Utica Comets Close Home Weekend With A Win


 YES! a 3-2 victory over the Iowa Wild!

Comets really needed that win after Friday and Saturday losses to Abbortsford

After a tough two game set with Abbotsford, the Utica Comets rebounded nicely on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the Iowa Wild at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  The Comets, who moved back over the .500 line at 30-29-4-4, are now five points behind Rockford for the final Western Conference playoff berth with ten games to play.

Pascal Pelletier led all Utica skaters into a three-point night (1-2-3), while Jeremy Welsh and Brandon DeFazio also scored for the Comets.  Defenseman Frank Corrado had two assists for his second straight game.  Goaltender Joe Cannata, who started on home ice for the first time since Jan. 3, made 32 saves on 34 shots for the victory.



John W. Barriger was an outstanding railroad manager; a real live railfan; an advocate of super railroads; and a railroad historian.


Barriger is one of the most gifted and unusual persons in railroad history. Check out a WebSite about John W. Barriger

What is not common knowledge is the huge library collection he left us.

John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library:


Supply Chain On Demand


Most Supply Chain Management executives are concerned with the risks from extended supply chains, but only a few have real end-to-end visibility into their supply chains. For those without this full visibility, outsourcing and globalization have put a “lot of rocks on their wagon.” They see increased demand/supply variability and increased lead times. They don’t see problems until it is too late and then, they are slow to react. We need to aim for a demand driven Supply Chain Management solution in the Cloud. For discussion purposes, let’s call it “SCM NET WORKS” Let’s start with a real time network. Where ever it is and whoever runs it, the aim is to get as many links in the supply chain on it as possible. It must be a multi-party network that uses the latest technology (Cloud, mobile apps, Big Data, etc). It is like a social network. It is a many-to-many network. It is bigger than a bread basket and it is faster than lightning. It will result in a real time decision-making supply chain operation that allows an unlimited number of trading partners to plan, execute, synchronize and optimize in real time all of the business processes and events that are going on in numerous extended supply chains. It includes everything from raw materials right up to the consumer.

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Utica Comets Have A Great Chance At Playoffs in 3-Game Home Series


It’s the biggest weekend of the season so far for the Utica Comets.

In heart of a headlong drive to try to qualify for the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs, the first-year team has a golden opportunity to make up some ground with three home games this weekend.

The Abbotsford Heat visit the Utica Memorial Auditorium Friday and Saturday (7 p.m.), and the Iowa Wild visit at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Comets are 29-28-3-4 for 65 points, six points out of the last Western Conference playoff spot held by the Charlotte Checkers. The Rochester Americans (70 points) and Oklahoma City Barons (69) also are ahead of the Comets, who have played two fewer games than the Amerks and Barons, and three fewer than Charlotte. The Comets, however, do not own the tie-breaker against any of those teams and would need to finish ahead of them to qualify for the postseason.

The Comets pushed past the .500 mark for the first time this season in Saturday’s shootout victory over the Milwaukee Admirals, winning for the seventh time in nine games.

See more about the Comets

Metro-North is implementing changes for NTSB after accidents


MTA Metro-North Railroad has completed permanent changes to its signal system to ensure automatic speed enforcement at five critical curves and five moveable bridges in New York and Connecticut, the railroad announced yesterday.

With the completion of work at the Devon Bridge in Stratford, Conn., late last week, all signal modifications ordered by the Federal Railroad Administration in December have been completed well before the FRA’s Sept. 1 deadline, Metro-North officials said in a press release.

The FRA ordered the work after a December 2013 accident in which a Metro-North train derailed on a curve near the Bronx, N.Y., resulting in four passenger fatalities.

“The complete implementation of the requirements of the FRA’s Emergency Order 29, issued on Dec. 8, 2013, brings us another step closer to a safer railroad, which is our No. 1 goal,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti.

Signal engineers first designed modifications to the circuitry at each location by calculating where and when speed limits should be reduced. Then, signal maintainers had to reconfigure wiring along the tracks that sends the signal to the train to control its speed. Extensive testing was performed to confirm the changes were working as designed, according to the agency.

The signal display observed by train engineers in their cabs now will automatically indicate reduced allowable speeds on the approaches to these 10 locations. If the engineer does not reduce the train’s speed accordingly, the train will automatically come to a stop.

Metro-North signal forces began work on changes to the Automatic Train Control system at Spuyten Duyvil just days after the fatal derailment and completed the modifications there on the same day the FRA order was issued.

Signal system modifications for the remaining four curves at Yonkers, White Plains, Bridgeport and Port Chester were all completed by Feb. 8, ahead of the FRA March 1, target.

