and,          tions who could use more help. We need to          transportation by rail in western New York.
yes, even museums.                                 set ourselves apart by doing what we do            Karl Greenhagle, Rochester Area Regional
    “We need new members.”                         extremely well and by being open and               Coordinator for ESPA and DeWain Feller,
                                                   friendly toward prospective volunteers.            Chairman of RRTC, led the meeting.
    “We need younger members.”
                                                       It’s ultimately about people. Recruiting is         Informal discussions touched on the
    “We need to grow to provide the services
                                                   not about reaching a mass audience of              Amtrak funding crisis, conditions at the
people expect from us.”
                                                   people. It’s about connecting with people,         downtown Rochester Amtrak Station, condi-
    As we all lead lives that are more and         one individual at a time. People are likely to     tions onboard the Empire Service trains,
more busy, the amount of time left for the         go where they are respected and appreciated.       High Speed Rail (HSR) proposals for west-
community shrinks.
                                                       A smile, a “please” and a “thank you” go       ern New York and the need for a stronger
    Our own volunteers feel the increased          a long way.                                        local coalition of citizens and local leaders.
pressures of family, job, other community
                                                       Please join us in our recruiting effort.            Everyone present agreed that both organi-
service activities and even the aging process.
                                                   Thank you for all you continue to do. Let’s        zations should continue to meet jointly on a
All limit the amount of time people can
                                                   share the fun this summer!                         regular basis. It was suggested to investigate
contribute to the Rochester and Genesee                                                               the possibility of having future meetings held
Valley Railroad Museum.
                                                                                                      at the Amtrak Station with local public
    Like all the other fine community-ori-         Library Report                                     figures in attendance. A steering committee
ented organizations, we need to rejuvenate                           Charles Robinson, Chairman       w i l l m e e t i n May to p l a n f u t u r e j o i n t
ourselves with new, active members.                    The library will be open for general use       meetings. If you are interested in these
    Here are several steps we can all take to      between 7:00 and 9:00 PM Monday                    regional meetings or need additional informa-
address this challenge and, perhaps, help          evening May 23. We still have surplus              tion about the organizations, please contact
someone reach self-fulfillment at the same         books for sale at reasonable prices. So come       Dave Luca at 585-288-0318 or <daveluca
time:                                              on out and see the selection.            >. Get on board for an
    1. Invite someone to visit our museum.             Jerry Gillette has continued to organize       improved transportation system in western
Saturdays are a great time to visit. Our           our photo collection. Jerry has completed our      New York.
Thursday night Chapter meetings (third             first organized attempt to list the vast Charles
Thursday of the month) at the museum               Best collection of color slides. The collection    Rochester Region Visitors
during June, July and August also work very        now needs to be better organized with                                           by Rand Warner
well.                                              railroads, engine types and so forth sorted to         From Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
    2. Be warm and welcoming to visitors           group them properly. Any volunteers?               of April 5 th , we got 1.6 million visitors
who attend our special events. Get to know             We plan to continue this listing and           through the greater Rochester area last year.
them as people. The more we care about             organizing to other parts of our photo                 From the Rochester Democrat &
them, the better they’ll feel about us.            collection.                                        Chronicle of May 2 nd , we got 23 million
    3. Depot guides can help by including a            Gale Smith has more books and tapes to         visitors through the Finger Lakes area last
brief pitch on how guests can get involved.        catalog. We are asking the video viewers to        year.
This may work especially well on the               critic a number of tapes from Dan Cosgrove             If we could attract just 1% of those
Saturday hours in July and August when we          collection. A form will be in each tape            Greater Rochester area visitors, we would
are working at the museum.                         package for your comments.                         have an annual attendance of 16,000!
    4. Invite friends or co-workers to one of          There are rumors that an estimate has              Our current combined Museum and Ex-
our work sessions. It may seem strange that        been obtained in regard to roofing the             cursion attendance of almost 10,000 is over
so many of us really enjoy working on our          library. Much needed help for the library is       1/2% of the Greater Rochester area
days off. Help your friends understand how         on its way. Thanks so much Bob.                    visitorship; however, many of our attendees
their skills or interests might fit in with what       Hope to see a flood of members at the          live inside the area.
we are doing.                                      next library session for YOUR use.
