Category Archives: Albany

Amtrak statewide ridership dips in NY State

ALBANY Times-Union

On the eve of massive track repair work at Penn Station in New York City, Amtrak’s upstate ridership is struggling to grow.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

Becker cites a number of possible reasons for the decline.

“One is lower gas prices,” he said. They’re down about $1.25 per gallon in the Capital Region compared to the summer of 2014, according to figures from GasBuddy.com.

But Amtrak’s own difficulties may also have contributed.

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

“Last summer was not a stellar period for on-time performance,” Becker added.

It has been nine years since Congress approved the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which shifted more of the cost of passenger rail operations to the states.

New York has continued to use the existing passenger cars, many of which are now 40 years old. Its specially built dual-mode locomotives that can operate on diesel or electric power have seen several breakdowns this spring, stranding hundreds of passengers.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

A recommendation by some state Department of Transportation officials to replace the locomotives wasn’t included in the most recent state budget.
The state,meanwhile, has a vested interest in seeing higher passenger revenues, because they reduce the amount it must pay Amtrak to operate the trains.

Nationwide, Amtrak saw record ridership last year, carrying 31.3 million passengers. But statewide, ridership fell nearly 4.7 percent to 1.7 million, according to a recent presentation to the Empire State Passengers Association.

About half of those — 855,000 — began or ended their trips at the Albany-Rensselaer train station, one of Amtrak’s busiest.

Many factors can contribute to a decrease in ridership levels including gas prices, construction and service reliability and we continue to evaluate ways to mitigate these impacts and highlight Amtrak’s many passenger amenities and value proposition,” Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said. “Amtrak ridership overall remains strong, with a record 31.3 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2016, marking the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.”

EDITORS NOTE: Is the upstate operation “pure” AMTRAK or dependant on the State too? How about borrowing rolling stock and dual diesel- electric locomotives from other NY State agencies (like Metro-North)?

History: Robert Young Takes Over The New York Central

Going back to follow my practice of commenting on Mark Tomlonson’s “DAY In NY Central History”

One item stood out in my mind:
“June 14, 1954 Robert R. Young officially gains control of the New York Central. Harold S. Vanderbilt is forced out, the last Vanderbilt to serve the New York Central.”

My boss (who was around in 1954) commented that June 14 was too late for the ANNUAL MEETING. “ALPHABET IT”

Well! I found a great source of information:

A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY ITS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS ANDITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT
By Christopher T. Baer
1954
April 2015 Edition
All data subject to correction and change
http://www.prrths.com/newprr_files/Hagley/PRR1954.pdf

Thank you Mr. Baer!!! As well as Pennsylvania RR, he covers much other railroad-related material.

1954 was BUSY with the “takeover”. Sale of NY Central Stock, etc, etc.
Al Perlman “not knowing” Mr. Young, etc.

Then I found it!

May 26, 1954
NYC holds annual meeting at Washington Avenue Armory in Albany after
Court of Appeals refuses to block Alleghany Corporation from voting its
800,000 Murchison shares at the last minute; 2,200 attend, most traveling on two special trains from Grand Central Terminal; both Robert R. Young and Pres. William White work the crowds on the trains hoping to influence votes at the last minute.

My boss thanked me but added, there was a third train to Albany from the West (Cleveland?)

Now I could not resist to find more cool stories from 1954:

Jan. 3, 1954 Last run of a Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad steam locomotive, 4-8-4 No. 622 Carter Braxton, out of Washington Union Station on a holiday mail or passenger extra.

Jan. 4, 1954 New Haven asks ICC for 33% increase in interstate and New York commuter fares.

Jan. 15, 1954 Robert R. Young calls on Harold S. Vanderbilt at Palm Beach and tells him that he and Allan P. Kirby are “getting out of C&O” and buying heavily into NYC.

Jan. 16, 1954 Robert R. Young informs Harold S. Vanderbilt (1884-1970) that he has bought into NYC and implies he will run for Chairman.

Jan. 19, 1954 Alleghany Corporation sells its entire holding of 104,854 shares of Chesapeake & Ohio Railway stock to Cleveland financier Cyrus Stephen Eaton (1883-1979), who becomes Chairman in place of Robert R. Young; Young and other Alleghany Corporation directors announce they have
resigned as directors of C&O.

