Mark Tomlinson’s great newsletter on New York Central Railroad history

Again, we are taking Mark Tomlinson’s great newsletter on New York Central Railroad history and adding comments or photos. Thanks Mark for the REAL work !!

December 7, 1929 The New York Central’s deluxe coach train “Motor Queen” makes its last run between Detroit and Cincinnati. The extra features offered on the train have not made it profitable.

December 7, 1941 The New York Central, with much fanfare, launches the new streamlined “Empire State Express”. The bombing of Pearl Harbor puts an immediate damper on the planned festivities.
Yes, beautiful trainset !

New York – Cleveland – Detroit 
(December 7, 1941) 
New York – Cleveland 605 miles 
New York – Detroit 687 miles 

The New York Central System inaugurated the two train sets that comprised the lightweight streamlined EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS on December 7, 1941 between New York City at the one end and both Cleveland and Detroit at the other. This date is best remembered as the date the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor and other military installations in Hawaii were attacked by Imperial Japanese forces plunging the U. S. into WW II. The Detroit and Cleveland sections of the EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS split at Buffalo with the Detroit section operating across Southern Ontario to its destination. This section was generally anywhere from one to three Parlor cars a dining car and two or more coaches. The remaining cars operated through to and from Cleveland the two New York Central EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS lightweight streamliners departed from their respective terminals and after exchanging their Electric Locomotives at Harmon and the outskirts of Cleveland on the west. The new J3A streamlined 4-6-4 Hudson Locomotives and Tenders took over for the run to the opposite electrified territory. The two streamlined J3A Hudson Locomotive and tenders were 5426 and 5429 with stainless steel installed on the tenders to match the trailing consists and stainless steel installed on the boiler Jacket cover. The roofs of the otherwise all stainless steel Budd built consists were painted black and the top of the Tender and Locomotive were painted black to match. The EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS consists shown below were between Buffalo and New York City on December 7, 1941. The named cars in each train set were named for former Governors of the State of New York. 


5426 Streamlined J3A 4-6-4 Hudson Locomotive & Tender 

ALONZO B. CORNELL Baggage 60’ Railway Post Office Car 

GROVER CLEVELAND Baggage Buffet 36 seat Lounge Car 

CHARLES E. HUGHES 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

HERBERT H. LEHMAN 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

NATHAN L. MILLER 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

GEORGE CLINTON 44 seat Dining Car 

REUBEN E. FENTON 56 Revenue seat Coach 

2569 56 Revenue seat Coach 

2567 56 Revenue seat Coach 

2566 56 Revenue seat Coach 

HAMILTON FISH 56 Revenue seat Coach 

DEWITT CLINTON 44 seat Dining Car 

DAVID B. HILL 56 Revenue seat Coach 

MORGAN LEWIS 56 Revenue seat Coach 

WILLIAM L. MARCY 56 Revenue seat Coach 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT 56 seat Tavern Bar Lounge Observation 


5429 Streamlined J3A 4-6-4 Hudson Locomotive & Tender 

JOHN A. DIX Baggage 60’ Railway Post Office Car 

MARTIN VAN BUREN Baggage Buffet 36 seat Lounge Car 

LEVI P. MORTON 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

ALFRED E. SMITH 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

SAMUEL J. TILDEN 30 Revenue seat Parlor Car with 5 seat Parlor Drawing Room 

JOHN JAY 44 seat Dining Car 

2564 56 Revenue seat Coach 

EDWIN D. MORGAN 56 Revenue seat Coach 

2565 56 Revenue seat Coach 

2568 56 Revenue seat Coach 

WILLIAM H. SEWARD 56 Revenue seat Coach 

HORATIO SEYMOUR 44 seat Dining Car 

DANIEL D. TOMPKINS 56 Revenue seat Coach 

CHARLES S. WHITMAN 56 Revenue seat Coach 

SILAS WRIGHT 56 Revenue seat Coach 

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT 56 seat Tavern Bar Lounge Observatio


December 8, 1921 The Cleveland Union Terminals Company contracts with the New York Central, Big Four and the Nickel Plate for the use of its depot.

December 8, 1960 In Kalamazoo MI, A cement truck traveling on Interstate 94 strikes a freight train at a grade crossing with the New York Central. No one is hurt, but four railroad cars derail. The crossing has since been converted to a highway overpass.
December 10, 1850 The Michigan Southern Railroad reaches Coldwater from the east.
December 10, 1968 The Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, the Switchmen’s Union of North American and the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen vote to merge their four unions into a single organization, the United Transportation Union.


December 11, 1867 Cornelius Vanderbilt is elected President of the New York Central railroad without opposition, giving him control of railroads between New York and Buffalo.


December 11, 1906 The first revenue MU electric train on the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad enters Grand Central Station.

December 13, 1902 For the last time, the New York Central Yard in Elkhart IN switches a car equipped with a link and pin coupler.
December 13, 1945 New York Central places an order for 420 new passenger cars. It is the largest passenger car order placed by any railroad to date.

December 14, 1878 William H. Vanderbilt contracts with a British steamship company to ship grain from the New York Central & Hudson River’s new terminal at 65th street in New York. Previously, the NYC&HR has used the infrastructure associated with the Erie Canal for its shipments but now has to make its own arrangements.
December 14, 1934 New York Central unveils the “Commodore Vanderbilt”, the first streamline steam locomotive and the inspiration for one of Lionel’s most popular toy locomotives. Check it out at the New York Central Railroad WebSite

December 15, 1907 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad extends the running time of the Twentieth Century Limited by an hour and a half to allow for delays due to snowstorms.
December 15, 1937 A merger agreement is signed placing eight New York Central subsidiary lines into the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway.

