Trolleys to the Casino: Rolling Stock - 1897-1926

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Chapter 8

Passenger Cars

The five 20-foot single truck closed cars, Nos. 2 even through 10, purchased from Briggs by the Exeter Street Railway in 1897 all had rectangular monitor roofs, convex-concave panel sides and seven drop-sash windows on each side. Nos. 2 and 4 initially had open platforms and longitudinal seats while Nos. 6, 8 and 10, which were fully vestibuled, each had 10 reversible transverse and four longitudinal corner seats. Each of the five cars had a seating capacity of 28. All rode on Dupont C trucks, with a wheelbase of 6 ft. 6 in., purchased from the Johnson Company of Johnstown, Pa., and each was equipped with electric heaters supplied by the H. W. Johns Manufacturing Company of New York City.

Nos. 2 and 4 were returned to the Briggs plant in October 1898 to be rebuilt with vestibules and during December of that year, all five closed cars were equipped with sand boxes. Photographs indicate that the electric headlights on some or all of the closed cars at first were mounted on the platform or vestibule hoods, later being moved to the conventional location in the approximate center of the dashers.

Also built with monitor roofs were the five Briggs 10 bench open cars, Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. They had single running boards and three-window end bulkheads, the sashes being arranged to drop into pockets. Seats and interior woodwork were of ash, finished in natural color, and the side curtains were made of Pantasote, a patented leather-like material. Each car seated 50 and Dupont C trucks were applied.

(Newspaper reports indicate that some of the cars initially were equipped with Dupont C trucks with a 7 ft. 6 in. wheelbase. These were too long and soon were replaced with the 6 ft. 6 in. trucks).

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New passenger equipment built by Briggs in 1899 for the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury and the Amesbury & Hampton Street Railways consisted of two 20-foot closed cars, Nos. 14 and 16; one Duplex 22-foot single truck convertible, No. 20; seven 10 bench opens, Nos. 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23, and six 14 bench double truck opens, Nos. 25 odd through 35. The two closed cars, three of the 10 bench opens and the six 14 bench opens were owned by the Amesbury & Hampton while the other four 10 bench opens and the Duplex were the property of the EH&A.

Nos. 14 and 16 were identical to Nos. 6, 8 and 10 except for having steam coach instead of monitor roofs. The seven new 10 bench opens were like the 1897 cars but were somewhat more substantially and heavily constructed. The six 14 bench opens had steam coach roofs, double running boards and three-window end bulkheads and were equipped with buzzer signal systems for the convenience of passengers, the push buttons being located on the seat posts. Each of the 14 bench cars seated 70 passengers.

The Duplex, constructed by Briggs under license from the Duplex Car Company of New York City, measured 32 feet in overall length and was fully vestibuled. There were nine sliding panels, each with a curved glass window, on each side and these panels could be raised into pockets in the monitor roof whenever it was desired to convert the car from closed to open. There were two steps and a single running board on each side and inside there were 16 reversible transverse seats (eight on either side of the center aisle) upholstered in rattan and accommodating 32 passengers. Intended primarily for use in charter car service, the Duplex could be decorated with colored lights and frequently was festooned with flags and bunting when carrying special parties.

One of the new 10 bench opens, No. 11, was destroyed when struck by the eastbound Bar Harbor Express of the Boston & Maine at the Exeter Road grade crossing in Hampton Village about 11 p.m. on August 28, 1899. Fortunately, there were no passengers and the motorman and conductor were both off the car, one trying to replace the trolley pole on the wire and the other attempting to flag the train. The only person injured was the locomotive fireman, who was struck by flying wood splinters. The engine was damaged somewhat and was replaced by another when the train arrived in Portsmouth.

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Four 10 bench opens, built by Newburyport and numbered 45, 47, 49 and 51, and two more Briggs 14 bench opens, believed numbered 55 and 57, were acquired in 1900. The 10 bench cars were of the same general design as the Briggs products while the two 14 bench opens were identical to Nos. 25-35. At about the same time, two 10 bench opens of the 1897 group were either sold or discarded for by the end of 1900, there were only 13 ten bench opens on the EH&A-A&H property, other passenger equipment at that time including seven single truck closed cars, the Duplex convertible and eight 14 bench opens.

All of the Exeter Street Railway, EH&A and Amesbury & Hampton cars were painted a brilliant carmine with white trim and silver lettering, the company name appearing on the letterboards of the open cars and the Duplex and on the concave side panels of the closed cars. Nos. 14 and 16, the Duplex and the 10 bench opens added in 1899 and 1900 all rode on Dupont C trucks while all the 14 bench opens rode on Dupont double trucks. Single truck cars had hand brakes and single trolley poles while the 14 bench opens had both hand and air brakes and were fitted with double trolley poles. The air brakes were furnished by the Standard Air Brake Company of New York Ci tv and featured geared axle-driven compressors.

