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20th Century Limited


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The 20th Century Limited

20th Century Limited

This was probably the all-time most famous train

Another article you will enjoy is "Name Trains in the Empire Corridor" .

From the pages of the Official Guide, September 1938 The 20th Century Limited, New York Central System, August, 1938 timetable, From the pages of the Official Guide, July, 1956 The 20th Century Limited, New York Central System, July, 1956 timetable,
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NY Central  20 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 here or on picture to see more about railroads in Beacon, New York

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Just Around the Corner by Bertrande H. Snell

Bertrande H. Snell, author of the following article, a native of Parish, Oswego County, N.Y., was a telegrapher all his working life. For many years he was employed by the New York Central Railroad, and for 33 years was a telegrapher for Western Union in Syracuse.

Bertrande Snell commenced his writing career with the Syracuse Syracuse Post-Standard in 1945 and continued it until shortly before his death in 1949. His columns were primarily of a reminiscent or historical nature, which included railroad stories.

If you like his column, we have more.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 6, 1949

Just Around the Corner
By Bertrand Snell

‘Twas too many years ago that a bunch of us were loafing in “MO” tower on the Hojack near Richland. It was winter and we were witnessing the complications of delays and hang-ups incidental to winter railroading in this area. Conductor Heck Shoen had his drag of empties safely stowed away on the siding and was relaxing in the office.

Al Rose (now retired and living at 367 Hillsdale Ave.), railroad “dick” was there, too, waiting for delayed 103 so he could get home to Watertown. Also there were brakemen Hank Mudge and Seeley Charles, together with a couple of others whose names escape me at the moment. The telegrapher on duty at the time was Mel Fairchild, a lanky, rather hard faced man of 30, who had been in the racket ever since he was 18. He was a fellow of varied experience, having traveled across the continent and back several times as a “boomer.” He surely knew his way around and could spin you a yarn to the king’s taste.

Fairchild’s tour of duty for the day was about finished and his relief man, Backus, was on hand waiting his turn to take over.

Somebody got to talking about snakes and, of course, we all had a snake story to tell. Fairchild sat at the telegraph desk and listened as the anecdotes were bandied back and forth and he offered no interruption until he finally concluded that it was his turn. He erased the suspicion of a sneer from his features and began:

“It’s easy to see that you guys never had much to do with snakes. Take me, now I’m an authority on them critters. I’ve seen a big hoop snake in Dakota stick his tail in his mouth and roll down a hill at 50 miles an hour, and I’ve seen them big Texas snakes -”

“Them hoop snakes, now,” interrupted Detective Rose, “be they poisonous?”

“I’ll say they are,” snorted Fairchild. “Why, I seen one roll off the roof of a barn, once, an’ strike a hoe handle standin’ in the corner. in less’n 10 seconds, that handle was swoll up bigger’n a ax helve!”

“In that there case,” demurred Al, mildly, “I’d think the dang varmint would be mighty leery o’ puttin’ his tail into his own mouth!”

Mell sniffed a little as he paused to block in a train from Camden. Then he resumed:

“Yep, I’ve seen different snakes all over the country, but the rattlesnakes is the smartest o’ the bunch. They got real intellect, them rattlers. I’ll show you what I mean.

“I was workin’ on the Fall Brook down in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1907. It was a little shack right on the bank o’ Pine Creek in Lycoming county. It’s a wild country around there, full o’ rattlers, an’ such, but nobody paid much attention - kinda took ‘em fer granted, like. The natives down there don’t bother to kill ‘em onless they get too much in the way; and the dang snakes has kinda learned to behave themselves.

“First day or two I was there, I went across the tracks to throw a awitch for a coal-drag comin’ in on the siding - and there was a big rattler coiled right around the bottom o’ the switch stand. I reached for a piece o’ ballast to bust him on th head, but he unwrapped hisself quick and slid outa the way. I throwed the switch and stepped over with my rock balanced to throw; but that darn reptile looked at me with such a pleadin’ _expression in his eyes that I didn’t have the heart to do it.

“I dropped the ballast and started back to the office. I looked back as I went in - and there was mister rattler follerin; me! Not like he wanted to catch up, but kinda hesitatin’-like, as he wasn’t sure whether I’d like it or not! I started to shoo him away, but he looked so kinda disconsolate that I didn’t bother, and he come right into the office and curled over back o’ the semaphore levers as polite as ye please.

