Category Archives: Railroad History

The D&H at one time connected with two railroads in Oneonta

The first was the Catskill Mountain Branch of the New York Central, later Penn Central; the second was the Southern New York Railway, an interurban which ran from Oneonta to Mohawk, NY, on the Mohawk River.

Another neaby railroad that did not connect was the Unadilla Valley.

See more on all three railroads
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-southern-new-york-railway/

Barriger shows success in 1948 at the Monon

In the August, 1948 TRAINS Magazine, Barriger was showing profits with the Monon Railroad. When Barriger took over the Monon in 1946, he became aggressive! He announced fast freights that run on schedule no matter how much business was at hand. The “old” Monon had held freight until a maximum trainload was accumulated. The “new” Monon ran short, profitless freights for many months until shippers realized that good service was available.

Many railroad executives thought Barriger’s policies would bring disaster, but they did not realize the cautious operating ability that went along with his willingness to spend money to make money, and in his belief in the future of the Monon.

Find other stories on the Monon Railroad
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-monon-railroad/

Pennsylvania RR Procedures: 1939 ROYAL TOUR

Schedule: Train from Red Bank, NJ to New York Penn Station. Royal Party boards US Navy Destroyer. Staff boards US Coast Guard Cutters.

Schedule: Train from New York Penn Station, passed to New Haven Railroad (SS-4). Proceeds to New Rochelle Yard. Reverses, changes power and goes To Mott Haven (SS-MO). Train delivered to New York Central RR. Power and crew change. Trains to Poughkeepsie (no power change at Harmon… NY Central “Hudson” all the way. Royal party entrains at Hyde Park. Train delivered to Delaware & Hudson at Rennselaer. Engine and crew change. NY Central pilot to Troy. Train crosses Green Island Bridge. Goes through Cohoes, Ballston Spa and Saratoga.

Schedule: Water and inspection stop at Whitehall. At Rouses Point, newspapermen, etc. detrain at Rouses Point. Train handed over to D&H subsidiary Napier Junction Ry. At Delson, train delivered to Canadian Pacific Ry.

Sleeping car service, dining car service, ticketing arrangements.

Parking and sanitary charges at Washington Terminal, Poughkeepsie. Equipment charachteristics.

Equipment characteristics continued

Electric lights, heating, air conditioning, water and icing

Pintsch gas, coal and charcoal, floodlighting and auxiliary generators

Gasoline: Drained at Red Bank and refilled at Poughkeepsie (not allowed in NY City tunnels). Telephone: Bell Telephone coordinated by Bell Telephone representative aboard royal train.

Spare parts, hopper shutes, first aid kits, mechanical and electronical supervisors on board. Police protection.

Baggage Masters assignments, CNR and CPR employees on board. Pennsylvania RR management assignments. Position of rear brakemen. Daily newspapers.

Pennsylvania RR officials copied

See more stories about the 1939 Royal Tour

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/royal-tour-1939/

Philadelphia Trolley 2266 “North Carolina” postcard

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) “North Carolina”.

SEPTA’s Star-Spangled Bicentennial motif trolley was purchased for Philadelphia’s system from Kansas City in 1955, then patriotically refurbished for about $25,000. It is viewed on Fifth Street at Girard Avenue.

Find more great stories on Philadelphia
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/philadelphia-pennsylvania/

DEXTER AND NORTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY

The railroad of the Dexter and Northern Railroad Company, was a single-track standard-gauge steam railroad, located in New York. The main line extends easterly from Dexter to Dexter Junction, a distance of 0.462 mile. The carrier also owns 0.419 mile of yard tracks and sidings. Its road thus embraces 0.881 mile of all tracks owned and used. In addition, the carrier has trackage rights over the railroad of the New York Central Railroad Company between Dexter and a point about 2 miles west of Brownville, N. Y.

CORPORATE HISTORY

The carrier was incorporated July 23, 1908, under the general laws of the State of New York. The date of its organization has not been ascertainable from the records reviewed.

DEVELOPMENT OF FIXED PHYSICAL PROPERTY

The owned mileage of the carrier, extending from Dexter to Dexter Junction, N. Y., a distance of 0.462 mile, was acquired by construction. The returns of the carrier to valuation order No. 20 show that its property was constructed during the period from 1908 to 1910 by or under the supervision of the Dexter Sulphite Pulp and Paper Company.