Each car was equipped with two motors, motor types including Steel C-31/2 (25 hp); Steel 22 (35 hp) and Steel 34 (50 hp), and had Steel series-parallel controllers. According to the Street Railway Journal, the 50 hp motors were used on the 14 bench opens in summer and on the closed cars in the fall, winter and spring. The 25 and 35 hp motors were used on the 10 bench opens and the Duplex.

(Steel motors also were known as Johnson motors and some railways classified them as Lorain motors. Originally produced by the Steel Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, they subsequently were marketed by the Johnson Company, which later was taken over by the Lorain Steel Company of Johnstown, Pa. and Lorain, Ohio).

Six General Electric 67 (40 hp) motors were purchased by the EH&A early in 1901 but two of these are believed to have been transferred to the Dover, Somersworth & Rochester later in the year. By the end of the year, there were 29 two-motor equipments on the EH&A-A&H property, the total including nine Steel 34, ten Steel C-3!/2, eight Steel 22 and two General Electric 67. Another two Steel C-31/2 motors were in use on the DS&R.

Official records indicate that two 20-foot closed cars, Nos. 2 and 4, and three 10 bench opens were sold by the EH&A during the year ended June 30, 1904. The 10 bench opens were the last three of the five purchased from Briggs by the Exeter Street Railway in 1897 and it is known that they were shipped in May 1904 to the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway of Lewiston, Me., which had experienced a disastrous carhouse fire in December 1903. It is believed Nos. 2 and 4 were sold to the same company. Another 10 bench open, No. 13, was sold or otherwise disposed of during the year ended June 30, 1905 but there is no clue as to its possible purchaser. As of June 30, 1905, nine 10 bench opens remained, these being Nos. 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 45, 47, 49 and 51, and there were five single truck closed cars, Nos. 6, 8, 10, 14 and 16.

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The eleven 25-foot closed cars ordered from Laconia by the Massachusetts Construction Company for the Haverhill, Plaistow & Newton and the Portsmouth & Exeter Street Railways in 1901 and 1902 initially were numbered 24, 26, 28 and 46 even through 60. Nos. 24 and 60 subsequently were renumbered 36 and 38 and they, plus Nos. 26 and 28, became the property of the P&E, with Nos. 46 even through 58 being assigned to the Haverhill, Plaistow & Newton. All 11 cars had steam coach roofs, convex-concave panel sides, nine divided drop-sash windows on each side and full vestibules. Each car accommodated 32 passengers on 10 reversible transverse and four longitudinal corner seats.

The 18 Laconia 14 bench open cars ordered for the P&E and the HP&N initially were numbered 59, 61 and 63, 73 odd through 85 and 153 odd through 167. Nos. 59, 61 and 63 subsequently were renumbered 69, 71 and 169 respectively, and after the renumbering, Nos. 69, 71, 73 and 75 were the property of the Portsmouth & Exeter, the other 14 belonging to the HP&N. Like the Briggs 14 bench opens, all of the Laconia cars had steam coach roofs, double running boards and three- window end bulkheads.

(Nos. 59, 61 and 63 were delivered in late June of 1901 and at least one of them, No. 59, was one of the specials used to convey 300 members of Aleppo Shrine Temple of Boston from the Hampton depot to Hampton Beach on August 31, 1901 and back to Hampton Village two days later).

All of the new Laconia cars were painted a brilliant carmine with white trim and were mounted on Laconia 8-B or 9-B trucks, which were identical in general design, differing only in the length of the wheelbase. Each car had four General Electric motors and General Electric series-parallel controllers. Standard air brakes, with axle-driven compressors, initially were applied but later the compressors were replaced by Christensen motor-driven air pumps.

Evidence is that all of the Steel controllers on the EH&A and Amesbury & Hampton cars were replaced with new General Electric controllers of the series- parallel type and some of the Steel motors were replaced by General Electric motors. The six 14 bench opens, Nos. 25-35, of the Amesbury & Hampton were renumbered 53 odd through 63 while the EH&A's two 14 bench opens became Nos. 65 and 67. Some of them were re-equipped with Laconia trucks and Christensen motor driven air-compressors while others retained their Dupont trucks and axle-driven compressors.