Work then shifted to the five moveable bridges on the New Haven Line at Cos Cob, South Norwalk, Westport, Bridgeport and Milford in Connecticut. The “Peck” Bridge in Bridgeport was completed first on January 18, 2014 and the fifth and final bridge at Devon was completed March 20.

MTA Metro-North Railroad and MTA Long Island Rail Road plan to install monitoring equipment designed to detect defective or overheated wheels and loads of freight trains that operate on publicly owned track and convey that information in real time to the railroads’ control centers.

The train fault detector system will help improve safety, reduce wear and tear of the tracks, and identify faults before they cause problems, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast in a press release.

The system consists of three components: a wheel impact detector that recognizes flat spots and other wheel defects; a “hot box” detector that ensures all roller bearings around axles are operating properly and not overheating; and a tag reader that identifies individual freight cars.

The railroads are seeking a vendor to design, manufacture, deliver and integrate these components to provide real-time reporting to the railroads’ control centers.

Metro-North intends to install the system east of Green’s Farms Station on the New Haven Line and south of Scarborough on the Hudson Line. Freight trains enter the Hudson Line from the south at Highbridge Yard in the Bronx and from the north at Poughkeepsie. Freight trains enter the New Haven line from the south at New Rochelle and from the north at New Haven.

The LIRR system will be installed on the Main Line west of Bellerose Station. Freight trains, including those operated by New York and Atlantic Railroad and CSX Transportation, enter LIRR tracks at Long Island City and Fresh Pond in Queens and at Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. These installations are in addition to fault detection improvements on CSX property that CSX agreed to in August 2013 following a freight derailment at Spuyten Duyvil last summer, MTA officials said.

MTA Metro-North Railroad will install outward and inward-facing video and audio recorders on all of its and MTA Long Island Rail Road’s trains in response to a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Prospective vendors will be asked to design, manufacture and deliver an onboard video recording system. The base order would cover the newest cars in the railroads’ fleets, Metro-North’s M-8s, both railroads’ M-7s and cab cars, as well as all locomotives. The order also includes 843 car cabs for Metro-North and 926 cars for LIRR, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials said in a press release.

“We will be systematically implementing recommendations put forward by the NTSB and other regulators to ensure the best practices are adhered to throughout the MTA family,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast.

The move to install the video and audio equipment is in reaction to recommendations issued by NTSB after a Metro-North train derailment in December that resulted in four fatalities.

Metro-North committed to install cameras on trains as part of the 100-day Action Plan issued after Joseph Giulietti became Metro-North’s new president in February. The cameras will aid in post-accident/incident investigations and deter behaviors that could affect safe train operations, MTA officials said.

1936 Rexall Drug Store Train That Toured United States and Canada


(Picture above from Bert Daniels …. the engineer)

An old train that has always interested me was the New York Central Rexall Train.

The engine was an L-2 Mohawk #2998 or #2873 (I have conflicting stories). It was the predecessor to the L-3a dual purpose Mohawks (4-8-2’s) 3000-3024. The NYC used 4-8-2 Mohawks for fast freight service on the water level route hence the name Mohawk not Mountain. The Mohawks started in the 2500 and 2600 L-1 class and moved to the L-2 2700,2800 and 2900 classes. These were all freight engines with 69″ drivers. I believe the Rexall engine and one other were rebuilt with 72″ drivers and counter balance for higher speeds. The 3000 series L-3 class had several subseries (a, b, and c) that were built by Alco and Lima. The 3000-3024 were the only dual purpose engines. The last series of Mohawks were the L-4a and b 3100 series engines. These were real brutes and all were dual purpose engines. These were the final extension of the 4-8-2 type on the NYC and the 4-8-4 Niagara 6000-6025 S-1a, S1b and 5500 poppet valved S-2 were built in 1945-46.

I do know that Bert Daniels, who was road foreman of engines for the NYC, was the engineer on this train which ran from September 15, 1936 until November 21, 1936. From the news clippings it appears that this train was some kind of Convention Special tour train. The articles state that it was a 12 car train with air-conditioning which had a streamlined engine identical to the Commodore Vanderbilt engines that pulled the 20th Century Limited at that time. It also had an auxiliary booster engine on the trailer wheels that gave an additional 15,000 lbs. of tractive effort in starting. Was this engine a precursor to the Niagara type engines? The article states that the engine had 4 drivers to a side instead of the customary Pacific type. The only photos of the engine are mostly frontal and seem to show a 4 wheel leading truck. The train was nicknamed “Old Roxie” and from the schedule that is included in the book appears to have traveled from Boston to Albany, NY then through PA, Ohio, Ind, Ill, Iowa, Ky, W.Va, Va, NC, SC, Ga, Tenn, Miss, Ala, Fla, and ended up in Chicago then on to Seattle. The book states that this train covered 29,000 miles overall. At one point while on the NorthWestern it had covered 14,000 miles without being shopped. The only thing that had been done to it was inspections. It was also an oil burner because coal wasn’t available in the Southwestern area. Instead of a “Johnson Bar’ it had a wheel reverse gear and also had automatic train control.

