Let's Take A Ride: 1939 Style!

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Let's Take A Ride: 1939 Style!
Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, July 22, 2018 11:22 PM

Rummaging through some of my father's papers I came across this flyer, menu and ticket stub from a Railroad Enthusiast sponsored excursion from June 18, 1939.

Can you imagine having the opportunity to make such a trip today?

I thought I'd share the flyer and menu for all the good folks here to enjoy and ruminate over. The routing alone makes my mouth water!

 RRE_NYC_1939excursion by Edmund, on Flickr

This is a "Playbill" type flyer measuring five inches wide by seventeen inches long, two sided.

 RRE_NYC_1939excursion2 by Edmund, on Flickr

Click the images to enlarge and once in Flickr, click again to expand.

I do not have any photos (my dad didn't take very many photographs back then) or other information. He was an RRE member all through the 1930s until the War.

I wonder if anyone here knows anyone who may have been on the trip? In today's dollar that $4.75 would equate to about $86.50.

I'll post the menu and ticket stub as time permits.

 

Enjoy!

Ed

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 23, 2018 10:33 PM

In 2015 I went to the NRHS convention in Rutland, and rode 3 excursions from there to: Hoosic Junction, Bellows Falls, and Burlington.  While I consider myself lucky to have rode all of the extant Rutland RR, it would have been great to have rode the Chatham line before abandonment.

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 4:06 AM

Possibly some older railfans who were friends when I was a teenage railfan were on the trip:   Lester BArnett, E. Jay Quinby, and Herman Rinke.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 12:39 PM

gmpullman
In today's dollar that $4.75 would equate to about $86.50.

Today's spot price of gold is $1233.60, which makes the equivalent value in 'Bretton Woods' controlled dollars a round $167.50.  (Now, Bretton Woods was a bit later than 1939, but this was well after Roosevelt suspended individual gold ownership in the Depression; perhaps someone taking up Mike MacDonald's mantle could find the actual gold price for the date of the trip and make an exact comparison.)

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 2:20 PM

daveklepper
Possibly some older railfans who were friends when I was a teenage railfan were on the trip:

The ticket was issued to Otto Diegel and date stamped in Newark, N.J..

 RRE_ticket-front by Edmund, on Flickr

 

 RRE_ticket-stamp by Edmund, on Flickr


 

A special menu was prepared for the trip:

 RRE_menu_inside by Edmund, on Flickr

I'm sure a good time was had by all. Sure made for a full day of activities.

Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 3:23 PM

That menu is making me hungry!

Back when life was civilized.

Good thing they did not have activist shareholders, Amtrak restrictions.

Good thing they did have the passenger responsive and decent New York Central. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 8:57 PM

daveklepper

Possibly some older railfans who were friends when I was a teenage railfan were on the trip:   Lester BArnett, E. Jay Quinby, and Herman Rinke.

 

David, you knew Commander E.J. Quinby?  Oh, that's wonderful!  I have his book "Interurban Interlude"  about the long-gone North Jersey Rapid Transit interurban line, and a fine book it is!  I'd never heard of the NJRT until I found the book at a Florida rail museum gift shop, and I'm from that part of New Jersey!   My father had never heard of it either, but then he was only a year old when it was abandoned.  The old right-of-way still exists as a path for Public Service electric power lines, but you'd never know there was a railroad there.

And guess what everyone, the New York Railroad Enthusiasts are still around.

www.nyrre.org

And there's two Morning Sun books made up of color photos from the NYRRE Williamson Library collection called "Trackside In The Northeast, 1946-1959, with Vincent A. Purn and John A. Knauf"  and "Trackside In The Mid-Atlantic States"  by the same.  From Canada down to Virginia, some great "time machine" like photos.  I recommend them both highly!

Even though it was pricey for the time, that 1939 NYRRE trip looks like it was money well spent. 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 9:09 PM

Overmod
 
gmpullman
In today's dollar that $4.75 would equate to about $86.50.

 

Today's spot price of gold is $1233.60, which makes the equivalent value in 'Bretton Woods' controlled dollars a round $167.50.  (Now, Bretton Woods was a bit later than 1939, but this was well after Roosevelt suspended individual gold ownership in the Depression; perhaps someone taking up Mike MacDonald's mantle could find the actual gold price for the date of the trip and make an exact comparison.)

 

From what I've read, the price of gold prior to the ban on private ownership of gold coinage or bullion was $20 an ounce, which was the weight of a $20 gold piece.  After the ban the price was locked at $35 an ounce, where it stayed for decades.

So today's spot price of gold is $1,233.60?  I presume that's for an ounce?  Well, here's something to think about.

In 1918 a $20 gold piece would buy you a Colt Single Action Army revolver.

In 2018, that same $20 gold piece will still buy you that same Colt revolver!

More or less.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 1:04 PM

Firelock76
... the long-gone Bergen County Rapid Transit interurban line ... I'd never heard of the BCRT...

Nor had I.  I thought it was the North Jersey Rapid Transit. 

The things you can learn from Marines!  I never tire of finding new horizons to what they know and I don't.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 5:31 PM

Overmod, let me tell you, "Interurban Interlude" is a well written and illustrated, entertaining, and just plain fun book.  Commander Quinby must have been quite a guy.

And you're correct, my mistake, it WAS the "North Jersey Rapid Transit."

I've backed up and corrected the original post.  Silly me, making a mistake like that with the book on the shelf!

It was published by Model Craftsman Publishing Company (Carstens Publications) in 1968.  Carstens Publications still listed it as recently as 15 years ago but I don't know what the availability is now.  Maybe Amazon?

If you see one, at a train show or other, grab it, you won't be sorry!

