Category Archives: History

The Delaware and Hudson in Recent Memory

We have just updated our Delaware & Hudson Railway WebSite

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/delaware-hudson-railway/

We have added lots of new material called “The Delaware and Hudson in Recent Memory”

See some great advertising, maps, time tables and posters of the D&H

We hope you enjoy it like we do.

Train To Fort Benning, Georgia : A Recruit’s Journey

I received a letter from a follower who is writing a book on her father’s life. She is using letters home which her father wrote and had a gap on how he got from New York to Fort Benning, Georgia. Questions like what did he wear, where did he eat, where did he sleep.

Told her I would write a fictional story based on what facts I knew.

Dad’s Journey started at Albany, the capitol of New York State. Dad got “orders” in the mail to report to the Washington Avenue Armory:

Dad’s orders wanted him to appear at 07:30 hours in the morning. When he got off the Central Avenue bus he recognized several others waiting in the crowd. A sergeant who looked like a veteran of the Great War was handing out papers to be completed.

In the meantime a train had left Utica with four passenger cars. One of them was a Lackawanna car just off their Utica branch. The other three were New York Central cars off of the Adirondack Division.

Dad and the other recruits were “formed up” into a marching group, administered an “oath of office” and walked past the Capitol building to Albany’s Union Station. There was no band playing, but they were cheered on by citizens on the street.

At the Albany Station, the train from Utica had arrived and a switcher had brought three more cars and what would serve as a diner over from the West Albany Car Shop. The “diner” was loaded with box meals from the New York Central contractor, a Madison Avenue bakery.

Once the train was through New York City, the rest of the trip would be on “foreign”railroads. New York Central put good power on the train: a “Mohawk” (called a “Mountain” on other railroads……but not on the Water Level Route).

The train leaves before 11am and makes stops at Castleton, Hudson and Rhinebeck. Now the train is filled.

Next stop is Harmon to change engines to an electric one.

Now the train runs to Mott Haven then switches to a New Haven electric motor for a trip across the Hell Gate Bridge. Now they hook up a Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 locomotive headed for Washington.

In Washington DC, the Pennsyania Railroad bypassed Union Station and went directly to the huge Potomac Yard across the river. The GG1 was replaced by a modern steam engine belonging the Southern Railway (a founder of the current huge Norfolk Southern System).

Reaching Georgia, the train changed over to the Central Of Georgia Railway for it’s trip to Columbus, Georgia and Fort Benning.

Fort Benning at that time was relatively new. It had been created in World War I. So basic training housing was walking distance to the train. There was once a two-foot railroad around Fort Benning…..but the walk was easier.

Now Dad will have a better place to sleep than an old day coach

See the full WebSite on Dad’s trip to Fort Benning

Comments o Mark Tomlonson’s History of NY Central

July 21, 1958 The New York Central begins carrying mail between Chicago and Detroit in special “Flexi-Van” containers. The vans designated for mail are equipped with side doors. “Flexi-Van” service is expended to Boston and St. Louis.
Comment: Too little and too late.

July 22, 1920 William K. Vanderbilt dies. His son, Harold S. Vanderbilt inherits half of his father’s fortune and takes the family seat on the New York Central Board.
Comment: See the story on Robert Young taking over the NY Central from the Vanderbilts: https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/robert-r-young/

July 22, 1942 The United States begins compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to World War II. The rationing will cause rail ridership, which has been in a steady decline since 1916, to markedly increase. This increase will cause many railroads to invest heavily in new passenger equipment after the war.
Comment: AGAIN, Too little and too late.

July 23, 1966 In a combination publicity stunt and test of how track functions under high speeds, a New York Central jet powered Rail Diesel Car hits 183.85 mph near Stryker, OH. Some of the data obtained from the test will be used in the design of the Metroliners.

July 20, 1906 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad tests the first electric locomotives in New York City.
Comment: They were first tested just West of Schenectady in Scotia, NY

July 20, 1948 The Chicago Railroad Fair opens to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Chicago railroads.
Comment: See full story on rail fair:
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/chicago-rail-fair/

July 17, 1938 The Wheeling & Lake Erie ends passenger service.

July 17, 1957 The New Haven and the New York Central test EMD’s FL-9 locomotive, capable of running from its own diesel prime movers or from a third rail.
Comment: New Haven liked them and bought; then they ended up on NY Central

July 17, 1957 The New York Central ends its “Travel Tailored Schedules”, returning to head-end equipment leading long, slow trains. Alfred J. Perlman has designed the new policy to drive away passengers and make train discontinuance easier.
Comment: Nobody likes “long, slow trains” especially express and mail shippers

July 15, 1979 The Kent-Barry-Eaton Connecting Railway starts operations between Grand Rapids and Vermontville on former Grand Valley/MC/NYC/PC/CR trackage. It is the first railroad in the U.S. operated by African-Americans.