“When I started to eat my lunch he kinda turned his head the other way, like he didn’t want to introod. But I could see by the wigglin’ o’ his tail that he wouldn’t mind j’inin’ me; so I offered him part of a ham sandwich, an’ he stretched out, careful, an’ took it outa my fingers, gentle as a lamb.

“Yes, sir, that rattler sure knew his stuff. After a while, I kinda inducd him to leave, but he was back next day, and that was what you might call the beginnin’ of a beautiful friendship. It wasn’t loing before I noticed that whenever he’d hear the telegraph sounder, he’d elevate that big head o’ his an listen, careful, to ever sound.

“Then, one day, I heard a dang curious sound. The sounders wasn’t workin’ an’ everything was quiet, when all of a sudden, I heard Morse code from over behind the bunk. When I looked, there as my snake practicin’ the alphabet on his rattles! I listened, careful, and the old boy was doin’ pretty good for a ham! He was runnin’ thru everything from A to Z, and then he’d start in on the figures. I got busy, then with the key an’ I rattled off ‘G.M., Mister Morse.” In a minute them rattles answered me, slow an’ hesitatin’, but readable, ‘G.M., friend - 73’s.”

After that, it wasn’t long before we could carry on a reg’lar conversation - an’ that’s when I learned so much about snakes!”

“O’ course, Mr. Morse never got so he could do any real telegraphin’ on the line. The limitations o’ his bodily makeup was agi’n him, it bein’ an impossibility for him to use a key or a pencil - but he sure was a lotta company. And he was a top-notcher at scarin’ away bums an’ hoboes.

“He was my pal for four-five months and I was busy teachin’ him the Continental code, when a tragedy come up which kinda put a crimp into my spirits.

“Mr. Morse was foragin’ around in the grass along the right-o’-way one day, when one o’th’ section men, not knowin’ he was there, cut him plumm in half with a scythe. The guy raised a yell an’ I come a-runnin’ - but poor Mr. Morse was a goner!

“-An’ the last memory I had of him was his rattles stickin’ up in up above the grass, vibratin’ in beautiful codes: “30-30. GB, old pal.”

At this moment the Oswego train dispatcher called and narrator Fairchild interrupted himself to copy a train order.

Night Operator Backus looked at Al Rose with tears streaming down his cheek and remarked softly:

“Wasn’t that just awful?”

“The worst I ever heard,” agreed the railroad dick. “I got half a notion to run him in for corruptin’ the morals o’ decent railroad men!”

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Grand Central Terminal 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.
Find the answer and find out a lot of interesting facts.
20th Century Limited

These streamlined Hudsons hauled the 20th Century Limited before diesels

Grand Central Terminal

The observation car inside Grand Central Terminal

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New York Central Road Diesel
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Utica, New York

Name Trains in the Empire Corridor

Before the world of passenger trains collapsed in the 1950's, the New York Central was one of the nation's premier passenger railroads. Its 10,000 miles reached from Boston to St. Louis, but its heart was the four-track mainline from New York City to Buffalo. 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". The New York Central was traditionally a passenger-oriented railroad. The magnificent four-track main line across New York State carried a profusion of famous and lesser-known limiteds between the major cities of the East as well as trains serving the cities of upstate New York. The years just after World War II saw passenger service hit its peak. Most of the 20 westbound passenger trains between New York City and Buffalo in 1952 were scheduled with the long-haul passenger in mind.

Multi-wheeled third-rail electrics sparked out of the darkness of Grand Central Terminal to begin the march up the Hudson Valley. At Harmon, power was changed to streamlined steam and later to lightning-striped "E" units. At Albany, the trains made a left turn and climbed the only mainline grade. They rolled onward through the Mohawk Valley to Utica, then across dairy farm country to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The railroad's course then followed the Great Lakes to Chicago.

The top-of-the-line train was, of course, the 'Twentieth Century Limited'. It, and other outstanding New York Central trains, were scheduled for overnight travelers and passed through upstate towns in darkness. The best "day" train for New York State travelers was the 'Empire State Express'.

