Happy anniversary Utica Union Station, but I won’t sing to you

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So this is Utica Union Station’s 100th anniversary year, as I read on the Phyllis Zimmerman blog. Happy anniversary, Union Station! In her case, what she is really celebrating are her own memories of the landmark and character and perseverance of Utica and its people. Union Station is especially a testament of the later, considering how it barely escaped demolition in the mid-1970s. Things have only gotten better since then.

Some images above from the Kingly Heirs WebSite

Some great sites to find out the history of the stations from. No use me repeating something already well written

New York Railroads History

History from the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the NRHS

Union Station: 100 years of history, memories

  • Union Station has withstood the test of time, through deterioration that threatened its demolition, the decline of rail use and its multiple renovations. It typically sees about 195,000 people pass through annually. And this year, the multi-use station celebrates its 100th anniversary.

History of Union Station by the “other” railroad that uses it now: The Adirondack Railroad

An article from Empire State Future

Monumental Union Station anchors Utica’s past…and future

utica college documentary about Union Station

Find out about accomplishments and Fairpromise

 Way back when, Utica had three railroads besides the New York Central. Until 1957 these three railroads ran through, and crossed each other in the South Utica/New Hartford area: Ontario & WesternDelaware, Lackawanna & Western, and West Shore (really a part of New York Central). Even the municipal borders varied. Until 1925, what is now South Utica was a part of the town of New Hartford. See the full story on the three other railroads of Utica, New York

 

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40 Years After Poughkeepsie Bridge Fire

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The Poughkeepsie bridge is open! The fellow in the yellow jacket carrying a banjo is Pete Seeger.

For 35 years, the ravaged Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge awaited a rebirth. Opened on New Year’s Day in 1889, the rail bridge — now the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park — was the first bridge to cross the Hudson River between Albany and New York City. The 6,768-foot span was used totransport goods, such as coal and grain from the Midwest to New England, for 85 years. Then, in 1974, a fire visible for miles rendered the bridge unusable.

The state Legislature charted the Poughkeepsie Bridge Co. to build the bridge in 1871. At its peak, 1,500 construction workers worked on the bridge daily, according to the Walkway’s mobile Web tour. Much of the construction was done from 1886 to 1888. Eight people died during construction, according to the tour.As many as 3,500 freight and passenger cars crossed the Hudson River span each day, according to Walkway Over the Hudson. But, as the decades passed, use of the bridge declined until only one train crossed per day, according to Journal archives.On May 8, 1974, a 700-foot-long fire charred the east side of the bridge. It was difficult to put out the blaze; the steel pipeline that supplied the bridge with water had burst the previous winter. As debris fell from the bridge during the fire, and igniting smaller fires in the city below, firefighters fought the blaze from the warped deck of the bridge and a ladder underneath. Full story and video.

Some great reference material compiled by Bernie Rudberg.

The Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie    

The Poughkeepsie Bridge after the 1974 Fire

HOOSAC TUNNEL TO TROY, NY

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The Boston & Maine (B&M) did get down to the Hudson River. It had a line called the Adams Street railway which went to the Hudson somewhere around River Street. The trackage was either in the street or beside it. A plan I saw, quite old, had a lot of trackage there. The Adams Street trackage was south of Union Station. The City of Troy was anxious to have the railroads move out of the downtown area and demolish Union Station. With the termination of the remaining passenger operations in Troy, B & M 1958, D & H and NYC about the same time, this goal was realized. However, the Rutland was using B & M-NYC trackage rights to reach Chatham, NY via Troy. As long as the Rutland operated, trains (like the “fabled Rutland Milk”) continued to run right through the downtown section of Troy. The Rutland shut down for good during the 1961 strike; the Vermont section was bought by the State of Vermont, but the trackage rights expired. By about 1963 or 1964 the B & M/NYC connection at Troy was broken and the B & M sold its Adams Street railway trackage to the New York Central (was not included in the B&M share of the Troy Union Railroad).

You can trace the Troy & Boston (B&M)’s old main line from Valley Falls down through Melrose to Troy.Passenger service was discontinued in 1958, and the rails between Hoosick Falls and Troy were taken up around 1973. The section from Lansingburgh to downtown Troy is now a paved bike trail. 

The B&M down to Troy was inland of the Hudson River and would not have any transfer facilities. The yard was in North Troy, but not on the canal. Only the D&H crossed the Hudson at Green Island. 

 Did the B&M/T&B get freight from the Erie Canal? And what freight would it be? Grain moving east from Buffalo & the Great Lakes would most likely go to the Port of Albany or NY City for export or local use. Salt, which did go by barge in the Syracuse & Rochester area probably would have been loaded at the mine directly into cars. It would make more sense to directly load a railroad car at the source of the commodity than incurring the transload cost and building the transload facility. The T&B connected with the NY Central and West Shore which paralleled the Canal and made the Canal un-competitive for most goods within 15 years of its 1825 completion – as the railroads did with most canals. I guess my question would be “Did the T&B interchange with the Erie Canal at all?”

Just because the T&B was on the east bank of the Hudson and the Erie Canal was on the west bank, it doesn’t mean they could not have interchanged. Canal’s often used bridges called “change bridges” to cross rivers or change the tow path from one side to another. There was a change bridge to allow the Erie and Champlain canals to meet, as the they were on opposite sides of the Hudson. If you can track down the history of change bridges in Waterford and Troy, you may find answers about likely locations of interchange. However, you should also look at the dams and slackwater operations in Troy. You may find that canal boats crossed the Hudson in slackwater, without mule power.

