Category Archives: Trains

Signal Towers on the New YorkCentral Electric Division

NK Tower. I can imagine that traffic was running heavy in one direction for the morning inbound commuters and just the opposite for the evening outbound running. It would be great to hear from former Train Dispatchers as to how often those sets of crossovers were used for flexibility during those commuter rushes in both directions.

I know we lost FH tower to a fire in 1960 or 61 and DV Tower took over the board after. Speaking of FH Tower. It seems funny that all of the other towers had been rebuilt in the 1920-30 time frame from wooden towers to the brick standard for the Electric Division except FH which remained a wooden tower.

It think NK tower was a singular case. I’ve made several thousand trips through that interlocking and can’t recall ever changing tracks.except when they were doing constructionat 125th Street. Prior to the 125th St rebuild, the tower seemed to exist solely for handling two kinds of exceptional cases.

For completely normal operations there was no need for the tower. The distance between the home signals at U (59th ST.) and MO (140th St) was close to exactly three miles. NK, about 100th St., was exactly in the middle. It was needed only for exception conditions, which included

– limiting out of service distance for track maintenace

– bypassing breakdowns

– reducing delay from construction projectsd.

Could that be said of any other tower in the U.S. ?

I have no knowledge of what has been done to the power transmission
system since even PC days. I left before the PC merger.

The duct runs may well be the same, but cables may have been replaced.
Proper maintenance includes repeat Meggering of the cable insulation and
keeping a record of the values obtained, which aids in predicting future
problems (failures) with the cable.

Given the redundancy available, there should not have been any
scheduling problems in getting a circuit shut down for testing, and it
would have been non-invasive, working from the breakers as access points.

Ultimately insulation degrades, and, FWIW, rats like the taste of lead
sheathing, so can do their own damage.

And, underground lines and manholes may be assumed to be wet, if not
flooded.

It would not surprise me if cables were not replaced occasionally.

I was not aware of the loss of the wayside transmission towers.

When you describe the power transmission lines on the steel towers,
please include the underground duct lines that carried more power circuits.

I was only indirectly involved with these, but as I recall, at least on
the Hudson Division, there were two pole circuits and two duct circuits.

Each substation tapped in one tower circuit and one duct circuit, which
ran in and went through circuit breakers to the sub. There were also
circuit breakers outside the station that could be closed to bypass a
substation and were not affected by events inside the sub.

This redundancy provided a high degree of reliability.

If the overhead lines went down (as down on the ground) the duct lines
carried the power. Same for the duct lines, backing up the tower lines.

Two duct circuits were never together in the same manhole, so a failure,
such as fire or explosion in a man hole, would not affect the other circuit.

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Enthusiasm for ‘maglev’ train between D.C., Baltimore mounts — as does opposition

Washington Post

Opponents of a proposal to build a high-speed train line that could make the trip between Washington and Baltimore in 15 minutes are asking state and federal officials to kill the project.

Northeast Maglev, the Washington-based company behind the project, says the 40-mile “superconducting magnetic levitation train system,” commonly called a maglev, would be the first leg of a line between Washington and New York — a trip that could be done in an hour.

Proponents say the project would ease travel in the congested Interstate 95 corridor, but many residents are concerned about the environmental impact and the homes that would be taken to make way for the line.

And, with limited public funding available for transportation projects, opponents say, any taxpayer money that would be used for the maglev would be better spent improving the existing rail infrastructure.

“We don’t believe it is economically viable. We don’t see the ridership. We don’t see the revenue,” said Dennis Brady, a Bowie resident who has organized a grass-roots group against the project.

Walkway Over The Hudson Awarded $500,000 for Visitors Center

SouthwestDutchess

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — the Walkway Over The Hudson is getting a new visitors center.

The Walkway was awarded a $500,000 grant through New York State’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) program this week, to be allocated toward the planned Eastern Entrance Welcome Center.

The welcome center is expected to be completed by spring 2019 and will feature permanent restrooms, a gathering area for up to 40 visitors, water fountains, benches, lighting, landscaping and other amenities. The welcoming center will cost approximately $3 million and be located adjacent to the park’s east side parking lot and at the juncture between the Walkway State Park and the Dutchess County Rail Trail.

“The Dutchess Welcome Center is another great and much-needed enhancement to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” said Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart.

Whenever I hear about the WALKWAY, I think of old friend, the late Bernie Rudberg from Hopewell Junction. Know a lot of others promoted the Walkway, but Bernie was a great promoter.

What Railroads Connected With Maybrook Yard?

The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers. It was the main east-west freight route of the New Haven until its merger with the Penn Central in 1969.