December 16, 1915 The United States Attorney General rules that New York Central’s ownership of the Nickel Plate, Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and Michigan Central violates U.S. anti-trust laws and orders divesture.
December 17, 1870 The Kalamazoo & South Haven RR (later MC, NYC, PC, CR) is completed.
December 17, 1947 The New York Central Railroad announces it has ordered 111 diesel locomotives.
December 18, 1881 The Michigan Central reaches the Straits of Mackinaw from Bay City. (Some sources say December 31)

December 22, 1914 The New York Central & Hudson River, the Lake Shore & Southern Michigan and several other subsidiaries consolidate with the New York Central. The Boston & Albany, Big Four and Michigan Central remain leased lines.
December 22, 1928 A record 854 long distance trains enter and leave Grand Central Terminal over 24 hours.

December 26, 1917 President Wilson announces that the federal government will be taking over operation of the railroads under the authority of the Army Appropriations Act of 1916. The railroads will be administered by the United States Railway Administra

December 27, 1906 Michigan Central buys the Chicago, Kalamazoo & Saginaw (later NYC, PC, CR; one branch GTW, CN) to thwart plans by the Pere Marquette to make it a link in a shorter Chicago-Detroit route. The MC has little interest in operating the line and the Sergeant family continues to run it much as they had before the purchase.
December 27, 1941 The Office of Price Administration begins the rationing of rubber. The lack of rubber for automobile tires will lead many travelers to choose the train.


December 28, 1825 George Featherstonhaugh (pronounced fen-shaw), of Duanesburgh NY, runs a newspaper notice announcing the formation of the Mohawk & Hudson Rail Road Company.
Dewittt Clinton picture.
December 28, 1917 The United States Railroad Administration takes over operation of all U.S. railroads at 12:00 noon.

December 29, 1841 The Central Railroad of Michigan reaches Jackson from the east.
December 29, 1876 The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern’s train No. 5 “The Pacific Express” falls into the Ashtabula River in Ohio after the collapse of the bridge. Eleven of the passenger cars burn in a fire started by the car stoves. Sixty-four people are killed and 64 injured out of 159 people on board. It is the worst U.S. train wreck to date.
December 29, 1932 “Twentieth Century”, a play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur set on the famous New York Central passenger train opens on Broadway.
December 29, 1953 The last electric train runs through the Detroit River tunnel. It’s replaced by diesels.

December 30, 1871 Grand Duke Alexis of Russia and his party travel through Kalamazoo on their way to Chicago from Detroit, traveling via the Michigan Central Railroad. The Grand Duke tours rebuilding efforts following the Chicago Fire.
December 31, 1883 Michigan Central carferry service at Detroit begins.
December 31, 1900 The Monongahela Railroad is incorporated, owned 50/50 by the Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie.
January 1, 1866 The first train arrives in Schoolcraft on the Schoolcraft & Three Rivers Railroad. [Later K&WP, LS&MS, NYC, PC, CR, NS, GDLK]
January 1, 1867 A third rail for standard gauge equipment is placed in service on the broad-gauge Great Western Railway of Canada, opening a continuous standard-gauge line from Chicago to New York with the new train ferry Great Western between Detroit and Windsor. The Great Western is the largest iron or steel vessel on the Great Lakes. Through sleeping car service is inaugurated between Suspension Bridge (Niagara Falls) and Chicago.
January 1, 1870 The first train into Kalamazoo on the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad. [Later MC, NYC, PC, CR]
January 1, 1870 Grand River Valley Railroad completed from Jackson to Grand Rapids via Charlotte and Hastings [later MC, NYC, PC, KBECR].
January 1, 1922 The New York Central leases the Toledo & Ohio Central.
January 1, 1930 The Toledo & Ohio Central begins operations into Columbus Union Station.
January 1, 1954 “K” style air brakes are banned
January 1, 1954 EMD introduces its 567-C engine and the “9” line of diesels: GP-9, F-9 and SD-9, all rated at 1750 horsepower.
January 1, 1960 The New York Central drops its membership in the Railway Express Agency, citing large losses from the express business.

A sad day for railroading. Head End on NY Central was an important part of profit.

January 2, 1871 The first train runs from Kalamazoo to South Haven on the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad.
January 2, 1930 The New York Central system acquires the lease of both the Michigan Central and Big Four” lines.

January 3, 1870 The Kalamazoo & South Haven (later MC, NYC, PC, CR) is completed from Kalamazoo to Kendall MI.

January 4, 1877 Commodore Vanderbilt dies at his home at the age of 82. He leaves the bulk of his estate and control of the Vanderbilt Lines to his son, William Henry.

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Rudresh Mahanthappa | NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Jazz You Too

Really think well on what is your voice, or is your voice you, or is your voice some sort of regurgitation of what’s around you or what’s happened in the very near past… think about this stuff. And I think if you think about all of that, whether or not you’re a leader, if you’ve got integrity, it will be fine – it will just happen.

Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone
Rez Abbasi, guitar
Rich Brown, bass
Rudy Royston, drums

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The Falling Thoughts

There is half of a moon in the sky

I’m wondering where is the other half?

Maybe he is shy

Maybe he saw you naked

While you were walking on the clouds!

Maybe he didn’t know that God made someone more beautiful than him

Maybe he questioned, if the world needs his light

When the world has you, whom is so bright

Tonight the sky is silent and the stars are frightened

Because if you once again decide to walk on the clouds

The moon may lose it’s other half

So they are praying for you to have a deep sleep

With me by my side


© 2016 thefallingthoughts All Rights Reserved

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