    5. Be warm and open toward strangers
who “stop by” to check us out on weekdays
Page 4                                                                 May 2005                                                       The Semaphore

Traction Action                                        Preparations for new siding                     Tracks in the Snow ...
                        Bernie Cubitt, Foreman          on west side of LA&L RR                                                          by Rand Warner
Rochester Lockport & Buffalo                                                        by Rand Warner           Train tracks that is. Switches in
  Interurban #206                                          Scott Gleason and Dan Waterstraat are       particular! Charlie Lowe & Crew of NYMT
    Two new bolsters are now fabricated by             continuing relocation of heavy equipment        may have scored at least a New York State
welding up stock parts.                                along the west side of the LA&L RR to           first for rail museums by completing the
                                                       permit construction of new siding on west       major portion of construction for their new
    We will continue preparing the underside
                                                       side of LA&L RR. This has been a very           switch into the new trolley shed during the
and frame of the car body for re-installation
                                                       challenging job, working under the worst of     winter snow season of 2004-2005!!
of the new bolsters.
                                                       winter conditions; with snow, mud, stuck              Charlie and son, Trevor, assisted by a few
    Then with proper bolster plates we can
                                                       brakes, dead batteries, etc. But none of this   hardy NYMT and R&GVRM souls, were
set the car body on proper trucks we already           could stop our stalwart construction crew!      installing ties, timbers, rails, points, frog and
                                                           Track centerline for the new siding has     guard rail right through the thick of an
Line Car 01                                            been staked out per LA&L RR engineering         upstate Western New York winter. This
                       Rand Warner, Foreman            recommendations.                                demanding effort was made so as to not
    Rand Warner is continuing to remove all                A location for the turnout has been         jeopardize operation of track cars for the
items projecting below car body frame.                 selected about 1300 feet north of the center-   2005 season opening.
    Then we can either set the carboy on a             line of the NYS Route 251, and this location          Now we have got two bench marks
flat car or relocate and repair the bolsters so        would be acceptable to LA&L RR.                 r a i s i n g t h e b a r for our j o i n t m u s e u m
we can re-set the car on trucks.                                                                       trackwork:
Subway Car #60                                         Track Department                                      1. R&GVRM working regularly under the
           Rand Warner, Dave Luca, Foremen                                      Supt. Randy Bogucki    lights after dark on Tuesdays.
    We a r e m a k i n g p l a n s for t h e 5 0 t h       Spring track inspection is underway by            2. NYMT putting in a switch over the
Anniversary Celebration of end of service on           Randy and his section foremen.                  worst part of our winter season.
the Rochester Subway. Otto Vondrak has                     A new shipment of very good relay ties is
submitted various proposals.                           now on hand to support main line rehab and      Prep for Tracks into
    We are also pursuing additional restora-           new track construction.                          Restoration Building
tion funding for metal, wood, mechanical and               Tie changeout rehab work has already                                       by Rand Warner
electrical rehab work to make the car run.             been completed at Scanlon’s curve.                  Winter’s snow and Spring’s mud have
300 Kilowatt Substation                                    More tie changeout work is scheduled for    dried up enough to permit resumption of the
                        Jim Johnson, Foreman           the Hill Block, north of the Depot, and for     BIG DIG effort. Joe Scanlon, John
    Easement has been received from BOCES              the S-curves south of the Loop Switch. [RW]     McDonald, Art Mummery, Scott Gleason,
for Niagara Mohawk to run in power.                                                                    Dan Waterstraat and others have restarted
                                                                                                       efforts towards creating new road bed for
    O’Connell Electric is on contract to do
outside hookup work.                                   Thanks to ...                                   new tracks.
                                                                                                           Dave Luca and others have regraded and
    Inside wiring for ac three-phase and dc to              Harold Crouch for recent inputs on
                                                                                                       smoothed our muddy roadways that support
trench has started.                                    steam and diesel motive power and rolling
                                                                                                       all our projects.
    Auxiliary control and monitor wiring has           stock.
                                                                                                           Wood a n d s t e e l for t h e t r a c k s a n d
started.                             [RW]                   Rand Warner for donation of dedicated
                                                                                                       switches are being staged by Dave and
                                                       tool set and tool box for track car
                                                                                                       Randy Bogucki.
