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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        61. Differences of RoutesIn almost any system, different cars are likely to carry passengers between different terminal points and go through different places on their way between those terminal points. On the other hand, there must be certain standard roads and terminal points for the cars, so that passengers may know where to expect the car will take them. Each of these different sets of roads used is called a line or a route, and must include not merely the terminal points but the roads covered between them in both directions. Where the roads covered in the two directions differ widely, and where there is between those two directions no definite point at which passengers are discharged and the car turns back, the route is said to be a belt line, and, if the "belt" is covered by cars circling it in both directions, it must be considered as two separate routes.

        An extension of a route means the original route plus a further part at either or both ends, taking the car to terminal points farther out than the original ones. Similarly, we may speak of the shortening of a route, where only a part of the original route is covered. How far an extension or shortening of a route, or a branching off from it, constitutes a separate route, is largely a matter of convenience, which, for the transfer collector, is to be decided by grouping and significance of issued transfer forms, similarity of names and other notation, etc. The same applies to the case of the alteration of a route.

        It is often convenient to consider one route as a main line, and another route leading from it, a comparatively short distance or to less important places, as a branch of the main line. Such branches, particularly small ones, are usually known in cities as shuttles, jiggers, or dinkeys; sometimes as feeder lines. Such lines frequently form the remaining part of what is really an extension of the original route, and, in such a case, it is difficult to say whether or not to distinguish them as separate routes or to consider them as part of the original.

        As to the terms line and route, "line" should refer to the company's service, and "route" to the mere topography of that service; but this is not a hard and fast distinction, and the two terms can be used almost interchangeably.

        On the whole, we may say that any difference in terminal points, or in  the places passed through on the way between those terminals, constitutes a difference of route; but it is usually convenient to relax this rule, and allow slight variations in any of the essential points to be included under the same route. On the other hand, it may sometimes be convenient to consider as different routes lines which do not differ geographically but are operated by different companies or systems, or with different sorts of vehicles (trolleys and busses, for instance). Here again, it is merely a matter of convenient notation and nomenclature.

        Routes that are similar in general direction from a central district or otherwise lying in the same geographical location are frequently classified together by the company and usually called a division (not to be confused with the geographical divisions of Sec. 25; they may be distinguished as "company divisions"). In some cases (Boston Elevated Railway; Market Street Railway of San Francisco; San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways; Pittsburgh Railways) the divisions are made radially from a central district; in other cases (Connecticut Company; Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway) each division includes a city and a surrounding region; while in still other instances (Long Island Electric system) the term division means hardly more than line or route. It is an interesting matter to note the exact use of this term by any company employing it.

        62. Naming of RoutesGenerally speaking, each route of any system has a definite individual name by which it is a token of. The complete name of a route should be composed of the two terminal points and some indication sufficient to show how the car goes from one point to the other. However, a route name is usually not so complex, and is more likely to consist of some portion of abbreviation of these data, and part or all of it may he arbitrary. It must simply be individual enough to serve as an identification of the route. "Crosstown" appears in the names of many routes, and ordinarily means that the route is not directed either toward or away from what is considered a central district, and, if we consider that district as the center of a circle, is directed circumferentially rather than radially. In the case of the Manhattan and Bronx Boroughs of New York City, this central district is the lower end of Manhattan, everything else being north of that; so there "crosstown" means east and west. In the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati (Covington, Dayton, Newport, Ky.) the central district is in Cincinnati, and the car line connecting these suburbs and paralleling the State line is simply called the Crosstown line."

        Where all, or nearly all, routes radiate from a common center, and all go to different points, each route can be denoted simply by the name of the outer terminus, or some point near it. Also, if routes are sufficiently separate that individual points can be picked out, of which one is on each route and none are on two routes, those points can serve to name the routes. If two routes protected from the central district to the same terminus, the terminus name followed by the street designating each route can serve as route name (connected by "via" or a dash). A route through a central district may be designated by the name of each terminus, usually connected by "and."