That would be my question, too. By the time the Hoosac Tunnel was actually completed, in 1875, the rail network was well enough established that canal/rail transload at Troy would have been unlikely since most of the goods on the canal were lower-value bulk freight (salt, grain, etc.) 

When the T&B was first opened in 1859, I’d think it more likely that any interchange at Troy would have been with regular Hudson River vessels rather than the Erie Canal per se- which probably would have been accomplished by drayage through the streets of the town.

 Maybe the reason is as old as the hills: the hills. Looking for a relatively low grade and lower-cost ROW would have been a major determinant. East of Mechanicville, in particular, the search would have been for a relatively economic crossing of the Hudson, based on approach topography and riverbed conditions. West of Mechanicville, Rotterdam Junction may be CSX now and earlier Conrail and PC and NYC, but before those entities, it was the West Shore Railroad, the Fitchburg’s then-non-competitive connection to the west. It was probably superb economic/political sense to have a ROW alignment with the D&H west of Mechanicville, both because the D&H had done the surveying and because the D&H was a connection for coal and other traffic. Troy was a primarily passenger operation with NYC connections to and from the west. When passenger service ended there, the Troy-Johnsonville line did a quick vanishing act.

 The history of the whole route is convoluted, but the simple version is that the Vanderbilt-owned New York Central was allied to the Boston & Albany, which in turn did its damndest to kill the Hoosac Tunnel route even before it was completed. Thus whoever operated through the tunnel would want a connection with a non-Vanderbilt road on the west. The West Shore– the New York, West Shore & Buffalo– was a competitor of the Central and would give the Fitchburg access to the west via connections at Buffalo/Niagara Falls with the Pennsylvania, the Nickel Plate, and the Grand Trunk.

Ultimately the West Shore, which had fallen into the hands of the Pennsylvania, was sold to the Central in 1885 in return for the Central’s abandoning construction of the South Pennsylvania Railroad (now the route of the Pennsylvania Turnpike), in a deal basically forced upon the companies by J. Pierpont Morgan (who wasn’t a fan of wasteful competition)… leaving the Hoosac Tunnel Route right back where it started in terms of a western connection.

So the Troy & Boston was primarily a passenger line connecting to the Fitchburg line, it seems likely that there was not much commercial freight coming from Troy on the T&B. So where was most of the freight coming from? Much further west? My assumption was that the Hoosac Tunnel was made to connect with the Erie canal, but perhaps by the time the tunnel was finally completed 25 years later, the canal wasn’t playing the important role it was at the outset of the project. I’m interested in finding the origin of any freight in the Albany/Troy/Cohoes area that rode the Fitchburg line.

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Here you go railfans. Although the Harlem Division to Hudson line was severed, Part Is Still In Operation

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Junction of old Harlem Division branch and Hudson Division in Hudson, NY

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Destination of the “Grain Train” just a few miles from Hudson

Here you go. Note that although the Harlem Division to Hudson line was severed in 1959, and operated from Hudson, it was still a B&A or Harlem Div. crew that drove to Hudson to work the line due to union agreements.

Hudson and Boston Railroad was a railroad that spanned across Southern and Central Columbia County, New York. It was chartered in 1855, acquired by the Boston and Albany Railroad in 1870, only to face its gradual demise beginning in 1959. Despite its name, it never actually reached Boston, but it did serve as an important connecting line for the Boston and Albany Railroad, which converted it into the B&A Hudson Branch upon acquisition. The line formed a cutoff between the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad towards New York City and the Boston and Albany Railroad, toward PittsfieldSpringfieldWorcester, and Boston.  In the 1869 Official Guide, it is listed under the B&A as the Hudson and Boston Railway. One can tell that it was operated by the B&A as the name of its General Supt. is the same as the GS of the B&A. At that time there were five passenger trains in each direction.

In the 1913 B&A timetable, it is shown as the Hudson and Chatham Branch, with four daily round trips from Hudson to Chatham and return. In the 1957 ETT the branch is shown as just a line between Hudson and Ghent. The B&A track between Ghent and Chatham was removed in 1937 and Hudson trains used the Harlem (Hudson division) on that line segment.

At some time between 4/57 and 4/59 the line was transferred to the Hudson division. That ETT shows it as the Hudson Branch. By the 10/60 ETT, the line had been abandoned east of Claverack, a cement company location. Lot of interest on the Internet, there is even a YAHOO Group: The Hudson Grain Train Group Now serves a grain plant just the other side of Hudson.It has street running in the city of Hudson.

The Hudson and Boston was originally chartered in 1828 as the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad by James Mellen in order to build a railroad line from Hudson, New York to the Massachusetts state line. Construction began in 1835 and was completed in 1838. The company was leased to the Berkshire Railroad, along with the connecting West Stockbridge Railroad, in 1844, but was sold at foreclosure to the Western Railroad of Massachusetts on November 21, 1854. The name was changed to the Hudson and Boston Railroad on February 23, 1855, and the part east of Chatham was abandoned around 1860, since it was redundant with the newer Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad (part of the Boston and Albany Railroad main line).

