Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal What is Mysterious Track 61 and Who Owns Grand Central Terminal?
Several Views of Grand Central Terminal
» Strictly speaking, it’s Grand Central Terminal, not Grand Central Station, because train lines originate and terminate here. Even locals make this mistake. Transcontinental trains bound for Chicago and Los Angeles used to depart from Grand Central. Today, the terminal serves Metro-North suburban commuter trains to and from Connecticut and Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties in New York State.
» At 49 acres, Grand Central is the world’s largest railway terminus. The Main Concourse alone covers 88,000 square feet.
» Seven hundred thousand people pass through the marble halls of Grand Central each week, making it the nation’s busiest. To put the figure in perspective, that’s more than the entire population of North Dakota.
» The information booth in the center of the Main Concourse, a popular meeting place for New Yorkers, fields 1,000 questions an hour.
» Each face of the brass clock atop the information booth in the Main Concourse is made of solid opal. The four faces are valued at between $10 and $20 million collectively.
» The outdoor clock atop the main entrance to Grand Central on 42nd Street (see cover) has a diameter of 13 feet and is the largest known example of Tiffany glass.
» Grand Central is the second most visited site in New York City, second only to Times Square.
» Grand Central’s Lost & Found Department receives 1,400 items per month. The recovery rate is 80 percent.
Boston & Maine Railroad It was over 1,400 miles long and went in to 6 States. The mainline went from South Portland, Maine, through the famous Hoosac Tunnel, to Rotterdam Junction, NY.
B&M passenger trains had a LOT of street running coming and going thru Troy.
The Saratoga and Schuylerville (S&S) went from Saratoga Springs, New York, to Schuylerville, Schuyler Junction to Stillwater Junction/Mechanicville. It was chartered in 1833 and acquired by the Fitchburg Railroad (later absorbed by the B&M) in 1875 as part of their Boston-Buffalo ‘grand plan’. It connected with the Greenwich and Johnsonville (D&H) as well as the B&M. It did not connect with the D&H at Saratoga. It carried passengers, small freight and sand until all dried up. It was sold (1946) to Sameul Pinsley who ran it a few years before pulling up the tracks. See a history of the Saratoga & Schuylerville Railroad from Gino’s Rail Pages
There was a B&M rail branch out of Mechanicville to Stillwater. It was built by the Boston Hoosac Tunnel & Western, predecessor to the Fitchburg RR in this territory. BHT&W’s eastern end was North Adams, Mass., I think, and it ran roughly parallel to the Troy & Boston as far west as Johnsonville, N.Y., where the two lines left each other (T&B to Troy; BTH&W to Mechanicville & Rotterdam). So the branch to Stillwater was, I believe, built contemporaneously to the BTH&W’s main line. Fitchburg bought both BTH&W and T&B; then B&M took over the Fitchburg. This all happened in the 19th Century. B&M operated the Stillwater branch right up into the 70s.
Several Presidents of the United States have traveled over the Boston & Maine Railroad. Here is Harry Truman in 1948.
West Side Freight Line Begun in 1846, New York City’s West Side Line was the only freight railroad that went directly into Manhattan.
Photo at left is of the St Johns Park Freight House. These are from a brochure published by the New York Central in 1934 and re-issued by the West Side Rail Line Development Foundation (our author was a former member and supporter of this foundation).
St. John’s Park was abandoned when some of the High Line ROW below Bank St. was sold for housing. But had traffic there dried up by then? Was there any debate over it at the time? The line was only about 20 years old at that time. When St. John’s was in service, there were about 8 tracks running into it– how was it switched? And what kind of stuff was shipped to St. John’s. Also, the line served Nabisco, Armour–when did they stop using the line? And did the RR serve Bell Labs (now Westbeth) whose building it ran through?
For answers to these questions, click here
See more at NY Central WebSite
Milk Trains on the NY Central Mostly in New York State and a lot is New York Central.
|See Penney’s Blog about the Fabled Rutland Milk. Pictured above is a “rider car” bringing up the rear as the train goes through the Troy Union Railroad on it’s path from Ogdensburg, down through Vermont to Chatham, then down the New York Central Harlem Division to New York City.|
Our Railroad Stations WebSite shows many of the stations that belonged to the old New York Central System. The station pictured here is in Utica, New York. The station was built between 1912 and May 1914, replacing an older structure dating from 1869. The building was designed by New York architects Stem and Fellheimer. The Boehlert Center at Union Station is a train station served by Amtrak and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica, New York. It is owned by Oneida County, and named for retired U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford.
