NY Central  20th Century Limited along the Hudson

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.

Click on picture to see more about railroads in Beacon, New York

Welcome to our 20th Century Limited WebSite



Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:

Our feature article:

"The 20th Century Limited"

.

We have a special feature on

"Twilight of American Rail Travel"

.

Some other articles you will enjoy are "Name Trains in the Empire Corridor" , Twentieth Century Limited wreck 13 March 1912 , Important Dates for the 20th Century Limited , Empire State Express equipment , what Diesels pulled Streamliners? , Pullman Car porters , and The Century: 1938 and 1948 .

You will also want to read about 20th Century departure tracks , Grand Central ownership and telephones on the 20th Century .

We have a great picture of the NYC 20th Century Limited along the Hudson , another picture of a NY Central Niagara pulling a passenger train at Beacon . Don't miss our reference material on 20th Century Limited and New York Central passenger trains.

Find out more about New York Central "Business Cars"
and Head End Equipment on the New York Central

M&E on the New York Central .

New York Central Empire Service .

Passenger car photo index .

YouTubeVideo Route of the 20th Century Limited - New York Central Railroad 1930's & 1940's

Metro-North Commuter Railroad

See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History; Check out our favorite Short Lines and interesting Railway Stations.

The Twentieth Century Limited



The Twentieth Century Limited ran as an all-Pullman luxury extra charge sleeper train with a running time between New York's Grand Central Terminal and Chicago's LaSalle Street Station (or reverse) in 15 1/2 hours - guaranteed or the passenger would receive some monetary adjustment for lateness. Pulled by a single steam locomotive (except electric motor between Harmon and Grand Central), it made only a few brief stops, mainly for water and crew change. Water was scooped at track speed from pans in the gauge of the rail, but it would have taken much too long to fill the tender with coal at a station stop. During the latter days of steam, upon the introduction of the huge PT tenders, the engines could and did traverse the entire non-electrified route (Harmon-Chicago) without change. An ingenious venting system allowed the tenders to take water on the fly at speeds up to 80mph. With track pans to quench the locomotives' thirst placed at frequent intervals, they were able to design the tender with a reduced water capacity and an increased coal capacity. Typically, a J3 had only to refuel once per trip.

In "The Run of the Twentieth Century" by Edward Hungerford (published by the New York Central System in 1930), shows outside of the change to steam from electric at Harmon, changes at Syracuse, Buffalo and Toledo. Running time under diesel power was, at one point, cut from 16 hours to 15 1/2 hours. Stops were made primarily for crew changes, otherwise the Century "had the road" - it was allowed to proceed unimpeded. The schedule was so precise, waypoints were occasionally timed at the half-minute. As well, the rule which forbade a train from passing a station or timetable waypoint before its scheduled time was modified to allow it to leave a point five minutes ahead of its timetable right.

There is also an old New York Central promo film called "The Flight of the Century". It's very much a commercial, rather than a reference work. One could also rent Hitchcock's classic thriller North By Northwest and follow Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason and Martin Landau from Grand Central to Chicago. You join Mr. Grant at ticket window #57 on the upper level of Grand Central, catch the red carpet treatment out on the platform, get a look-see at the club lounge car, the dining car (highly recommend a Gibson with the Brook Trout! ), the sleeper car accommodations as well as a brief look at the E-units on the point upon arrival in Chicago. Also, there is Lucius Beebe's classic book "The Twentieth Century", dated about 1962. The train pretty much ran the same route as Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited (including the route to Boston when it had a Boston section). Differences basically include around Albany, where the south bridge across the Hudson into Albany Union Station was demolished, and the entries into both Manhattan and Chicago, where the Century operated out of Grand Central and La Salle Street Stations respectively whereas the Lake Shore uses Union and Penn Stations.

I believe in the late 1930's, at least, the Century did make a few conditional stops. #25 picked up passengers at Harmon and #26 discharged them. Similarly in reverse, outside of Chicago (Englewood). During the 1940's for awhile, the Century used the West Shore bypass around Rochester. Westbound passengers were received at Harmon, Albany and Syracuse and discharged short at Englewood. Eastbound passengers were received at Englewood and Toledo and discharged short at Harmon. I have seen a timetable entry where #26 will stop at Gary and South Bend on signal for passengers for Albany and beyond, also #25 will stop at Gary and South Bend to discharge passengers.