Jan. 20, 1954 Robert R. Young and Allan P. Kirby of Alleghany Corporation announce they have become “substantial” stockholders of NYC.

Jan. 20, 1954 Lehigh Valley Railroad resumes dividend payments for the first time since 1932.

Jan. 21, 1954 NYC Pres. William White announces his plan for developing piggyback service with Rail-Trailer Company of Chicago.

Feb. 2, 1954 Robert R. Young meets with NYC Pres. William White and VP-Finance Willard F. Place at the Cloud Club in the Chrysler Building; offers to retain both if he wins control, providing that he is made Chairman and CEO; White is non-committal.

Feb. 4, 1954 Federal Judge Harold R. Medina (1888- ) files his ruling in U.S. v. Henry S. Morgan, et al., dismissing the Justice Department’s antitrust case against 17 investment banking firms for lack of evidence; the evidence shows no case of combination or conspiracy, and in fact shows active competition among all investment bankers; Medina dismisses the case “with prejudice,” preventing the government from retrying the case short of bringing a whole new set of charges; Robert R. Young continues to charge that Medina is biased in favor of the banks.

Feb. 9, 1954 Robert R. Young and Allan P. Kirby publicly ask for seats on the NYC Board and for Young to be elected to the vacant post of Chairman.

Feb. 10, 1954 NYC Board turns down Young’s request for seats; Young announces a proxy fight for the next annual meeting; denounces Morgan control of NYC.

Feb. 15, 1954 Robert R. Young arrives at Penn Station from Palm Beach and before a group of reporters launches his campaign to capture the NYC.

Feb. 16, 1954 Robert R. Young places ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal asking for nominations to serve on his projected NYC “Ownership Board of Directors”; the NYC counters by hiring the best advertising agencies and proxy solicitors, as well as deploying its own legal staff; Young relies on Thomas J. Deegan, who resigns as the Chesapeake & Ohio’s VP of Public Relations & Advertising to manage the campaign, and the law firm of Lord, Day & Lord

Feb. 18, 1954 SEC holds hearings on its proposed relaxation of Rule U-50 covering competitive bidding for securities issues; the move is supported by the major Wall Street investment banks and opposed by Robert R. Young, Otis & Co. (Cyrus S. Eaton’s firm), Halsey, Stuart & Co. and the CIO; the SEC eventually backs down and declines to adopt the proposed amendment on
July 2, 1956.

Feb. 19, 1954 Young announces he will appoint a woman to NYC Board.

Feb. 23, 1954 Chesapeake & Ohio Railway sells its 800,000 shares of NYC which are held in a voting trust by Chase National Bank, and thus could be voted by them against Robert R. Young, to Clint W. Murchison (1895-1969) of Dallas and Sid W. Richardson (1891-1959) of Fort Worth, two very wealthy Texas oilman friends of Young’s, for $20 million; Alleghany Corporation loans the Texans $7.5 million of purchase price, money which it has to borrow; Kirby loans $5 million; Cleveland banks loan another $7.5 million under a contractthat protects the Texans against loss; Alleghany Corporation receives a “put” option to purchase at least 400,000 shares at $25 between July 15 and Sep.15, the same price paid by the Texans.

Feb. 24, 1954 NYC Pres. William White issues the first public notice of the Chesapeake & Ohio’s sale of its NYC stock and tries to show that Robert R. Young still controls the policy of the C&O.

Feb. 25, 1954 Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Board approves the sale of its NYC stock to Clint W. Murchison and Sid W. Richardson.

Mar. 2, 1954 Robert R. Young announces his slate of directors for the NYC election.

Mar. 3, 1954 NYC asks ICC to investigate Young’s tactics, particularly the Murchison sale and whether Young still controls the C&O through Cyrus S. Eaton.

Mar. 3, 1954 Alleghany Corporation and Robert R. Young place full page ads in the New York Times and other papers reminding how they had forced competitive bidding for railroad securities and broke the monopoly of J.P. Morgan and Kuhn, Loeb & Co.

Mar. 4, 1954 Young sues to block NYC directors from spending company money to oppose his election.

Mar. 18, 1954 Sen. William Langer (1886-1959), Republican of North Dakota and,Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, writes to ICC in support of Robert R. Young’s bid to capture NYC and asks for investigation of interlocking relationships between PRR, NYC and B&O and (shades of 1913) J.P. Morgan & Co., the First National Bank of New York, the Chase National Bank and the Mellon National Bank.