The line was acquired by the B&A on November 2, 1870, and thus became their Hudson Branch, also called the “Hudson and Chatham Branch.” It was important both for passengers and for freight services especially those used by the various mills in the county. In its waning years, the Hudson Branch would serve freight exclusively. In the summer of 1892 an accident took place in Claverack, New York. In 1900 the line along with the B&A itself were acquired by the New York Central Railroad, thereby making Hudson, Harlem, and B&A Main Line work as one with the former H&B. However, the B&A would run under its own name until 1961. 1936 was the year Mellenville station, the station named for the founder of the Hudson and Berkshire Railroad, was closed and converted into a local grange. The same year, the “BA” Tower in Ghent which controlled movements between the NYC Harlem Division, and the B&A Hudson Branch was closed, and the segment between Ghent and Chatham became exclusively part of the Upper Harlem Division. Maps from the 1950s still show the line as existing, however by 1959 it only ran as far east as Claverack. As NYC merged with Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central Railroad, they renamed it the “Claverack Secondary Track” and kept cutting the line back further west, and abandoned all passenger service on their Upper Harlem Division north of Dover Plains. When Conrail took over in 1976, they continued the cutbacks with the line moving further west from Claverack, while the UHD segment was abandoned between Millerton and Ghent, transforming it into little more than a freight spur between Ghent and Chatham. That segment would be gone as well by 1983. Today the only remnants of the line are that of the former Lone Star Cement factory east of Hudson, at a spur off the line once known as “Greenport Center.”

Tracks along the Hudson IN SUMMARY

The old B&A line to Ghent and on to Chatham was the old Hudson & Boston (about 1840), then the Western and then the Boston & Albany. The local freight went from Chatham on west to Hudson via Ghent. The line was intact all the way through until just a few years ago and then was cut back to Claverack/Hudson after that. Passenger service was discontinued on 12/21/32; as of the June 26, 1932 timetable there were still two daily excluding Sunday trains. Freight service was abandoned from Claverack to Ghent in late 1959/early 1960, leaving a 4 mile spur from Hudson to (about) Claverack. In 1986, this was reduced to about 2 miles, i.e., about from Hudson to Upper Hudson.

Hudson, NY, off the NYC Hudson Line had several industries and an industrial spur that eventually led over to the NYC Harlem Line’s terminus in Chatham, with connections there to the Rutland. Right near the Hudson Line south of the Hudson Station was a spur to a cement plant (Universal Atlas), a glue factory (yup, from horses), and the Hudson Secondary led to the Lone Star cement plant (now an ADM plant, still served by CSX with a bit of street running in Hudson and a God-awful grade to pull to get there). There was (and still is) a lot of track in place, and some other facilities were served by rail, including lumber, textile manufacturing and a coal gas plant. The Secondary also served a feed mill in Claverack and led out through Mellenville and on to Chatham. There was also local trolley service in the City of Hudson itself, and a car barn near the NYC Hudson line for the Albany-Hudson Fast Line that ran all the way to Albany, threading its way through Columbia and Rensselaer Counties (you can still find the right of way if you are perceptive and have a little help knowing where to look; the car barn in Greenport off Fairview Ave is now a Niagara Mohawk/National Grid building). Some good modeling options, including the street running (right outside the front door of the “Iron Horse Bar and Grill”) in the City of Hudson.

The right of way in question is the Hudson & Berkshire Railroad that dates back to 1836. This pre-dates any other RR in the area and ran from Hudson,NY to West Stockbridge, Ma. It was laid with wooden rails with iron straps. In 1840 when the Albany & West Stockbridge Railroad (which was governed by the Western Railroad) was building east from Greenbush (Rensselear) to connect with the Western Railroad at State Line they attempted to buy the H&B to no avail. They wanted to avoid building a tunnel, but were forced to build a separate right of way which paralleled the H&B to State Line. The H&B was relaid with T rails in 1848 to improve service but folded in 1854. The Western which now owned the A&W bought the H&B and used it as a second main track between State Line and Chatham until a second tunnel was bored and double track was laid on the Western(later it became the B&A). The H&B rails were removed in 1865 between State Line and Chatham but the portion between Chatham and Hudson survived as a Branch Line for the Western and successor Boston & Albany. A portion of the H&B is still used between Hudson and Hudson Upper by CSX to reach the ADM grain facility.

This B&A (Boston & Albany RR) line extended NE to Ghent where it joined the Harlem Div. right-of-way and went to Chatham where it junctioned with the B&A mainline.

The Hudson Branch connected with a car ferry operation which crossed the Hudson River to a connection with the West Shore RR. The B&A originally crossed the Hudson Div. just south of the NYC station and there were connections in the NE, SE, and SW quadrants of the crossing. After the Branch was severed, a B&A prior rights crew was deadheaded from Selkirk to pick up the power and cars for the Branch which had been dropped at Hudson. The B&A Local designation was LC-25 / 26 (IIRC).

Looking at the Google map aerial view I see where that Hudson branch splits before the ADM mill. Two tracks , one goes to the mill the other to a factory. It looks like a trailing point switch by a factory and then the line goes into the woods and stops by an abandoned bridge.

As far as I know there were three spurs off the ex-NYC Hudson Line. The north spur is the Hudson Upper (ex-B&A) which runs up to ADM in Greenport. The middle spur, unused but still in place, served a factory which sits between the Hudson Line and Rte 9G. The southern spur was called Hudson Lower. Fragments remain between the Hudson Line and the east side of Rte 9G. It once went up an incline called either Jones Mountain or Becraft Hills (depending on the date of the map you reference) where a large quarry complex exists to the current day. At some point over its lifetime the Hudson Lower was pruned back from its original terminus at quarries east of Rte 9 (not 9G) and west of Newman Road to a large processing complex on the west side of Rte 9. Service on this spur ended in, I think, the 1980s, but that’s just a rough guess from previous posts on this and other boards. Most of the ROW is off-limits and clearly posted as such by St. Lawrence Cement.

