Railroad History: New York Central

New York Central

Links to many interesting railroad-related sites.
Of interest to the railroad manager, railfans, advocates of super railroads, railroad historians.
Links to many rail-related organizations and museums.
The one source to go to for railroad history.

The New York Central Home Page


Home to everything you ever wanted to know about the New York Central Railroad.
Links to many New York Central Resources.
Now we have a Second Section too!

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
The 20th Century Limited and other New York Central Passenger Trains

The 20th Century Limited was probably the all-time most famous train. Name trains in the Empire Corridor. During the 1920's, 37 name trains traveled the Water Level mainline. This huge mass of trains was sometimes referred to as the Great Steel Fleet.
Read the entire article.
The 20th Century Limited and other New York Central Passenger Trains
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Harlem River Bridge Car Floats in New York Harbor: 1921

Picture at left is Harlem River Bridge built in the early 1950's
Picture at top is Car Floats in New York Harbor: 1921


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Railroads from Albany to Connecticut

Railroads through the region East of the Hudson from Albany to Connecticut. Includes the rail junction of Chatham (New York Central, Boston & Albany and Rutland ) and the New York Central Harlem Division.
Read the entire article.
Railroads through the region East of the Hudson from Albany to Connecticut. Includes Chatham and the New York Central Harlem Division.
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The New York Central (Big Four) ran into Benton Harbor from Niles up until about 1980. Includes an article based on recollections of Maurice Newman. Benton Harbor Michigan, once a rail center

A lot about NY Central's EMPIRE SERVICE. Even more about EMPIRE SERVICE.

Catskill Mountain Branch

The Catskill Mountain Branch of the New York Central connected with the West Shore at Kingston, NY. It was once the Ulster & Delaware. It ran all the way to Oneonta and a connection with the Delaware & Hudson.
Read the entire article.
Catskill Mountain Branch of New York Central, former Ulster & Delaware

Several years ago I wrote a story on the major railroads of 1950 and what happened to them.

Now I am following up with a closer examination of the New York Central Railroad. This railroad only lasted until 1968 when it merged into Penn Central.

But, what was the NY Central Railroad like in 1950?

You will also be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen"

Robert Young and the New York Central Railroad

Robert Young. The New York Central Railroad. Some of the most fascinating railroad literature of the 1940's are transcripts of this unusual man's testimony before the Interstate Commerce Commission. At year-end 1943, New York Central closed at 18 ¾, which meant Delaware and Hudson Railroad had an investment of $5,711,250.
Read the entire article.
Robert Young and the New York Central Railroad
Metro North FL9 in New York Central colors at Harmon Shop

Metro North FL9 in New York Central colors at Harmon Shop


Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch

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Northeast Corridor

Railroads On The Rebound

High Speed Rail
Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.

Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
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Grand Central Track 61
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New York Central
The Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad

The 643-mile Rome Watertown and Ogdensburgh became a part of the New York Central in 1891. As late as the mid-1950's, most of the RW&O was still in service. Everything east of Oswego was part of the St. Lawrence Division. The old Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was part of the Syracuse Division.
Read the entire article.
Rome Watertown and Ogdensburg
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The Original New York Central & Hudson River Railroad

All about the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. The New York Central was created in 1853 by the merger of ten other railroads, spearheaded by Albany industrialist Erastus Corning. Commodore Vanderbilt brought it together with the the Hudson River and Harlem Railroads.
Original New York Central Railroad
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New York Central's Putnam Division

The New York & Northern was part of a Bronx to Boston route with the New York & New England Railroad via Danbury and Hartford. Financial failure forced the line to be leased to the New York Central in 1895. It became the Putnam Division.
Read the entire article.
New York Central Putnam Division station at Yorktown Heights

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Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid?

A news story stated that Montreal and Lake Placid officials met to consider a joint bid for the Winter Olympics. This could be great news for more railroads! Provides access to a wealth of railroad history information published over many years about the New York Central and about Montreal railroads.
Eead the entire article.
Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid? New York Central Adirondack Division Railroad
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New York Central Electric Shops at Harmon

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.
Read the entire article.

See some great pictures of New York Central electrification.
1913 saw the completion of electrification from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon. Logically, this town became important to the New York Central Railroad, Penn Central and Conrail
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All the great train stations of the New York Central System.

All the great train stations of the New York Central System. Grand Central Terminal, Buffalo Central Terminal, Utica Union Station, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Harmon, Beacon, Oneonta, Saranac Lake, Malone, and others. Even some not owned by NY Central but a destination for Central trains: like Montreal

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Utica, New York
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Pullman Sleeping Car
Webb's Wilderness Railroad

Webb's Wilderness Railroad opened up the Adirondack wilderness. Although educated as a physician, William Seward Webb built two hundred miles of railroad and opened up the Adirondack wilderness where others had failed. New York Central tracks reached into the Adirondacks. One line even went across the Canadian border to Ottawa.
Read the entire article.
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Castleton Cutoff The New York Central's Castleton Cutoff, Hudson River Connecting Railroad, and the Selkirk Yard.
Penn Central New Haven Railroad New York Central Railroad Interested in Penn Central? New York Central? Pennsylvania Railroad? New Haven Railroad? or in the smaller Eastern US railroads? Then you will be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen". You will also enjoy "Could George Alpert have saved the New Haven?" as well as "What if the New Haven never merged with Penn Central?"
Sharing the “Water Level Route” with the New York Central was the West Shore