The 'Twentieth Century Limited' and the 'Empire State Express' were originated by George H. Daniels who was the General Passenger Agent and later the first advertising manager of the New York Central. His many contributions to the success of the Central rank him as one of the greats of American advertising. Daniels worked on Mississippi steamboats as a youth and sold patent medicine before joining the railroad in 1889. He was a great publicist and did such things as give "red caps" their name and put the 'Empire State Express' on a postage stamp.

The 'Twentieth Century Limited' began operation in 1902. It was the ultimate in extra fare luxury train travel. It covered the almost thousand miles between New York and Chicago on a 20-hour schedule. Its experimental forerunner was the 'Exposition Flyer' of 1893. In its heyday, it even had a separate ticket window at Grand Central. Because the 'Twentieth Century' was all sleepers (solid Pullman), it couldn't carry a lot of passengers. The record carried was in 1929 when it went eastbound in seven sections and carried 822 passengers - all paying an extra fare. Departure from Grand Central literally received the "red carpet treatment". A red carpet was rolled out on the platform for the passengers to walk on. The design on the carpet of the train's name with bars in gray on red background appeared on the tail sign, in promotional literature, on matchbooks and on the train's chinaware.

Its real role was to serve New York and Chicago. Going west, it picked up passengers only at Harmon, Albany and Syracuse. It didn't even pass through Cleveland. Eastbound, it picked up at Toledo and discharged at Albany. In the days of steam, it made two locomotive changes - at Harmon and Collinwood. Engine crews changed at Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Collinwood, Toledo and Elkhart. Pullman crews ran the entire trip while other trainmen changed at Buffalo and Toledo.

The equipment on the 'Twentieth Century' got better and more expensive as time went on. In 1902, a trainset cost $115,000 and included three Pullmans, a diner and a mail-buffet car pulled by an Atlantic-class engine. Equipment became all-steel by 1912. By 1922, the cost had more than doubled to $250,000. Now pulled by a Pacific, the train included a club car with barber, valet and stenographer. Two diners were required because there were more sleepers. By 1930, the basic consist (including the Railway Mail Service car) was twelve cars, but many times two additional sleepers were needed. The average section of the 'Century' had at least one sleeping car divided exclusively into rooms - of both the compartment and the drawing room types - together with an indefinite number of cars into which a varying number of compartments and drawing rooms were introduced into a standard car of upper and lower berths. 14-section cars with nothing but upper and lower berths were popular also. By 1940, the $1,384,000 train was pulled by a streamlined Hudson and had become an all-room train meaning that it had no open sections with upper and lower berths. It even had luxury suites with drawing room, bedroom and shower bath. The heavyweight equipment had been replaced by lightweight alloy-steel cars in a distinctive exterior two-tone paint job with unique striping. Even its schedule had been shortened to 16 hours. This amounted to 961 miles in 960 minutes. 1946 saw the introduction of passenger diesels. It is unclear what train was first pulled by the new GMs. It could have been the 'Empire State Express'. However, within a few weeks, they were pulling the '20th Century' Limited on a steady basis. 1948 saw new rolling stock which included an observation car with a raised "lookout lounge".

The 'Century' usually ran in several sections. An 'Advance Twentieth Century Limited' left a half hour or more ahead but the main train could have several sections leaving from parallel platform tracks at about the same time. Since the schedule was important to maintain, winter weather could mean shorter trains and more sections. The early sections of the 'Century' often ran a little ahead of the announced schedule and arrived in Lasalle Street Station in Chicago ten or fifteen minutes early. This was because they omitted the intermediate stops and left the final section to strictly adhere to the schedule.

The 'Empire State Express' began operation in 1891. Special cars were built for the train by the Wagner Palace Car Co. of Buffalo. 4-4-0 locomotives were built by the Schenectady Locomotive Co. (predecessor of ALCO) using designs by William Buchanan, the road's Superintendent of Motive Power. It traversed the 436 miles between New York City and Buffalo in 7 hours and 6 minutes (61.40 miles per hour average). Its real job was a a New York to Buffalo day train but it was more famous for setting speed records. In May of 1893, Charles H. Hogan ran the 36 miles between Buffalo and Batavia at 112.5 MPH. His engine, the "999", was built in West Albany and exhibited after its run at the Chicago World's Fair.

