A Collection of Short Stories about Railroads – Book Two

ndame1

Notre Dame & Western at the university heating plant

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New Haven Railroad
Speeds and Trackage Rights

Passenger speeds

With the advent of “Acela”, there is a lot of interest in speeds on the New Haven from New York to Boston. See a great historical list here!

Trackage rights

The New Haven had trackage rights on several other railroads.

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Troy & Greenbush Railroad

 

 

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Little Falls & Dolgeville RR

LittleFallsDolgeville

About 3 miles North of Little Falls (rt 167) there is a remnant of a fairly large Trestle. This is near a restaurant called the Half Way. What surprises me is the condition of the Trestle. The Dolgeville line closed up in 1964. It ran from the mainline to the Adirondack Bat Co. The line north of this was closed in the 30’s. Industries in Dolgeville were shoes: Daniel Green and others as well as Hal Schumacher’s Adirondack Baseball Bat factory. The first train ran 12/14/1892 and last 7/15/1964. The last train used engine 847, a 600 hp switcher. The NYC purchased the line in 1906. Business on the line consisted of coal, iron ore, piano sounding boards, milk, pulp wood, canned goods, etc.

LITTLE FALLS AND DOLGEVILLE RAILROAD COMPANY
This company was incorporated December 27, 1902, as the successor of a company of the same name, incorporated February 20, 1891, construction of whose road was completed December 31, 1893, at a cost of $575,000, to cover which $250,000 capital stock, $250,000 first mortgage bonds and $75,000 second mortgage bonds were issued. The original company went into receivership May 27, 1899, and the first mortgage was foreclosed. The property of the company was sold July 24, 1902. Reorganization was effected and $250,000 of new capital stock and $250,000 of new first mortgage bonds were issued. The holders of the original first mortgage bonds received an amount of the new issue equal to their holdings of the old bonds and capital stock equal to the amount of unpaid interest which accrued during the receivership. The balance of the capital stock was used to pay the expense of reorganization. The operation of the road under the new organization commenced on January 1, 1903. The control of the road passed to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company on July 24, 1906, through its purchase of a majority of the capital stock. Consolidated April 16, 1913.

DOLGEVILLE AND SALISBURY RAILWAY COMPANY
Organized July 8, 1907, to construct a railroad from Dolgeville to the iron mines belonging to the Salisbury Steel and Iron Company at Irondale, a distance of 3.89 miles. Under the terms of a contract dated July 24, 1906, entered into between the Salisbury Steel and Iron Company and the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company, the latter named company was to operate the road on its completion. The road was reported as completed September 1, 1909. Under the conditions of the contract, the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company agreed to pay the sum of $2.00 for each car passing over the line, the amounts so paid to be considered as installments for the purchase of the capital stock of the Dolgeville and Salisbury Railway Company. When the amount of those installments should reach the sum of the cost of construction of the Dolgeville and Salisbury Railway, the entire capital stock of $150,000 would become the property of the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company. Up to the time of the consolidation of the Little Fall and Dolgeville Railroad Company into The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, April 16, 1913, the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company had paid, in the manner above described, an aggregate sum of $35,724.00. The agreement was assumed by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company and the payment of the installments continued, the amount reaching the total of $40,210.00 on December 31, 1913. On completion of the necessary payments the capital stock will become the property of The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company.

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RailwayExpressMilestone

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THE SYRACUSE JUNCTION RAILROAD COMPANY:

Incorporated June 9, 1873. The road was built by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company to take the two freight tracks of its four track system around the city of Syracuse and was opened November 16, 1874. It was leased to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company April 10, 1875, as a legal formality, and on October 7, 1879, was absorbed under authority of law.
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New York Central Fire Brigades

WestAlbanyFireBrigade1950

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.
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

FireTrain1950interior

Inside view of one of the cars belonging to the New York Central Railroad West Albany Fire Brigade
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

FireTrain1950WestAlbany

New York Central Railroad West Albany Fire Brigade in action! See the West Albany Fire Brigade in action at a civil defense test at the General Electric Schenectady Works.
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

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More about Mail and Express (M&E) trains on the New York Central

mail-train-nycentral

The M&E trains were ordinary passenger trains in the timetable. the term “first class” was really without meaning as those trains ran only in double track territory where they were cleared by signal indication. They were just part of the flow of passenger trains and moved at the usual passenger train speeds with no special priority that wasn’t usual for any other passenger train.

The time it took them to get across the railroad was purely a matter of the horsepower per ton of the train. The reason the Century could make better time was that it had less tonnage for the horsepower. A heavy M&E train could not get across the line as fast because it took much longer to accelerate to the speed limit.