REA Truck                                              maintenance, and locating a line side phone
                                                       for display.                                        The big Koering shovel is to be relocated
            Foremen: Lynn Heintz, Dick Bean
                                                                                                       out of our way, then we can install drainage
    Lynn has changed over the clutch assem-                 Gary Warner for large donation of
                                                                                                       pipes, etc.
bly to fit the new motor to the old type               contractor equipment.
                                                                                                           Plans are in the works to relocate motive
clutch and existing transmission, with help                 Bernie Cubitt for repainting the Burma
                                                                                                       power and rolling stock out of the area.
from Bob Mader and Rand Warner.                        Shave signs along our tracks, and the sign
                                                       long Route 2251.                                    This year should see actual track and
    Dick Bean has been rehabbing compo-
                                                                                                       switch construction in earnest.
nents at home. So far he has done starter,                  Jeremy Tuke for donation of paint for
generator, fuel pump, lights, etc.                     track cars and trailers.
    Bob Mader and Lynn have installed                       Everyone for all your donations of
replacement rear axles.                                materials, money and effort. Our museum          •    Rail end stops
    We hope to have the engine and a new               could not run without your support!              •    Rail skates
gas tank and radiator installed soon, so truck         However, contact one of the three managers       •    Wheel chocks
will run.                              [RW]            if it happens to be an artifact or equipment.
                                                                                                        •    Cantilever passenger car jacks
                                                                                                        •    Skid steer loader
                                                                                                        •    Rolling track gauge for NYMT
The NYMT and R&GV RR Museums open on Sunday, May 15.
                                                                                                            Contact Rand Warner, 585-428-8586
The Semaphore                                                    May 2005                                                            Page 5

Construction & Equipment
                                By Joe Scanlon
    “If you can’t move dirt, thenServicesmove
equipment!” With that for their marching
orders, the construction equipment diehards:
Art Mummery, Scott Gleason, Dan Water-
straat and Joe Scanlon met on a soggy April
Saturday morning at the Webster library site
to load out the Northwest truck crane and
bring it back to the museum.
    Since it hadn’t been operated in about 2
years, the lower unit needed a little TLC
before it could be coaxed back to life. But
Doctor Mummery performed a little surgery,
and the International Harvester 501 truck
engine coughed, fired up, evened out and
idled down - ready to go to work.
    Mendon Enterprises showed up with the           The Northwest 25T truck crane is a          known to be heavy duty workhorses and
‘rail trailer’ lowboy, got into position, and    former State of New York Highway Depart-       were expensive, well built units in their era.
Art guided the 25-ton weight lifter onto the     ment crane of 1960’s vintage. Meticulously     Now the 25T is a classic addition to our
trailer. A quick trip at interstate highway      cared for by New York State, the crane is in   collection, and will perform power lifting
speeds to Industry behind a Peterbilt road       exceptional condition. At some point the       around the museum.
tractor brought our treasure back to the         crane was transferred to the New York State
                                                                                                   Thanks to our dedicated volunteers for
depot, where it was off loaded, driven in to     Canal Commission and did maintenance
                                                                                                again making the magic happen at Industry,
the equipment yard and parked. Next the          work along the Erie Canal. The crane had
                                                                                                and special thanks to the Mendon Enterprises
crane gang evaluated the upper crane power       been purchased at auction by Mr. Andy Hill
                                                                                                team, who go out of their way to make our
unit - a Continental 427 gas engine - and        of Andy Hill Welding and Crane            of
                                                                                                moves easy!
determined that with a little ignition work we   Webster, NY. Mr. Hill donated the crane,
would have another operating heavy lifter in     along with an identical parts machine to our
our fleet.                                       museum about 2 years ago. Northwests were

Super Scenery                                                                                   Shows, etc.
                           by Rand Warner
                                                                                                   July 5-9: National NRHS Convention,
   Do you realize the blessings we have in                                                      Portland, OR.
the quality and variety of our scenery at
                                                                                                   July 5: 10-Year Anniversary Celebration,
R&GVRM, NYMT and along our connecting
                                                                                                Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton,
main line?