Today, the abandoned hulk of Union Station in Gary, Indiana awaits an uncertain future. The station sits among a multitude of elevated railroad mainlines. While the adjacent railroad tracks are alive with freight trains, the station itself is a desolate, lonely place, inhabited by silence, dirt, decay and the occasional vagrant. The once magnificent interior has been stripped of anything of value. The grand hall is now home to pigeons. One hundred years ago, Gary was not the decrepit place it now is. By the early Twentieth Century, Gary was becoming a leading industrial boom town. Steel making on the south shore of Lake Michigan took advantage of the easy access to a multitude of railroad trunk routes that converged in the area and of lake shipping. United States Steel's Chairman, E.H. Gary was involved in the decision-making that saw the founding of the planned industrial city of Gary. In 1910, a new Union Station was erected along the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and Baltimore & Ohio's lines through the city. Beaux Arts style was still in vogue but construction utilized the latest in 20th Century cast-in-place concrete. The concrete was scored to resemble stone. Even today, the exterior is in remarkable condition, almost pristine compared to the rest of the structure. Connections were available to the Pennsylvania RR station further down Broadway via convenient electric trolley. On the elevated rights of way, a multitude of freight and passenger trains hustle along the old LS&MS and B&O.

Union Station, South Bend was shared by the New York Central and Grand Trunk Western Railroad. Opened in 1929, its Art Deco facade is immediately pleasing, and is related to other famous stations of the same era. South Bend's Union station was built at a time when the city was an important industrial center. NYC hired architects Fellheimer & Wagner to design a medium sized station, one that reflected the mood of the country just before the Wall Street crash. Behind the station rises the former Studebaker automobile manufacturing plant, once the source of much of South Bend's wealth and status. Ideally situated on NYC's Water Level Route, South Bend prospered, and its Union station was a very busy place. The curving roof resembles the dome of Cincinnati station. The brickwork details and window treatments echo Buffalo's station. Passenger service for Notre Dame University located in the city must have made the depot especially busy. No doubt football specials each autumn were a part of the ritual. South Bend has always been a hub city in this part of the state. In addition to the NYC & Grand Trunk, the Pennsylvania RR also entered the city. However it did not use Union Station, opting instead for it's turn of the century depot a few blocks away on the opposite side of the Studebaker plant. Today Union Station is in private use. Amtrak moved to the former 1970 CSS&SB depot.

Some additional items about trains 25/26 from NYC Form 1001 in 1944:
· "Tickets bearing endorsements, i.e. Charity, Clergy, DVS, VAH, Blind and Attendant, Railroad Employee, Furlough will NOT be honored on the Empire State Express, the James Whitcomb Riley, Twentieth Century Limited, and the Mercury except as otherwise shown in note." The note goes on to list exceptions - there were NO exceptions for the Century.
· "New York Central System passenger trains are frequently operated in two or more sections. It is therefore necessary that friends who expect to wire you en route, or meet you at stations, should know the number of your Pullman car as well as the number or name of your train. When more than one section if a train is operated, it frequently happens that only the regular section will make all the advertised stops. Passengers expecting others to accompany them part of the journey, pr to join them en route, are requested to inquire at starting point what stops will be made."


I understand the record for the Century on one day was either 7 or 8 sections. In addition, sections of the Century sometimes ran as sections of other trains because of timetable rights. The last section on any given day carried 25/26 number and was the one that made all the scheduled stops.

There were, of course, special service charges on 25/26. These were $3.00 between Chicago and NY, 2.90 between Chicago and Harmon, $2.55 Chicago-Albany, $2.10 Chicago-Syracuse and $1.65 Chicago-Buffalo.

In 1944, train 25/26 listed the following consist - all Pullman, of course
· one drawing room/compartment/2 double bedroom buffet car
· one 18 roomette sleeper
· three 10 roomette/5 double bedroom Pullmans
· three 4 compartment/4 bedroom/2 drawing room Pullmans
· four 13 double bedroom sleepers
· dining car


Multiply that times the number of sections operated and you get an idea of what was required just for this one service, let alone everything else the NYC operated.