After the New York and New England Railroad succeeded merging with the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad at Hopewell Junction en route to the Fishkill Ferry station, they sought to expand traffic onto the newly built Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge in order to move goods to the other side of the Hudson River, and the Central New England Railway was perfectly willing to provide a connection. The CNE line was originally chartered as the Dutchess County Railroad in 1889 and ran southeast from the bridge to Hopewell Junction, and was operational on May 8, 1892. The line was absorbed by the CNE in 1907, and eventually merged into the New Haven Railroad in 1927. Passenger service was phased out beginning in the 1930s, the same decade the New Haven Railroad faced crippling bankruptcy. Later financial troubles in the 1950s and 1960s led to its eventual acquisition by Penn Central Railroad in 1969.

Upon taking ownership, the Penn Central began discouraging connecting traffic on the line that paralleled Penn Central routes for the rest of its journey to prevent it from being short-hauled. After 1971 only one train in each direction (for the Erie Lackawanna) traversed the full line.

Through service over the line ended abruptly in 1974 when the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned and was not repaired.

Maybrook Yard was where freight cars were interchanged between railroads from the west and the New Haven, whose Maybrook Line headed east over the Poughkeepsie Bridge to the railroad’s main freight yard, Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven, Connecticut.

To handle the traffic the yard was dramatically expanded in 1912 to three miles in length with six separate yards including two hump yards. A new 10-stall roundhouse with a 95-foot turntable replaced the original and was later expanded to 27 stalls. Also added was a large icing plant for refrigerator cars. At its height, the yard had 177 tracks totaling over 71 track-miles.

For much of its existence six class I railroads interchanged traffic at the yard with the New Haven Railroad. In 1956 the yard saw 19 arrivals and 18 departures of which 14 were operated by the New Haven, eight by the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway, seven by the Erie Railroad, four by the New York, Ontario and Western Railway, two by the Lehigh and New England Railroad and two by the New York Central Railroad. Rail service is still provided to customers in Maybrook by the Middletown and New Jersey Railroad on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern.

In 1993, Conrail pulled out of the Danbury area, selling all the track to Maybrook Properties. Freight traffic was rerouted on the Albany-Boston Line, turning south at Springfield, Mass., to New Haven, ending significant freight traffic on the Beacon-to-Danbury Line.

All evidence of Maybrook yard is now gone but for a single track coming from Campbell Hall.

The Erie Railroad brought in 500 cars each day, the O&W brought in 180 cars a day, the Lehigh and Hudson 400 cars a day, the Lehigh and New England 140 cars a day. New Jersey Central would send trains here, as well.

The trains would uncouple their cars in the receiving yard, be classified by destination and recoupled into trains heading into New England.

MaybrookYard02

Guest Post by Ken Kinlock

Our Short Line Railroad Collection

So what is a “SHORT LINE”?
As defined by the Surface Transportation Board, a Class III is a railroad with an annual operating revenue of less than $28 million. In Canada, Transport Canada classifies short line railroads as Class II. … Handling shortlines exist only to move cars along their tracks for larger railroads.

We have a major WebSite called Short Line Railroads

Lets discuss some of the more unusual “short line railroads.

The Buckingham Branch has 6 interchanges with Class I Railroads. Three interchanges each with CSX and Norfolk Southern give our customers freight connections to anywhere in North America and to the Port of Virginia. With connection alternatives to both CSX and Norfolk Southern our customers also are assured of the most competitive freight rates and the best freight schedules.

The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy.

Gary Railway (reporting mark GRW) is owned and operated by Transtar, Inc., a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation. It currently runs along 63 miles of yard track throughout Gary, Indiana as a class III switching carrier for local steel supply. It used to be part of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway which officially ceased to exist January 31st, 2009, at 11:59 PM. At midnight, February 1st, the line became Canadian National property. Over 120 years of history went out with a whisper. There were no special trains or ceremonies… Just business as usual. There are also extensive archives available.

More shortlines are covered in “A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book One” and “A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book Two

BUFFALO CREEK RAILROAD.

Troy & Greenbush Railroad

THE SYRACUSE JUNCTION RAILROAD COMPANY

Detroit River Tunnel Company

Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

European Champion In The Rail Industry

The engineering giants Alstom and Siemens are to tie up their rail operations. Alstom of France and Germany’s Siemens say that the merger will create a new “European champion in the rail industry”. The new group,which will be led by Alstom’s chief executive Henri Poupart-Lafarge will be called Siemens Alstom and is expected to compete against China’s state-backed operator CRRC. Alstom makes TGV trains in France while Siemens makes the equivalent ICE inter-city trains that run on German long-distance routes. The French government,which owns around 20 percent of Alstom will shed its stake as part of the deal.

FRA Clears Hurdle for High-Speed Rail: DC to Richmond

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced the completion of the Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the 123-mile section of the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor from Washington, D.C., to south of Richmond, VA.

This action moves the project one step closer to the construction phase of the Southeast Corridor, which will improve freight and rail traffic south of the nation’s capital.