1956:

the Dexter & Northern Railroad line was purchased by the New York Central Railroad and reopened for service.

Find other great stories
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/short-line-railroads/

The Lehigh New England was solvent; but declines in the traffic caused it to be abandoned in 1960.

The Lehigh New England carried both anthracite and cement; but declines in the traffic caused the parent Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company to abandon the still-solvent road in 1960.

Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company was formed in 1822. It’s well-known logo was a red target surrounded by a white circular band and saying “Old Company’s Lehigh”. In the 1930’s it owned over 8,000 acres of coal land and four colleries. It also owned several water companies and mountain resorts. In addition to the Lehigh and New England Railroad, they owned the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad and it’s extension the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Railroad. The L&S went from Easton, PA to Wilkes-Barre and was leased to Central RR of New Jersey for $2 million/year.

The Lehigh & New England had a Reading Company heritage but was owned by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company after 1904. Reading tried to lease it in 1926 but the ICC denied; instead the ICC wanted the L&NE merged into the New Haven (they met at Maybrook). The L&NE carried both anthracite and cement; but declines in the traffic caused the parent Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company to abandon the still-solvent road in 1960. Central Railroad of New Jersey bought portions (about 40 miles) of the once 217-mile line. These pieces went over to Conrail.

The Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad was completed between Phillipsburg, New Jersey and Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1866. It was leased to the Central Railroad of New Jersey (Jersey Central Lines) in 1871. The L&S was extended to Scranton in 1888 by means of the subsidiary Wilkes-Barre & Scranton. Jersey Central’s Pennsylvania lines were consolidated in 1972 with the Lehigh Valley and thus the CRR of NJ was out of Pennsylvania.

The Wilkes-Barre and Eastern Railroad was among several railroads attracted by the anthracite coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania, It was an extension of the NYS&W chartered in 1892 and gone by 1940 (except a couple of small sections). It went from Stroudsburg over the Pocono Mountain grades to Kingston, PA (across the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre)

See more stories like this one
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-warwick-valley-and-other-railroads-west-of-the-hudson/

The Ride To Choate

Edgar T. Mead recently published a fantastic article in the NRHS BULLETIN on a train trip from New York City to Choate School which is located in Wallingford, CT. I’d like to update his trip into the 1980’s and bring out what we have lost or gained over 50 years.

Unless the student of today wants to find alternate transportation from New Haven to Wallingford, he/she (Choate is now Choate-Rosemary Hall and is coed) cannot leave Grand Central Terminal, but must instead depart Penn Station on AMTRAK’s Springfield Service.

The EP-2 boxcab electric has been replaced by an AEM-7 which is the standard in the Northeast Corridor. The “American Flyer” coaches have been replaced by Amfleet coaches.

Although we don’t go that route, Grand Central to New Rochelle has changed too. The S-1 electric switchers came very close to remaining in the picture as the last one didn’t exit the property until the 1980’s.

NY,Westchester & Boston right-of-way between New Rochelle and Port Chester becomes less visible as time marches on. Also less visible are industries like the Abendroth Foundry. As a matter of fact, most signs of the electrification which one covered all of the sidings are rapidly fading. Even the sidings themselves are fading as the character of the territory becomes less commercial and more residential and service-oriented.

Stamford, with its office towers and new station, would be unrecognizable to someone not having seen it in 50 years. However, long lines of M-2 “Cosmopolitan” cars are lined up waiting for Monday just like the old M-Us did. Today’s wire train can be spotted sometimes at Stamford and is hauled by a GE. It includes the “Washboard Electrics” of 1954.

Bridgeport is still an important stop. The “Blue Goose” which used to run to Waterbury has been replaced with a Budd Rail Diesel Car. Sometimes even that is replaced with a bus. Signs of trolley lines and steam dinkies are obliterated.

The Maybrook line is now only a memory since the Poughkeepsie bridge has burned and the Derby-Shelton bridge has fallen in the river. The truth of the matter is that CONRAIL has other routes available. Freight in general is a ghost of its former self while the passenger business is a growth industry between New Haven and New York.