Apart from the Central, only a handful of other railroads had "DO NOT DELAY" passenger trains, complete with (employee) timetable schedules down to the half-minute. The New Haven's Yankee Clipper and Merchant's Limited were two such trains.

As for timetabling the Century; Numbers 25 and 26 had the singular distinction of being permitted to depart a station fully FIVE minutes ahead of its scheduled time. They had a lot of confidence in the rest of the railroad's ability to stay clear!

At Grand Central Terminal, the track that the Century routinely departed from did change from time to time. I've identified three: 29, 34 and 27.

Whenever there was a problem on the Hudson Division that blocked service, the NYC had a backup route - all main line trains were re-routed on the Boston & Albany to Chatham, NY, where they swung down the NYC Harlem Division for the 127-mile trip on that line into GCT. Rather than getting to ride along the shore of the Hudson River, through the beautiful Hudson Valley, passengers on all of the main line trains including all of the famous name trains of the Great Steel Fleet, then got a chance to see what was then some of New York State's richest dairy country, the rural Harlem Valley, passing through numerous beautiful little rural towns in Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, and northern Westchester Counties before racing through the old suburbs outside of the city in southern Westchester County, and then into Grand Central (and of course vice versa for westbound trains). Overall, this was quite a change of scenery from what would have otherwise been seen along the Hudson Division! I believe the last time a main line train was re-routed down the Harlem Division as a result of a blockage on the Hudson Division was in 1971, not long after Amtrak took over passenger operations from PC. By then of course, the 20th Century Limited and the other great name trains were gone, and the old Upper Harlem Division was slowly falling apart, by then only a shadow of the line it once was.

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
Corsica Ferry
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Traveling in Europe?
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Stop by and see our Reservations Center.
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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?"

Whos Who on the Century

An advertisement in World War 2 showing the staff of a typical Century


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Niagara Locomotive

The New York Central used these huge Niagara locomotives to haul the Century in the late 1940's


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Centurys pass in the Night

The Century's pass in the Night


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Snow Plow for the Century

The New York Central kept the Century running when nothing else moved.


(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

Find out about PROMISES and PROMISES

Twilight of American Rail Travel



"Twilight of American Rail Travel" means different things to different people. To me, it meant the period in the 1960's until Amtrak when passenger service went downhill. More specifically, it was the "Empire Corridor" running along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers to New York City. Before the "twilight", well maintained, well patronized New York Central trains ran this route. When Amtrak began in 1971, service was sloppy, not as well patronized, and equipment was very "worn".

My favorite song is "City of New Orleans" written by Steve Goodman and sung by Arlo Guthrie. It talks about the same period, but on the Illinois Central Railroad. Lots of similarities!

"Riding on the City of New Orleans, Illinois Central Monday morning rail Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,"

Yes, rode on train like that too. Although lot of those cars were "head end equipment".

"Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail."

Loss of that mail was what really did in rail passenger service. Always heard stories of how President Lyndon Johnson pulled the mail off trains to pay off his airline buddies for political favors. Imagine! Entrusting our mail to people who seem incapable of moving our luggage between two cities and not losing it!

"All along the southbound odyssey. The train pulls out at Kankakee. Rolls along past houses, farms and fields. Passin' trains that have no names, Freight yards full of old black men And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles."

Yes, the Hudson Valley was in the process of change. Industry was gone and the "yuppies" had not yet built their country homes. Lot of abandoned factories, rusted rail sidings.

"Good morning America how are you? Don't you know me I'm your native son, I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans, I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done."

Yes, the New York Central, was New York State's Native Son. It was one of the biggest factors in making New York great.

"Dealin' card games with the old men in the club car. Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score. Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle. Feel the wheels rumblin' 'neath the floor. And the sons of pullman porters And the sons of engineers Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel. Mothers with their babes asleep, Are rockin' to the gentle beat And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel."

Never any offense to the train crews. Railroad problems came instead from "greed run rampant" at railroad headquarters in Philadelphia. Passengers were only the ones who hadn't or couldn't get enamoured with America's "Car Culture".