When that service to ADM started in the 1980’s, the job was called out of Selkirk as a WVSE-99 travelling switcher. The loaded grain trains inbound were symbolled as a GRU-series (GRain Upper Hudson). The trains were figured for one per week, and it usually took 4 crews for the round-trip between Selkirk and ADM. During test runs, 15,000hp could take 21 or 22 loads up that hill through the city to ADM. All units were 4-axles as 6-packs were barred at that time due to the track conditions

It is a 3.22% grade. Under Conrail, I believe it was their steepest grade. Under CSX now, I’m not sure it is their steepest. The ADM job is usually called out of Selkirk and the crew takes 10 cars up at a time, with empties “usually” brought down after 3 runs up. It is also very rare that a Selkirk-Oak Point / Oak Point-Selkirk train will drop cars off at Hudson. Up until last year, the local could be seen 4-5 days a week climbing the hill. It may be less now with the economy slowing down. And 6-axle power can be used on this trackage.

The branch ran from Hudson to Chatham. The Harlem Division connected at Ghent and ran over the B&A to access Chatham.

The stations on the Hudson Branch were as follows: – HUDSON – Hudson Upper – A&H Junction – Claverack – Country Club (near the present day Columbia Golf and Country Club) – Pulvers – Mellenville – Ghent – Harlem Division connects and thence to: – Payn’s – Chatham

The grade is not the only problem as there is a sharp curve coming around the wye at the bottom of the hill to start the run upgrade as well as a second sharp curve where the line curves to begin the 2 blocks of street running. When service started, the traffic signals had not been re-connected to warn of the approach of the train, so crew had to flag the crossing at the start of the street running as well as the 4 intersections (2 in the street running and 2 on the far side of the city park). The line was the B&A’s connection to the West Shore RR by means of a car ferry across the river to Ravena. The original layout of trackage had 2 B&A tracks crossing the 2 NYC&HR tracks at grade with connections in all quadrants except the NW. Some people may remember the 2 old B&A boxcars which were on the SW for many years until they were scrapped in place in preparation for a [President L. Stanley] Crane inspection trip.

How do they get from Selkirk to Hudson?  They used the Castleton bridge to Hudson Line. 

An interesting aside: The New York Central Lines magazine from the 1920’s contained some entertainment as well. There was a story almost every month written by George H. Wooding who was a towerman in Ghent, NY. It was labeled “a series of merry minglings of fact and fable, chiefly along the Harlem Division but just as interesting to the folks all along the main line”.

Supply Chain Intelligence: Using Your Visibility To Reduce Supply Chain Costs (Part 2)

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If you have followed my writing at all, you already know I am the great advocate of Supply Chain Control Towers. Why, because they provide such great VISIBILITY into the whole supply chain. That easily translates into reduced supply chain costs. Let’s see how! In Part 1, we examined Supply Chain Visibility: A Critical Strategy to Optimize Cost and Service
I have found some good ideas on how visibility can cut supply chain costs from consultant John Berry.

There are plenty of sophisticated methods and algorithms out there to help calculate safety stock levels. However without good supply chain data, it’s almost impossible to implement any kind of rigorous inventory management process.:

  1. The unfortunate reality is that organizations frequently don’t have precise information about on-hand inventory counts.  This could be caused by a less-than-reliable ERP or WMS implementation.  Data latency is another common culprit for inventory blindness. Often inventory data is processed in batches. In a high velocity distribution center operation, even a 15 minute batch window can cause huge distortion on on-hand inventory counts. In fact it’s common to see daily, weekly or even monthly inventory reconciliations. Often organizations outsource fulfillment operations to 3PLs without properly thinking through data integration.  And often, inventory visibility is completely based on an emailed spreadsheet! Keeping safety stock to offset bad processes  is completely wasteful.

Read more: http://ec-bp.com/index.php/advisors/ec-bps-bloggers/10583-supply-chain-intelligence-using-your-visibility-to-reduce-supply-chain-costs-part-2#ixzz35dzRa3vx

Self Help For You “Office-Weary Warriors” Out There

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Struggling with e-mail? Overwhelmed with too many meetings? Late with reports?

We have combed the Internet and found some tools and ideas to help you.

Some of these blogs are eye-openers, like the one about keeping your email box at zero. Plenty of well-worn time-management advice tells us how we should plan our day. Do the most important thing first. Never check email in the morning. Make a to-do list the night before. Don’t schedule meetings right after lunch when everyone will be half-asleep.

Note: sometimes these ideas conflict, so use your own judgement and experiment until you find things that work.

ORGANIZE YOUR DAZE (OOPS, I MEAN DAYS)

But what if we organized tasks by when research shows it’s actually most optimal to get them done? That’s a question we started asking after coming across a recent study that shows the ideal time of day to make moral or ethical decisions is in the morning. And so, we pored over additional research (some academic, some perhaps less so) on tasks and timing. Below, a research-based weekday planner for what to do — and, perhaps more important, what not to do — at various hours of the day.

6 – 8 a.m. Send email. Many books may have been written advising us never to check email in the mornings. Time management experts say not to get mired in our inboxes first thing, or we won’t get the critical things done. But of course, people do anyway, grabbing their phone off their bedside table, tapping away responses on their morning train, or giving themselves a breather once they sit down at their desks and drink their coffee.