With the arrival of the Laconia cars, the EH&A and the connecting lines leased thereto owned a total of 58 passenger cars:

EH&A A&H HP&N P&E Total
20-Foot Closed 5 2 -- -- 7
25-Foot Closed -- -- 7 4 11
Duplex 1 -- -- -- 1
10 Bench Open 10 3 -- -- 13
14 Bench Open 2 6 14 4 26

Ownership of the cars meant nothing from an operating standpoint. All cars in the Eastern Division were pooled and were assigned to the various lines according to traffic requirements. For example, Portsmouth & Exeter-owned cars were operated regularly on the Hampton Beach run in summer; HP&N cars ran between Exeter and Hampton Beach, and Amesbury & Hampton cars served the Portsmouth-Exeter run. As a matter of fact, at least four open cars of the HP&N's 153-167 group were in service on the New Hampshire Traction Company's Western Division.

Two other cars which must be mentioned are Nos. 22 and 24, both Duplex double truck convertibles built by Briggs and reportedly originally owned by the Haverhill, Plaistow & Newton. These cars were like No. 20 in general appearance, having rectangular monitor roofs and full vestibules, but there were 11 instead of nine sliding panels on each side and each accommodated 40 passengers on 20 rattan-upholstered reversible transverse seats. They had single running boards along the sides and single steps at the vestibule doors.

It isn't known if these two cars ever were operated on the Eastern Division but it IS known that both were on the Dover, Somersworth & Rochester on July 23, 1901, title to Nos. 22 and 24 being transferred to that company.

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Passenger equipment listed on the EH&A receiver's inventory as of May 14, 1906 consisted of four 20-foot closed cars, Nos. 6, 8, 10 and 12; six 10 bench opens, Nos. 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 49; the Duplex, No. 20, and two 14 bench opens, Nos. 65 and 67. All except Nos. 21 and 23 rode on Dupont trucks, these two having Taylor trucks. There were 18 motors - six each of the Steel 34, Steel 22 and General Electric 67 types.

The origin of the 20-foot closed car No. 12 is uncertain but it is thought to have been one of the two cars, owned by the Briggs Carriage Company, placed in trial service on the EH&A-A&H system in the late fall of 1899. Evidence is that the two cars were sold in late 1900 or early in 1901, with one going to the Dover, Somersworth & Rochester and the other to an unknown buyer. Annual reports of the New Hampshire Railroad Commissioners indicate that the DS&R disposed of one closed car during the year ended June 30, 1906 and that the EH&A acquired one at a value of $34.80 in the same period. According to photographs, No. 12 was similar to Nos. 14 and 16 of the Amesbury & Hampton, having a steam coach roof, convex-concave panel sides, seven windows on each side and full vestibules.

The five 10 bench open cars destroyed in the Hampton carhouse fire of March 1, 1907 were Nos. 15, 19, 21, 23 and 49 and to replace them, the EH&A, after some search, purchased five similar cars from the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company of Brooklyn, N. Y. Built by the J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1898, they had monitor roofs, single running boards of the folding type, two-window end bulkheads and heavy steel bumpers. Mounted on trucks salvaged from the ruins of the Hampton carhouse, they were painted green and were numbered 15, 19, 21, 23 and 25.

During the following year, two 14 bench double truck opens, Nos. 61 and 63, were built in the EH&A shops. Reportedly by one George W. Fowler, believed to have been a finish carpenter or cabinetmaker in the Hampton area, they were similar to Nos. 65 and 67, having steam coach roofs and double running boards. It is said they were somewhat wider than the two Briggs cars, seating six to a bench instead of the usual five, but this cannot be corroborated. Some of the hardware salvaged from the remains of the cars destroyed in the carhouse fire probably was used in building Nos. 61 and 63, which rode on Dupont double trucks. Twelve additional motors were acquired, these being of the GE67 and General Electric 57 (50 hp) types.

(For at least two summers, the EH&A leased four 14 bench opens from the New Hampshire Electric Rail- ways. These are believed to have been Briggs cars of the 53-63 series).

During 1909, the EH&A purchased a Brill 10 bench open car from the Public Service Railway of New Jersey and acquired the body of No. 16 from the Amesbury & Hampton. The open car was PSNJ No. 270, built in 1902 for the Middlesex & Somerset Traction Company of New Brunswick, N. J. It was renumbered 27 by the EH&A.

As of June 30, 1910, passenger equipment of the EH&A included five 20-foot closed cars, Nos. 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16; seven 10 bench open cars, Nos. 15 odd through 27; four 14 bench opens, Nos. 61, 63, 65 and 67, and the Duplex. All rode on Dupont trucks and the types of active motors were General Electric 57 and 67 and Steel 34. Each car had two motors. General Electric K-11 controllers were standard and the four 14 bench opens had both hand and air brakes, all others having band brakes only.