"Nighttime on The City of New Orleans, Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee. Half way home, we'll be there by morning."

How about changing engines at Harmon?

"Through the Mississippi darkness Rolling down to the sea. And all the towns and people seem To fade into a bad dream And the steel rails still ain't heard the news. The conductor sings his song again, The passengers will please refrain This train's got the disappearing railroad blues."

Even the huge Chevrolet plant in North Tarrytown would be gone by the end of the 20th Century and turned into condos!

"Good night, America, how are you? Don't you know me I'm your native son, I'm the train they call The City of New Orleans, I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done."

Good night New York Central!

By Ken Kinlock at kenkinlock@gmail.com
Pullman Car Porters

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters


The Pullman Porters organized and founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. The BSCP was the very first African-American labor union to sign a collective bargaining agreement with a major U.S. corporation. A. Philip Randolph was the determined, dedicated, and articulate president of this union who fought to improve the working conditions and pay for the Pullman Porters.
See a great page featuring excerpts from the
New York Central Lines Magazine
Magic Windows
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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!

New York Central Syracuse Station
The New York Central Syracuse Station

The station in Syracuse was a stop for the 20th Century Limited



See more of the New York Central stations
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Star Trak restores and maintains 20th Century railway cars and equipment.

Interested in New York Central Business Cars?



Find out more about New York Central "Business Cars"

Pictured at left former
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend business car "Hiram". In 1995 it was sold to the Toledo, Peoria & Western. Hiram was New York Central 20. Before that it was owned and operated by Pullman and carried the name Mount Desert. It was built in 1923 by Pullman. It's Pullman lot number is 4816. Pullman plan number is/was 3521. NYC lot number was 2228. It is a sister car of NYC 19 which was the Mount Hood. NYC 19 went first to C.V. Whitney who operated it as Wanderer and then to NdeM where it was numbered 3522. It's fate is unknown.
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Telephone on the 20th Century Limited

Telephone on the 20th Century Limited



Doesn't sound very impressive in today's cell phone environment, but when the 20th Century Limited added telephone service, it was really quite an achievement.

What was the phone number for the 20th Century Limited?
When the train was at Grand Central Terminal, it was: MU9-8000. For LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, it was: WA2-4200, and for Boston, it was OX3-1029. Supposedly, these were the phone numbers since the heavyweight era and up until the Century was discontinued, although the proper area codes would have to be appended at some point in time, depending on the origin of the call. In the telephone operator era, you would ask for "Murry Hill 8000", "Wabash 4200" or "Oxford 1029". To get the radiotelephone number (post-1946), just ask the overseas operator for "The 20th Century Limited". The Bell Phone number for the entire NYCRR at GCT, 466 Lexington Ave, and the entire Electric Division PBX, was MUrray Hill 9-8000. Every incoming call was answered by a PBX operator who routed it to the proper extension. If No. 25 was running in two or more sections, the operator would have to consult the reservation office to locate the correct extension. I suspect that the service was seldom used by most passengers, but was held for "celebrities," and the passenger service department folks were primed to protect their moves (and phone service.)

What ever happened to my Penn Central stock?
Penn Central gobbled up the stock of New York Central, Pennsylvania and New Haven Railroads. But what ever happened to the company and the stock? Is it worth anything?

Ever hear of American Premier Underwriters?
Find the answer and find out a lot of interesting facts.

Interesting Stuff - Ecology and railroads

January 7, 1929 The New York Central Railroad's "20th Century Limited" runs a record seven identical sections. Eight hundred twenty two people pay the extra $10 fare to ride The Century. An automobile show in New York City gets the credit for this sudden increase in traffic. Combined with other special trains arriving for the show, a record 266 sleeping cars arrive at Grand Central Terminal between 5:00 am and 9:50 am. This is very interesting. It was a harbinger of things to come: the impact of the auto on passenger train travel. I bet Al Gore understands what a high speed rail system (plus good commuter rail systems) would do for the "fuel bill"! DO YOU?
www.dictionary.ms

Tunnels and Bridges on the New York Central


Find out more!