New York Central 20th Century Limited along the Hudson
This was probably the all-time most famous train
Bruce Wolfe collection, courtesy of Bernie Rudberg
In 1947 a trio of EMD E units are powering the 20th Century Limited southbound along the banks of the Hudson River. This train had just thundered through Beacon and was heading for the engine change at Harmon. Since these diesel engines were not welcome under the streets of Manhattan, an electric engine would pull the limited the rest of the way into Grand Central Terminal.
(See more at Vacation French Riviera)
WRECK OF A RAILROAD
The Penn Central was born amid great expectations and promises on February 1,1968 by the merger of the New York Central System into the Pennsylvania Railroad on that date. Neither railroad had been forced through the trauma of bankruptcy and reorganization. With incompatible computer systems ,signal systems, operating styles, and personalities at the top, the new railroad remained essentially two in operation though it was one in name.
Why did Penn Central fail?
1.) PC was forced to pay $125 million for the bankrupt New Haven, which had a negative cash flow.
2.) PC was required to operate well over one half of all the passenger service in the US, which by that time had a monstrous negative cash flow. Amtrak only partly relieved this in 1971, as PC was still saddled with commuter service in the New York and Philadelphia areas.
3.) Freight rates and abandonments were rigidly regulated, preventing PC and others from adapting to market conditions.
4.) The “red” and “green” teams were more interested in “oneupmanship” than creating a viable enterprise. No thought had been given prior to the merger, for example, on compatibility of computer reporting systems.
Penn Central Amtrak Stock
In addition to some neat items, like Grand Central Terminal, the successor to Penn Central owns much of the stock in Amtrak!
When Amtrak was formed in 1971, some railroads got stock for joining Amtrak or giving it equipment. The law that established Amtrak set it up as a for-profit company with stockholders entitled to dividends!
Amtrak stock is owned as follows:
American Premier Underwriters (insurance sub. of Am. Financial Group) 53 %
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad 35 %
Canadian Pacific Railroad 7% (through acquisition of the D&H)
Canadian National Railroad 5% (through acquisition of Illinois Central)
(Note that American Premier Underwriters is the corporate successor to Penn Central.)
It is true that Amtrak stock is not routinely traded; you won’t find Amtrak shares on any stock exchange (i.e. NYSE, NASDAQ) – it would be considered an OTC stock, but given the sparsity of trades, you’d probably have to just deal with one of the four above entities directly.
However it is not to say that Amtrak stock cannot be traded – obviously American Premier Underwriters has purchased the shares formerly owned by numerous other railroads – Union Pacific doesn’t own any Amtrak stock anymore, for example; nor does Norfolk Southern or CSX. “Anything’s for sale at the right price” – and if someone offered the right price, they’d gladly unload their Amtrak stock. The question is, why would you want it; knowing that you have no voting privileges, no representatation on the Board of Directors, no hope for a dividend (publicly traded companies are NOT required to issue a dividend), a stock that cannot be easily traded nor has significant value.
From Amtrak annual report:
“At September 30, 2009 and 2008, 10,000,000 shares of $10 par value common stock were authorized, of which 9,385,694 shares were issued and outstanding. The common stockholders, who acquired their stock from four railroads whose intercity rail passenger operations Amtrak assumed in 1971, have voting rights for amendments to Amtrak’s Articles of Incorporation proposed by the Board of Directors. The Act also required Amtrak to redeem at fair market value the shares of common stock outstanding as of December 2, 1997, by the end of fiscal year 2002. Amtrak has discussed the redemption of the shares with the owners, but there has been no resolution of this matter between Amtrak and the owners. Amtrak believes that the fair market value of the common stock is zero. Nevertheless, in an effort to comply with the Act, Amtrak has made an offer to redeem the stock for cash at a price of $0.03 per share to the stockholders. By a letter dated November 2, 2000, counsel for the four common stockholders responded to Amtrak and rejected the offer as inadequate. Amtrak is considering various courses of action. In May 2008, American Premier Underwriters (APU, formerly known as Penn Central) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati, Ohio, asserting that Amtrak has “eroded” the value of common stock and is seeking $52.0 million. APU owns 55% of Amtrak’s common stock.
Since 1950 Over fifty years ago, Merle Armitage published a book called “The Railroads of America”.
In it, he listed the major railroads of the time.
I took his list and tried to see where they all went.
I also compared to a 1980 source of Class 1 railroads.
Typical of railroads around in 1950 but gone in half a century was the C&WC.
The Charleston & Western Carolina Railroad was merged into the Atlantic Coast Line System after 1959. This GP-7 was painted in the ACL’s scheme of Purple/silver but was lettered for the C&WC instead of ACL. When the ACL began repainting their units in the black/yellow stripe scheme the CN&L units were also repainted and renumbered.