                                                                                                PA. Year-long celebration.
 ? Hardwoods and evergreens
                                                                                                   July 17-23: NRHS RailCamp in Scranton.
? Fields and farm lands                              Jesse Marks, Young Rail Fans coordina-     Dates in RR History
? Cuts and fills                                 tor for the WAG snow plow work, submitted          5/5/1929: A Canadian National radio op-
                                                 this drawing. It will be considered announc-   erator achieved two-way telephone conversa-
? Flats and grades                               ing news on this item in The Semaphore.        tions with moving trains.
? Curves and culverts                                                                               5/7/1859: The Atlantic and Great Western
                                                             Visiting Groups                    Railroad Co. of New York was chartered. It
? Great views and vistas                           These groups have signed up to visit in      immediately entered into a contract with the
                                                 May:                                           Pennsylvania and Ohio companies and pur-
 ? All kinds of wildlife
                                                   School #8 preschool                          chased the line of the Erie and New York City
   What a treat for our visitors and for our
                                                   Harley School preschool                      Railroad.
volunteers, and to make our Special Events
more interesting!                                  Rochester Children's Nursery #1 & 2              5/10/1869: The Golden Spike was driven
                                                   Mom's Club of Gates                          at Promontory Summit, Utah, joining the
   Now just think about all the potential
                                                                                                Central and Union Pacific Railroads. The cost
additions to the above list afforded by the        Little Path (June date)
                                                                                                of the rail line from Omaha to Promontory
expansion plans of our Four Quadrants              Keuka College Volunteer group                Point was $59 million and six years after
Vision ...
                                                   Brockport Scouts                             beginning the project.
   Scenery is a VERY special asset!! We
                                                   Lakeshore Division, NMRA                         5/10/1893: NYC locomotive No. 999
can exploit it many different ways.
                                                   Scout Merit Badge Work Session               attained a record speed of 112.5 mph between
                                                   Churchville Cub Scouts                       Batavia and Buffalo with Batavia engineer
                                                                                                Charles Hogan at the throttle. [American Rail
                                                                                                Link, Issue 206; via Phil Houle]
Page 6                                                                May 2005                                                                    The Semaphore

Medina RR Museum hosted                          Subway Bed to be Filled                                       Another Installment on the Telegraph
 "Thomas, the Tank Engine"                                            rd
                                                     The April 23 issue of the Democrat and
                                                                                                                 Telegraph Shorthand
    For two weekends in May, the Medina          Chronicle carried a front page story of the
Railroad and Fire Museum hosted the famous       proposal to fill the subway bed between                                        by Chris Hausler
Thomas the Tank Engine that kids love.           Exchange and Brown Streets with compacted                          These days when a telephone modem
                                                 dirt. The Subway is under Broad Street. In                    connection gets you about 2500 characters
    Rides were available. It was reported that
                                                 the process the current steel supporting                      per second and much more with DSL or
all tickets for both weekends have been sold.
                                                 structures will be removed. The area under                    cable modems, its hard to realize that the
                                                 the Broad Street Bridge will remain for                       average performance on a manual Morse
Finger Lakes Live Steamers                       future development; the lower part of this                    Telegraph circuit was between 2 and 4
                            by Harold Crouch     bridge, constructed of stone, was the aque-                   characters per second. Further, the railroads
    A lot has been going on here at FLLS at      duct of the Erie Canal when it ran through                    and in fact the entire industrial revolution
Marengo. Tie and rail on our 1-1/2" scale        the city. It extends under the Rudnel                         succeeded for over 100 years communicating
ground line has continued and the 1" scale       Library.                                                      at this speed. It has been said that the
boys are progressing as extensive for their          On the 29 th , Chapter President, Jeremy                  railroads were the “arteries of the industrial
line with a big cut and embankment for a         Tuke, replied to the article with a letter to the             revolution”. If so, the telegraph was certainly
bridge. Also a concrete slab poured for an       D&C to inform readers of the historical value                 its nervous system, and the “body” couldn’t
engine storage building. We now have a big       of the subway and its possible use in the                     have thrived or even existed without both of
drainage ditch to keep the property properly     current re-development of the area of Main                    t h e m . In o r d e r to i n c r e a s e t h e o v e r a l l
drained and is working well.                     Street around Nick Tahoe's Restaurant (the                    throughput of the telegraph a number of
    October 16, 2004 was our final run           former Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburg Rail-                  things were done, both technical and
session for the season. It turned out to be a    road Station, successor to the Rochester and                  procedural. Technical things included “du-
dull, raw day and so only a couple "diesels"     State Line Railroad.)                                         plex” and Edison’s “quadraplex” systems, the
operated.                                                                                                      “Wheatstone Automatic” and others. We’re
    Of great interest though, was our member     "Railroad Tech"                                               going to briefly look at some of the
Mike Darbyshire from Palmyra, NY brought              "Railroad Tech" is a column written by                   procedures.