Which is why sending email first thing might actually be the best time to do it. Research by a marketing software company shows that the highest click-through rate from marketing emails is on those sent around 6 a.m. or potentially a bit later.

8 a.m. Make decisions about ethical dilemmas. While the time here is somewhat arbitrary, recent research from professors at Harvard University and the University of Utah found what they called the “morning morality effect” in four experiments of undergraduates and working adults. In computer-based tests, participants were given the opportunity to cheat or lie in order to earn more money — and the experiments found that people were more likely to do both in the afternoon.

9 a.m. Avoid scheduling meetings. The hardest part about scheduling meetings isn’t really finding the time when everyone involved will be bright-eyed rather than half-asleep. It’s finding a time when everyone can actually attend. Keith Harris, chief technology officer of WhenIsGood.net, a bare-bones Web app for picking meeting times without sending a flurry of emails back and forth, dug into his software’s data and examined 2 million responses to some 530,000 scheduled events. He found that first thing in the workday is when the fewest people say they’re available. “Any time before ten, forget it,” Harris wrote in an e-mail. “Your co-workers are still deep in their coffee and inbox.”

1 – 2 p.m. Don’t make cold calls (especially on Friday). One might think lunchtime would be a good opening for a new business lead, when you catch someone at their desk eating a sandwich and checking Facebook or ESPN.com. But research by James Oldroyd, a business school professor in Korea whom CBS Marketwatch called “the mad scientist of cold calling,” finds that the worst time of day to make an unsolicited call is between 1 and 2 p.m. Far better is late afternoon (between 4 and 5 p.m.) or first thing in the morning (8 to 9 a.m.). That morning hour had 164 percent better results than the lunch hour in Oldroyd’s analysis of more than a million cold calls. His findings also reportedly show that Thursday is the best day of the week, while Friday is the worst.

2:30 or 3 p.m. Schedule meetings (if it’s Tuesday!). In addition to helping us find the worst time of day to try to get people around a table, WhenIsGood.net’s Harris also scanned the data to find the best. The winner: Tuesday, at 2:30 p.m., is the day and time of the week when most people accept meeting requests. Harris ran the search for us earlier this week, and it confirmed similar results to when he first ran the numbers for a white paper five years ago and Tuesday at 3 p.m was the best. He speculates Tuesday afternoon stands out “because that is the furthest you can get from the deadlines at the end of the week, without bumping into the missed deadlines from the week before.”

4 p.m. Do tasks that don’t involve sending e-mail. If early morning is the best time to get people to act on an e-mail, late afternoon is the worst. Analysis of millions of messages shows that 4 p.m. has the lowest click-through rate of any time of day, as people hurry to get out of the office and check things off before heading out the door.

4 – 6 p.m. Avoid sitting for an interview. If you catch wind the hiring manager has scheduled to interview several candidates over a single day or two — try not to be the last of the pack. Try and ask for a morning appointment if you can.

6 p.m. – late Do creative work, if you’re a morning person. If it sounds counterintuitive, it is. Yet research actually shows that people do their best creative thinking when they’re tired.

They found that those who identified as feeling fresh and sharp in the morning did better solving problems late at night that required original thinking. For night owls, it was the inverse. Morning proved a better time for them to have bright ideas. Their explanation: Creative thinking requires us to approach problems from a different perspective, which is actually harder to do when we’re clear-headed and can only see the obvious answer. If we need to concentrate, it’s good for our brains to be “on.” But if we need to think differently, it’s easier when our brains are a little distracted

INBOX ZERO

Urban Dictionary defines as: When you have no messages in your email inbox. Such a goal is often elusive, because the more email you clear out and reply to, the more new messages come in. I reached my goal of inbox zero by Friday afternoon, but Monday morning I had 42 new messages.

TechTarget defines as: Inbox Zero is a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty — or almost empty — at all times.

Inbox Zero was developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann. According to Mann, the zero is not a reference to the number of messages in an inbox; it is “the amount of time an employee’s brain is in his inbox.” Mann’s point is that time and attention are finite and when an inbox is confused with a “to do” list, productivity suffers.

Mann identifies five possible actions to take for each message: delete, delegate, respond, defer and do.

Here are some of Mann’s tips for effective email management:

  • Don’t leave the email client open.

  • Process email periodically throughout the day, perhaps at the top of each hour.

  • First delete or archive as many new messages as possible.

  • Then forward what can be best answered by someone else.

  • Immediately respond to any new messages that can be answered in two minutes or less.

  • Move new messages that require more than two minutes to answer — and messages that can be answered later — to a separate “requires response” folder.

  • Set aside time each day to respond to email in the “requires response” folder or chip away at mail in this folder throughout the day.

Time-Management Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs From Financenk

  1. Visualization techniques can be very powerful instruments for achieving goals in business. Next time you hit a rough patch of uncertainty, consider spending some time visualization how you will behave in order to get through it. This will not only relax you, but it will also prepare you for the road ahead.

  2. If you want to be successful, time management is vital. Not only must you keep track of all of your appointments, meetings, and project deadlines, but you also must manage your time when it comes to accomplishing tasks. If you allocate too much time to a project, that’s time that you cannot use for a different project.

  3. Having a clean, organized workspace is a vital part of success. It may sound trivial, but in fact, the cleanliness and the order can go a long way towards improving your mindset and structuring your day.