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 26, 2018 2:00 AM

E. Jay Quinby was the founder of the still-active Electric Railroaders Association, Inc., based in New York City, with offices in Grand Central Terminal on an upper floor.  At the time I joined in 1947, age 15, the offices were on the balcony of the room used by the New York Society of Model Engineers for their wonderful O-gauge layout in the Hoboken DL&W terminal.  I became an office envelope stuffer, but much later was President for serveal years, with the offices first on Greenwich Street in lower Manhattan, and then in GCT, around 1974-77.  The move occurred while I was President, if my memory is correct.  I'm still a member.

Jay would occasionally have a private movie night at his New Jersey home.  I think Herman Rinke would pick me up at the Hoboken terminal, or maybe his home was reachable by public transportation.  I know I saw Walter Druck's "Monarchs of the Rails," featuring the "Red Devils" of the Cincinnati and Lake Erie interurban, several times at Jay's home.  There was a sound-track to it, with shellack 78-RPM records with paper cutouts on them to indicate where to place the needle and where to remove it and move to the next record, all appropriate music.  Maybe my audio career really started there, because, being the youngest, I was delegated to mind the "Victrola," which was one of those old dark wood stand-up acoustic devices with a large horn and direct acoustic amplification of the needle vibrations.  All the movies were of streetcars, interurbans, and elevated trains, ranging as far as Pacific Electric, the Shipyard Railway, the North Shore, and British Columbia Electric.  But only the C&LE movie had the sound track.

Jay also had an Standard-Gauge model of a portion of North Jersey Rapid Transit, with one interurban car, beautifully super-detailed, including, I think, the interior.  The controller, which Jay gladly let me operate, was in a real K-Type controller case, with the right brass handle to go with it. 

For a 15-16-year-old railfan, Jay's home was Paradise.

Walter Druck may also have been on the special train. 

E. J. did his best to organize opposition to bus substitutions.  His work in this area may not have been successful, but he did annoy National City Lines to the extent that a 1947 issue of Mass Transportation had an article:  "Who is Jay Quinby?"  This was around the time Peter Kockan (possibly also was on the special train) had a Saturday Evening Post article:  "Some of my Best Friends are Trolleys."  Beautiful pictures of modern PCCs (I think Pittsburgh and Washington), and the Fort Collins Birneys.

I have thought up to this posting that my audio career started because of exposure to Leo L. Beranek's excellent teaching, when I took his basic acoustics course with the idea of improving my hi-fi.   Posting this, I now realize it really began much earlier. So thanks for asking the question about Jay.  Just think, into audio a age 15 at Jay's home because I was the youngest, and now have my responsbilties at the Yeshiva because I'm the oldest. Hmmm.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 26, 2018 6:39 AM

Whatever became of Quinby's "trolleyope" project at Branford?  I presume his collection of whistles, etc. is still reasonably intact somewhere...

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 26, 2018 6:57 AM

Some of the items are in display cases in the Sprague Station building in East Haven.  There is, I believe, an old but still usable display of a controller, and relays that is hands-on for the visitor, to explain how acceleration and speed are controlled in a conventional K-controller electric railway car. But I have not been there for 22 years, and don't remember reading about it in the Bulletin recently.  I am still a member, however. and try to keep up with what is going on.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 28, 2018 2:58 PM

Overmod

Whatever became of Quinby's "trolleyope" project at Branford?  I presume his collection of whistles, etc. is still reasonably intact somewhere...

 

I just read about E.J.'s "Trolleyope-Calliope" project last night in Hal Carsten's "150 Years of Train Models" of all places, and unfortunately nothing ever came of it.

There's a nice section in the book about E.J. and his standard gauge model trolley layout, and a photo of the Commander piloting a blimp.  Quite a dashing-looking man!

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Posted by Fr.Al on Thursday, August 02, 2018 1:34 PM

You and me both, Mike! Since the Chatham line bit the dust in 1953, one year after I was born, it ain't happening. Besides Steamtown, when it was still running from Bellows Falls to Chester, VT; I was fortunate enough to take a steam powered fall excursion from Bennington to Proctor, VT in the fall of 1966.

      We left Bennington with 2-8-0 #97 pulling five cars. We stopped once in Manchester, a bit over 20 miles to the north, to pick up more passengers. At Rutland, 97 was uncoupoled for sevice, and one of the ex-Rutland RS-1's took over for the short trip to Proctor. I even remember the sputtering of the road switcher. It seemed to be going 70 mph, but I doubt if it was over 50. It probably seemed faster in comparison with old 97.

     Fast forward to last week. I toured Maine and New Hampshire, taking in three tourist lines. Friday, I was in VT. I followed much of the old Rutland right of way from Wallingford almost to Bennington in the south. I saw no action and spent the night in Bennington.

     Brief exploring the next day revealed that some of the trackage between North Bennington south to Bennington still survives. Nothing remains in downtown Bennington; the Benmont Paper Company(where I once worked during summer) is shut down. Still, we take what we can get!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, August 02, 2018 9:27 PM

Fr.Al,  when I rode the Rutland-Hoosic Jct excursion, they pointed out a propane dealer who was the only customer between Rutland and North Bennington.  They were hopeful that they would re-establish thru freight sometime in the future.  I asked why we did not go down the Bennington spur, but was told the tracks were too far gone.

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Posted by Fr.Al on Saturday, August 04, 2018 1:43 PM

Yet, at least some of tracks to Bennington are still intact. And also, there must still be interchange at North Bennington with the Pan AM. But you were lucky to get those three rides!

   Even back in 1998, when I returned to Bennington for the first time since my dad died in '81; US Route 7 had been totally rerouted. Today, historic Route 7A still runs by the Rutland right of way in many areas. But, back in '66, the excursion left Bennington, not North Bennington. I didn't go by it this time, but the Bennington station has been converted into a restaurant.

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