the tender and rear engine of his Erie RR        Frank Peragine in the Bridge Line Historical                       These procedures mostly boil down to
Triplex locomotive in 1-1/2" scale. It is a      Society's Bulletin. To date, it has covered                   various “shorthands”. Some were employed
museum job!! The front two engines are           numerous items having to do with technol-                     by telegraphers themselves and others were
running on air and at present he is construct-   ogy of railroads and railroading.                             available to what today we would call the
ing the boiler. The locomotive will be 13             These BLHS Bulletins, of about 40                        “end users” of the Morse system. Some were
feet long! Possibly next year he may have it     published every month, are available in our                   formally defined and some were ad hoc,
in operation. --- Harold Crouch                  L i b r a r y . It i s p l a n n e d to c o l l e c t t h e   becoming “standard” through repeated used
                                                                                                               due to their obvious utility. There were a
  Schedule for FLLS for 2005:                    "Railroad Tech" columns and place in a
                                                                                                               number of regional and industry specific
   Open House: June 26 & 26; 10-4                binder for easier retrieval. Your Editor finds
                                                 them interesting, but they are too lengthy for                “dialects” which developed as telegraphers
   Open House: September 24 & 25.                                                                              interacted with each other. During quiet
                                                 inclusion in The Semaphore.
   Visit                                                                       periods, telegraphers would “chat” with each
   for views and map.                                                                                          other becoming the first of what today we
                                                                                                               would call an “on line” community. The
                                                                                                               o v e r a l l goal w a s efficiency a n d t h u s
                                                                                                               economy of operation.
                                                                                                                    Telegraph offices were all given one or
                                                                                                               two character “office calls” which would
                                                                                                               uniquely identify that office, at least on that
                                                                                                               telegraph line. These can be sometimes still
                                                                                                               be seen posted on the outside of railroad
                                                                                                               control towers, what few of them remain.
                                                                                                               Operators also each adopted a one or two
                                                                                                               character “sine” to identify themselves. Their
                                                                                                               initials, the first two letters of their first or
                                                                                                               last name or just something they liked were
                                                                                                               typical choices.
                                                                                                                    There was a digit code, called the “92
                                                                                                               code”               by Western Union in 1859,
                                                                                                               but used in various forms by all the telegraph
                                                                                                               services. Its not clear there was ever a
                                                                                                               “standard” version of this code as it was
                                                                                                               modified over time. The railroad dialect of
   Mike Darbyshire, builder, and Harold Crouch discuss the tender with engine for Erie R.R.                    this code included “19” and “31”, matching
"Triplex" locomotive (2-8-8-8-2) in October 2004.
                                                                                                                                                (Continued on Page 7)
The Semaphore                                                               May 2005                                                                       Page 7

The Telegraph (From Page 6)                      Some you hope they didn’t have to use too                      “Official Guide” for a pillow and try to get
                                                 frequently and wonder why they needed an                       some sleep. Such was life on the telegraphers
the two common railroad form numbers used        abbreviation, such as ” hutched” meaning                       extra board. It was said of many telegraphers
for train orders. The operator’s “Best Wish-     “Hurry final report covering accident as                       that they could sleep soundly this way with
es” or “Regards” code “73”, so popular with      covered by Form 491 No. ...”. The pamphlet                     the instruments chattering away next to them
radio amateurs is part of this code. “30”,       is 118 pages of fine print with about 30                       but would come awake instantly and be
meaning end of transmission was used             codes per page. With this type of code, it                     ready for business if their office call came in
widely by press telegraphers. Others included    was the “end user” who did the encoding and                    over one of the wires.