Mar. 21, 1954 Robert R. Young announces he will appoint Mrs. Lila Bell Acheson Wallace, co-owner with her husband of Reader’s Digest and the NYC’s first woman,director; other nominees are William H. Landers, a retired NYC engineer; Young chooses persons who will appeal to all ethnic and occupational groups among the many small NYC stockholders.

Mar. 29, 1954 At a luncheon conference, Robert R. Young speaks favorably of Alfred E. Perlman (1902-1983), who has rehabilitated the Denver & Rio Grande Western, as the type of progressive railroad he would like as the NYC Pres.; he is misquoted as saying he intends to make Perlman Pres.

Mar. 30, 1954 Alfred E. Perlman denies having an offer from Young or even knowing him.

Mar. 31, 1954 Last run of passenger service on NYC’s Catskill Mountain Branch between Oneonta and Kingston, N.Y., once served by through cars from Philadelphia over the PRR and West Shore Railroad.

Apr. 6, 1954 ICC refuses the NYC’s petition to investigate the C&O’s sale of NYC shares, to Murchison and Richardson.

Apr. 7, 1954 Sadie Zenn, who owns 500 shares of Alleghany Corporation, sues the management and Murchison and Richardson on the grounds that the sale was detrimental to Alleghany’s interest and calling for Murchison and Richardson to repay the loans in cash.

Apr. 1954 May issue of Fortune carries an anti-Young editorial, “The Sound and Fury of Robert R. Young”; NYC directors distribute copies in violation of copyright law, feeling that publicity is worth the fine.

May 4, 1954 Time Inc. sues NYC, charging it reprinted the Fortune editorial against Robert R. Young without its consent

May 18, 1954 N.Y. Appellate Court orders Chase National Bank issue a proxy to Murchison and Richardson for the NYC shares purchased from the C&O.

May 19, 1954 ICC refuses the plea of NYC and Harold S. Vanderbilt to order Robert R. Young to file a takeover application with it.

May 25, 1954 Robert R. Young first meets with Alfred E. Perlman, his candidate for chief operating officer; Perlman is currently vice president of Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, which he had rehabilitated.

ENOUGH FOR NOW
See https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/robert-r-young/

A Trip On The West Shore Railroad…Late1950’s

Let’s take an imaginary trip on the West Shore at some point before the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when the West Shore started to disappear:

Two ferry routes connect to Manhattan; one goes to 42d Street and the other downtown to Cortlandt Street.

The New Jersey Junction Railroad, a five-mile long New York Central affiliate, provides connections for interchange between the various railroads in the Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken area. From Weehawken to National Junction is classified as yard limits. There is a grain elevator and a pier originating carloads of bananas. Floats destined for the many ports of the New York harbor originate and terminate here.

Up until 1957, Ontario & Western trains share the line between Cornwall and Weehawken. Diesels replaced steam on the West Shore in 1952. The ferry service and commuter runs will be gone by the end of 1959, ending a decline begun by the 1931 opening of the George Washington Bridge. Just above Weehawken, the Palisades crowd the river and force servicing operations to be located in North Bergen. Four miles west by operating direction, but north by geographic orientation, is the New York, Susquehanna & Western interchange at Little Ferry.

The road is mostly four track until Dumont, where several commuter runs terminate, their trains laying over in an adjacent yard. Beyond Dumont, the line is double track to Selkirk. After the commuters leave, the second track will be torn up. Above Dumont, there are ten commuter stops before West Haverstraw, where other commuter runs lay over. Just beyond West Haverstraw the road reaches the river and winds its way to Newburgh, where long-distance commuter runs terminate. A few passenger runs continue to Kingston and Albany, mostly serving local passengers as train times are exceedingly slow compared to New York City/Albany on the Hudson Division. All told, between freight and commuters, this is a busy line. Kingston is the next major city, and both the Wallkill and Catskill Mountain branches are still active. Beyond Kingston, huge cement plants originate countless carloads.

The West Shore from Weehawken joins the Boston & Albany at the south end of Selkirk Yard. The Castleton Bridge, a high, mile-long span carries Selkirk traffic into the Hudson Division and the Boston & Albany. Tower SK controls this point. Selkirk Yard was originally developed in the 1920’s to ease the strain on West Albany. It was rebuilt in the late 1960’s as the Alfred E. Perlman Yard. A branch runs from Selkirk into Albany (11 miles). Access to the Albany station is over the Delaware & Hudson trackage from Kenwood Junction to the north end of the station at street level.