There seems to be a mystique about these trains arising from the romance of the fast mail of earlier years. On the NYC they didn’t “go like hell” any more than other passenger trains that ran nonstop between Albany and Syracuse or Buffalo and cleveland, or …etc.

A Rider Car was operated at the rear of a Mail & Express train for the benefit of the train crew. Passenger equipment was perfered or mandated for this purpose because these trains operated at passenger train speeds and a regular caboose would not be suitable for this service account its running gear (springs & journal boxes). Because all cars of a mail train may not have steam head connectors, Rider Cars assigned to this service usually had a stove/furnace in one end for crew comfort in inclement weather.

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DetroitTerminalRailway

Detroit Terminal Railway


Of the 20,000 shares of capital stock issued by the Detroit Terminal Railroad Company, one-fourth was owned by the Michigan Central Railroad Company; one-fourth by the New York Central Railroad Company and one-half by the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company.

The Detroit Terminal Railroad Company incorporated Dec. 7, 1905 and was a switching line at Detroit. It was merged May 1, 1984, into Conrail.

See all the locations in Detroit.

See a 1916 map.

See some great old pictures of the Detroit Terminal Railway.

Michigan Central Station from the WIKI

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Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

 

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New York Central Snow Book

SnowBook

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These are some advertisements / features related to the 1964 to 1965 World’s Fair held in New York City (Photos clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
New York Central’s property included the following hotels: Barclay, Biltmore, Commodore, Park Lane, Roosevelt, Waldorf-Astoria.

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I discovered an interesting article by Richard F. Tolmach in California Rail News (June/July 2010)

The subject of the article was “Redesigning Metrolink for Mass Market Success” and the thrust was on pairing trains across platforms for matched departures could boost regional rail mobility. Mr. Tolmach’s “hero” was New York Central veteran Carl Englund. Englund advocated using Los Angeles Union Station as a timed-transfer hub for commuter trains. Englund prepared route surveys in 1972 that provided the planning basis for Metrolink. This system (owned by Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) and operated by Amtrak) now carries 38,400 daily riders over 512 route miles utilizing 53 locomotives and 158 cars.

Englund had experience in 1945 as stationmaster at Frankfurt Haupbahnhof then aligning schedules of RDC cars at a regional hub in White River Junction, Vermont. He discovered his practice worked at both big hubs and small ones.Englund held that timed connections could exponentially increase regional rail travel because of the synergy created by mobility in multiple directions. His studies identified new services since he used objective measures such as corridor population, population per mile, efficiency of equipment use, and relative performance of existing services. He successfully predicted that services which spanned regional metropoli end-to-end would outperform city center to city center trains, and identified suburban-to-suburban travel as a significant element in successful performance.

Most North American rail successes owe a lot to Englund and his contemporaries who carried out service experiments on the New York Central, Illinois Central and Canadian National in the mid-1960’s. He later applied lessons learned to the Northeast Corridor and GO Transit. New York Central discovered when it cut through service that overlapping travel corridors are key to revenue success. Even when a weak travel corridor is joined end-to-end with another corridor, it can contribute tremendously to system throughput and revenues. This is because the ridership of each corridor is overlaid with trips between the two corridors: new city pairs produce longer trips. The Northeast Corridor owes much of its success to the 1969 takeover of the New Haven passenger service by the Penn Central. Penn Central wanted connecting traffic so they diverted all Boston trains to Penn Station so that passengers could continue to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

Carl Englund died in 1996 at the age of 82 years.

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Plimmon H. Dudley (1843-1924) – metallurgist

DudleyAutograph

Dr. Plimmon H. Dudley, the New York Central Railroad’s expert on rail metallurgy, would also accurately predict the weather. He was considered the “scientist of rails”. He died in 1924 at age 81. He had joined the New York Central in 1880 and had lived in the Hotel Commodore since it was built.

INTEREST IN FLAWLESS RAILS:
Steel men expressed great interest yesterday in the announcement made by President A.H. Smith of the New York Central Railroad that the road’s staff of specialists under the direction of Dr. Plimmon H. Dudley had discovered the cause and remedy for the hidden flaws in steel rails.

HOW ONE MAN HELPED MAKE RAILROADS SAFER; Inventions of Dr. Plimmon H. Dudley Point Out Roadbed and Track Defects and Make Steel Rails Impervious to Cold
By JOHN WALKER HARRINGTON.
February 17, 1924,
EVERY one of us who slips into a Pullman berth at night and wakes up safe and sound in a distant city owes a debt to Dr. Plimmon H. Dudley’s half century of the study of the steel rail. As his eighty-first birthday approaches, science and transportation are preparing to do him honor.

Gifts can become unworkable in many ways. Consider the Dudley Professorship of Railroad Engineering at Yale. The chair was created in 1923 with a $US152,679 gift from Plimmon H.Dudley, a New York Central Rail engineer.