         In many systems there is very little regularity in route names; thus, on the Public Service Railway in New Jersey, there are two lines between Newark and Jersey City, and each of these cities has given its name to one of the routes. The route from Paterson to Edgewater is called "Hudson River," although it is only one of many lines leading to that river. In fact, the only object in these route-names seems to be identification.

        On many small systems there is one line which, by reason of its length, or for some other reason, is of special importance, and is called the "main line," all others being considered as branch lines. This is the case, for instance, in Peekskill, N. Y.; also on the New York and Stamford Railway. On larger systems, the term "main line" is not a proper name, but is used in contrast to branch lines and shuttle lines which depend on it. In the case of the Public Service Railway of New Jersey, the term "Main Line" indicates an individual route, of no comparative importance, between Paterson and Hackensack, and apparently derives its name from Main Street, Paterson. The naming of routes is a matter which should keenly interest the transfer collector, in that it will help him understand the inscriptions on transfers. Routes on transfers are frequently referred to by name, although sometimes a special notation is used, and sometimes the transfer merely mentions the street and direction by which the car leaves the transfer point. The latter, of course, does not indicate an individual route, since several routes may leave a transfer point over the same street in the same direction.

        Route names are very frequently indicated in signs on the cars, which may be signboards above the front or sides, or transparencies in the windows or above the front or sides of the car, or placards hung from the front window. Such signs also usually contain information as to destination and intermediate points. The exact arrangement of these varies in different systems, and route names do not always appear on the cars at all, where it is considered that other information on the car signs is sufficient. The arrangement of routing information on car signs is, in fact, sufficiently varied to be almost an indication of the system to which a car belongs. In fact, it is an interesting subject in itself to observe the various colorings, shapes, and signs on cars of different systems, and not immediately connected with transfer collection, though it may furnish an interesting side line for the collector. The collector should, however, know of the naming of routes.

        It will occasionally happen that the route-name used on transfers will not be the name indicated on the cars. In such a case, the name used on t e trans1ers must prevail for the purposes of the transfer collector. It sometimes even happens that the same route has different names in different parts, especially if those different parts belong to different systems. For example, the direct trolley from Boston to Worcester runs over three systems; the Boston Elevated system in Boston and Brookline, where it has no official name, but is commonly known as the Worcester line; the Boston and Worcester, where it is generally considered as the Main Line; and the Worcester Consolidated in Worcester, where it is on the "City Hall and Lake" line. The Boston Road line in the borough of the Bronx, New York City, becomes the Morris Park Avenue line north of the West Farms transfer station, although in this case there is no change of system or even sub-system.

        Changes in route-names are also common, especially if a street or other landmark of the route changes its name, though the route often does not change its name until long after. If such routes are mentioned by name on the transfer, then such a change appearing on the transfer constitutes a new issue, at least as far as relates to form, on which the changed name or names appeared.

        63. Company Numbering and Lettering of RoutesIn many systems, besides the usual indications of destination of cars and the naming of the routes, there is a numbering or lettering of the routes, each route being denoted by a number, or letter, or both, which is placed conspicuously on the car as a matter of simplifying directions for taking cars. Thus, in Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Chicago, a very large number placed on a transparency in the front window is the principal indication of where the car is going. In Wilmington, Del., and in Albany, N. Y., signs hung from the front carry similar numbers, while in Connecticut letters are displayed in the same way. These numbers or letters indicate the routes of the cars. In Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., the route-letter is placed above the corner of the car in the shape of a series of holes, behind which a light shines at night; in San Francisco the same device is used, there being numbers on the cars of the Market Street Railway, and letters on the municipal cars. In some places (Harrisburg, Pa.; Oakland, Calif.) both numbers and letters are used. This sort of arrangement we may call company numbering or company lettering of routes.

        However, even where there are no such numbers or letters on the cars or indicated in any such conspicuous way, the company will frequently have such a code notation for its routes. This very often appears in some form or other on the transfers even when it does not appear on the cars; and, on the other hand, frequently a company numbering (or lettering) appearing on the cars will not be found on the transfers. In any event, the transfer collector should note the numbering (or lettering) of the routes, and what each number or letter means, as a short notation to refer to the routes even when that notation is not used on the transfers.

