Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to 34th Street in Bayonne, N.J. Sandy Campbell photo (June 24, 2007)

This month’s Zoom presentation by David Wilson is “Manhattan Transfer.” David’s show will trace the purposes, construction, expansion, decline and revival of transportation systems at the Hudson River waterfront from the first railroads to the introduction of present-day light rail and ferry service.

Manhattan Transfer was more than a fictional name for Penn Station immortalized in the titular novel by John Dos Passos. For nearly two centuries, eight railroads, streetcar operations and a subway line surmounted obstacles in northern New Jersey to reach the Hudson River waterfront where passengers could transfer to ferry boats or H&M subway trains to gain access to Manhattan.

  December Meeting Notice
CityLYNX Gold Line light rail vehicle with Charlotte skyline in the background. Andrew Grahl photo (Aug 29, 2021)

The presenter of our November show is ERA Program Chairman and transit professional Andrew Grahl. Andrew’s show will consist of the following:

  • Charlotte: The opening of Phase II of the Gold Line in August 2021
  • Traction News: Recent visits to Boston, Philadelphia, St. Paul and Washington, D.C.
  • Under Construction: Views of both Baltimore’s Green Line Extension and Maryland’s Purple Line will be shown
  • NYC Rail Update: Views of commuter rail, subways and freight railroads around the area
  • From the Scanner: Classic Kodachrome images of historic traction and rail subjects from around the country

A few railroad images from a recent road trip to see the South Shore and Metra in Chicago as well as railroads in Wisconsin and Minnesota will close out the presentation.

  November Meeting Notice
ron yee

We are greatly saddened to announce that Ron Yee died on Friday, October 29 after a very brief but severe illness. Ron (#5169) was an ERA member for 46 years, having joined on July 19, 1976. In addition to being the Tri-State and North American news editor for The Bulletin and a frequent contributor to Headlights, Ron also served on the board of directors as second vice president and corresponding secretary. Our hearts and prayers go out to Ron’s wife Lily and the rest of his family and friends. Read More

PTC 2532 on Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia. Ray Berger photo (1963)

The featured speakers of our October presentation will be Dr. Rich Allman and Charles Long of the East Penn Traction Club. They will make two presentations, one being a survey of deck roof cars throughout the U.S., followed by an in-depth survey of Philadelphia PCC car operation, both with many historic photos.

  October Meeting Notice

CERA European Rail and Transit Review

In July 2018, Harvey Laner and his wife Shelly cruised Northern Europe. Harvey was able to video mainline rail and city tram action in Dublin and Cork, Ireland; Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium; Amsterdam; Stockholm; Helsinki; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; and Berlin.

Harvey has produced a comprehensive video program that summarizes his experiences. Also included is a portion of the ship’s travel through the Kiel Canal, connecting the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Please join us for this interesting, international program. This Zoom presentation is open to all and will not be recorded.

Baltimore 7348 westbound on Saratoga near Pearl Street. Ray Berger photo (1963)

We return to our regular third Friday of the month meeting schedule on September 17. Retired transit operations executive and ERA member Tony Schill will present “PCC: The Amazing Streamlined Streetcar,” a comprehensive survey of the dawn, zenith, abandonment (in most cities), and survival of the PCC, an outstanding example of American systems engineering which helped spark the modern revival of light rail transportation. Every North American PCC operation will be featured in Tony’s presentation.

  September Meeting Notice
One of 50 Pullman-Standard-built PCCs delivered to CTS in 1946. Brooklyn Station motorman John Gaydos is on the right. Anthony Krisak photo (Rich’s dad)

Rich Krisak

Friday, August 13, 2021

Our meeting is being held one week early, on August 13 instead of August 20, to avoid conflicts with some other national traction events.

This month’s Zoom presentation will feature retired Atlanta MARTA chief operating officer, ERA member, and Ohio native Rich Krisak. He will cover the fascinating history of Cleveland electric traction, focusing on the early 1950s when the last streetcars ran, the new rapid transit line opened, and the wires came down on the Cleveland Union Terminal electrification.

It is rare to find a treatment of a major American city’s traction history as comprehensive as the one Rich will present. You will not want to miss this program!

  August Meeting Notice
Russ Jackson’ 2020 Zoom presentation.

July’s Zoom presenter, Russ Jackson (ERA #1859), returns with another in his series of great historic videos, including the Princeton Junction area in 1968 and 1969, the Northeast Corridor anywhere grade crossings were involved, and the Skokie Swift operation in Chicago. These historic videos of a bygone era not to be missed!