Hudson River Tunnel

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Empire State Express Equipment



A 1941 issue of Railway Age (Vol. III, no. 25) discussed the new equipment that was being put in service on the Empire State Express.

One article features floor diagrams and pictures of the new cars. The second article goes into the justification for purchase of the new equipment. In doing so, it discusses some of the changes taking place in the industry.

One aim was improved coach travel. It states that 85 percent of the Empire's revenue was from coach travel, justifiying the switch of the observation from a first class car to a public car. It implies that the standard for the heavyweight train had become (or was becoming)coaches with reclining seats. The eight new Budd coaches in each trainset would seat 448 passengers, whereas eight heavyweights with the old style walkover seats would seat over 600.

It is also interesting to note that a "dedicated" second section was required during the war in the form of the "Advanced Empire," a train that lasted until the lated 50s.

What's a "Chicago Bypass"?

Chicago Bypass

Why do we need a "Chicago Bypass"?



Click on any doctor at left to see why.
Twentieth Century Limited Wreck 13 March 1912

Twentieth Century Limited Wreck 13 March 1912



Richard Teed collection

The Hudson River seems to be frozen over. There are people walking on the ice.

Click on picture above to see more New York Central pictures in the Fishkill/Beacon area.

Another wreck was at Little Falls (which had the sharpest curve on the New York Central's "Water Level Route") when the Westbound "Lake Shore Limited" derailed in 1940 killing 31

The Century normally departed from track 34 (50's-60's).


Sleeping car check-in counters were along the wall on the left as you go through the gate towards tracks 34 and 35.

Tracks 38 through 42 are the loop tracks. Their platforms lead to the arrival concourse from which there are steps to 41st Street, not Vanderbilt Ave. There is a stairway next to track 38 that goes up to the Vanderbilt Ave. taxi entrance. All arriving trains used tracks 38 to 42, and there was an arriving trains bulletin board in that concourse. This allowed the road power to get out and go to the engine house without waiting for a switcher to pull the train out.

At the south end of each of the three (38, 39-40, 41-42) platforms there is a ramp up to the station. Next to that ramp is a short narrow ramp down to a short platform at track level that was used for the head end car unloading. That was where the baggage elevators were located. Baggage and mail wasn't handled on the part of the platform where passengers were unloading.

Find out more about Grand Central departure tracks.

What Electrics Pulled the Century?



The Century normally used a "T" Motor. When the larger "P" Motors came to Grand Central, the Eastbound Century continued to use a "T" Motor. With sixteen cars and the larger engine it fouled the NYC engine storage tracks when it arrived. The smaller engine allowed the observation to clear the circuit.

RailwayStation.com has provided a 1942 Quiz Book on Railroads and Railroading.
Here's some interesting questions and answers:



How many passenger-train cars are operated on the American railroads?

There were 45,218 passenger-train cars on the railroads of the United States at the beginning of 1941. Of the total, 17,470 were coaches, 13,087 were baggage, express and other non-passenger cars; 7,221 were parlor and sleeping cars; 1,536 were dining cars; 1,829 were U. S. Mail cars; 3,300 were combination coach cars; 370 were observation, club and lounge cars and 405 were other passenger-train cars. The Pullman Company owned 6,910 of these cars.
Pullman Sleeping Cars American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners
20th Century Cars

REFERENCE



List of New York Railroads
New York Central Railroad


List of New York Central Railroad precursors

Luxury Train Travel

First run of the streamlined 20th Century

Scale Model 20th Century equipment

Passenger Car Photo Index

The Lake Shore Limited Route Guide

A great story about traveling on the 20th Century Limited

Head End


Railway Express and Railway Post Office

REA RPO Header

On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally called 'head-end' equipment, these 'freight' cars were at one time plentiful and highly profitable for the railroads. In the heyday of passenger service, these industries were a big part of the railroad's operations, and got serious attention.
Lowest       Car Rental Deals
NY Central Niagara pulling a passenger train

NYC Niagara pulling a passenger train.



Beacon Historical Society collection

This train is southbound at Beacon. You can see the road bridge over the tracks in the background. At left is the former NY&NE ferry yard that later was occupied by the CNE and the New Haven.