  4. Similar to keeping your office space clean and organized, keeping your schedule clean and organized is important, too. It helps to keep your mind clear of unnecessary clutter and worries; and instead focus on moment.

  5. When it comes to business, staying in control means a lot. It means that you not only prevent other businesses from dictating an agenda for you, but it also means that you firmly seize control of your own density. If you want to be successful, then you must be willing to take control.

Metro-North Safety, Bridge and Yard Improvements

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MTA Metro-North Railroad officials recently presented to the New York and Connecticut governors a 100-day report on the railroad’s action plan designed to improve safety, restore reliability and improve communications.

Of the plan’s 32 initiatives, 21 have been fully implemented, seven are in progress and two will be pursued after outside entities submit independent reports, Metro-North officials said in a press release. Two additional initiatives — implementing a “back-to-basics” plan for train reliability and service delivery, and communicating service delivery information to customers and elected officials — will continue as ongoing, long-term Metro-North priorities, they said.

Major improvements that have been completed include enhancing track inspection and maintenance, installing alerters and video cameras in engineers’ cabs, beefing up the safety and training departments, expanding employee testing programs to ensure understanding of safety rules, creating a computer-based track worker safety system, and implementing a Confidential Close Call Reporting System.

The Federal Railroad Administration completed its review of Metro-North practices in May, and its recommendations are incorporated into the 100-Day report. Two external reports, from the MTA’s Blue Ribbon Panel and the National Transportation Safety Board, have not yet been submitted, but Metro-North has committed to implementing any recommendations from those entities that have not already been addressed, railroad officials said.

“Metro-North intends to maintain its infrastructure and rolling stock to the highest standards of safety and reliability,” said President Joseph Giulietti. “This requires ensuring that we have established the appropriate inspection, maintenance and replacement plans and that we have the necessary resources to carry them out effectively. This will require ongoing funding, not only for Metro-North’s operating budget, but also for the railroad’s capital needs in New York and Connecticut.”

Metro-North’s action plans were put into place following a series of accidents, including the Dec. 1 derailment near the Bronx, N.Y., that resulted in four deaths. The train derailed after speeding through a curve.

On the recommendation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is creating a Transportation Reinvention Commission to ensure the capital plan it submits by Oct. 1 will adequately account for demographic, ridership and climate shifts that will shape mass transit in this century. In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy and the Congressional delegation have pledged to seek federal funding for their state’s investment needs.

Meanwhile, MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast and Giulietti met on Monday with Malloy and Connecticut Transportation Commissioner James Redeker to develop short- and long-term strategies for addressing infrastructure needs of the 118-year-old Walk Bridge that crosses the Norwalk River in downtown Norwalk, Conn. Metro-North and Amtrak service in Connecticut was disrupted for the second time in two weeks earlier this month. On June 6, the swing bridge — which allows marine traffic to pass underneath — got stuck in the open position and failed to close properly.

Teams from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and Metro-North will conduct an operation review of procedures at the bridge to minimize future risk of failure; the teams will work together and are expected to report their findings and recommendations by mid-July. Over the long term, both parties will push for federal funding to allow for the replacement of the bridge, according to a Metro-North press release.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) Commissioner James Redeker last week toured the New Haven Rail Yard, which is undergoing a $1.15 billion, multi-year upgrade and expansion.

Malloy also announced that a fifth new power supply substation has been put into service on the New Haven commuter-rail line, adding more redundancy and increasing options to reduce the chance of future prolonged power failures, state officials said in a press release.

“This rebuilding and expansion is the best demonstration of our commitment to investing in new facilities, maintaining our rail assets and providing the best and safest possible service to Connecticut commuters,” Malloy said.

Connecticut’s State Bond Commission, chaired by Malloy, recently approved $80 million for the rail yard program. The state funding will pay for a new warehouse for rail-car components, storage tracks for rail cars, demolition of an old storage facility and a pedestrian bridge linking Union Station and the yard so employees can more easily access the facility.

“We have seen what can happen when there’s a major power failure on this railroad – disrupting service, inconveniencing commuters and the ripple effect into the local and regional economy,” said Redeker, referring to last fall’s power outage on the New Haven Line in Mount Vernon, N.Y., which disrupted service for two weeks.

The officials’ tour began at the yard’s $215 million “Component Change-Out Shop,” which features a 35-ton bridge crane and in-floor lifts that can lift cars individually or in pairs.

Last month, a fifth new power supply substation was put into service for the rail yard by United Illuminating Co. in partnership with ConnDOT. Previously, the yard was powered by the Devon Supply Substation in Milford. The new power source and its electric switch heaters will allow additional redundancy and power options to maintain and operate the New Haven Line more efficiently and safely, state officials said.

6 million men and women cared for by the North Platte Canteen

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Photo Courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad

If you are familiar with the North Platte Canteen from WW2 you can associate the interest.  The local historical museum has an exhibit about this miraculous endeavor. Roselyn and Robert McFarland call it that because they have for weeks been reviewing letters sent later from soldiers and sailors who stopped for 10 minutes. The effect the warm touch of the visit had ,sustained many through their ordeal during the war.They remember the stop so vividly. The exact date , the food , the train, but most of all the touch of home that sent them on less frightened or received them home with care.

Anyway Roselyn and Robert McFarland are searching for photos of those troop trains .  Photos which might show something new or different that might add to the Canteen exhibit experience. Photos that might be used without a royalty.

The story must not be forgotten.

The men write in hundreds of letters that they stopped at many canteens but the North Platte Canteen was unlike any other and left an indelible mark on their life.

