Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Looking for Details

Here's a great picture from the files of the Water Reclamation District, posted to FB showing an AE&C car crossing the South Branch on the famous Scherzer rolling lift bridge, into Wells.  And luckily we have an exact date: Sept. 23, 1908.  It would be nice to have a higher resolution scan, but we can make do with this.  So taking out the magnifying glass...

I'm going to guess the number is 18, but in any case this is one of the shorties, still with four motors.  It has the original upper sash windows, and window guards on all windows.  I don't think the window guards were compatible with removable storm windows, which came later.  And we can see that it has had a toilet compartment installed, as evidenced by the little ventilator over the fifth window from the left.  We're not sure when they started installing compartments in the shorties, but it was evidently very early.  As noted in a previous post, there's no roof-mounted fuse box.

  And I'm struck by the way the motorman is sitting on a stool with the side door open, as the car operates over the structure and across the river.  That doesn't look very safe.  He's wearing the standard motorman's uniform for that period, white or off-white coveralls and jacket, with a railroad-style cap rather than a Kromer.  A picture from the Johnson Collection gives a good example of what I mean:

Joe Hazinski points out that the Kromer cap had not yet been developed when these pictures were taken.   That's as good a reason as any!


Anonymous said...

I guess on a dry day, the crew was comfortable with their pant legs touching the third rai?!?

Randall Hicks said...

I noticed that too, of course. When people worked with live third rail every day, they knew what they could get away with. And what surprises me more is how casually it was treated on fantrips. Several pictures show fans stepping over the third rail as they wander around to take pictures. But you never hear of somebody getting fried.