July 12, 1903 The New York Central and the Rock Island open LaSalle Street Station in Chicago. The new station gives the New York Central an edge over rival Pennsylvania, still operating in an antiquated Union Station lacking in passenger amenities.
Comment: find out more on Chicago stations

July 7, 1853 The ten railroads linking Albany and Buffalo file papers with the Secretary of State of New York forming the New York Central. It becomes the largest railroad in the U.S. in terms of mileage, capitalization and net worth. (Some sources say May 17)
Comment: Read about Erastus Corning

A really tough QUIZ………How Did You Do???

We published a really tough RAILING QUIZ from 1950

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-new-york-central-railroad-in-1950/

But many readers have trouble reading the answers, AS THEY ARE PRINTED UPSIDE-DOWN.

So will reprint them for you here.

QUESTION #1: What NYC Is Concerned With Grouting?
The Answer is B (MoW)

QUESTION #2: Where Are Flagers Used?
The Answer is A (On Tracks)

QUESTION #3: How Much Does The Central Pay Other Railroads Per Day?
The Answer Is C ($1.75)

QUESTION #4: When Was The First NYCentral Diesel-Electric Put I Service?
The Answer Is C (1924)

QUESTION #5: Under The Railroad Retirement Act, How Much Does The Railroad Pay?
The Answer IS D (6%)

QUESTION #6: What Does The Central Use A REFLECTORSCOPE For?
The ANSWER IS C (FINDING FLAWS IN AXLES)

QUESTION #7: What Ranks Highest IN AAR Opinion Poll?
The Answer Is A (Personal Attention)

QUESTION #8: How Many Credit Unions Are There In The NY Central System?
The Answer Is B (32)

QUESTION #9: How Much Of The World’s Work Is Done By Machines?
The Answer Is D (94%)

QUESTION #10: How Many RAILROAD YMCAs Are Located On The NY Central System?
The Answer Is A (22)

WOW! Croton-Harmon……What A Fascinating Railroad Center!

We just updated our WebSite “NY Central Shops At Harmon

1913 saw the completion of electrification of Grand Central Terminal and the lower stretches of the Hudson and Harlem Divisions. Harmon, which is 33 miles from Grand Central Terminal, became the transfer point where electric locomotives were exchanged for steam and later diesel on through New York Central passenger trains. It also became the starting point for electric commuter service into the city.

Harmon was a New York Central-created community and came into existence because it was a logical point to be the outer limit of the electric zone. There was plenty of room as this was a requirement for an interchange point. Not only was there room for sidings and yards, but also for repair facilities. The steam engines that pulled the Great Steel Fleet to Chicago rested here. As the small, but powerful, electrics pulled in from Grand Central Terminal, the steamers quickly hooked on and took off up the Hudson.

The shops handled all servicing, inspection and repairs for all electric locomotives and MU equipment. They also handled servicing, inspection and minor repairs on steam (later diesel) in the area.

There were no third rails inside the shops. Instead, there were long 600-volt cables on reels hung from the ceiling. These were called “bugs” and were clipped to a third rail shoe when power was needed.

Harmon was basically a commuter passenger station and never developed into a transfer point. Stays were short as it only took a minute or two to change power.

Yes! A fascinating place.

Last Steam On NY Central Lines East

THE TWENTY-FIVE Niagaras of this type were almost the last steam locomotives to be purchased by the New York Central. Built in 1945 and 1946, the S1’s were designed as dual-purpose engines (from catskillarchive.com)

The Centrals last steam run in New York state was on August 7, 1953 with locomotive No. 6020 taking train #185 out of Harmon. Employees Timetable, No. 71 from the Mohawk and Hudson Divisions dated Sunday, April 29, 1951 lists Train 185 as a MILK TRAIN with a footnote stating “Will not carry passengers”. Train 185 was a New York – Utica milk train that ran via Rensselaer Yard. It departed Croton at 10.50 a.m. My Electric Division and New York Terminal District Time Table shows No. 185 originating at 60th Street on the NYTD.

On hand in Utica were many to see the event. Included were NY Central Paymaster Ken Knapp and his young (then) grandson…..now our manager.

New York City’s Crumbling Subway

Aid (good and bad) from New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority

If you are not aware, I want to move back to the US from France. But the list of locations I am interested in is a short one. So many things have changed…..a polite way of saying “degraded”. Yes, I do not drive so 80+ percent of the country is out for me unless I want to depend on Uber to get everywhere.

My first choice is the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, bordering Greenpoint to the north; Bedford–Stuyvesant to the south; Bushwick, East Williamsburg, and Ridgewood, Queens to the east; and Fort Greene and the East River to the west. Since the late 1990s, Williamsburg has undergone gentrification but there are plenty of buildings still available at the right price.

Williamsburg is served by the BMT Canarsie Line…officially the L Train. Soometimes referred to as the 14th Street Line. Now the rest of the blog will introduce you to the L Train.

