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United Traction Co. Snow Sweepers

United Traction Co. Snow Sweepers

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Published by staustell92
This is a historical article about snow sweepers owned by the United Traction Co. (UTC) of Albany, NY. The UTC (until it ceased streetcar operations in 1946) used sweeping machines, rather than plows, to clear the snow from the tracks on city streets (this was standard procedure for electric street railways). The author was the late Ken Haselton, devoted streetcar enthusiast and historian.
This is a historical article about snow sweepers owned by the United Traction Co. (UTC) of Albany, NY. The UTC (until it ceased streetcar operations in 1946) used sweeping machines, rather than plows, to clear the snow from the tracks on city streets (this was standard procedure for electric street railways). The author was the late Ken Haselton, devoted streetcar enthusiast and historian.

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Published by: staustell92 on Sep 12, 2011
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8THECALLBOARDNEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK
&
HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.
ByKenHaselton
January
1992
(
UnitedTractionCompanySnowSweepers
Oneofthemostimportant,thoughoft overlooked,piecesoftractionequipmentinthisclimatewasthesnowsweeper.These piecesofworkequipment,togetherwith plowsandsandcars,werevitaltowinter operationontheUnitedTractionCompany aswinterweatherintheCapitalDistrict couldbeharsh.Thesnowsweeperwas perhapsthemostinterestingofthenon- revenueequipmentownedbytheUTC.as wellasothertractioncompaniesinthe NorthAmericawhereseveresnowcondi- tionsprevailed.Whilesnowsweeperswere producedinbothsingle-truckanddouble- truckmodels,thesingle-trucktypewas predominant.Themostpopularofthecommercially-builtsingle-trucksnowsweeperswerethose ofMcGuire-CummingsManufacturingCo.Accordingtotheir1911salesbrochure,1400ofthecompany'ssweeperswereop- eratingonU.S.andCanadianpropertiesat thattime.TheUnitedTractionCompany ownedonesweeperofthismanufacture.
UnitedTractionCompanysnowsweeperNo.40,aMcGuire-Cummingsmodel,workingeastboundon Madison-AvenuenearKnoxStreetonMarch3,1943.Ascanbeseen,thesnowsweepersprovidedquite adramaticscenewhenthrowingthesnowoffthetracks.(PhotobyFredB.Abele).
 
J
January1992
NEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK
&
HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.THECALLBOARD9
Thenextmostpopularmodelswerethose producedbytheJ.G.BrillCompany.The Brillsweeperswereessentiallyoftwotypes:the"StandardType"andthe"Kuhlman LongBroom."The"StandardType"hada shortbroom(brush)withroundorhexago-nalendsonthecarbody.The"Kuhlman LongBroom,"asitsnameindicates,hada longbroomandroundedendsonthecarbody.TheUTCownedtwoBrillsnow sweepers.Lewis
&
FowlerManufacturingCom-panyandtheRussellCar
&
SnowPlowCompanywerethenextmostpopularmod-els.CincinnatiCarCompanyandBemis CarCompanywerealsoknowntohave producedlimitednumbersofsnowsweep- ers.Sometractioncompanieseitherbuilttheirownsnowsweepers"fromscratch"or adaptedexistingpassengercarstothepur- poseofsweepingsnow.Someofthese "homemade"modelswereratherunusual. Inaddition,afewcompanieswhichhadpreviouslyoperatedhorse-drawnorcable carsconvertedthemtoelectricoperation. Partswereavailablefromsomeofthemanu- facturersfortheseconversions,adaptations andnewconstructionsundertakenbytrac-tioncompanies.Double-trucksnowsweeperswerethe leastcommontypeandwereproducedcom-merciallybythreemajorcarbuilders.The RussellCar
&
SnowPlowCompanyofRidgway,Pennsylvaniawasthepredomi- nantbuilderanditssnowsweeperswerein serviceprimarilyinthenorthernandnorth- easternpartsoftheUnitedStatesand Canada.TheRussellsweepershadafairly standardbodydesign.Theirbeveledgeardriveforthebroomsprovideddependable, trouble-freeserviceunderseverewinter conditions.Asaconsequence,thesesweep-ersoftenhadseveralownersduringtheir lives,beingpassedonfromonecompanyto anotherasownerswentoutofbusiness.For example,NewYorkStateRailways,Syra- cuseDivisionNo.3016becamePhiladel-phiaSuburbanNo.5in1941.Thisisbe- lievedtobethelastdouble-truckRussellsnowsweepertooperateonaU.S.prop- erty.McGuire-Cummingsbuiltrelativelyfew double-trucksnowsweepers,comparedto Russell.McGuire-Cummingssweeperswereinserviceprimarilyonwesternand mid-westerntractionsystemsintheUnited StatesandCanada.TheoneexceptionwasdiePhiladelphiaSuburbanTransportation Company.Duringthewarmweatherthese sweeperswereoftenusedasfreightmotors orlinecarsaftersimplyremovingtheir broombeamsandchaindrives.Theydid notseemtomovefromoneownertoan- otherastheRussellsweepersdid. Double-trucksnowsweepersbuiltby J.G.Brillwerequiterare.Thatbuilder evidentlyproducedonlytenoftheunits,all ofwhichwerebuiltforthePhiladelphia RapidTransitCompany.Severaltraction companiesconverteddouble-truckfreight motorsandpassengercarstosnowsweeper operation.TheUnitedTractionCompanyequip- mentrosterlistselevensnowsweepers,all ofsingletruckdesign.Ofthese,fiveare listedasbeingbuiltbytheUnitedTraction Company,theJ.G.BrillCompanyislisted
ThisInteriorviewofNo.40showssomeofthemotors,driveshafts, controlersandotherequipmentnecessaryIntheoperationofasnowsweeper.FredAbeletookthisphotoonMarch16,1941.
 