After leaving Selkirk heading west, the line crosses the D&H’s Albany-Delanson line and Voorheesville and crosses the Normanskill on a high bridge. At Fullers the tracks cross on an overpass and operation is left-hand running. The Carman Cutoff leads into Schenectady. Next, the West Shore crosses over the D&H main on a pair of bridges near Burdeck Street. Rotterdam Junction is the interchange with the Boston & Maine as well as a bridge to the New York Central main line at Hoffmans.

Most freight from the west leaves the main at Hoffmans and follows the West Shore to Selkirk. RJ Tower is located on the river bluff just west of the town. It will disappear when the area goes under CTC control from Utica.

West of this point is little used and portions will be among the first to be abandoned. At Fultonville is an old West Shore station with “NYWS&B” stenciled under the eaves. Proceeding west through scenic territory, the Mohawk River is almost always in view. The line passes nearby the home of General Nicholas Herkimer of Revolutionary War fame. At Little Falls the track goes by the river and canal lock at the bank. Near Mohawk, the New York State Railways interurbans shared the track for several years. A connection with the main line is at Schuyler Junction.

The West Shore proceeds through South Utica to near New York Mills, where both the Lackawanna’s Utica branch and the Ontario & Western’s Utica branch cross it at grade. There is a short branch serving the textile mills in New York Mills. At Clark Mills, the Rome branch of the O&W crosses. The main line of the O&W crosses at Oneida Castle and the Lehigh Valley crosses at Canastota. At Kirkville Junction there is a crossover to the New York Central main line, and a few miles further the Chenango Branch joins the West Shore. Traffic is light on this branch and soon Earlville to Manlius will be ripped up. The section from Utica to Rome was electrified for several years. West Shore passenger trains ran on the main line from Syracuse to Utica and left the “direct” route to the NY State Railways interurbans.

From Syracuse to Buffalo (don’t forget, the West Shore bypasses Rochester), the West Shore and New York Central weave across each another several times. The West Shore goes slightly north of Syracuse, while the Central goes right through town. At Lyons, there is an interchange with the Pennsylvania Division. Before reaching Buffalo, there are crossings with the Pennsylvania, Erie, R&D and Lehigh Valley. Waynesport to Chili Junction and Byron to Buffalo will survive as branches to serve local industry after the West Shore as a through route is eliminated as redundant by 1961. The West Shore terminates in East Buffalo with connections to the immediate world.

Find out more about the West Shore
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/more-on-the-west-shore/

Central Warehouse in Albany NY

In Albany, New York there is a huge warehouse that has gone sort of obsolete with advances in frozen food procedures and exit of Albany as a meat processor. Not only does it have a rail siding and an interior “railroad station”, but it is only a few feet away from the Amtrak New York to Chicago line. It is almost shouting distance from the Livingston Avenue Bridge that is the Amtrak New York to Chicago line. Well anyway in October, 2010 it caught on fire from someone removing steel pipes and using cutting torches near cork insulation. See some great pictures of the Central Warehouse.

Fire continued to smolder inside the former Central Warehouse cold storage building more than 48 hours after the fire in the Albany landmark was first reported, but Albany Fire Chief Robert Forezzi Sr. said the vacant eyesore is in no danger of collapsing. Firefighters were shooting 1,000 gallons of water per minute into the building’s 10th floor in an attempt to extinguish cork insulation that was still smoking. Despite more than two days of fire damage and constant water being pumped into the structure, Forezzi said the 83-year-old building’s massive concrete and steel frame will hold. The only evidence Sunday that the 400,000-square-foot former refrigeration facility had been ablaze was water running down the outside walls.

See more short stories
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-two/

New York Central Fire Brigades

New York Central had several fire departments composed of volunteers from railroad employees. Some locations like West Albany and Selkirk had actual fire trains. Other locations had a single car. Beech Grove Shops on the Big 4 in Indianapolis had a home made fire engine pulled by a tractor. Several cars were available for the Adirondack Division as the road passed through a forest preserve. These cars had lots of the backpack pumps, called Indian Pumps. In 1950 West Albany was still a big railroad facility as evidenced by the West Albany Fire Brigade.