(The other Amesbury & Hampton 20-foot closed car, No. 14, was converted to a line car, C-No. 1, by the New Hampshire Electric Railways in 1910 and was scrapped by the Massachusetts Northeastern in 1923. The six A&H 14 bench opens, Nos. 53-63, all were taken over by the Northeastern as also were three 10 bench open cars, Nos. 45, 47 and 51. The 10 bench opens were junked in 1923 while the 14 bench opens were scrapped in 1927).

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There were no changes in the passenger equipment of the EH&A through 1920 although, at some unknown time, the electric heaters in the five closed cars, Nos. 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16, were replaced by hot water heating systems. With the removal of one of the longitudinal corner seats to provide room for the coal-burning boiler, the seating capacity of each car was reduced to 26. During the latter part of 1917, the EH&A gave serious consideration to altering at least three of its closed cars for one-man operation and even went so far as to consign the Laconia Car Company relative to plans for and costs of conversion. But, as earlier noted, the plans were not carried out.

Commenting on the condition of the EH&A rolling Stock, Llewellyn H. McLain, who was retained to value the property of the railway in 1919, noted that the closed cars were in poor shape and would last only a few years longer at best. He indicated that the seven 10 bench opens and the Duplex were in fair condition and that the 14 bench opens were in good condition, except for the need of paint. McLain recommended that the closed cars be discarded and replaced by modern one- man safety cars but there were no funds to purchase new equipment - and, besides, negotiations for the sale of the property were in progress.

Shortly after municipal operation of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury commenced in 1921, such open cars as were to be continued in service during the coming summer were painted (for the last time) and early in September, two of the single truck closed cars, Nos. 8 and 12, were reconditioned extensively and were equipped with air brakes and safety devices for one-man operation. Both were placed in service in October.

During the following year, a Birney single truck one- man safety car was purchased from the Wason Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Mass., for $6,447.76, including freight. Numbered 4, it rode on a Brill 79-E-1 truck and is believed to have been equipped with two General Electric 264 (25 hp) motors, K-63 controllers and General Electric air brakes. Two more Birneys, Nos. 2 and 14, were added during 1925, being purchased second-hand from the Medway & Dedham Street Railway in Massachusetts for a total of $4,423.32. Built by Wason in 1919, these two cars were delivered to the EH&A at Smithtown, having been run to that point under their own power. These two also had Brill 79-E-1 trucks and probably GE264 motors, K-63 controllers and GE air brakes. Each of the Birneys had a seating capacity of 33.

(The Medway & Dedham had four Birneys, Nos. 100- 103, all built by Wason in the same year. The other two were conveyed to the Pennsylvania-New Jersey Railway Company in 1927).

After the arrival of the M&D cars, the Birneys provided all base service on the EH&A and were used until the end of rail operations on January 2, 1926. Nos. 8 and 12 were operated only in emergencies and the three two-man closed cars, Nos. 6, 10 and 16, divested of their trucks, were supported on barrels inside the car barn, as also were the Duplex and several of the 10 bench opens.

Birney No. 4 was sold in 1927 to the Biddeford Saco Railroad of Biddeford, Me., and was renumbered 44 by that company. The two ex-Medway & Dedham cars were run to Hampton Beach and were stored there briefly before being taken to the Merrimac carhouse of the Massachusetts Northeastern. Later, they were sold to the Pittsburgh Railways in Pennsylvania and became PRC Nos. 8 and 9. Operated on the Thornburg Shuttle, Route 29, they were scrapped on April 5, 1932. Biddeford & Saco No. 44 was in service until 1936.

All remaining rolling stock was sold to Perry Buxton Doane, which disposed of several car bodies by selling them to private parties. One of the closed cars, either 12 or 16, was conveyed to an Exeter resident and was located for several years in a back yard off Front Street, near Washington Street. The body of No. 8 became the kitchen of the Hampton Diner in Hampton Village and served as such until broken up in 1966. The Duplex was purchased by Motorman George Munsey and was used as a children's playhouse for several years. Still another (No. 6) was moved to Mill Road, Hampton, and was rebuilt to a house (by Ernest L. White in 1935), completely enclosed with stones and cement. Known as the "Stone House," it is still in use as a dwelling. Two others became overnight camps in a pine grove off Route I in North Hampton (at the site of the North Hampton Factory Outlet).

Two of the 14 bench opens, No. 63 and probably 61, went to pieces in a field about a quarter mile west of the car barn. The other two 14 bench opens and the seven 10 bench opens are believed to have been burned.

The only other unit of passenger equipment on the EH&A was the bus. Unfortunately, there is no available information on this vehicle, which was sold to the Boston & Maine Transportation Company in 1927, as were also a number of fare registers.

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