Advances in equipment were not confined to the 'Twentieth Century'. The 'Empire' became streamlined in 1941. Its open platform parlor-observation cars were replaced with all-weather closed versions. The streamlined 'Empire' was stainless steel with fluted sides as opposed to the smooth painted sides of the 'Century'.

Many track improvements were made over the years. Most notable was the elevation of tracks through Syracuse which eliminated 62 grade crossings and a stretch of track running right down the middle of Washington Street at 15 MPH. When the tracks were taken up in 1936, 39 name trains passed through Syracuse. One impediment that slowed up name trains was the hill west of Albany that required pusher locomotives in the days of steam.

Some of the other name trains which roared up the Hudson and Mohawk valleys were: the 'Southwestern Limited' which went to Indianapolis and St. Louis; the 'Pacemaker' which went to Cleveland, Toledo and Chicago; the 'Ohio State Limited' which went to Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati; and the 'Commodore Vanderbilt' to Chicago. Trains westward from Boston joined the mainline at Albany. The most famous of these was the 'New England States'.

The standard practice during the era of great trains was that (with the exception of dining cars, baggage cars and mail cars) the Pullman Company owned, maintained and furnished the cars. Similarly the crew for the cars (conductors, porters, barbers, maids and secretaries) were furnished by the Pullman organization. The actual train crews (engineers, firemen, conductors, trainmen and baggage- masters) were furnished and paid by the railroad. The railroad crew only exerted an indirect control over the Pullman staff. It is hard to appreciate the size of the train staffs that were required. For instance, a diner (the New York Central operated over 150 at one time) had a steward, eight waiters, a chef and three assistant cooks.

The 1964 Official Guide still showed the railroad in a good light even if passenger service had started to deteriorate. There were nine trains featuring "Sleepercoaches" with single and double rooms. The 'World's Fair Special' carried a "Meal-A-Mat Car" from Buffalo to New York which had continuous service of hot and cold foods and beverages. West of Buffalo, your ticket bought a buffet breakfast. The 'Empire State Express' had combined forces with the D&H 'Laurentian' to give the rider an impressive array of equipment. 'The Iroquois' and the 'Fifth Avenue/Cleveland Ltd' carried sleepers to and from Utica for a Lake Placid connection. Service to Malone had ceased and all Montreal passengers went via the D&H. As well as the 'Ontarian', at least six other trains featured a Toronto connection. As well as Chicago; Detroit, Cleveland and even St. Louis were an easy route from New York or Boston. Reclining seat coaches were advertised on all name trains. Some typical economy "Sleepercoach" fares (including one-way coach fare and single room charge) were Boston to Chicago $54.85, New York to Chicago $49.16, New York to Detroit $39.54, and Cincinnati to New York $41.83. As well as name trains, the Empire Corridor even had a "Beeliner" between Albany and Hudson that fitted a commuter very well timewise. By then, service to Troy had been replaced by a note in the timetable that frequent connections were available by United Traction Co. busses.

By 1967, the passenger problems that plagued the nation's railroads had not missed the Central. There were still nine Buffalo trains plus two Albany trains, but many of these had degenerated into mail and express runs with passenger cars tacked on the rear. Additionally, the deficit was high, the equipment was run down, the timekeeping was poor and the railway post office got discontinued.

1967 saw the end of "name" trains on the New York Central as the 'Twentieth Century Limited', 'Empire State Express', and others were replaced by numbers. The railroad petitioned the Public Service Commission to end all long-haul passenger service and concentrate on serving the less-than-200-mile intercity markets. The New York Central, then Penn-Central's so-called "Empire Service" was an honest attempt to provide a service that was acceptable to the public and at the same time not a big financial drain on the railroad. Some of the ideas developed at that time were adopted by AMTRAK when it took over the service in the early 1970's. One of the "near great" trains of the New York Central was the 'Lake Shore Limited'. AMTRAK revived this name for its New York-Chicago train. The first revival in 1971 only lasted to 1972, but a 1975 restoration is still hanging in there.