10THECALLBOARDNEWSLETTEROFTHEMOHAWK&HUDSONCHAPTER,N.R.H.S.
January
1992
AlbanytractionenthusiastJohnDunnMurphycaughtNo.40workingnorthonNorthPearlStreetnearState.ThedateJohntookthephoto Isunknown.(FredB.AbeleCollection)
asthemanufactureroftwooftheseandthreearelistedasbeingbuiltbyMcGuire. Thefactthatfourofeleven(threeUnitedTractionandoneBrill)have"old"numbersand"new"numbersmightindicatethatthesesweeperswereadaptedorconverted frompassengerorfreightunits.Morelikely,theyoriginallybelongedtootherpredeces- sorcompanies,asallfourwerebuiltbefore theconsolidationofthecompaniesintothe UnitedTractionCompanyin1900.Inaddi- tiontotheelevensnowsweepers,theUTC rosterlists13snowplowsinitsarmoryof snowfightingequipment.ItisnotpossibletodeterminefromtheUTCrosterwheneachofthesnowsweep- erswastakenoutofserviceandhowmany ofthemwereinserviceatthecloseofstreetcaroperationsin1946.However,Nos.37,38,40,41and42aretheonlyoneswhichappearinphotographsoftheFredAbele Collection.ThesinglephotofoundofNo.37isdated1936,whileNos.38,40,41and 42allappearinphotosinthe1940's.Since theUTCscrappedalotofcarsin1937atthe QuailStreetcarbarntomakeroomfornew
RosterofUnitedTractionCompanySnowSweepers
OldNewManufacturerDateBit.Truck(s)BodyOverall. No.No.LengthLength
934UnitedTractionCo.1896Single21'6"28'8" 2535UnitedTractionCo.1897Single21'6" 28'8" 2838UnitedTractionCo. 1897Single21'6" 28'8"29UnitedTractionCo.1894Single21'6"28'8" 37McGuire-Cummings1903Single23'4"28'4" 39UnitedTractionCo. 1894Single 21'6"28'8"5943J.G.BrillCo.1894Single21'4" 28'67J.G.BrillCo. 1894Single21'4" 28'40McGuire-Cummings1915 Single24'3" 28'3" 41McGuire-Cummings1915 Single24'3" 28'3"42McGuire-Cummings1915 Single24'3"28'3"

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