        As a sample of numbering appearing on transfers and not on cars, we may instance the two important street car systems in Manhattan, New York City. Here, transfers are issued with attached coupons, the main body of the transfer using the route-name, while on the attached coupons only the route-number appears. In Springfield and in Worcester, Mass., and on the Public Service Railway in New Jersey, route-numbers appear on the transfers together with the route-names, though they do not appear on the cars. In Los Angeles, the route-lettering of the "yellow cars" was used on the transfers a long time before it appeared on the cars. We may note that in Pittsburgh two systems of route-numbering are used, one for use on the car signs, and the other for use on the transfers.

        Sometimes the numbering or lettering of routes is entirely independent for different parts of the system, as much so as if those parts were different systems. Thus, in the Third Avenue Railway system in New York, the city of Yonkers and the three boroughs of New York City served by the system have each independent route-numberings, so that Route 5 on that system would mean the Kingsbridge line in Manhattan, the Southern Boulevard line in the Bronx, the Dutch Kills line in Queens Borough, and the Broadway-Park Avenue line in Yonkers. Similarly, the Connecticut Company uses separate lettering for each main city in the system; for instance, letter means the Springfield line in Stamford, the Winnipauk line in Norwalk, the North Main Street line in Bridgeport, the Shelton line in New Haven; the Baldwin line in Waterbury, the Colony line in Meriden, and the Elizabeth Park line in Hartford. In such cases as these, it is not enough to refer to a route by system and number (or letter); the division or sub-system must also be indicated. Thus, if we wanted a notation for the North Main Street line in Bridgeport, Conn., we might indicate it by 1LiBa, where the "1Li" stands for the Connecticut Company (Appendix A), the "B" stands for the city, Bridgeport, and the final "a" is the company letter for the route.

         (Note that routes are more frequently denoted by numbers than by letters probably because numbers are capable of unlimited extension, while there are only twenty-six letters in the alphabet.)

        See Appendix D for sample lists of numbers and letters of routes in different places, as indicated either on cars or transfers; also for indication of the variety of lettering or numbering used on the various systems mentioned in Appendix A, The collector should make up such lists for systems covered in his collection, wherever possible.

        We may also note that numbering or lettering rarely includes every line on a system, leaving a number of unnumbered (or unlettered) routes,

        64. Naming of DirectionsCars on any route may travel in either direction, and so it is frequently important to distinguish between these two directions. One way to refer to a direction taken by a car is by stating that the car is from one terminus or going to the other terminus; this method of denoting direction is very frequently employed on transfers. Particularly, the issuing direction is referred to as being from a definite terminus or initial transfer fare limit; while the receiving direction is more frequently referred to as being to a definite terminus or final transfer fare limit.

        Another way to refer to directions of routes is by points of the compass (usually making it no more accurate than North, East, South, or West). However, since a car, even on a single run, may turn many curves and corners, and therefore run in various directions at various points the direction referred to may mean the direction at the transfer point (this being used ordinarily only in the case of receiving lines on a transfer), or else the general direction taken by the car on the run, or sometimes the direction in which the car passes (if it does) through a central district. In this connection we must further remember that routes are ordinarily along streets, which mayor may not be in accordance with the points of the compass, and the points of the compass would refer to the approximation represented by the streets (in the case of a rectangular block system such as in Manhattan Island, New York City). Still another way of naming directions is by the use of the terms "in" and "out." These usually refer to a central district, "in" meaning toward the central district, and "out" meaning away from the central district. There are, however, variations from this; for instance, on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system these terms are exactly reversed in application. In the case of the Los Angeles Railway, "in" refers to the direction of a route passing through the central business district southward or westward, while "out" refers to the direction passing through the central district northward or eastward.

        65. Naming and Numbering of DivisionsWhere company divisions are shown at all on transfers, they are usually named in accordance with the places they cover. If a division centers about some definite city, for instance, such a city usually gives its name to the division, so that, on the system of the Connecticut Company we have the Stamford Division, the Bridgeport Division, the New Haven Division, the New London Division, the Meriden Division, the Waterbury Division, the New Britain Division and the Hartford Division; some of which are again subdivided, as: Bridgeport Division, Norwalk Lines.