An engine change at New Haven is still the order of the day for AMTRAK. No more I-4. Instead a single F40 can handle the consist. The dug-away cut through New Haven (old Farmington Canal) still exists. The Connecticut Company is bus not street car. There is no sandwich vendor meeting trains a New Haven, however a respectable donut shop exists inside the station.

Smoking cars still exist on AMTRAK but not so on Metro-North. The solid example which Choate set 50 years ago is now applied to New Haven, Westchester and Long Island commuters.

The changes that have occurred on the mainline are nothing compared to what has happened on the branch lines. The annual football junket to Kent School would be in a lot of trouble because of the sorry state of the Housatonic branch between New Milford and Kent. To begin with, the excursion would have to go south to Norwalk first as the route through Devon Junction is out of service at the Derby bridge Perhaps it would be simpler to go through Pittsfield? Maybe they could just take a bus or watch the game on TV?

Cedar Hill yard still exists (sort of). One old roundhouse still stands as well as a coal tower. The yard is filled with coal hoppers, many still marked for Erie-Lackawanna. Also stored in the yard are the “Roger Williams” RDCs.

Wallingford still looks like it did fifty years ago. The station looks like it should be on a postcard.

Find stories like this one.

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-ride-to-choate/

REA Express

In 1966 REA Express was operating a system primarily engaged in the expeditious transportation of express packages, less-than-carlot, and carlot shipments requiring special handling. REA Express also provided a world-wide shipping service through contracts with air carriers, acted as an ocean freight forwarder to many countries of the world, and provided local truck express service in some large cities of the United States. A subsidiary company of REA Express leased truck trailers to railroads, forwarders, and shippers for the use in trailer-on-flat car service. Such miscellaneous services as pick-up-and-delivery services for railroads, custom brokerage on import traffic, sale of traveler’s checks and money orders, and collection of C. O. D. charges were also performed. REA Express conducted its business through 8,200 offices and used in its operations 137,000 miles of railroad, 132,000 miles of air lines, 79,000 miles of motor carrier lines, and 6,600 of water lines. The company employed 30,000 persons and operated a fleet of 12,000 trucks. The company handled some 66,000,000 shipment annually. (Association of American Railroads)

-with all those assets and experience, even though rail shipping was in decline, REA dominated the private package business. It was already into trucks, had name recognition, a customer base etc. -why did it finally fail? Why didn’t it follow the trends and morph into something successful like UPS and FED EX?

We have a lot of information on the Railway Express Agency, later known as REA Express and also have significant background information available that will help you understand why REA Express failed.

Find more great short stories
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/chicago-rail-capital/

Car Culture

A real story for this era is how General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reshaped American ground transportation to serve their corporate wants instead of social needs.

As a result of their monopolistic structure, the Big Three automakers acted in a way detrimental to public interest. GM had control of auto, truck, bus and locomotive production. We are seeing a collapse of a society based on the automobile. We have consumed too much oil, polluted the atmosphere, and turned our cities into highways and parking lots. We see a government bias in favor of highways, failure to produce transport vehicles consistent with energy/environmental restraints, and a consumer dependence on the auto.

GM had the power and economic incentive to suppress rail and bus transportation: one bus can eliminate 35 automobiles; one rail transit vehicle can supplant 50 passenger cars; one train can displace 1000 cars or a fleet of 150 cargo-laden trucks.

GM had a role in the destruction of more than 100 electric surface rail systems in 45 cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In southern California, GM and other highway interests acquired local transit companies and replaced them with busses. The noisy, foul-smelling busses turned people away from mass transit and therefore sold millions of automobiles.

General Motors received a criminal conviction for its part in monopolizing street transportation. In spite of this, GM continued to acquire and dieselize electric transit properties into 1955. 40,000 streetcars were in service in 1936 when National City Lines was organized by GM. By 1955, only 5,000 remained. While substituting buses for electric street railways helped GM stockholders, it deprived the riding public of a pollution free and energy efficient mode of transportation.

Substitution of buses for streetcar lines contributed indirectly to the abandonment of electric railway freight service. Merchants used to rely on this service to deliver goods and interchange with railroads. For instance, Pacific Electric was once the third largest freight railroad in California. It just proved uneconomical to maintain city track for freight-only. General Motors even benefited from this demise. They also sold trucks! They even used to have an interest in Associated Transport and Consolidated Freightways.