The Preferred Alternative in the DEIS prepared by the FRA with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (Virginia DRPT) will:

Reduce passenger and freight congestion and improve on-time performance
Accommodate planned and funded Virginia Rail Express (VRE) growth of four new round-trip trains
Accommodate forecasted CSX freight growth through 2045 (doubling from approximately 21 trains in 2015 to 42 in 2045)
Increase maximum train speeds from 69 mph to 79 mph between D.C. and Fredericksburg and to 90 mph between Fredericksburg and Richmond
Add nine new round-trip trains from D.C. to Richmond, with four continuing east to Hampton Roads and four south to Raleigh.

“Moving people and goods as quickly and as safely as possible is an important cornerstone of the Federal Rail Administration’s mission,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Heath Hall.

“As this project moves forward, it’s critical that we receive feedback from potential passengers and the public at large.”

FRA and Virginia DRPT will accept public comments on the DEIS for 60 days beginning on September 8, 2017.

Based on public comments on the DEIS and the Preferred Alternative, DRPT and FRA will prepare a Final EIS (FEIS), which will list environmental commitments to mitigate unavoidable impacts.

The total cost of the project is approximately $5 billion, which is estimated in 2025 dollars to reflect the first year of service; however, no funding commitments have been made for construction.

AMERICAN SECURITY TODAY

The NY Central Putnam Division Freight House At Lake Mahopac

Thank you to New York Central fan John Ruth for a great bit of Putnam Division history.

The Lake Mahopac Freight House, which was served by the Putnam Division and the Lake Mahopac Branch, has been repurposed as a Café. They’ve named it “The Freight House Café

The building has been relocated about 100 feet and possibly rotated. A kitchen structure was added to one side. The original roll-aside door is still in place between the main floor and the kitchen addition. (Modelers could enjoy studying this door and its hardware, which resembles barn door hardware.)

The interior is more-or-less intact. There are a few RR-related décor items and, very appropriately, an ice saw hanging on the wall. This commemorates that there was once a nearby RR-served Ice House to store and distribute the ice harvested on Lake Mahopac. (Knickerbocker Ice, IIRC.)

NYCRR fans should stop in for a look-see and a coffee. The proprietor recognizes the NYCS history of the building.

Old Station from Google

On the same trip, I observed that the Baldwin Place Freight House is still extant. These two structures appear to have been built from the same plan.

When was L.C.L. freight discontinued on the Putnam Division? That would have marked the last RR use of these freight houses, no?

May 29, 1958 – Last passenger service on the Putnam Division.

September 17, 1962 – Last freight run to Yorktown Heights.

1963 – Twenty-three miles of track between Eastview and Lake Mahopac is abandoned and removed.

1969 – Three miles of track between Lake Mahopac and Carmel is abandoned and removed.

March 14, 1970 – Last freight run to Carmel.

From “Putnam Division of the New York Central

and “Putnam Division Abandonments

Question of the day:

Who lived near the end of the long-gone Mahopac Falls Branch for many years.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Fall time is the perfect time to take a ride on the Essex Steam Train.

The Essex Steam Train commenced operation in 1971 with only one steam engine and three coaches. Today they operate fifteen coaches with two steam trains, a Dinner Train, and professionally host and cater private and corporate events in our River Valley Junction.

Some of their upcoming events include Haddam Swing Bridge Fall Special, North Pole Express, and Santa Special.

For more information http://essexsteamtrain.com

Read even more about the Essex Steam Train
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/essex-steam-train/

NY City Suburban Area Realtors: THIS IS FOR YOU

Buyers LOVE the suburbs, but only when the commute is good to great!

Enter the “MAYBROOK LINE”. Years ago it was THE major freight railroad into New England. It went from Maybrook, New York; across the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie; from Beacon across New York Syaye to Danbury and on to Cedar Hill in New Haven. We have a great historical document:
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-maybrook-line-across-dutchess-county/.

Over the years, railroad freight habits changed, mostly through mergers. The bridge at Poughkeepsie burned and the railroad line became dormant and is owned by New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

For a great look at today’s Beacon Line, we will refer you to Emily Moser’s great WebSite “I Ride The Harlem Line”

This is her map of the area we are covering.

Occasional excursions, equipment moves and storage, and maintenance with hi rail vehicles, have all taken place, albeit infrequently. Though the rails itself may not be in use, running along parts of the line is fiber optic cabling that is integral to Metro-North operations.

MTA issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” regarding “all or part” of the line in 2016. But nothing came of it.

No, it is not practical as a rail line. What it could be practical for is a HYPERLOOP

This is the plan for a HYPERLOOP between Louisville and Chicago. Several options would work with the HYPERLOOP: The simplest would be Beacon on the Hudson Line, to Southeast on the Harlem Line.

Of course, the HYPERLOOP depends on clients! LOT of empty land along the route.