“1” wait a minute, “4” where shall I go          decoding, not the telegrapher. He or she just                      The use of “shorthands” in messaging
ahead, “6”, I am ready, “13”, I understand,      sent the telegram with the code words as                       continues to this day. Some cellular phones
“25” busy on another wire, not to mention        written.                                                       have a “text messaging” facility where the
“88”, love and kisses (There were women              This was not the case with the famous                      user can enter a short message and send it to
operators too!).                                 “Phillips Code” used primarily by press                        another cell phone user. The small keypad
    Message handling was done using a            telegraphers. The Phillips Code was devel-                     and limited screen size of the cell phone as
number of additional abbreviations. These        oped by Walter P. Phillips of the AP in the                    well as a general desire on the part of the
included: PD for paid, CK for check, FM for      1880’s to speed the transmission of press                      users to keep it simple and easy has lead to
from, SG for signature, HR for have ready,       dispatches. It is a shorthand code for several                 the development of a “text messaging slang”
NO for number and of course, OK. When            thousand common words and phrases used                         which uses many abbreviations.
responding to a call, operators would send       by the press. Press telegraphy was a grueling                      An Australian museum decided to hold a
“II” to indicate they were ready to receive.     duty       that the telegraphers would be                      contest between modern “text messagers”
Thus if office DS was calling office NB, DS      working constantly at the fastest possible                     and telegraphers. A test message was se-
would send “NB NB NB DS” to which NB             speeds. Of course, it paid well too. In this                   lected and given both to a pair of telegra-
would respond “II NB”. For train orders, an      case the sending telegrapher would be                          phers and a text messager. The text messager
operator would send SD (N or S or E or W)        handed a dispatch in “plain English” and                       was permitted to use all the text messaging
acknowledging to the dispatcher that he had      would have to simultaneously convert it in                     slang possible. However, the telegraphers,
received the “copy 3 east” (in this case SDE)    his head to Phillips code and then send the                    true to the way classic “10 words or less”
and had set the east “order board” to show       Phillips code down the wire in Morse. The                      telegrams were sent            to send each letter
the stop aspect. This kept any trains from       receiving operator would do the reverse,                       of the message, letter perfect, with no
passing the station in that direction until the  typing the resulting “plain English” on a                      shorthand. The contestants were: Sending
orders were delivered or ready for delivery.     typewriter. This could frequently improve the                  telegrapher - Gordon Hill, age 93; Receiving
When a train passed a station the telegrapher    overall throughput to 60 to 80 words a                         Telegrapher - Jack Gibson, age 82; text
would send an “OS” to report it “On Station”     minute, about as fast as one can type. Want a                  messager - Brittany Devlin, age 13, with two
(or sometimes considered “On Sheet” for “on      job? A few examples are: B - BE, C - SEE,                      years experience as a text messager, consid-
the train sheet”).                               O - OF, R - ARE, Q - ON THE, N - IN, V -                       ered a “pro”. The selected message was,
    Early on telegraph users developed vari-     OF WHICH, Z - FROM WHICH, DLY -                                “Hey, girlfriend, you can text all your pals to
ous secret codes to keep their communica-        DELIVERY, T - THE, TT - THAT, OMD -                            tell them where you are and what you are
tions secure. However, there were also many      OMITTED, OWZ - OTHERWISE, 5 -                                  w e a r i n g . ” And t h e r e s u l t s were: T h e
such codes developed that were not intended      THAT THE, TY - THEY, and the well                              telegraphers, 90 seconds to a complete
for secrecy in any way but rather for brevity.   known POTUS - PRESIDENT OF THE                                 written out message; The text messager, 108
In these codes an individual word would          UNITED STATES.                                                 seconds to a complete message. Three further
replace a whole phrase, maybe keeping the            Then there was just a lot of common                        teenage text messagers were tested but the
resulting telegram shorter than the classic      practice. For instance, “GA” meant go ahead,                   telegrapher’s record time held.
