Remembering the Third Avenue Elevated

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, September 11, 2020 7:19 AM

The portion of the shop between Lexington and Park Avenue:

Our fantrip also went into the now torn-out Bronx Park 180th Street stub terminal.  In those days West Side. 7th Ave. Exp. trains ran to here as their normal terminal, and Lexington Avenue trains ran to East 241st Street White Plains Rd. (Av.).  Dyre Ave. - East 280th was a shuttle.

Note two thrd rails:

Looking back at the existing White Road (Avenue) elevated structure as we enter the existing White Plains Road 238th Street Yard Cmplex:

The former original composite cars, traansferred to elevated service around 1914 and the main[stay of the rush-hour Third Avenue Through Express until repaced by ex-BMT Queens cars around 1949:

IRT's Clearance test car.  Probably still around, but eith different couplers. Don't believe these are still around, wharever they were used for:

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, September 11, 2020 9:56 AM

Am I seeing link and pin couplers on the rolling stock?  That's a bit of a shocker!

Just a guess, but the two cars in the last photo might be office cars, say for use on contruction or repair sites.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, September 11, 2020 10:25 AM

I woulldn't know about link-and-pin, but Van Dorn couplers are similar.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, September 11, 2020 11:02 AM

The half cars are either crane tenders (the boom of the crane rides over the open area), or are used to transport bulky items like wheelsets or trucks between shops, a function taken over almost entirely by trucks today.

The "link-and-pins" are Van Dorns as IDed by CSSHegewisch, common in the wooden era. They can be coupled without someone standing between the cars.

https://hickscarworks.blogspot.com/2012/05/illustrated-guide-to-van-dorn.html

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, September 11, 2020 3:25 PM

rcdrye
The "link-and-pins" are Van Dorns as IDed by CSSHegewisch, common in the wooden era.

Van Dorn couplers!  That's interesting, I've never heard of them.  You know, they remind me of Lionel pre-war toy train box couplers, have a look.

http://www.toytrainmall.com/products/lionel-freight-car-truck-w-box-coupler-original-part-1  

Thanks gentlemen!  

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, September 11, 2020 4:34 PM

New York replaced Van Dorns with an automatic coupler that doesn't seem to be used anwhere else.  Chicago had a mix of Van Dorn and Stearns & Ward couplers prior to 1946, in revenue service until 1959.  All post-1946 Chicago cars use an Ohio Brass form 5 or equivalent, a 3/4 size MCB-like coupler.  Most interurbans that started with Van Dorn couplers on their wooden equipment switched to Tomlinsons in the steel car era.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, September 11, 2020 6:38 PM

Well it's a wasted day if you don't learn something new!  I sure got an education today!

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, September 11, 2020 8:34 PM

Yeah that's some pretty impressive knowledge on perhaps much 'less well known couplers'. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, September 12, 2020 6:49 AM

From time to time I have helped out with the shifting crew at an electric railway museum.  The collection of adapter couplers, links, bars and pins and even chains required to move stuff around is amazing, though after a while it just all seems very heavy.

The Chicago-only Stearns & Ward remains in use on CTA's 4271-4272.  It was designed to bolt on as a replacement for a Van Dorn.  Pre-CTA CRT used both VD (Met) and S&W (other lines) and had special links to couple them together when needed.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 13, 2020 9:16 AM

The New-York-City-only couplers are the Westinghouse couplers, using the Janey-MCB knuckle-with-pin principle, but incorporating mu and eventually door and communication electrical cntacts and the air-brake coupling with rubber and then neoprene gasketting as well.  They were introduced by the Composites and original Gibbs cars, while the IRT continued to use the Van Dorns for the elevaterd=lines' cars not formerly subway cars.   Then the BMT did the same and the IND.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 13, 2020 10:03 AM

The New-York-City-only coupler is by Westinghouse, and was introduced by the Composites, see earlier photo above, in 1904 and continued well into the post WWII period, see below with an A-Division (IRT) Flushing-Line R=33 MUed ahead of a B-Division (IND-BMT) R32 on the F=and-G-lines’ stricture on Brooklyn’s 9th Street.

 

  But the latest post-2000 cars appear to have a heavy-duty Tomlinson-type.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 13, 2020 10:28 AM

But they put Westinghouse on the "restored" Brooklyn United cara in the museum and used on occasion for Nostalgia trips. (Van Dorns were their service couplers.)


'

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, September 13, 2020 10:58 AM

More and more amazing.

I have to ask, is there any reason they didn't use Janney couplers like the regular railroads did?  Just not practical for elevated or subway use?

