Friday, November 1, 2013

The Reims Collection


Clifford Reims was a long-time railroad and trolley enthusiast.  He was a photographer and also an artist, who made a number of excellent line drawings of various electric lines.  I knew him and his wife through church while they were living in Downers.  About 1985 they retired to Fairhope, Alabama, a suburb of Mobile. Here, among other things, he collected a large amount of information on the Mobile street railway system.  His photographs were collected in three carefully arranged and annotated photo albums.

Mr. Reims died recently, and his daughter has graciously contributed his collection of railroad artifacts, books, and photographs to IRM.  The books will be delivered to the Strahorn, of course.  The photo albums will be also, but first we would like to scan in and post his pictures, which presumably have never been published.  Many of these he took during the 40's, and most of them are of East Coast lines.  We will continue to add to the online collection as time permits.

Annotations are by Mr. Reims unless otherwise indicated.

These images are copyright by the Clifford Reims Collection.  All rights reserved.

(Click on the underlined text)

Albany, N.Y.   United Traction Co.    (Aug. 1940)
Allentown, Pa.   Lehigh Valley Transit    (July 4, 1948)
Atlantic City, N.J.   (May, 1940)
Baltimore, Md.   Baltimore Transit      (Aug. 1941)
Champaign, Ill.      Illinois Terminal    (May 1943)
Chicago Aurora and Elgin    Revisited  (Nov. 1983)
New York City    Brooklyn and Queens Transit  (NRHS Tour, Oct 13, 1940)
New York City    Farewell to Fulton Street  (New York Car Riders Tour, May 25, 1941)
New York City     Queens Photos   (Nov. 25, 1939)
New York City     Third Avenue Railway System (March, 1940 and July, 1946)
Newark, N.J.      Public Service of New Jersey (May, 1940 and Jan. 1941)
Richmond, Va.     Richmond Railways   (Aug. 1941)
Sacramento, Cal.    Sacramento Northern, Central Cal. Traction   (April 1944)
South Elgin, Ill.      Relic Trolley Museum   (Nov. 1983)

August, 1940

Master Unit #301.  The only car of its type this line owned.

Al Reinschmidt comments:
The car was not a Brill Master Unit as we know that title, but a one and only Cincinnati-built car based on a Versare design.

Here is another photo of the car.

Versare  was a little-known bus builder based in Albany, New York.  They tried to produce some very innovative but ultimately unsuccessful bus designs. The concept was to produce an 8 wheel bus with independent, rotating bogies like a streetcar. In fact most of Salt Lake City's initial order of trolley buses were built by Versare but not of that unique design.

In 1928 Versare merged with the Cincinnati Car Company. This car was built using Versare's construction techniques. It is unusual in that it is constructed almost entirely of aluminum and used foot controllers.

It is notable that CSL's Cincinnati-built trolley buses were based on Versare designs. 

October 13, 1940

Tour Special #2538.
 Hoyt-Sackett route sign was rolled in place by a tour member.  The line had long since been abandoned.

 Tour Special #8131

 Tour Special #8101 [Kent Ave under the Williamsburg Bridge - FH]

#5012. Rebuilt center entrance car

#5012.  Electrified trailer.

#773.  Oldest series of cars in service at that time.

4109.  Single direction convertible

4502.  Convertible out of service

 4504  Convertible out of service

9927  Scrap metal car

9740  Sand car

9880  Sweeper

9410 S. Brkln Ry freight car

August, 1941

5549 in old yellow and cream livery

5833 in new red and cream livery

PCC 7308 bound for Towson

August, 1941


448 [westbound on Broad Street at 7th - FH]

(New York Car Riders Association Tour)
May 25, 1941

Tour special 4181 convertible in spanking new paint job

Tour special 4181 interior

Tour special 6077

Tour special 6077 interior

Days numbered, old wooden El cars still enter and leave the old terminal [Park Row BMT terminal, abandoned in 1944 -FH]

[Park Row BMT terminal - FH]

Photo stop at 9th Ave depot

Sweeper 9828

Interior, DeKalb Shops

Interior, DeKalb Shops

 Exterior, DeKalb Shops

777 -- out of service

1161 at East New York

Convertible 4544 scrapped

69 Mcdonald PCC, approaching Coney Island on private right of way

Two views, Brooklyn PCC
 67 Seventh

[Car is eastbound on Livingston at Hoyt - FH]

May, 1940

Atlantic City and Shore (Shore Fast Line) Interurbans 110, 101, 102 at terminal  (Stephenson built)

Brilliners in city service

Jackson Ave. Barn -- March 9, 1940



3273  Out of service

Old car used as a waiting room [Old Bergen & Gates looking southeast - Dave Pirmann]

Canal Bed Lines -- Jan. 1941

3216 -- City subway [Orange Street - FH]

3216, 3212 -- City subway

 2681 -- Bloomfield

2715 -- Bloomfield


Car showing roof detail

March, 1940

1130 - convertible

239 - convertible

293 Convertible
Parkchester, summer 1940

TARS -- July, 1946

379 - Broadway car at far north end of the line
Hastings-on-Hudson    (see Queensborough Bridge Ry.)

51 - convertible
169th St.  Parkchester

View eastward on El tracks at 169th St.