His express desire, he said, was that his research into railway safety be continued, in particular in connection with the development and improvement of designs of rails, roadbeds and crossties.

But railway engineering lost its lustre as a hot academic topic. And the professorship sat vacant for more than 70 years.

“I was kind of stumped as to what to do with this chair,” Yale’s president, Richard Levin, admitted.

Then Yale realized that the steam engines and wood ties of yesterday had been replaced by today’s magnetic levitation and superconductivity. So since 2002, Stephen Morse, an engineer who has studied urban transportation and switching strategies for the control of uninhabited vehicles, has been the Dudley Professor of Engineering at Yale.

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Metro-North New Haven Line in the Winter

MetroNorthSnowPlow

It’s old wiring, and some of the catenary support towers are original century-old installations.

The ancient infrastructure is way past end of useful life even with Metro North’s excellent maintenance practices. You get more frequent breakdowns with old mechanical systems and the old supports than the newer installations on the line. Do not forget shoreline weather factor. Winter unleashes steady punishment on all shoreline-facing structures during peak storm season. The differences between light/fluffy snow and heavy caked-on snow or sleet/ice are dramatic shoreline vs. just a couple miles inland during most Noreasters, and there’s often a stiff sea breeze even in less-severe weather and even with Long Island Sound somewhat more protected from the worst of the Atlantic elements than other places. Pressure + time takes its toll more rapidly than with inland electrification, and if the weather alone doesn’t bring down a wire here and there it corrodes it enough that you get more pantograph downings on brittle stretches. There’s also a lot of new-growth trees along the ROW that were allowed to sprout and grow above catenary height during the deferred maintenance era. Lot of downed limbs from wind and heavy snow/ice, and MNRR has limited options for clearing a wide swath around the ROW when it runs through people’s backyards… the trees are a natural sound and sight barrier that the neighbors would go ballistic if cut down.

That’s the price the NH line has to pay for being the most congested passenger rail corridor in the country, running high-speed service on one of the oldest ROW’s and the single oldest still-operating electric installation in North America (other extant ones may have been older, but they completely scrapped and changed their type of electric collection method after early experimentation).

And with all due respect, the new, improved, high-tech crap doesn’t perform as well or as long as the old stuff did. It may run faster, when it runs, and it may look prettier, but the simpler the design, the fewer the problems.
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Central Warehouse in Albany NY

CentralWarehouse02

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.

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album-robbie-robertson-BuffaloCentralTerminal

Did you know Robbie Robertson even sang a song about Buffalo Central Terminal?

Buffalo, New York, is a lucky city. True, the weather is terrible, crime is high, the economy is dead and the suburbs are usually on fire, but Buffalo still has a lot going for it. The city’s main attraction is a tall, dark tower that bursts forth from otherwise flat land in the middle of a residential subdivision and soars 20 storeys up into the air.

In 1929: The New York Central held dedication ceremonies for its new “Central Terminal” at Buffalo. The modified Art Deco style terminal included seven platforms serving fourteen station tracks.

You can find a lot out about New York Central’s Buffalo Central Terminal plus Buffalo history at Buffalo History Works

Robert Long from Maryland has donated some slides to the Central Terminal Restoration Corp. from the 60s and 70s of train trips he took to and from Buffalo and the area. The photos include some beautiful shots of the building along with a bunch from the DL&W terminal. The photos are part of the CTRC’s growing collection of historical archives.

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PacemakerFreight

Pacemaker service was effectively ended when the Central introduced “Early Bird” service, which started around 1956/57. This didn’t last long itself, as the introduction of Flexi-van service then carried LCL

When the Pacemaker cars were delivered they were used only on Pacemaker freight service routes. But that does not mean they didn’t appear in other trains or that they were not mixed with other cars in Pacemeker trains.

The Pacemaker service train NB-3 provided overnight service from New York to Buffalo. But it also took cars for other destinations. It was not a dedicated train for the NY-Buffalo service.

It would be interesting to know if any trains of all Pacemaker cars were seen in regular service. I believe they moved along with regular cars from the beginning of the service. TI’s hard to imagine how a solid train would occur other than for publicity photos. Do we have any non-PR photos that show a train with only Pacemaker cars ?

When did the service end? Depends on what you mean by “the service”. LCL service declined rapidly in the 60’s and was almost gone at the time of the PC merger. I’m not sure when dedicated trains were discontinued, but the overnight New York-Buffalo service is not shown in the 1954 timetable.

What happened to the cars when the service ended? They were used as ordinary box cars.

Did the cars remain in their old colours for long? Yes, until they were in a shop and really needed a paint job. They slowly disappeared like any other old car.

See more about LCL (Less Than Carload)

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