Pictures and info on the Rexall Train appear in Arthur Dubin’s “Some Classic Trains” (or “Some Classic Trains II”). It was an exhibition train which Rexall (United Drug Company) packed with demonstrations and exhibits of all of the company’s wares and took around the country to show to its many pharmacy franchisees.

Rexall Train of 1936. These rolling drug stores exhibited common Rexall products, and offered new and improved “suggestions” on how to configure local Rexall stores to a “common plan” using the latest and most modern materials, including adding soda fountains. The Rexall train was intended primarily for the annual Rexall Druggists Convention of the era, and was their show piece. It was primarily a demo train for the druggists, and not a retail store for the public. The public still had to use the “in place” Rexall stores in their immediate areas. It is interesting to note that the term “druggist” was used back then. Today,we call them “pharmacists” or “pharmacy technicians”. “Rexall” seems to have gone away. The last time I saw a Rexall store was in the mid 60s. Since then, well, a different named drug store is on every corner these days. Never heard of a Walgreens, Hooks, Rite Aide Longs, Eckerds, or CVS train yet.

The engine was NYC 2873, a Mohawk 4-8-2 converted to burn oil for this use on the train and the streamline cowling was inspired by the Commodore Vanderbilt Hudson 5344. The locomotive lost its streamline cowling after use on the Rexall train and converted back to burning coal.

I picked up a lot of information frpm New York Central online forums.

The train was painted blue and white, with red lettering on the locomotive, white lettering and black roof on the cars. The cars were all fairly stock Pullman cars (mostly parlors) which received rounded roofs and full width diaphragms to create the appearance of a streamliner. Other than the streamlined roof and the diaphragms little was done to modernized the cars, though most interiors were stripped.

The cars used were as follows and all cars were Pullman owned at the time that the train ran. The first name is the car’s Pullman name, the second (in quotation marks) is its Rexall name, the car’s previous configuration and dispositions are also provided:

Whitney, Rexall “Kantleek”, baggage-club – to Alton 419, to GM&O 419.

Haldeman, Rexall “First Aid”, 16 section sleeper – to Pullman tourist sleeper 4278, to SPMW 5554.

Lanesville, Rexall “Ad-Vantage” , 36-seat parlor – to PRR coach 1205 (1942)

Norwich, Rexall “Research”, 36-seat parlor – to PRR 1204 (1942)

Bolton, Rexall “Bisma-Rex”, 36-seat parlor – to PRR 1202 (1942)

Halifax, Rexall “Cara-Nome”, 36-seat parlor – to PRR 1203 (1942)

Hadlyme, Rexall “Klenzo”, 36-seat parlor – to Tourist car 6070, to MP (1950)

#22 ex-Wanakena, Rexall “Symphony”, originally a 16 Section sleeper rblt. to a dining car – to ACL

Hingham, Rexall “Adrienne”, 36-seat parlor – to Tourist car 6071 – to MP (1950)

Montwait, Rexall “Mi-31”, 36-seat parlor – to Tourist car 6072 – to MP (1950)

Ridgeville, Rexall “Joan Manning”, 10 Compartment sleeper – to Royal American Shows (1958)

Newport, Rexall “Puretest” – to NP business car 4 (1941)

Kentleek (originally Pullman Plan 2415H) was configured as a generator – workshop – storage car, probably one of the earliest examples of head-end power being used. The generators were needed for powering the AC, lights and display motors. Not open to the public.

First Aid, built to Pullman Plan 2412F, retained its 16 Sections for the Rexall crew and staff and was not open to the public.

Ad-Vantage, Research, Bisma-Rex and Cara Nome, all were stripped of their interiors and set up for displays, with Ad-Vantage also featuring a soda fountain. All four cars were open to the public and featured the many products that Rexall made.

Klenzo, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was stripped of its interior and set up as an 88-seats lecture car which doubled as a dance hall after hours. The Rexall band accompanied the train on its tour and provided music for the staff, as well. This car was not open to the public, only to pharmacist and druggists.

Symphony, originally built to Pullman Plan 2412C it was rebuilt by Pullman into a Plan 4004 dining car, which served the crew and staff of the train, as well as feeding druggists lunch, but not open to the public.

Adrienne, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was also stripped of its interior and set up as an 88-seats lecture car. This car was not open to the public, only to pharmacist and druggists.

Mi-31, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was stripped and converted to a bar-lounge-dance hall car, where store owners and druggists were entertained. The car was not open to the public.