9 - converted horse car (oldest known car on system)
Mt. Vernon Car House

1 - being prepared for museum
Mt. Vernon Car House

Central California Traction, Sacramento City Lines
April, 1944

CCT -- 84   City Car, Sacramento

Freight Motor #3     Stockton

Freight Motor #6     Stockton

Barns at Stockton

Barns at Stockton with 2 freight motors

101 Car Body at Stockton

Car bodies #202 & ?  Stockton

SN -- Freight motor #650 Sacramento

300 -- last interurban passenger car on line (Oakland)

Freight motor #601    Sacramento

Freight motor #441    Sacramento

Freight motor #652    Sacramento

Birney #65   Sacramento

Sacramento City Lines 59

May 1943
All at Champaign Station

July 4, 1948

Easton Limited -- outside Bethlehem headed for Allentown

Liberty Bell Limited 701

Liberty Bell Limited      69th St., Phila.




 Barn view, Allentown     213, 214


Phila. Suburban Cars      86, 74, 69th St.

Phila. Suburban 68      69th St.
(This car was stored at IRM for several years; it was then sold and later scrapped. - RH)

Nov. 25, 1939

Queensboro Bridge Ry. 653 at Queens Plaza three weeks after abandonment of the remainder of Steinway Lines.   Leased from TARS (see TARS #379)

Queensboro Bridge Ry. 654

1670 Steinway Birney at barn, three weeks after abandonment.  The other end of this car was badly damaged from an accident on the last day of service.

New York and Queens double truck Birneys at Steinway barn two years after abandonment

Fresh Pond 8100 series car about to leave

B & QT Fresh Pond Barn
6044 and other single direction cars

Fresh Pond 9816 Sand Car

Fresh Pond 9155 scrap metal car

B & QT 1100 series car at east end of Jamaica Ave. line.
Track in foreground is abandoned Long Island Electric - Jamaica Central siding.

November 2-3, 1983

Cemetery spur from present end of track looking north; occasionally used as a freight spur.
Note poles and wire hangers.

Cemetery spur, looking south from same point.

Cemetery spur, rotting trestle just north of Roosevelt Road, about 3/4 mile west of Mannheim

Villa Park station, now home of Villa Park Historical Society

Same, showing replica of "Pioneer" tender.

 Steel Bridge over CNW tracks at Wheaton.  Foot and Bicycle span just now completed.  Large buildings in background stand on site of CA&E yards.

Orchard Road crossing.  It was easier to leave track than to tear up the road.

Footbridge over DuPage River replaces trestle -- Warrenville

Warrenville station, now its municipal building.  Notice bay window.  What looks like sidewalk is actually the old station platform.

Mainline to Aurora, looking north approximately 3/4 mile north of Aurora terminal.  About 250 yards farther north, line is occasionally used as feeder for several scrap metal companies.

"Terminal to nowhere", Aurora


#20, Relic Trolley Museum, S. Elgin

#316, Relic Trolley Museum

#317, Relic Trolley Museum

 #11, Line Car, Relic Trolley Museum.  Car is disintegrating from rot.

Also at Relic Trolley Museum: 2 car train, CTA Evanston Express cars.

CNS&M #756

CTA Steeple Cab Switcher
(Behind it is Philadelphia sweeper C150, scrapped in 1991 - RH)

San Francisco Muni PCC #1030


Anonymous said...


I perused the C.A.&E. photo collection. Does the "platform to nowhere" still exist in Aurora?

Ken MacLeod

Randall Hicks said...

No, it was removed several years ago, and that whole area has been redeveloped.

The thing that makes his pictures from 30 years ago so valuable is that most of the CA&E remnants he photographed have either disappeared or been modified. The remains of the Cook Country branch, the Warrenville station, and any traces in Aurora are long gone. The Villa Park station is still there, of course, but the Pioneer tender was scrapped long ago. It was always an incongruous display there anyhow, I thought.

Now I just wish somebody would comment on the Relic pictures....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Randy.

Okay, I'll bite. It is at least heartening that FRTM hasn't scrapped any of the pictured cars, besides the sweeper you mentioned in the caption. It's also nice to see that the CA&E Line Car 11 has at least seen a coat of paint in thirty years.

We SHOULD remember two things, though. 1. FRTM is better than a scrapper, and 2. They are a MUCH smaller operation than the IRM. We could fit their entire collection in one of our barns. On the other hand, we could send a "traveling exhibit" and occupy every last inch of their track, and only our "hard core" fans and volunteers would notice what was missing.

It would be nice if Fox River Trolley Museum (formerly RELIC) could do better with their collection. But, they are getting by as best as they can.


Brian J. Patterson
IRM Member.

Randall Hicks said...

Relic was organized not as a volunteer-based group. but as a privately-held corporation with stockholders, although the primary purpose was not to make a profit but to preserve and operate the equipment. I can remember visiting there with my father back in the 60's, and we asked if they were looking for volunteers. (The other museums we were familiar with, such as IRM and MC, were always asking for volunteers, and still are!) I'm not sure who we were talking to, it may have been Don MacBean. He explained that their thinking was that volunteers could not be relied on to get the necessary work done, but if people had money invested in the organization they could be counted on to keep it going. Of course, at that time I didn't have any money to invest, and whether I might have considered joining otherwise is doubtful. Just another "what if"!

I guess this business model didn't work out, and in 1984 Relic was reorganized as the Fox River Trolley Museum, a non-profit volunteer organization like any other. (Ralph Taylor says he never liked the name "Relic" anyhow.) For that matter, even today I wouldn't want to "invest" money in IRM. I'm glad to contribute to a good cause, but it seems to me that if I had money invested, I'd be more worried about whether I was ever going to see my money again than whether IRM was actually making progress towards fulfilling its mission.

I'm not aware if there are any other railroad museums organized like that, although of course there are many for-profit tourist lines that are corporations of one sort or another. Strasburg, for instance.