SEE Our New WebSite on the Delaware & Hudson
Penney Vanderbilt developed the map of Troy, including the Troy Union Railroad, when she was writing a blog about the Boston & Maine going through the Hoosac Tunnel to serve Troy. It shows important points like Troy Union Station, the Adams Street Freight House and the Green Island Bridge. Other blogs you might like include the Troy Union Railroad Towers; abandonment of train service to Troy; and last but not least, the Troy Union Railroad.
Gibson Yard on the Indiana Harbor Belt in 1950. Note the steamers at left side of photo: The IHB has just gone all-diesel. The Chicago River & Indiana Railroad and the Chicago Junction Railway will be next.
George McCormick Falls From Train, Fatally Crushed (1929)
We always think of railroad accidents as several people killed and maybe a hundred injured; but just one person killed is just as tragic to a family
Funeral services for George McCormick, 27, employed at the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad , Montowese Division, who died in Grace Hospital shortly after 7:30 P.M , Wednesday night following an accident which occurred in the Cedar Hill yards will be held from the parlors of Beecher, Bennett & Lincoln 100 Broadway, tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 P.M Grace Hospital early Wednesday morning following an accident which occurred while he was riding in a train in the Cedar Hill yards. While attempting to alight from the moving train he slipped and fell beneath the wheels of the train. His right leg was severed at the knee while his left leg was badly crushed.
The deceased is survived by his widow and three children.
Written by unknown, posted in the New Haven Register May 31st 1929.
McCormick-In this city, May 29, 1929, George W McCormick, of 29 Ann St. aged 27 years. Funeral services will be held in the parlor of Beecher, Bennett & Lincoln, 100 Broadway, Saturday afternoon June 1st, at 2:30 o’clock (D.S.T) Friends are invited to attend.
Written by Unknown. Posted in the New Haven Register May 31st, 1929.
George is buried in New Haven, at the Evergreen Cemetery. His granddaughter, Tuesday Porter was recently there,and placed two flags in honor of his Service in the Navy as a First class seaman.
Tarrytown, New York Station in 1907
Lots of head end equipment , Courtesy of Wayne Koch
New York Central T Motor at Mott Haven
our gateway to New York City. Find out about the New York Central Railroad‘s Grand Central Terminal. Explore the fabulous New York City Subway System. Learn who Robert Moses. was and his impact on New York City. Understand New York City transit planning, West Side Freight Line (the “High Line”) and St Johns terminal. The New Haven Railroadand the Long Island Railroad reached into New York City. Did you know the Lehigh Valley Railroad even went into New York City (by ferry). Learn about the Jenney Plan to bring commuters into New York City and finally explore mysterious track 61 at Grand Central Terminal with its relationship to Presidents of the United States.
EMD Model 40 – a rare early diesel locomotive
The Shepaug Valley Railroad ran from Bethel through Hawleyville, where it could transfer with the Housatonic, through Washington and Roxbury ending at Litchfield.
It was constructed in 1872 and was 32 miles long. It hauled ice from Bantam Lake and quarried stone from Roxbury that was used to build the Brooklyn Bridge. It also ran two passenger train a day at the turn of the century but the service was terminated in the 1930’s. The travel time for the line from Bethel to Litchfield was about two hours. The Shepaug Line was leased to the New Haven from 1892 to 1947 when the company petitioned to discontinue service on the line and the line was abandoned in 1948.
South Shore cars street running through Michigan City
Benton Harbor, Michigan: Once A Rail Center
See more on the Harlem Division
NO, This is NOT All We Have. BUT FIRST A WORD FROM OUR SPONSERS
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad HistoryWe cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads.
See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open
Our Favorite Stories
Car Culture: demise of the U.S. trolley system A real story for this era is how General Motors, and others reshaped American ground transportation to serve their corporate wants instead of social needs.
At year-end 1943, New York Central stock closed at 18 ¾, which meant D&H had an investment of $5,711,250. What would have happened if the Delaware & Hudson had remained an independent entity and continued to hold this stock until today?
Who owns Grand Central Terminal? A big “paper railroad” that still exists after everything around it went away is the New York & Harlem Railroad. It was chartered 1831, built a line from New York City to Chatham, then leased to the New York Central in 1873 for 401 years. Funny thing, it still exists and owns a lot of New York City real estate including Grand Central Terminal!
New York Guard casualities in World War I The Second Provisional Regiment guarded the Erie Canal, bridges, Niagara power houses and munition plants all upstate. These were the State active duty part of a NY Guard reserve force statewide of 15,000 during WWI replacing the National Guard when it was activated.
Trip down the Hudson River Albany to New York City by rail in the 1980’s.
On June 24, 2000 a news story (Montreal Gazette) stated that Montreal and Lake Placid officials will meet to consider a joint bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics. This could be great news for more rails! Having been involved with rail transportation for the 1980 Winter Olympics, this could be a tremendous thing providing Montreal-Lake Placid rail service .