By Ken Kinlock at

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"

NYC's total prewar fleet of Pullmans, plus non-sleepers for the Century (some went to Commodore Vanderbilt, Southwestern Limited) are as follows:

34 - 4-4-2 (Imperial)
33 - 10-5 (Cascade)
14 - 18 rtte (City)-1939-40
10 - 17 rtte (City)-1938 (8 Century, 2 Commodore Vanderbilt)
18 - 6 DBR-lng (Falls)
22 - 13 DBR (County)
4 - Master Rm Obs (Island)
3 - 2-1-1 Obs (River)
4 - Century Club (dorm)
6 - Dining
4 - Baggage RPO

The cars built in 1938 for the initial Century streamlining were
14 Imperial (12 Century, 2 Commodore), 10 City (17 rtte), 12 Cascade (8 Century, 4 Southwestern Limited), 8 County (4 Century, 4 Commodore), plus the 4 Island class observations and the 4 Club dorms, 6 diners and 4 baggage/RPOs.
Lowest Airfares - Coach, Business and First Class
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Remembering the last New York Central Railway Post Office (RPO) Through Syracuse (by Richard Palmer)

Was New York Central Business Car 20

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What is the history and who owns the private car that's sat on the siding under the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the GCT maze of tracks for the past few decades. I've heard everything from President Truman's private car to alien experimentation.

Private Car under Grand Central
Several TV shows have mentioned this car. Some believe it was President Truman's private car, which even featured access for him to drive his private vehicle onto the car.

Now, there is no denying that the spur this car now sits on was used to ferry VIP's such as Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Some stories say the car that is currently sitting on this spur is equipped with light armor plating on the outside; detailed wheel suspensions under the car that would provide maximum comfort for the cars cargo; and markings indicating the car was once used by the U.S. military.

TRUTH IS there was no private car under Waldorf Astoria, there is a Pennsylvania RR baggage car there, that was part of old wreck train it has blocking, slings, jacks etc. It had MNCX reporting mark, but MNCX is not a militairy marking but only Metro North. It has a double door , but not big enough to put even a small car through.

The car in question is a former PRR class B60 standard steel heavyweight baggage car. It was never modified for use as anything else besides hauling bagge or storing supplies. The "light armor plating" is standard riveted steel construction. The "detailed suspension" are just plain old passenger trucks.

The sister car, also not part of presidential train is at Danbury railway museum and was part of Stamford Wire train as workshop. Same plating , same trucks , it just has roof walkway , removed on arrival at DRM.
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20th Century Limited

20th Century Limited rolls along the Water-Level Route

20th Century Limited

20th Century Limited passes under the Castleton Bridge

20th Century Limited

20th Century Limited rolls along the Water-Level Route

20th Century Limited

Here are more of those streamlined Hudsons

Mirror Lake

To clarify the ISSUES regarding the "NYC" Passenger Service.

In plain simple English, Bob Timpany, AVP Administration and in charge of the infamous New york Central Operating Management Trainee Program - which, is said to have generated some seven ( 7) railroad presidents - told everyone "we are losing our tails and we have reached the point of NO RETURN regarding passenger train deficits." Costing cutting measures did not work. The operating unions would not agree to any changes in work rules. For example, engine service employees,, changed at Erie, PA, but the train crews when through between Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, OH! All of the states that were served by The "NYC" refused to contribute any form of financing to off-set the loses to provide a service the public DID NOT WANT. The company ran The Jet Train experiment in Northwestern Ohio as a way to induce governmental and public assistance. But alass, NO form of aid. The hearts and pocketbooks were with the love affair the American public had with the automobile and the concrete highways. "NYC" received a Million Dollars of FREE advertising and publicity to show that its existing right of way could handle an improved method of passenger train travel. Sadly, no one took the bait! Knowing full will that the railroad could not pull the plug on its total passenger service it elected to establish "The Empire Service" in the state of New York while consolidating the remaining trains west of Buffalo, NY. Remember, NY Central was two ( 2) different entities; Lines East of Buffalo and Lines West of Buffalo. Folks today could never realize the amount of planning and implementation which went into setting up "The Empire Service". Each diesel locomotive had to be equipped with dual steam generators; three ( 3) car all coaches or one ( 1) cafe car and two ( 2) coaches with EVERYTHING WORKING; two ( 2) vestibules placed next to one another to enable fast loading and unloading of passengers; etc. The plan worked. The deficit was cut and it estabolished a new train of thought. The future for railroad passenger service was in the short haul markets. Further, the NYC finally convenienced the state of New York to start to generate funding for any remaining and expanded passenger services. Finally, the other eastern and midwestern states found out that The "NYC" was serious about finding a Godfather to pay for the service which the American public did not want. To think that Mr. Perlman and his staff wanted to trash all passenger service was a false statement. A the top of the morning report was the performance of both 20th Century Limiteds. This also included passenger counts, names of VIP's on the trains, OS times at key terminals and the status of the next day's Nos. 25 and 26. Below that came The Rielly (Cincinnati, OH and Chicago, IL). Below that came the "Van Trains" and the performance of NYC Motor Transport which sole purpose in live was to support "Flexi-Van Service". Below that came the numbers for the electronic yards, viz., Avon (Big Four); Elkhart (Robert F. Young); Cincinnati (Sharonville), Toledo (Stanley); West Detroit (Livernois); Buffalo (Frontier); DeWitt; and Selkirk. The Morning Report and then The Head Count, which was generated by 1:00 PM every Friday, had better be right, including the coveted 20th Century Limited Trains. The "NYC" was in the business of generating a lot of cash to pay its bills and a profit. In fact, the saying around 466 Lexington Avenue was "MAXI-PROD" (Maximumize Profits). You could never perform that mission with a big passenger train drain.