See more great stories like this one.
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-two/

Troy & Greenbush Railroad

The Troy and Greenbush Railroad was chartered in 1845 and opened later that year, connecting Troy south to East Albany (now Rensselaer) on the east side of the Hudson River.

It was the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. Until bridges were built between Albany and Rensselaer, passengers crossed on ferries while the train went up to Troy, crossed the Hudson River, and came back down to Albany.

The Hudson River Railroad was chartered in 1846 to extend this line south to New York City; the full line opened in 1851. Prior to completion, the Hudson River leased the Troy and Greenbush.

The two railroad bridges crossing the Hudson River between Rensselaer and Albany were owned nominally by a separate organization called The Hudson River Bridge Company at Albany, incorporated in 1856. This ownership was vested in The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, three-fourths, and the Boston and Albany Railroad Company, one-fourth. Except for foot passengers, the bridges were used exclusively for railroad purposes. The north bridge (variously referred to as the Livingston Avenue Bridge or Freight Bridge) was opened in 1866, and the south bridge (variously referred to as the Maiden Lane Bridge or Passenger Bridge) in 1872.

The first railroad in New York State, and one of the first anywhere, was the Mohawk & Hudson, connecting Albany and Schenectady. The Rensselaer & Saratoga Rail Road followed in 1832, only a year later. Within twenty years, three more railroads came into Troy:
(1) Troy & Greenbush;
(2) Troy & Boston; and
(3)Troy & Schenectady.
The resulting congestion led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by the four roads. It opened in 1854. The tracks were moved from River Street to Sixth Avenue and a new station built. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR), and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).

TROY AND GREENBUSH RAILROAD ASSOCIATION was incorporated May 14, 1845; road opened June, 1846. Leased June 1, 1851, for the term of its charter or any extension thereof to The Hudson River Railroad Company at an annual rental of seven per cent on $275,000 capital stock. The lease was assumed by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company under the consolidation of 1913.

This Company was incorporated May 11, 1845, and organized May 14, under a lease from the New York and Albany Railway Company. According to the charter the road extended from Washington street, in Troy, to where it intersected the track of the Schenectady and Troy Railroad, to Greenbush, where it connected with the track of the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad. On its completion trains were drawn by locomotives up through River street to the intersection of King and River streets, Troy, where the depot was situated. On January 1, 1851, the road was leased to the New York and Troy Railroad Company. This was subsequently leased to the Hudson River Railroad for seven per cent. on $275,000 its capital stock.

From our archives of New York State Railroads: “GREENBUSH, one hundred and forty-three miles, is the northern terminus of the Hudson River Railroad. The Troy and Greenbush road, six miles in length, is run by the former company under a lease. Passengers can cross the ferry here to Albany, or continue on to Troy, trains being run every hour, and immediately upon the arrival of the New York trains. The western terminus of the Albany and Boston is also at Greenbush. Extensive depot accommodations have already been erected here, which will soon be increased, and the vast business in freighting done by the various roads will tend to render this village a very important point.”

In 1851 the Hudson River Railroad leased the Troy & Greenbush. If the Mohawk Valley were to be built, then there would be a true rival to the Mohawk & Hudson and the Utica & Schenectady. When the Hudson River RR failed to press its advantage, Troy tried to get the Harlem to extend to Troy from Chatham. Russell Sage chaired a committee that concluded city should sell its railroad. Also involved was Edwin Morgan, the president of the Hudson River RR. The net result was a sell-out to the New York Central.

The 1950 Annual Report of the New York Central shows improvements on leased or controlled property Troy and Greenbush Railroad $238,925.55

Another interesting division problem was the Troy and Greenbush Branch from Rensselaer to the Troy Union Railroad. In the 1920’s, when the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were separate, it belonged to the Hudson Division and was dispatched from New York. When the Hudson and Mohawk Divisions were combined, the T&G was still dispatched by the Hudson dispatcher, at Albany, until sometime in the 1940’s. When the Hudson and Mohawk were split in the 1950’s, the T&G went to the Mohawk Division and was dispatched from Utica.

Today, all that is left is the “Troy Industrial Spur” that runs from the Livingston Avenue Bridge to South Troy.

See more great stories
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/a-collection-of-short-stories-about-railroads-book-two

OWNEY: Railway Mail Service Official Mascot

Owney, a stray terrier who eventually was named the Official Mascot of the Rail Mail Service. On this date in 2011, the Postal Service honored Owney with a commemorative stamp. Here, a quick look back at the dog who traveled around the world, became a national hero, and has been celebrated in poems, books and songs.

