A Ride on the Big Green Cars
The coaches [of the
Railway] were painted a dark green, and looked very much like a standard
railway coach. They were the same width, but a trifle shorter. Passengers could
enter from either side, and from front or rear. Long hickory poles were placed
on each side of the entrance for passengers to grasp as they mounted the steps
of the car.
Each coach had a complement of two men, a motorman
and a conductor, dressed in charcoal grey uniforms with their rank in brass
letters on their caps. The car could be driven from either end by changing the
trolley pole. The motorman operated the car by turning a large horizontally
mounted crank on the top of a large oil-immersed rheostat. An air compressor
and pressure tank suspended below each car provided the pressure to operate the
air brakes and the shrill air whistle at every crossing.
Each coach was divided into two compartments; about
one-third for smokers and the larger two-thirds for non-smokers. A swing door
separated the two sections. Bright red fire axes were mounted in glass covered
cases above each side of the swinging door with instructions for emergency
For those who wished a drink, a tin cup hung from a
chain near a small tap and basin. The water was gravity fed from a metal tank
above a small booth that provided emergency services for men and women.
However, these were not flush toilets, but only a seat mounted above a long
pipe through which you could see the railway ties rushing past below you.
A row of seats on each side of the coach was the
sofa-type, similar to the seats in a standard railway coach, covered with
tightly woven cane, which stood up under all types of abuse and outlasted the
lifetime of the system. Brass hand grips on the back of each seat were used to
swing the seat over to face the direction of travel, as well as providing a
hand grip for passengers moving along the aisle.
Small wire parcel baskets were located above the
windows, however most passengers piled their parcels on their seat in front of
them unless a passenger wanted the seat.
Elman Campbell,Newmarket: Some Early Memories(Newmarket:Newmarket Museum Board,1987),p. 34