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.

M&E on the New York Central . The 20th Century Limited, Flagship of the New York Central.

Metro-North Commuter Railroad

See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History

Interesting Railway Stations
King Preferred
Biggest Diesel Purchase in NY Central History Dieselization 1952

New York Central might have been slow to start dieselization (still buying steam in late 1940's), but once they started, they FLEW

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
New York Central Picture Album
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?"

Way back when, Utica had three railroads besides the New York Central. Until 1957 these three railroads ran through, and crossed each other in the South Utica/New Hartford area: Ontario & Western, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, and West Shore (really a part of New York Central). Even the municipal borders varied. Until 1925, what is now South Utica was a part of the town of New Hartford. See the full story on the three other railroads of Utica, New York

The Missing Ingredient in Your Partnerships

In Lean Supply Chain Management and in Virtual Supply Chain Management discussions there are many references to “partnering”. Partnership means much more than just: purchasing parts from a supplier; contracting for services from a vendor; or selling products to a customer. In a partnership, both of you are “teaming” to help each other succeed.

It is not usually a formal partnership in the legal sense, but instead is an ad hoc “virtual partnership.” Many times this is referred to as ”collaboration.” It is all about sending new customers or other beneficial resources, like cost savings, to your partner; and receiving benefits in return.
Snow Belt in New York State Boonville Station There is a "Snow Belt" in New York State that runs above Syracuse and Utica. It goes East from Oswego to at least Boonville. Here's the station at Boonville.

Find out more about Weather around the World

Ominous Weather is about more than weather. Its about our environment. Its about our social issues that need to be surfaced if we want to save our environment. See Champions of our Environment like Al Gore SAS le Prince Albert II de Monaco John R. Stilgoe Ralph Nader. We have addressed several railroad-related projects that will conserve fuel and lessen pollution. Our Window on Europe spotlights projects that can help the rest of the World.
We have other environmental sites on garbage trucks and Rapid response temporary shelters / portable housing.

M&E on the New York Central

It is pretty evident what a big operation this was and that NYC's M&E train fleet was larger than some railroad's entire passenger train operation.

Some interesting notes. Train 43 which turned from an M&E train to a regular passenger train at Buffalo. Train 9 which terminated and then originated again in Cleveland, but not at the same location.

It appears, in general that the traffic orginating in New York was after the major rush of long-haul passenger trains, which reduced conflicts from over takes.

It seems that NYC Trains 3 and 13 were the principal westward M&E trains to Chicago. Did the NYC tend to divide up the traffic in these trains such that Train 3 was primarily the mail train and 13 the express-carrying train or was the lading not segregated that way?

Understand that the express matter didn't travel with waybills. How was the express matter (and the mail) kept track of?

Did the NYC publish "consist books" similar to those of the PRR, B&O, C&O, ATSF, etc.?