1.Owney, a border terrier, was found abandoned at the Albany post office in 1888 by a postal worker named Owen. The dog apparently wandered in the back door of the post office and went to sleep on a mailbag. When the pup’s mailroom presence was later discovered by the supervisor, fellow workers declared that he was “Owen’s dog,” and the name “Owney” stuck. The supervisor let the pup stay, against post office rules.

2.Owney didn’t like to be separated from his mailbags; when they moved, he moved. He would only allow uniformed postal workers to touch them. So he became the guardian of railroad mailbags, traveling with them from station to station along the New York Central railroad system, which went as far east as Boston, south to New York City, and west to Chicago and beyond. He’d disembark with the bags, visit at a station for a time, and then move on with another set of mailbags. He was considered good luck by the railroad, since no train he rode on was ever in a wreck.

3.In 1893 Owney briefly disappeared, and the Albany station workers feared he was dead. But he’d simply been in an accident in Canada and was soon back riding the rails. The disappearance made the workers nervous, though, so they bought him a collar and a tag that read, “Owney, Post Office, Albany, New York.” After that, clerks at various other stops added their own tags to Owney’s collection, until he “jingled like sleigh bells” when he moved.

4.The tag collection grew so large that John Wanamaker, in his role as Postmaster General, presented Owney with a coat on which to display them all, and also named him the Official Mascot of the Rail Mail Service. When too many tags accumulated, clerks would remove some and send them along to Albany or Washington, D.C., to be stored. According to one source, Owney eventually accumulated 1,017 medals and tags.

5.Once, in his travels, Owney reportedly saw a mail pouch fall out of his wagon while on a delivery route. When the driver returned to the post office, workers discovered that both the pouch and Owney were missing. They went looking, and found the dog lying on top of the missing mailbag in the road, guarding it until they returned.

6.At one point, Owney made it as far as Montreal, Canada; the postmaster there assigned him to a kennel and demanded that the Albany post office pay the $2.50 bill. It did. In 1895, a flurry of newspaper reports announced that Owney would travel around the world. He spent four months journeying with mailbags aboard trains and steamships from Tacoma, Washington, through Asia and Europe, across the Atlantic to New York City, and then back home to Albany. One news story said the Emperor of Japan had awarded him two passports and medals bearing the Japanese coat of arms.

7.Owney was celebrated in poems and songs, including one written by a mail clerk in Minnesota that contained the immortal lines, “On’y one Owney, and this is he/The dog is aloney, so let him be.”

8.As Owney grew older, like so many of us, he grew grumpier, until the manager of the Chicago Railway Mail Service referred to him as a “mongrel cur” and told employees not to let him ride the trains. (He’d booked more than 143,000 miles by that point.) Certain mail clerks in St. Louis defied the manager, and in the summer of 1897, Owney set off on one last ride. Alas, in Toledo, Ohio, he (allegedly) attacked a postal clerk and then a U.S. Marshal, who shot and killed him on orders of the local postmaster. The Chicago Tribune termed his death “an execution.”

9.Postal clerks devastated by this turn of events refused to bury Owney, instead demanding that he be taxidermied and sent to the Post Office’s Washington headquarters. So he was indeed preserved. In 1904, an effigy of him was exhibited at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, and Cleveland postal workers commissioned a commemorative silver spoon in his honor.

10.In 1911, Owney was sent to the Smithsonian Museum, where he still is featured in an exhibit. His remains suffered from deterioration over the years, and in 2011 he was given a makeover. He was by then approximately 124 years old.

11.On July 27, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring Owney, rendered, according to artist Bill Bond, in “a spirited and lively presentation” inspired by the mounted remains.

Follow @SandyHingston on Twitter.

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/07/27/owney-post-office-dog-john-wanamaker/#dYRQA07TOCCx2VDx.99

Editorial: Rauner must act on Amtrak buildout

QuadCitiesRail

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos brought home the bacon, but Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner would rather watch it rot.

A hugely important Amtrak expansion that would reinstate passenger service between the Quad-Cities and Chicago is suddenly in doubt due to years of state inaction. The federal funds are still available, in no small part to the two-term Democrat’s work on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. But Gov. Bruce Rauner’s freeze on state funds, amid the budgetary turmoil, could doom the project.