Please see the special section about the Canteen on the Lincoln County Museum WebSite

If you have any pictures that might add to the project, please respond in the “comments” section or email Roselyn and Robert McFarland directly at fortmcpherson@nebnet.net

Trenton Falls combines scenic vistas with historic lineage

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t was a place where John Quincy Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles Dickens and other notables kicked off their boots to relax among high society. Now it’s a place where families and friends can come and enjoy nature and the view. For three weekends all year, the Trails of Trenton Falls will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Read More About Trenton Falls Openings

Picture of Trenton Falls courtesy of Harvard University

Came across a story written in 1925 by J. Lyman Gollegty, Utica Gas and Electric Co.

The western entrance to the Mohawk Valley is a center of great industrial activity. Its past has been crowned with great achievements. So great an authority as Roger Babson has predicted that this section of New York State is bound to become the manufacturing center of the United States. Naturally enough one wonders just why this is so. The answer is a most logical one. Unusual water power facilities have created an abundance of electrical energy which, economically produced and sold, affords attractive opportunities for industrial operations.

The Utica Gas & Electric Company, which supplies the demand for power in this territory, has established a decidedly high rating for itself and is now recognized as one of the 20 leading concerns of its kind in the entire country. This company was incorporated in 1902, and represents a merger and consolidation of 17 companies which have been organized and have operated in the territory it now serves. It traces its early history back to the Ilion & Mohawk Gas Light Companies and the Little Falls Gas Light Company which were formed in the summer of 1869. The Utica Electric Light Company, incorporated January 9, 1888, was the first electric power company organized in this section. Subsequently the following electric companies have become a part of what is now the Utica Gas & Electric Company: Utica Electric Manufacturing & Supply Co., Trenton Falls Electric Light & Power Company, the Utica Electric Light & Power Company, the Equitable Gas & Electric Company of Utica, the Herkimer County Light & Power Company, the Dolgeville Electric Light & Power Company, the United Gas & Electric Companies of Little Falls, Little Falls Electric Light & Power Company and the Herkimer County Light & Power Company. Through purchase of stock the Utica Gas & Electric Company also operates the College Hill Electric Light Company of Clinton, the Progressive Electric Light Company of Franklin Springs and the Central New York Power Company of Canastota.

The hydro-electric power of the Utica Gas & Electric Company’s system is produced at three distinct plants located on as many streams. These are at Trenton Falls, on West Canada Creek; at Little Falls on the Mohawk River, and at Dolgeville on the East Canada Creek. This system of hydro-electric plants is supplemented by two large steam-electric plants in Utica, at Harbor Point and Washington Street.

Trenton Falls in Oneida County is one of the most picturesque water scenes in the United States. A generation ago its magnificence was known far and wide to tourists and adventurers, who came in many instances thousands of miles to view its charm. Indeed, at one time in its history, Trenton Falls vied with Saratoga Springs and Newport, R. I., as the leading resorts of the nation. And one does not express amazement at this fact, once he views the cascades and canyon of beautiful Trenton. Here the West Canada Creek, in a series of four waterfalls drops approximately 275 feet through the gorge to a quiet pool below.

Few people realize that this provides a higher water head than Niagara Falls, and that it is one of the highest developed power heads east of the Rocky Mountains. It is a fact that when the first hydro-electric development was made at this point in 1899-1901, the highest head east of Pike’s Peak had been obtained. Since that time, several of approximately the same head have been established in the Appalachian system.

The Utica Gas & Electric Company has attained a record of perfection in its line that distinguishes it frequently from contemporaries. This is constantly shown in its progressive policy of adopting the newest and most up-to-date facilities. This has always been the case. When the Trenton Falls project evolved itself the first hydraulic turbines designed by American eigineers and built in America were purchased. These were then the “last word” in scientific and mechanical achievement. Previously all high efficiency and high head turbines had been designed in or imported from Europe. These American built machines are still giving good service. Each of the four turbines furnishes 1,350 horsepower.

With the advent of the World war it was found necessary to greatly increase the capacity of the Trenton Falls plant due to the excessive demands of the increased industrial expansion. Three new turbines and generators of 10,750 horsepower each were added. A new plant adjoining the old one was erected at this time. These two plants now have a combined capacity of 35,400 horsepower. They represent a most attractive property in a setting of rare charm. Here Nature’s beauty is retained in almost virginal state. The scars usually made by industry are at a minimum.

At Little Falls on the Mohawk River can be seen a plant which has three units with a total capacity of 2,100 horsepower. The project at Dolgeville came into existence in 1897, the first modern hydro-electric plant in Central New York. There is a head of 72 feet at this point, known as “High Falls” on East Canada Creek. Plants at Middleville and Newport, constructed about 1900 and 1910 were of a crude type. A new modern plant was erected at Newport in 1914. After being merged with the Utica Gas & Electric Company, the Middleville property was abandoned.

These represent the hydro-electric generating plants owned by the Utica Gas & Electric Company in the Upper Mohawk Valley. It is, of course, necessary in distributing the current to have adequate sub-stations in various important sections of the great industrial territory it serves. These are located at Washington Street, Cornelia Street, and Turner Street, Utica; Whitesboro, New Hartford and Sauquoit, Holland Patent, Rome and Ilion.