“10 words or less” and thus not incurring        “GM” meant good morning, and “GN”, good                            Maybe new cell phones should come
extra charges. Many different books of           night. A railroad telegrapher could not leave                  equipped with a built in telegraph key and
suggested cipher codes were commercially         his post until receiving a GN from the                         sounder and we should be teaching our
published, usually with phrases addressed to     dispatcher. A man sent to a station to cover                   children Morse code. It would seem to be
some specific industry or range of industries.   just one shift might, if he was lucky, get an                  more efficient.
Western Union published a “commercial            “early GN” from the dispatcher if the last
code” they recommended. Railroads did this       train was heading back toward the telegra-
as well to allow their telegraphers to more
efficiently handle railroad business. In my
                                                 pher’s home. The conductor would hold the
                                                 train momentarily so the telegrapher could
collection I have a B&O Railroad pamphlet        “OS” the train, lock up the station and then
“Telegraphic Cipher Code for General Use”        board the train, getting to sleep in his own
             May 14, 1927. According to a        bed that night. Many dispatchers having once
penciled note in it, it was the office copy at   been telegraphers were sympathetic and                            Articles by Ted Jackson: "The Round Pie
WC office. Some examples from it are             would          an early GN if appropriate. It was              Station"; Harold Russell: "Riding The Auto
“absorb” meaning “advise at once by tele-        said of others, however, that they “wouldn’t                   Train" and by a 90-year-old LV RR veteran
graph if you will have this done by close of     give their grandmothers an early GN”, thus                     reminiscences, recruited by Bob Fitch, all
this week”, “fair” meaning “for loading to       dooming the telegrapher to stay out the rest                   away their light of day in The Semaphore!
Pittsburgh”, “snarl” meaning “superheater        of h i s s h i f t a n d r e m a i n a t t h e s t a t i o n      Time for an extended issue?
units leaking” and “figtree” meaning “furnish    overnight. He then might curl up on the
detailed report covering derailment of ...”.     operators desk using the station’s copy of the
Rochester Chapter National Railway Historical Society
                                                                                                                       Non Profit Org.
The Semaphore
P.O. Box 23326                                                                                                         U.S. Postage
Rochester, NY 14692-3326                                                                                                   PAID
                                                                                                                       Rochester, NY
                                                                                                                        Permit #826

     Chapter Meeting & Program:
      Dunkirk, NY - A
      Railroad Town
       by John Stewart
     Thursday, May 19, 2005
         Starts: 7:30 PM
           40 & 8 Club
       933 University Ave.

   The Semaphore is published monthly by the Rochester, NY Chapter, National Railway Historical Society. It is mailed free to all Chapter
members. Non-member's subscriptions are $10.00 after 1/1/2005 and run from January 1 to December 31. Chapter meetings are held the third
Thursday and the Board of Directors meets the first Thursday of each month.

                                                 Contributions to The Semaphore are welcomed and encouraged from all readers. They
Rochester Chapter NRHS Officers:
                                              should be mailed to: Gale E. Smith, 299 Seneca Park Avenue, Rochester, NY 14617-2433.
 President: Jeremy Tuke                       Phone: (585) 544-6221. Contributors using a computer are asked to send their submissions on
 Vice President: Dale Hartnett                any MS-DOS diskette in ASCII or *.txt format, as well as a printed copy. Also can send by e-
 Treasurer: Dave Luca                         mail to: Deadline: First Day of Each Month.
 Recording Secretary: Dave Peet
 Correspondence Sec.: Chris Hauf                                    Restoration Building Floor Fund
 National Director: Bob Miner                                                                                                   by Dave Luca
Trustees: Randy Bogucki, John Kernan,             One of the Chapter's major goals for 2005 is the installation of the inspection pit and
  Bob Mader, Harold Russell, John             concrete floor in the east side of the Restoration Building. Chapter volunteers will perform the
  Stewart, and Don Wawrzyniak.                pit excavation and the slab grading. Pre-qualified concrete contractors will perform the
The Semaphore Staff:                          concrete placement work. The estimate for this is $75,000. Recent donations in BOLD.
 Editor: Gale Smith                               Help "cement" together a great project! Each block represents $3,000.
 Printing & Mailing: Bob Miner, Gale
                                                        $3,000           $3,000
    Smith, Jerry Gillette

    InterNet (World Wide Web) address:                                $3,000



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