Bike-trains

lfinison
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lfinison
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Joined: January 5th, 2018, 10:47 am

January 9th, 2018, 8:48 am #1

Author's query:  I am writing a history of bicycling. One focus is on bike-trains that were popular 1935-1941, and occasionally since. I am interested in the New Haven line trains that ran up to western CT (e.g., Canaan) and MA from Grand Central Station, New York, starting in Spring, 1936, and those that ran to the Cape and Islands from South Station, Boston. I have pictures of posters advertising some of these events and detailed maps showing where they went, and have seen newspaper articles about them. A New Haven line official, Sam Boyer, seems to have taken a leading role. The B&M railroad ran up into New Hampshire from North Station with bikes too, starting in October,1935. For both lines, Ben Olken, owner of the Bicycle Exchange in Cambridge was a key player, providing rental bikes in the baggage cars. He had a big rental space at Forest Hills Station in Boston, and I imagine loaded the south-bound baggage cars there. For my book I would like to find high (publication) quality photos of bikes being unloaded from the baggage cars. And other relevant information.

LFinison
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PaulRBeck
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Joined: August 21st, 2006, 2:56 am

January 9th, 2018, 10:23 am #2

There is a short 8mm motion picture film depicting a New Haven bike train activity in the Connecticut countryside. Frame grabs from this film might be useful for your book illustration purposes. Contact me off-line with your mailing address please. Paul R. Beck, NHRHTA Film/Video project. pbeck@fcatv.org


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flatcar99
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Joined: July 22nd, 2017, 2:53 pm

January 9th, 2018, 10:59 am #3

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rsullivan
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Joined: December 14th, 2016, 3:36 pm

January 9th, 2018, 1:34 pm #4

Thanks Mr. Flatcar99 for the video link. In this time of 18 speed with two and three gear ratio bicycles, it is thrilling to see so many people taking to the country side hills on the one speed steel bicycles of that era. Looking at the scenery, lack of traffic, and the apparently enjoyable picnic, I can understand paying the fare and taking the time to travel from the Big Apple to Poughquag for a change from Central Park and the inner city traffic of those days. I knew of the "Snow Trains." But, until this thread, I never even knew there were other such excursions on the New Haven. Now I wonder about all the possibilities. Did the New Haven run Halloween specials to Salem?
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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lfinison
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lfinison
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Joined: January 5th, 2018, 10:47 am

January 9th, 2018, 2:30 pm #5

rsullivan wrote:Beyond the snow trains and bicycle trains, there were bike-hike trains,  bike-camera trains and even bike-camera-fishing trains.  All under the general title of "Hobby Trains"  For the new Haven line, a think Sam Boyer had a central role. Beyond CT and New Hampshire, there were also trains to Poughquag, going through CT first. 
I assume that they all died out in part because baggage cars were gradually dropped. Also, for a time post-war, bicycling was at a low ebb.



Thanks Mr. Flatcar99 for the video link. In this time of 18 speed with two and three gear ratio bicycles, it is thrilling to see so many people taking to the country side hills on the one speed steel bicycles of that era. Looking at the scenery, lack of traffic, and the apparently enjoyable picnic, I can understand paying the fare and taking the time to travel from the Big Apple to Poughquag for a change from Central Park and the inner city traffic of those days. I knew of the "Snow Trains." But, until this thread, I never even knew there were other such excursions on the New Haven. Now I wonder about all the possibilities. Did the New Haven run Halloween specials to Salem?
Richard H. Sullivan, Jr.  member #3967
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nhrhta
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nhrhta
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Joined: February 6th, 2003, 4:42 am

January 10th, 2018, 7:22 am #6

There will be a comprehensive illustrated history of the New Haven Railroad bicycle trains published in an up-coming issue of the Shoreliner magazine.

Marc J. Frattasio
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Mark Oles
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Joined: November 10th, 2003, 8:59 pm

January 11th, 2018, 12:39 pm #7

I've ridden the modern day Lehigh Gorge Scenic Ry (Reading and Northern) Bike Train from Jim Thrope, PA to Whitehall, PA, a distance of 25 miles.  The scene depicted in the film of the unloading process was nearly identical to what I experienced!  Not that efficient, but a 7 car train of bikers were more or less unloaded in about 20 minutes.  We didn't have a picnic lunch provided, but we did have 25 miles of the Lehigh Gorge on either Leigh Valley or CNJ right of way (tracks removed).  If any readers are interested, they do these long bike trains in the warmer months on certain weekends, but have recently added a bike option to their normal operation (a 4 mile downgrade ride back to town).  I took my family to ride the longer route in 2015 and my 5 year old daughter rode the whole way back on a single speed Schwinn Gremlin with 12" wheels, and no training wheels....  Lots of fun!
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