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, September 13, 2020 2:33 PM

The Van Dorn is a radial coupler, not dependent on car alignment to stay coupled. The link works (sort of) on the Janney principle, with springs pushing it onto the pin in the receiving coupler.  Lines that used radial MCBs (North Shore, Illinois Terminal) often used an extended knuckle to compensate for vertical changes, a feature not required by Van Dorns which were (usually) set up with vertical springs as well as the buffer springs on the drawbar.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, September 13, 2020 3:47 PM

I see, all-in-all the Van Dorns, and I guess variants, were a lot more practical for transit use than the Janney types were.

Thanks!

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, September 13, 2020 5:10 PM

Flintlock76
I have to ask, is there any reason they didn't use Janney couplers like the regular railroads did?  Just not practical for elevated or subway use?

Janney couplers are relatively complex and heavy and are remarkably susceptible to vertical separation -- something transit equipment often tries to induce.  Their greater draft strength is of less concern with MU consists, and a relatively long history of difficulty getting them to work with make-and-break integrated air and electrics (vs. even Miller couplers/anticlimbers, let alone Scharfenberg couplers) tells me the idea of locking transverse positive location has advantages where integrated coupling is concerned.  That advantage becomes greater when the coupled 'unit' needs to accommodate the horizontal, vertical, and twist motions common to most transit operation.

As noted, most of the actual coupling and uncoupling into consists is done in yards, where the relative convenience of rapid separation is less significant, and manual radial alignment when necessary is less critical.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, September 13, 2020 7:23 PM

As I said Friday, I'm getting an education here.

Thanks all!

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, September 14, 2020 4:49 AM

While we are on the subject of education, some is badly needed over on MR in the broad-gauge modeling thread.  I have been reading too many tank model-kit boxes and books that discuss Soviet strategy in assigning weapon caliber so that their guns could purportedly fire captured ammunition in a pinch, but enemy guns would wear prematurely or burst if Soviet ammunition were tried.  This was 'of a piece' with other Soviet military cunning so I believed the preponderance of the evidence, but Kevin diplomatically but firmly says he doesn't think it's so.  As this is one of your fields you might want to weigh in with definitives.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, September 14, 2020 6:20 AM

The Russian five-foot-gauge-as-defensive-strategy story is certainly well embedded in railway folklore.  Personally I don't think it's any more valid than the idea that the states of the Confederacy adopted five foot gauge for the same reasons.  The contractors who built the first Russian railways in the 1840s were mostly American, but they built them well before the idea of using railways for strategic purposes developed.  Gauges were far from standardized, and five foot gauge was found in pockets all over North America, along with wider and narrower gauges in the U.K. and elsewhere.

The Stearns & Ward coupler was also used in conjunction with a central buffer on the Central London tube line until sometime in the 1930s.  The Central London was built by Americans including Charles Tyson Yerkes, who left Chicago ahead of a corruption investigation involving streetcar and L properties in Chicago.  The American heritage on the Central London Tube persists today as the carriages are referred to as "cars".

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 14, 2020 8:06 AM

Think this was built new as a utility car for the elevated lines and not converted from passenger equipment.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, September 14, 2020 8:58 AM

Overmod

While we are on the subject of education, some is badly needed over on MR in the broad-gauge modeling thread.  I have been reading too many tank model-kit boxes and books that discuss Soviet strategy in assigning weapon caliber so that their guns could purportedly fire captured ammunition in a pinch, but enemy guns would wear prematurely or burst if Soviet ammunition were tried.  This was 'of a piece' with other Soviet military cunning so I believed the preponderance of the evidence, but Kevin diplomatically but firmly says he doesn't think it's so.  As this is one of your fields you might want to weigh in with definitives.

 

I've never heard any of that.

The Russians, like most military establishments, had their own way of doing things.  Not necessarily right or wrong, just different.  And when you take a look at it, a five-foot gauge makes a bit more sense (to me at least) than 4'8.5" does, it would certainly make for a lot more versatility in motive power and rolling stock. 

And sometimes as far as ammunition useage (or not) the reverse it true.  The Finns for example built all their infantry small arms in Russian calibers, the idea being they could use captured Russian ammunition in case of a war.  Talk about cocky self-confidence!  

However, this is NOT to say that on the Eastern Front during WW2 the Russians and the Germans didn't make use of captured military equipment, they certainly did, both artillery and to a lesser extent tanks.  Interestingly, Russian tankers who were issued captured German Panther tanks didn't like them at all.  They DID like American Lend-Lease Shermans, finding them very easy to drive and very roomy and comfortable to ride and live in.

Even more interesting, the Germans used some captured Shermans as part of the last-ditch defense of the Reich, and the Germans liked them too!

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