Al Churella’s book, The Pennsylvania Railroad, Volume I: Building an Empire, 1846-1917, is available from Amazon for $42. Sandy Campbell composite photo

ERA continues to take advantage of Zoom by inviting accomplished speakers from around the country. This month’s presenter is Al Churella, professor of history at Kennesaw State University in the Metro-Atlanta city of Kennesaw, Georgia. Churella’s research focuses on transportation history and transportation policy, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the railroads and the regulatory state. His presentation, “Escape from New York (and Philadelphia): How the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road Got Rid of Their Commuter Service,” is a fascinating pictorial retelling of the transition to new regional transit operators in the 1950s and early 1960s. This is a presentation not to be missed!

Yellow/white Peter Witt tram 1673 at Piazza Cairoli in Milan, with Castello Sforzesco in the background. Peter Ehrlich photo (March 17, 2008)

Noted traction author and retired San Francisco Municipal Railway streetcar motorman Peter Ehrlich is our speaker for this month’s program. His presentation will focus on trams in Milan.

Peter worked at the San Francisco Municipal Railway from 1979 to 2005, the last 10 years being assigned to PCCs, Milan trams and vintage cars running on the F-Market & Wharves line. He continues to document traction across North America and Europe. His book, “San Francisco’s F-Line,” is available through the ERA HERE. Follow the directions to get the ERA’s $20 discount.

Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad “Insull era” MU car #33 (built 1929 by Standard Steel) departs Beverly Shores station on its way to Michigan City, Indiana. Ron Yee photo (June 1981)

The presenter of our April show is Ron Yee (ERA #5196), ERA second vice president and contributing editor of The Bulletin’s Rail News in Review section. Ron’s program will consist of scanned slides from the beginnings of his railfan photography days in the mid-1970s through 2004 when he started shooting with a digital camera. Included will be nostalgic views of NYC, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore-Washington regions, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Toronto and much more. Do not miss this presentation!

Harvey Laner

Friday, April 9, 2021

Live from the Central Electric Railfans’ Association in Chicago, Harvey Laner is back by popular demand for the CERA April Zoom program, Friday, April 9 at 8 p.m. (EST).

As a teenager in the mid-1950s, Harvey embarked upon several journeys to ride and record on 8mm film the traction properties still operating in the U.S. and Canada. His presentation, Traction Wanderlust, is a filmed visit to the remaining traction operations in the U.S. and Canada between 1955 and 1958. Join us as he takes us along on his journey as we view scenes on the following:

United States — CA&E · CNS&M · CSS&SB · CTA Streetcar and “L” · Milwaukee Streetcars · St. Louis Public Service · Illinois Terminal · Shaker Heights · Pittsburgh Railways · Philadelphia streetcars · Red Arrow Lines · Baltimore · DC Transit System · El Paso City Lines · New Orleans Public Service · Portland Traction

Canada — Montreal Streetcars · London & Port Stanley · Niagara · St. Catharines & Toronto · Ottawa Streetcars · British Columbia Electric · Quebec Ry Light & Power

This presentation will last about two hours. All are welcome.

London Trams CR-4000 (Flexity Swift) #2547 (Bombardier Transportation, 2000) is seen operating on the New Addington route at the Lebanon Road stop on Addiscombe Road and Lebanon Road in Croydon. Jeff Erlitz photo (April 26, 2019)

The presenter of our March show is Jeff Erlitz (ERA #3997), editor-in-chief of The Bulletin since February 2018. Jeff’s program will take us on a three-week trip through England, Belgium, Germany and Austria. Do not miss this presentation!

T80 Bedford Nostrand. Eric Oszustowicz photo (October 4, 1986)

Tonight’s program will consist of videos and still photographs by Eric Oszustowicz. Videos will include Boston’s new Green Line trolleys and new Orange Line cars in addition to other footage from the Boston area. Footage of the Cincinnati Bell Connector light rail line and of the Pittsburgh light rail system will also be included. As always, footage of numerous freight trains and Amtrak trains taken on road trips from Maine to Ohio are on the agenda. This will be a long presentation, so make sure you have a comfortable chair to watch from… and have some popcorn ready! Please join us for an entertaining evening.

New York Railroad Enthusiasts Show Rescheduled

Friday, January 22, 2021

Andrew Grahl’s father Gary is in the hospital, so part 2 of Andrew’s NYRRE show tonight has been rescheduled for October 22. ERA members are still welcome to join tonight’s Zoom meeting as they will be watching two DVDs. Visit the NYRRE site for instructions.

One of Kansas City’s CAF-built streetcars is shown operating southbound on Main Street approaching 8th. Jack May photo (2016)

Noted rail photographer and longtime ERA member Jack May will be the presenter of our January meeting. Jack’s program is divided into two parts. The first portion is called “Modern Streetcar Systems in the U.S.A. — A personal survey with digressions, detours and diversions.” The second portion of the show will include a potpourri of foreign and North American views of electric traction from trip reports not published in The Bulletin. Please join us on Zoom to welcome in the New Year with our first program of 2021!

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