September 2, 1848 The Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad (later CCC&Stl, NYC, PC, CR, I&O) opens an extension between Sandusky and Springfield, OH. With the Little Miami Railroad it forms the first through line between Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
September 3, 1929 The Transcontinental Air Transport, Inc. [later TWA] plane “City of San Francisco” crashes into a mountain 26 miles west of Gallup NM. All five passengers and three crewmen aboard are killed. The accident will cause a major decline in the number of passengers using Air-Rail service.
September 3, 1916 President Wilson signs the Adamson Act, which creates the 8-hour, 100-mile standard workday for railroad employees. Railroad labor unions do not like the Act because it includes no overtime provision. Railroad Managers refuse to accept the Act and file appeals with the courts.
September 3, 1962 New York Central’s “Michigan Timberliner” makes its last run from Mackinaw City to Detroit, ending summer-only tourist trains in Michigan and all NYC passenger service north of Bay City.
September 5, 1851 First train into Elkhart IN. The train had been delayed in Adrian MI when it collided with a freight train, killing one person. (This is the earliest railroad fatality this editor has discovered in Michigan.)
September 1, 1853 The Cleveland & Toledo Railroad (later LS, MS&NI, LS&MS, NYC, PC, CR, NS) is formed from the consolidation of the Toledo, Norwalk & Cleveland and the Junction Railroad.
September 1, 1858 The New York Central leases the Niagara Bridge & Canandaigua Railroad. One of its first actions is to convert from 6′-0″ to 4′-8-1/2″ gauge, blocking the New York & Erie, Northern Central, and Reading railroads from the Suspension Bridge gateway.
September 1, 1889 The Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw Railroad [later MC, NYC, PC, CR] is completed north of Kalamazoo to Woodbury and its junction with the Pere Marquette Railroad. This is its furthest point north; it will not extend to Saginaw as its early promoters had hoped. Neither will it reach Chicago.
September 1, 1928 Northwest Airlines and Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio and New York Central railroads offer the first coordinated rail-air service.
September 1, 1933 “AB” style air brakes are required on all newly built cars.
September 1, 1973 The former Kalamazoo & South Haven (MC, NYC, PC) is abandoned between Ravine Road (in Kalamazoo) and South Haven.
August 31, 1955 General Motors exhibits its “Aerotrain” at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago.
September 11, 1952 The last New York Central steam-powered commuter train leaves White Plains for Dover (NY), marking the end of steam on all NYC Divisions feeding New York City. (Some sources say September 13.)
September 10, 1877 The Montour Railroad (later P&LE) is incorporated in Pennsylvania to build a coal mine railroad southwest of Pittsburgh.
September 6, 1967 The New York Central drops a total of 1,537 train-miles of passenger service. Among the losses: through service between New York and St. Louis and between New York and Indianapolis.
August 31, 1962 The New York Central’s summer-only Detroit to Mackinaw City “Timberliner” makes its last run. The last return trip will be in 3 days.
August 30, 1906 In a speech to the American Anti-Trust League, Democratic Presidential Candidate William Jennings Bryan calls for the nationalization of the railroads.
August 30, 1968 The last train runs on the former New York Central line between Springport and Albion MI.
August 29, 1916 Unable to get the railroads to agree, President Wilson goes before Congress seeking passage of legislation that would create a standard 8-hour day for railroad employees.
August 29, 1935 The Railroad Retirement Fund is created, allowing retirement at age 65 and pensions paid out of fund revenues.
September 14, 1891 The “Empire State Express” goes from New York City to East Buffalo, 436 miles, in a record 7 hours 6 minutes (61.408-mph)
September 15, 1916 The Grand Valley Railroad (MI) is merged into the Michigan Central.
September 15, 1948 New York Central’s postwar “20th Century Limited” is christened in ceremonies attended by several dignitaries, including General Dwight Eisenhower (ret).
September 16, 1875 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad inaugurates its own “Fast Mail”, running from New York to Chicago in 27 hours 16 minutes, a better time than the Pennsylvania Railroad’s “Limited Fast Mail” launched on the 13th. The NYC&HR has installed mail cranes for on-the- fly pick-up, which the PRR has not yet done in its haste to begin its own service.
September 16, 1956 The New York Central replaces the male secretaries on the “20th Century Limited” with “Girls of the Century” – stewardesses patterned after those on airliners.
September 16, 1963 The New York Central begins “Meal-a-mat” service (vending machines and microwave self-serve dining) on the “World’s Fair Special”. It’s not a success and the service is quickly withdrawn. Earlier experiments with microwave cooking on other railroads began as early as 1953. Special FCC approval has been required for the ovens.
September 17, 1835 Construction begins on the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad. (later CCC&Stl, NYC, PC, CR, I&O)
September 17, 1948 The New York Central places its new “20th Century Limited” in service. Included in the cars: the “Creek” series observation cars with “Lookout” lounges and “Shore” series mid-train lounges with a barber shop, secretary, and master room with a shower.
September 17, 1950 Toledo Central Union Terminal opens.
September 18, 1918 The New York Central Railroad accepts the terms of its USRA operating contract. It is the first eastern railroad to do so.
September 18, 1958 Examiner Howard Hosmer presents his findings on United States passenger service to the Interstate Commerce Commission. His report states that if the current rate of decline continues, first-class passenger service will end by 1965 and coach service by 1970. The report makes no formal recommendations, but will have a great influence on transportation planners.
September 19, 1866 Representatives of 11 railroads meet in Adrian MI. This leads to the formation of the American Association of Railroads the following spring.
September 21, 1869 The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern leases the Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids. Always under the control of other railroads, the KA&GR will remain as an individual company until the advent of Conrail.
September 20, 1888 Construction begins in Goshen IN on a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern branch to Battle Creek MI. The line will be nicknamed “The Pumpkin Vine”.