GM used its leverage as the largest freight shipper to coerce railroads to scrap their equipment, including pollution-free electrics, in favor of less durable, less efficient GM diesels. New Haven Railroad showed a profit during 50 years of electrification but started heavy losses after it dieselized its operations.

General Motors diversification into bus transportation: (1) shifted passengers from rail to bus and eventually into automobiles; and (2) shifted freight from rail to truck. An additional factor was GM’s integration into locomotive production. In 1930, they acquired Winton Engine and Electro-Motive. Unfortunately, GM could make 25 to 30 times more gross revenue selling cars and trucks than it could diesel locomotives.

In 1956 the government sued General Motors for monopolization of the bus industry and requested divestiture of its bus production facilities. The case was a failure for the government because GM had combined bus and truck production within the same facilities. A few years later the Justice Department started and then abandoned an antitrust case against GM Locomotive.

Many of the anti-competitive forces of the automobile industry could be diffused by a remedy suggested several years ago by Bradford C. Snell of the International Conference on Appropriate Transportation. First, deconcentration of the motor vehicle industry would reduce the automakers ability to pass on the cost of their anti-rail lobbying to consumers. Second, reorganization of GM’s bus and rail divisions into independent corporations would enable them to operate free from the conflict of interest they currently have. Finally, the facilitation of entry by a number of new bus and rail enterprises would provide competitive capability to build a modern passenger and freight transport system.

It has been the policy of Congress in the past to maintain competition by prohibiting common control of competing modes of transport. The Air Mail Act of 1934 forced GM to sell its interests in several airlines. GM also had interests in several aircraft manufacturers. At that time, GM chairman Sloan implied to Congress that his company had entered the aviation industry to protect its interests in the promotion of automobiles.

At one time there were more than 150 competing manufacturers of bus and rail vehicles. The technological development of these vehicles stopped in the 1930’s.

In Europe and Japan, where there is a limited amount of common auto/rail/bus ownership, there are much more balanced transportation systems.

GM owned Hertz from 1925 to 1953. Because it was perceived to lessen sales of cars, GM limited its growth. Its success after disposition by GM shows what could happen to bus and rail operations.

General Motors got into bus production in 1925 by acquiring Yellow Coach. In 1926 they assisted in the formation of the Greyhound Corporation. 1932 saw GM going into the business of converting interurban electric railways as well as electric streetcar systems to bus operations. Due to the high cost of operation and slow speed on congested streets, buses ultimately contributed to the collapse of hundreds of transit systems.

Several railroads converted substantial portions of their commuter rail service with buses: Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines (Pennsylvania RR); Central Greyhound Lines (New York Central); Pacific Greyhound Lines (Southern Pacific); New England Greyhound Lines (New York, New Haven & Hartford); Northland Greyhound Lines (Great Northern); and Southwestern Greyhound Lines (St. Louis Southwestern Railroad). The railroads were eventually forced out of ownership by the government. By 1950, Greyhound carried half as many intercity passengers as the railroads. Until 1948, General Motors was the largest stockholder in Greyhound.

General Motors used various devices to convert street car lines to bus. At first, United Cities Motor Transit was directly owned by GM and would buy electric street car companies, convert them to GM motorbus operation, and then resell them. After being censured by the American Transit Association, GM went “undercover” with other organizations, primarily National City Lines, Inc. Other participants in National City Lines were Greyhound, Standard Oil of California and Firestone Tire. By reselling properties after conversion, they were assured that capital was continually reinvested in the motorization of additional systems. The biggest GM “triumph” was California’s Pacific Electric. Within a 75-mile radius of Los Angeles, it carried 80 million people annually. In 1949, GM, Greyhound, Standard Oil and Firestone were found guilty of criminally conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses. General Motors was fined $5,000! The GM treasurer who masterminded the destruction of Pacific Electric was fined $1!

Additional Reading on this subject: great reference is Revisiting the Great American Streetcar Scandal, by Al Mankoff– Vol. 4, Summer 1999

and The Great American Streetcar Myth

Please read “The Streetcar Conspiracy” by Bradford Snell and “The Conspiracy Revisted Rebutted” by Louis Guilbault. I do not have links and will not tell you about Amazon or Borders and Noble because those people would not even give me the time of day.

See more about similar articles

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/Connecticut%20To%20Philadelphia/