        Where divisions consist of lines or groups of lines having a common part, this usually gives its name to the division. Similarly, if a division means those lines towards a certain suburb, that suburb will give its name to the division, as the Woodlawn Division on the Philadelphia Rapid Transit system.

        Companies sometimes number their divisions, although not always on the transfers. In the case of the Boston Elevated Railway system, the surface car divisions are indicated merely by the first figure of the conductor's number. The route-numbering formerly in use on that system was what we may call a decimal route-numbering, each route-number containing three figures, the first of which was the division number; thus, route 152 would be in division 1, route 706 would be in division 7, etc. The same decimal numbering is used in Pittsburgh for use on transfers, but not for the route-numbering on the signs. A variation of the division numbering is found on the Market Street Railway of San Francisco, and on the San Francisco-Oakland Terminal Railways on the east side of Francisco Bay; here we find numbers indicated on the transfers, as, "No. 7," each indicating a division and direction. We may regard the San Francisco case as division numbering, where direction of route is an essential part of the division.

         66. Number of Lines in CitiesGenerally speaking, the larger the population of a city, the more car lines it will require to serve its transportation needs, although we cannot always say that one line is the equivalent in service of another line. Population is the main factor to consider in this connection, though other things may affect it, such as manner of distribution, etc. But the number of lines needed in a city or any other similar area (including routes used for local service) would not be proportional to the population; for, in proportion as the lines increase in number, they must similarly increase in length otherwise in service efficiency, so that the population that can be taken care of is easily proportional to the square of the number of lines, or the number of lines proportional to the square root of the population. Of course, in very small places where little transit service of any sort is needed, this does not hold true.

        However, in fair-sized cities (let us say of over 20,000 or 25,000 population) this may be a fair, though not too reliable, measure of transit service. We may speak of the car index of a city as the number of car lines (all transportation routes in use for local service) divided by the square root of the number of thousand inhabitants. The normal car index may be considered as about 1.4. We note that a city consisting of isolated portions, such as New York City, requires a higher index. We have made the following estimates of car indices, based on the 1920 population figures: New York City 2.1 (by boroughs: Manhattan .74, Bronx .9, Brooklyn 1.6, Queens 1.2, Richmond 1.4); Philadelphia 1.9; Chicago 2.4; Cleveland 1.8; Boston 4.6; St. Louis 1.5; Los Angeles 1.4; San Francisco 2.4; Baltimore 1.2; Buffalo 1.5; Pittsburgh 2.9. These figures do not claim to be at all accurate, since there is plenty of room for doubt as to just what constitutes a separate line, or a different route.

        67. Notation for Routes and DivisionsFor purposes of filing and classifying transfers in a collection, it is frequently convenient to have some form of code notation for individual routes, zones, divisions, or other groups of lines. This can be done simply by inventing a lettering or numbering if there is no company notation of the sort. Sometimes such numbering can be taken directly out of a city guide-book, and supplemented whenever necessary for the collector's purposes. Initial letters, either of the route name, or of some word connected with that name, can be used, so long as there are no duplications. Whatever notation is adopted for route, zone, or division, that code notation should be placed immediately following the notation for the system or sub-system. If it is found convenient to have a separate notation for each of several zones or divisions, the zone (or division) initial should be followed by the initial for the individual route (or group of routes, if required). Thus, in the Public Service system (N. J.) north of Trenton, denoted in Appendix B by 2Di(1), it is found convenient to classify routes not company-numbered by zones, as: Jersey City zone (J); Upper Hudson zone (H); Kearny lines (K); Orange lines (O); Paterson (P); Plainfield (PL); Elizabeth (EL); New Brunswick (NB). Then the Raritan line (New Brunswick to Raritan) would be denoted in the code by 2Di (1) NBr.

        Of course, where there is company numbering or lettering, it is obviously best to make use of that; but the collector's own filing code should be used to supplement its deficiencies, as well as to supply such a code where there is none, or where an existing one is not known of.


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