Joan Manning, built to Pullman Plan 2416, retained its compartment configuration and was used by the train’s crew and staff. The car was not open to the public.

Puretest, built to Pullman Plan 2502B, was a 4 Compartment private observation car, was said to be used by the Rexall president.

I believe the shroud material removed from the locomotive at the end of its tour and stored at West Albany for a few years, probably going into one of the scrap drives during WWII.

Abraham Lincoln and New York Railroads


Plaque in honor of President Lincoln at 414 W. 30th Street in NY City

It is at the site of the Hudson River Railroad’s New York City passenger station. Lincoln arrived here February 19, 1861 on his route to be inaugurated in Washington DC as President of the United States. After his assination Lincoln’s body went through here April 25, 1865. The Hudson River Railroad became part of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad and moved it’s main station to what became Grand Central Terminal. The old Hudson River Railroad line in the city became the West Side Freight Line.

See more about Abraham Lincoln’s trips


Picture ABOVE is the engine that pulled the Lincoln Funeral Train

Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch

Information on Lincoln’s funeral train, including details on the route, is fully covered in Scott Trostel’s book on the subject, with maps.

See more about President Lincoln’s Funeral Train


Pictured above is the Livingston Avenue Bridge in Albany. When Lincoln’s funeral train went through New York City to Illinois in 1865, it could not cross the Hudson at Albany, because the bridge had yet to be completed (in 1866). I believe that the coffin crossed the river from East Albany (Rensselaer) to Albany on a boat, and the train went around via Troy and Green Island to Albany, from whence it continued its trip west. The Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad (D&H) had built its first Green Island Bridge in 1835. The connection from Green Island to Albany was opened in 1853.

The Livingston Avenue Bridge stands as a working monument to steam-age rail thinking in the Empire State. The almost 150-year-old swing bridge is the sole link for Amtrak passenger trains crossing the Hudson River.

Wagner Sleeping Cars and Palatine Bridge


The Schenectady Gazette has reported that the Webster Wagner Home in Palatine Bridge is slated for demolition. Wagner was the Inventor of the Sleeping Car in 1858 and the Palace Car in 1867. Wagner built his mansion with discerning taste and a railroad fortune in 1876. At the time it was quite a spectacle — and it still is, but not in a good way. Too much time and years of neglect have taken their toll.

See more about Palatine Bridge. See more about Wagner Sleeping Cars. See more about the New York Central Railroad through Palatine Bridge.

Utica Comets Working Hard at Playoff Spot: 4-3 Over Milwaukee Admirals


Pascal Pelletier (top picture) called it “Standard Comets Hockey”. Coach Travis Green (bottom picture)  called it:”Hockey where you grind it out, gut it out, get greasy”.

You do what needs to be done to win a game.

The Utica Comets did just that again Sunday, for the seventh time in the last nine games, completing a three-game weekend after a 4-3 shootout American Hockey League victory over the Milwaukee Admirals before a sellout crowd – their 12th of the season – at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Comets picked up four points in the three days to climb within five points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and pushed past the .500 mark for the first time this season (29-28-3-4) in what has been a remarkable turnaround after an0-8-1-1 start.

Alexandre Grenier, Pelletier and Brandon DeFazio scored in regulation, Pelletier, DeFazio and David Marshall scored in the shootout, and Joacim Eriksson denied three of five Milwaukee attempts in the shootout to earn the victory, the Comets’ sixth by a single goal in their last seven wins.   🙂

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Pelletier, Stuart, Cannata lead Utica Comets Over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins


Old pros Pascal Pelletier and Colin Stuart scored the goals and Joe Cannata made 22 saves as the Utica Comets kept their slim American Hockey League playoff hopes alive with a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Comets now have 63 points, six points out of the final playoff spot with 13 games to play.

Pelletier scored a power play goal – and picked up his 50th point of the season – at 12:28 of the second period, with Alexandre Grenier and Brandon DeFazio assisting, to give the Comets the first lead. The Penguins (35-21-3-5, 78 points) got that back quickly, with Chuck Kobasew scoring, also on the power play, at 15:23.

The score remained deadlocked until Stuart, who is in his 10th professional season, as is Pelletier, fired home his 17th goal at 8:01 of the third. Cal O’Reilly had an assist – his 30th in 39 games – and Alex Friesen had the other.

Read More About the game


Tony’s AUDelicious Deli and Sports Bar across from the Utica Memorial Auditorium will open at noon Sunday. Frank Cristiano, who runs the tricked-out Tony’s Pizzeria in Washington Mills, said the property on Whitesboro Street was originally supposed to be a bakery, but with talk of an American Hockey League team started, he wanted to branch out.

Read More about the new sports bar