The economically significant rail expansion could be out $177 million in federal cash if the June 30 sunset comes and goes unless Illinois releases some of its $78 million share.

“As you know, the federal government has already provided an extension for the state to take advantage of the funds for this project,” Bustos, D-East Moline, wrote Wednesday in a blunt letter to the Republican governor. “… For the sake of our transportation system and economy, I hope you will not allow these funds to expire without bringing their benefit to bear in the state of Illinois.”

Rauner faces an immovable force among legislative leaders. Years of spineless neglect and massive budget deficits greeted him at the Governor’s mansion, and it’s easy for a Democratic federal official to take potshots at a freshman Republican governor.

But Rauner’s funding freeze lumps worthy projects — particularly the Quad-Cities passenger rail buildout — in with political gifts, like the proposed Illiana Expressway that was a politically motivated boondoggle. Former Gov. Pat Quinn was more concerned with shoring up support in central Illinois than good policy when he pushed that now-shelved interstate. Illinois taxpayers would have been on the hook for billions, funding a highway to nowhere that would most benefit Indiana.

The widely criticized Illiana project propelled Rauner’s freeze on “unnecessary” infrastructure funding. The Amtrak expansion appears an innocent bystander.

Bustos correctly notes that the Quad-Cities is an economic and transportation hub. That fact is woven into the fiber of the river-side region’s identity.

Transportation options are a quality-of-life issue, a standard metric when new business eyes a potential location.

Rauner’s staff says they’re reviewing the many shelved projects. They claim the passenger rail expansion hasn’t been forgotten. And, surely, the administration has grappled with more pressing issues, such as higher education funding. The state pension continues to milk cash from state coffers.

Quinn’s administration made promises it couldn’t keep. Rauner’s across-the-board freeze now threatens a rail project that could transform the Quad-Cities position within the greater Midwestern economy. At the very least, it could substantially improve accessibility to the region’s financial and cultural hub.

Federal officials have waited six years for the state to hold up its end. Moline and area developers, banking on promises made years ago, are dumping cash into a shiny new train station. And Illinois faces a deadline. The federal cash could easily go elsewhere.

Everyone else is holding up their end of the bargain. Illinois should, for once, honor its portion of the deal.

Local editorials represent the opinion of the Quad-City Times editorial board, which consists of Publisher Deb Anselm, Executive Editor Autumn Phillips, Editorial Page Editor Jon Alexander, City Editor Dan Bowerman, Associate Editor Bill Wundram and community representative John Wetzel.

Quad-City Times editorial board

Presidential Candidates in ALBANY, New York

Three of the five remaining presidential candidates were in Albany Monday, part of abnormally robust campaigns ahead of New York’s April 19 primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich  huddled with GOP state legislators in the Capitol at noon, before heading to events in North Greenbush and Saratoga Springs. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will start his day in Binghamton, and then held a rally at the Washington Avenue Armory at 2 p.m. before hosting a third event in Buffalo. And Donald Trump met supporters at the Knickerbocker Arena (also called the Times Union Center)  at 7.

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders ticked off reasons why he believes the U.S. economy is “rigged” at the Washington Avenue Armory and sharply criticized his rival in the primary, Hillary Clinton.

In front of a raucous Albany crowd, the Vermont U.S. senator implored supporters to turn out on April 19, when Sanders is taking on Clinton in her adopted home state of New York, where Clinton served as a U.S. senator.

 BernieSupportersChantOutsideArmoryBernie supporters outside the Washington AvenueArmory chanting “Feel The Bern” . One said:”Seeing Sen. Bernie Sanders, she said, “is, like, bigger than seeing Beyonce.”

“Let us next week have the highest voter turnout in the history of New York State,” Sanders said, noting that his campaign has been successful so far in high-turnout states.

More than 4,000 people packed into the Armory, and about 2,000 more tried to attend but were unable to get in.

“Let me apologize to the 2000 people outside who couldn’t get in, we appreciate it,” Sanders said.

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Early Railroad History From 1843

February 6, 1843 Through service begins between Albany and Buffalo with a gap at Rochester. The journey over several rail lines takes two days, with an overnight stop at Syracuse eastbound and Auburn westbound to avoid night running in winter.

Find out more about the Original New York Central Railroad