To guard against exigencies which, in the course of ordinary events, would interrupt the transmission of current generated at the hydro-electric plants, two large and very modern steam-electric plants are in use in the city of Utica, at Harbor Point and at Washington Street. Should lightning interrupt the service from Trenton Falls, Newport, Little Falls, or Dolgeville, the steam-electric system is immediately placed in operation, thus practically insuring a continuous service. This also is the case in the possible event of a water shortage, although the streams upon which the hydro-electric power is generated, are adequately protected. They are assured of an abundant flow of water with large state reservoirs standing by in case of such an emergency.

While the industrial activity in the upper Mohawk Valley during the early decades of the twentieth century is well provided for in the plants and properties listed above, the Utica Gas & Electric Company has looked into the future. There are several sites open for future prospective development. It will be possible to obtain 25,000 k. w. a short distance above Trenton Falls on the West Canada Creek. It is likely, too, that when necessary, two 16,000 k. w. units will be erected in place of the four turbines and generators now producing 1,000 k. w. each in the old section of the Trenton Falls property.

At Poland on the West Canada Creek, 3,500 k. w. are available at any time. It is possible, also, to increase the production from 300 k. w. to 1,000 k. w. at Newport. These projects have been considered and are listed for development when and if necessary.

Diligent study of the possibilities provided by the various streams in the adjacent territory would show other sites for development, all of which are dependent upon future needs. Two new sites that have not been thoroughly analyzed, but which it is possible to develop have been located at Taberg on Fish Creek and at Enos on Black River. The potential power of these two sites is given at 28,000 k. w. and 3,000 k. w. respectively.

Thus Utica, and its smaller industrial neighbors, Rome, Frankfort, Ilion, Mohawk, Herkimer, Little Falls and a score of other villages are adequately provided for in the present and future. Taking its cue from the federal government, the Utica Gas & Electric Company, in conjunction with the Northern New York Utilities Company, the Adirondack Power & Light Corporation, Cohoes Power & Light Company and other important hydro-electric concerns, has constructed interlinking high tension lines which form another assurance against interrupted service. This improvement also provides for sharply increased demands upon the power lines of any of the individual companies so connected. Power is thus purchased from other companies whenever the necessity requires. This Mohawk Valley super-power system is indicative of the great importance of the Valley to the industrial life of the eastern United States. It is a good augury of what the future affords.

It is not a long time since that electrical wizard, Edison, in his research laboratory, then a humble frame shack, conceived the impossible and invented the incandescent lamp. The year 1878 saw it perfected. Four years later it was introduced for commercial uses. Today, less than 50 years distant, electricity not only lights the homes and factories of the world, but has been proven one of the most vigorous and forceful instruments for progress in the history of mankind. In 1895, the first crude and seemingly impossible motor was constructed. In 1901 one of the longest transmission lines in the world — 15 miles long — was erected between Trenton Falls and Utica.

What has happened in the march of progress since that time is largely the history of electrical development. Factories, markets, shops, stores, all date their modern success and progress from the discovery of electricity’s lighting and motive power. What is so of America and the world in this respect is equally so of the Mohawk Valley. The Utica Gas & Electric Company has indeed been a vital factor in the march of industrial progress in the Upper Mohawk Valley.

 

86-year-old tugboat doing canal work in Utica runs on electricity!

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New York’s Governor Cuomo announced a retrofitted electric canal boat to demonstrate benefits of no-emission engine; NYSERDA, NYSDOT partnership with Canal Corp. replaces diesel engine with electric motor

At 86, you might think it was long past time to retire.

Instead, the Tender 4 tugboat has a brand new all-electric engine, combining environmentally-sustainable engineering with retro yellow and blue style of the canal system in 1928.

The boat took Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri for a short ride after it was unveiled. The Tender 4 will be put to work removing buoys and doing canal maintenance work along the Utica section of the Erie Canal, New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said.

The upgrade was made possible through collaboration with New York State Canal Corporation, NYSERDA and the New York State DOT, New West Technologies and Elco Motor Yachts.

Right now, about 54,000 homeowners get power supplied by the canal system, Stratton said. The all-electric engine was designed by Elco Motor Yachts and needs only to be charged at night before carrying out its duties on the Utica portion of the canal system.

Read more: http://www.uticaod.com/article/20140617/News/140619454#ixzz3571PRNXv

The New York State Canal System is a navigable 524-mile inland waterway that spans upstate New York. The waterway connects the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River.

The Canal System includes four Canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca; canalized natural waterways, plus five lakes: Oneida, Onondaga, Cross, Cayuga and Seneca; short Canal sections at Ithaca and Watkins Glen; feeder reservoirs, canals and rivers not accessible by boat from the Canal; and Canal terminals on Lake Champlain. The Canal System passes through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns.

At one time, more than 50,000 people depended on the Erie Canal for their livelihood. From its inception, the Erie Canal helped form a whole new culture revolving around Canal life. For many, canal boats became floating houses, traveling from town to town. The father would serve as captain, while the mother cooked for the family and crew and the children, if old enough, would serve as “hoggees” and would walk alongside the mules to lead them along at a steady pace.

For those who traveled along the Canal in packet boats or passenger vessels, the Canal was an exciting place. Gambling and entertainment were popular pastimes on the Canal and often, families would meet each year at the same locations to share stories and adventures. Today, the Canal has returned to its former glory against a backdrop of tugboats and barges, tour boats and recreational vessels, fishermen and cyclists riding the former towpaths where mules once trod. The excitement of the past is alive and well.

 The Erie Canal is famous in song and story. Proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, the canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. An engineering marvel when it was built, some called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The Story of the New York State Canals