See the specifications for this locomotive.

Important Dates for the 20th Century Limited (and its "home":Grand Central)



June 20, 1875 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad opens the entire Fourth Avenue Improvement in New York City with two of the eventual four tracks in service. The project eliminates grade crossings between Grand Central Station and Harlem River.

June 15, 1902 The "20th Century Limited", a "train a century ahead of its time" according to contemporary accounts, begins operation. The average speed is 49 mph between New York and Chicago resulting in a 20-hour journey.

January 7, 1929 The "20th Century Limited" runs a record seven identical sections. Eight hundred twenty two people pay the extra $10 fare to ride The Century.

June 14, 1929 The New York Central inaugurates its transcontinental rail-air service to Los Angeles. The route is formed in conjunction with Universal Air Lines (predecessor of United Air Lines) and Santa Fe via Southwestern Limited. Air travel is between Cleveland and Garden City, KS using Fokker Trimotors. Four passengers make the first westbound trip. Also on board: a silver container of Atlantic Ocean water from New York Mayor Jimmy Walker to be presented to the Mayor of Los Angeles.

May 11, 1934 "Twentieth Century", a movie by Howard Hawkes based on the Broadway play opens nationwide. Considered the first of the "screwball" comedies, the second half of the film is set on New York Central's premier train.

June 15, 1938 The "20th Century Limited" is equipped with new streamlined equipment and a new schedule that averages 60 mph.

September 15, 1948 New York Central's postwar "20th Century Limited" is put into service in ceremonies attended by several dignitaries, including General Dwight Eisenhower (ret).

January 9, 1955 The departure of the 20th Century Limited from New York is broadcast live on the Television show "Omnibus".

December 3, 1967 Last run of New York Central's "20th Century Limited" as the railroad cancels all but two long distance trains.

See random dates in railroad history .

Other important or interesting New York Central dates.
Track 61
Here is a picture of Track 61. See what is so mysterious about Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal..
A lot about NY Central's EMPIRE SERVICE. Even more about EMPIRE SERVICE.
A great site lot of NY Central and New York State.
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What Diesels Pulled Streamliners?



As far as I know, the only NYC passenger train pulled by F units was the streamlined 1948 version of the New England States, which started with sets of 3 F3's. Probably the reason for this was that the States had to negotiate the Berkshire Mountains and railroads were finding that the early E's did not do well in mountainous terrain. Trains such as Great Northern's Empire Builder and Santa Fe's Super Chief, both of which started out with E units, ultimately were switched to F units.

The E8, however, did much better in mountainous terrain and in short order, the Central stopped using F units on their trains. In fact, I believe the Central never used any builder's freight model locomotives on its passenger trains, except for the GP7 in later years.

The Central used primarily EMD E units on its passenger trains, though it did also use Alco PA's, Fairbanks Morse "Erie Builds" and some Baldwin "Baby-faced" passenger units. All were configured with A1A passenger trucks. Eventually, the passenger units from other builders were scrapped and the job of handling the Central Varnish was left to its E7's and E8's.
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The Century: 1938 and 1948



The 1938 20th Century Limited was a great example of industrial art deco design by famous industrial designer, Henry Dreyfuss. The classic paint scheme applied to the streamlined Pullmans and the ten Dreyfuss-styled streamlined Hudson's lasted barely a year before it bagan to be changed. What followed until the introduction of the 1948 Century was a train of continually altered paint schemes and the wear and tear of running through the war years. The 20th Century Limited in 1947 bore little resemblance to the original 1938 train.

The streamlined "Century" debuted in 1938 as 13 car consist. There was enough equipment ordered to run a 2nd section of slightly smaller size. There were two diners in the each of the two regular cars, for a total of four diners in every day service. There were only two spare cars for second section operation.

During the 2nd World War, the train was limited to one section, but the regularly assigned length increased to between 16 and 17 cars. To accommodate a train of this size, the two dining cars in each consist had seating capacities increased from 38 to 44. The barbershop was closed in the club car and used to sleep extra dining car staff. This consist was hauled by diesels toward the end of the war.

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Grand Central Terminal and the New York City Subway

This page is 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 Railroad and 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.

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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.
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