The four major mail and express trains between New York and Chicago for several decades were 3, 4, 13 and 14. At various times they originated or terminated at Harmon, GCT or 33rd Street. There was also, for a while (ca. 1965) No. 23 running Boston - Chicago via the Cleveland Lake Front, where he set off for the Mail Hall.

The greatest volume of New York mail, including lower classes, came from 29th St on the West Side, and the major Railway Express house in NY was at 33rd St. There were about a half-dozen turns per day running between Harmon and 33rd St for that M&E traffic, which was switched at Harmon on and off of both the mail and express trains, and some long head-end consists of regular passenger trains. When the passenger trains picked up their diesels at Harmon, they usually had several or many head end cars behind the diesel added to their train at the same time.

M&E traffic to and from St. Louis and Cincinnati moved west of Cleveland on regular passenger trains. They could sometimes have the passengers a long way back from the engine.

There were also a bunch of M&E trains between Boston and Buffalo numbered in the 140 series that handled more local mail. Some of them were carded for stops of one hour or more in places like Rochester and Utica. There were even a few that ran from Rensselaer to Troy and back in the 1950's to handle traffic to and from the D&H and the B&M, but most of the D&H M&E traffic went via Albany.

My guess is that Train 3 was the Big Dog for mail to Chicago (departing GCT at 3:26 AM) and Train 139 is the express train (departing Croton-on-Hudson at 12:56 AM) likely to carry through cars. Am I on the right track?

Here is a list of the trains.
13 E NY(30th) to Chicago(EWD) Xsu
3 M NY(30th) to Chicago(12th) XSS
7 M NY(GCT) to Buffalo Xsu
23 ME NY(GCT) to Buffalo XSM
501 ME NY(GCT) to N. White Plains MU XSM
401 ME Boston to Albany Xsu
105 ME Syracuse to Buffalo XM
235 ME Buffalo to Cleveland(E26th) XM
209 M Cleveland(CUT) to Chicago (P) D
9 ME New York to Buffalo Su
4 ME Chicago to Harmon D
14 M Chicago to NY(GCT) D
222 M Chicago to Cleveland(CUT) (P) XSu
232 ME Chicago to Chicago to Elkhart (P) XSu
370 ME Chicago to Detroit XSa
142 ME Buffalo to Albany D
144 ME Buffalo to Boston D
32 M Buffalo to Harmon D
406 ME Albany to Boston Xsu
846 M Croton to NY(GCT) MU D
620 ME N. White Plains to NY(GCT) MU XSS
234 M Chicago to Cleveland (P) Su

As mentioned above, the main NYC express house in New York was at 33rd St, so the make up of mail and express trains was fairly simple. There were also several round trips daily between Harmon and 33rd St for mail and express traffic. Cars arriving on No.14, when it ran to GCT, moved on those shuttles, as well as cars to and from mainline passenger trains. For instance, a mail storage car from 29th St to St Louis would go on a shuttle to Harmon, then be put on No. 41 along with the road engine. The road engines usually had several head end cars when they backed onto their trains at Harmon, and vice versa.

The River Division of the New York Central, former West Shore Railroad handled mail from Albany to Weehawken, New Jersey as well as Albany mail going south to other railroads, including CNJ, LV, PRR. RDG. B&O, etc. There was also a Kingston-Oneonta RPO until March 31, 1954, that ran on the Catskill Mountain Branch. It was one-third of a Baggage-Express-RPO combine on NYC trains 527 and 528.

The railroad station was officially termed, "Grand Central Terminal." I think the adjacent Post Office was Grand Central Station Post Office. It distributed mail from GCT to other PO's as well as completing the sort if an inbound RPO went stuck.

Head End
Railway Express and Railway Post Office

LCL on the New York Central

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.

We have text and pictures not found elsewhere on the Web.

The Century only carried a baggage dorm and RPO, no other head-end cars.

Both of them stayed with the train to GCT, and were hauled, in consist by the S-2 to High Bridge(?) through the washer and then backed to Mott Haven, around the Y and into the yard. The S-2 would at around 4:30, couple on to the front and hault the train back into GCT. If there was time, the engine would uncouple (about 1/3 of the way down (North to South) there was a switch that the S-2 could use to run around the train, and push it the rest of the way down the platform track. If the Century was running late, the S-2 would just pull it all the way in, uncouple and move forward about 2-3 feet.
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