Sharing the Water Level Route with the New York Central was the West Shore; first as a competitor; later a subsidiary.
Read the entire article.
Sharing the Water Level Route with the New York Central, was the West Shore Railroad, first as a competitor, later as a subsidiary
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Special Research Section on the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad

This section contains information that is unpublished elsewhere!
In the early 1870's, the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad had been built from Oswego along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Niagara River (Suspension Bridge). It bypassed Rochester, had no manufacturing industries and first became part of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburgh which was acquired by the New York Central.
Purchase the entire article.
Timeline of Railroads in the Adirondacks

See what Railroads ran in the Adirondacks.
New York Central's West Side Freight Line into Manhattan.
History of New York City's West Side Freight Line. Begun in 1846, the New York Central's West Side Freight Line was the only freight railroad directly into Manhattan.
Read the entire article.
Photos on this site of St Johns Park Freight House are from a brochure published by the New York Central in 1934 and re-issued by the West Side Rail Line Development Foundation (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.
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CONRAIL: Consolidated Rail Corporation The break-up of Conrail to CSX and Norfolk Southern is just really a continuation of a drama that has gone on for about the last 80 years.
Read the entire article.
The Troy & Schenectady, Now It Is A Bike Path

The American Museum of Electricity (What! You never heard of it?) stored its collection on the old Troy & Schenectady Railroad. Story of an historic piece of the New York Central Railroad.
Read the entire article.
Troy & Schenectady Railroad
Now we have a Second Section too!
The Troy & Schenectady Railroad, What if it Still Existed?
Let's assume that the Troy & Schenectady Railroad was not abandoned. What would it be like today?
More about the Troy & Schenectady

Even more material on the Troy & Schenectady. Includes material on the American Locomotive Company as well as the cities of Troy and Schenectady.
New York Central Hudson Division

Ride between Albany and New York on the New York Central Hudson Division with the author and learn some fascinating facts about this historic rail route.
Read the entire article.
Albany to New York are the best ever. Share a ride with the author on this historic New York Central railroad
Grand Central Terminal In April 1987, the former New York Central office building was designated a landmark.
Other buildings in the area have played an important role in the development of New York City.
An electrical fire in 1986 knocked out the signal tower which controls the lower level of Grand Central Terminal.
Read the entire article. <
New Jersey Junction Railroad The New Jersey Junction Railroad owned a railroad, connecting the CSX River Division (former West Shore Railroad) with the trunk lines terminating at and near Jersey City, extending from Weehawken to a junction with the former Pennsylvania Railroad at Jersey City, and a branch to a junction with same road near Harsimus Cove. affiliate_link
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New York Central Lines Magazine This most interesting period in the history of the New York Central was well-chronicled in its in-house magazine. Excerpts from 1919-1931. A 1921 article in "Transportation World" by Charles Frederick Carter provides the basis for an historical sketch of the New York Central. George H. Daniels was the road's General Passenger Agent for many years and ranks as one of the greats of American advertising. His article on "Health and Pleasure" popularized the Thousand Islands.
Read the entire article.
Penn Central Transportation Company 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.
Read the entire article.
New York Central Picturec Album
Peoria and Eastern Railway (P&E) Company Peoria and Eastern Railway (P&E) Company went from Indianapolis to Peoria. It was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York Central System. It was not until August, 1996, when a portion of the line was sold to Norfolk Southern Corporation, that the line was no longer a part of the "Big Four" System.
Railroads in Utica, New York Utica was served by four railroads: The New York Central, West Shore, Lackawanna and Ontario & Western
See the full story on the three other railroads of Utica, New York
Gulf Curve Accident in Little Falls A 1940 wreck here was one of the worst on the NY Central
Railroad Station at Troy, New York

Railroad Station at Troy, New York


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. See Penney's blog for more information (and a great movie from the 1950's).

The "Armstrong Method" of loading cars is gone too.

Weathertopia.com
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Remembering the last New York Central Railway Post Office (RPO) Through Syracuse (by Richard Palmer)

Grand Central was owned by the New York Central Railroad

Do you know who owns Grand Central now?
If you said Metro North Railroad, or its parent company, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, then you are wrong.
Nor is it Donald Trump, Disney or WalMart.


Click here to find the answer and find out a lot of interesting facts.
Timeline of Railroads in the Adirondacks

See the Railroads of the Adirondacks too!!!
Tunnels and Bridges on the New York Central
Find out more!



Hudson River Tunnel
Crossing a bridge

The New York Central Railroad

See some historic photographs of the New York Central Railroad. First-generation diesels! Passenger and freight runs. Much more!
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Track 61
Here is a picture of Track 61. See what is so mysterious about Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal.. Also find out about a railroad that did NOT make it to Conrail: The New York & Harlem. Find out about Metro-North.
New York Central Branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, In 1861, the Potsdam & Watertown line merged into the Watertown&Rome, the name of the new railroad was changed to Rome, Watertown&Ogdensburg, and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. It lasted until the 1980's. Read the whole story. On June 13, 1845 the Troy & Greenbush Railroad opened between Troy and Greenbush, NY. It is the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. See more random dates in railroad history. Isn't it amazing how much we all remember (and have forgotten about the NY Central)? 40 plus years? OMG, we rode parlors to Chatham and sleepers to the Adirondacks. Geez, we remember a lot. Why is all this stuff gone? Why did we have a PC and a Conrail.
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones 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
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