Recently while staying with friends of mine in St. Petersburg, Russia, I took the opportunity to meet with the St. Petersburg Trolley people in that city. I had a very warm welcome and meet with the president of the company Leonid Khoykhid. I was glad to see that even the cold war could not keep a trolley enthusiast from getting knowledge of capitalist trolley systems in the west. Leonid had a copy of all my Brooklyn and New York Subway books. He also had a fair share of ElectricLines magazine to wit I was managing editor. I am always warmed by the common emotions of people all over the world that share the same love and compassion for a subject dear to me. It makes no difference if it is in Bombay, London, Hong Kong or St. Petersburg.
The hours flew by as we discussed his model company and if you are not at this reading aware of them go to his web site .  Leonid would like to model every trolley in the world. He was most interested in the Brooklyn fleet. It was at this point that I learned something that I don’t believe that any other writer has ever written about, the Soviet BMT connection. Leonid explained to me that in the early 1930s a delegation of Soviet traction engineers traveled to the US,
with the express task of studying the Peter Witt streetcar design then operating in many US cities. The troop went to Chicago, Cleveland and Brooklyn.  
Upon their return the St Petersburg system began a design based on what they had seen. What emerged was homage to the B&QT’s then new 6000 series cars. The fleet would be forever called the America Fleet. The cars were very similar in appearance to the 6000s even to the color scheme, which was similar to St.Petersburg’s. The cars were much larger also. The first car was a double-ended version; however the production model carried the single ended theme of the B&QT 60s. There were also trailers built from the same design to be pulled by motored cars. The order was much larger then the Brooklyn order of 200 cars. However when one views a photo of the car, the
parentage is obvious (next page).
AT THE END of my article “The Little Station in the Woods”in the December 1999 edition of The Third Rail, I noted that the “Avenue H station house [is] a historic gem of the subway system. One hopes that it will not disappear in some future fit of modernization.”
The “fit of modernization” came sooner than I feared, as the New York City Transit Authority soon after announced that the historic station was to face the wrecking ball and be replaced by a new concrete station house. "We would prefer to have a safe station," Deidre Parker, a spokeswoman for the NYCTA was quoted in the NY Daily News. "There was a fire at the Intervale station in the Bronx, which was made of wood."
The next Third Rail will tell the illustrated the story of how the community saved its (now) officially landmarked station.
James Clifford Greller is a transportation professional who has
©2005 The Composing Stack Inc.