The L Train runs from Manhattan and crosses the River to Brooklyn. The tunnel got flooded in Hurricane Sandy and is the immediate culprit requiring to close tunnel for XX months.

But like the rest of the subway system: To many transit observers, the meltdown of New York City’s subways—and announcement by Governor Cuomo that the system is in a “state of emergency”—was only a matter of time. Here’s a century-old system, bearing the brunt of millions of passengers every day, that, for decades, went underinvested in by elected officials. Time has taken its toll, and now, to fix it entirely, experts say the entire rapid transit system—the most used in the Western world—would need to go offline.

The L train shutdown, is a microcosm of a larger issue: when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Canarsie Tunnel, it also exposed the fact that the tunnel hadn’t been properly maintained in years. And knowing that history is integral to understanding what this shutdown tells us about the larger state of New York’s infrastructure, and how it got this way.

Since the early 1920s, the subway system has been beset by chronic financial woes, and there’s never been a satisfactory political solution to it. The minute these subways opened, they exploded with people, and crowding. The subway system was originally built and operated by two private companies: the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), and the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT). Turns out the subways made a lot of money, and were wildly more popular than anyone anticipated. So the decision was made: “let’s greatly expand the system,”.

What were known as the Dual Contracts—Contracts #3 and #4, in 1913—were born, coordinated between the city, IRT, and the newly formed Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT). Most of the subway system that exists today comes from the Dual Contracts, including the L.

The L train, or what would become it, began operating in 1924 on an old steam-powered railway track after the Canarsie Tunnel was constructed underneath the East River. The “14th Street-Eastern District Line” was given the number 16, and ran from Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, to Williamsburg, then known as Brooklyn’s “Eastern District.” In 1928, it connected to an existing aboveground train in Canarsie, and, three years later, an extension to Eighth Avenue was added, creating the 10.3-mile-long line we know today. Finalized by the purchase of BMT in 1940, the city would eventually acquire the subway system, fusing the two private companies’ networks into one, web of trains.

With the city unable to pay for it anymore, Albany took over the subway system in 1968, forming the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which now oversees two commuter lines (the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Roads), the buses, and nine bridges and tunnels, making it the largest public transit authority in the country. As time passed, the price tag for fixing the subways grew, and the MTA’s capital budget just couldn’t keep pace. Now, even estimates of $100 billion—which on Thursday is what Governor Cuomo pledged to devote to the project—to bring everything up to a state of good repair might be low-balling it.

So of course, it caught up to us, with the recent epidemic of subway delays and closures being a symptom of that problem. Other world capitals, like London and Tokyo, continue to build new lines and update their systems in a timely manner, while New York has fallen largely behind. This is, perhaps, the most telling tale of this country’s infrastructure issue: what does it say about America when her most important financial and cultural capital can barely move?

It’s interesting: a lot of the coverage in the New York Times has been, ‘Well, maybe we did make a mistake by building the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 train extension, and the East River Access, and maybe we should’ve put more money in maintaining the signals.

Below is a exhibit highlighting problems:

CanarsieWorkRequired

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 Albanywere 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).

See our full WebSite
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/troy-greenbush-railroad/

How Home Ownership Became The Engine Of America Inequality

New York Times Magazine via California Rail News

Almost a decade removed from the foreclosure crisis that began in 2008, the nation is facing one of the worst affordable-housing shortages in generations. The standard of “affordable” housing is that which costs roughly 30 percent or less of a family’s income. Because of rising housing costs and stagnant wages, slightly more than half of all poor renting families in the country spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs, and at least one in four spends more than 70 percent. Yet America’s national housing policy gives affluent homeowners large benefits; middle-class homeowners, smaller benefits; and most renters, who are disproportionately poor, nothing. It is difficult to think of another social policy that more successfully multiplies America’s inequality in such a sweeping fashion.

Crossing Other Railroads AND BONUS: A Creamery!

Stissing Junction.

The ND&C tracks ran very near the P&C and P&E at McIntyre but did not actually connect. Farther north at Stissing Junction the P&E joined the ND&C. The P&E leased trackage rights on the ND&C from Stissing Junction to Pine Plains. The P&E was perpetually in financial trouble and often failed to pay the monthly rental fee. When the ND&C threatened to lock out the switches they would somehow come up with the money. In the above photo, the box car is on the ND&C tracks. The line at right is the P&E to Salt Point, Pleasant Valley and Poughkeepsie.

Of course in 1932 both of these lines actually belonged to the New Haven RR. Six years later these tracks were torn out and sold for scrap to Japan in 1938.

Attlebury tangent creamery ruins.

Near the north end of the tangent near Pine Plains is the ruins of a creamery. The ND&C RR ran on the left side of the building by the smokestack. There was a short siding on a ramp up to a door in the shadows at left.

A lot bigger than the milk shed further down the line.

Take a look at our WebSite to see more on Stissing Junction, the milk industry and many other fascinating subjects.

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/cnendc-bangall-and-pine-plains/