Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid?
Both Lake Placid (1932, 1980) and Montreal (1976) have hosted the Olympics.
What if they made a joint project too host another?
What better way to connect them than the old New York Central railroad.
Welcome to our Joint Winter Olympics for Montreal and Lake Placid WebSite
Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:
We have great feature articles on "Joint Winter Olympics: Montreal and Lake Placid" and "Montreal, Big City to the North" .
See our stories on Montreal train stations , the CSX Montreal Line , and a bridge derailment in February, 2006 .
We have a timeline of railroads in the Adirondacks , some great New York Central Railroad pictures , all about Head End equipment on the New York Central , and lots about railroads and snow .
You won't want to miss the biographical sketch of Bertrande H. Snell plus many of his railroading articles provided by historian Richard Palmer.
Find out about New York Central Stock , the Irving Trust train to the Olympics in 1980.
See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History
Follow a new railroad into the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. They run tourist trains, dinner trains, and even a ski train from Saratoga to North Creek. They want to reactivate the railroad to a mine that was closed over 20 years ago. New technology and a new attitude maybe just the right combination.
Finally, don't skip our reference section .
Summary of Dates for how New York Central (now CSX) got to Montreal .
Check out the WebCam from Lake Placid Olympic Site
1980 arena Lake Placid
Olympic Speed Skating Oval from the Olympic Center
K 90 and K 120 Towers at the Olympic Jumping Complex
Cross Country Stadium at the Olympic Sports Complex
Traveling in Europe?
Find out about Promises and Fair Promise
Montreal, Big City to the North
Passenger activity in Montreal is concentrated at Central Station. Amtrak, VIA and one of Montreal's commuter rail lines are centered here. There is a tunnel under Mount Royal which makes it a station as opposed to a terminal which the Amtrak rider might presume it to be. As well as much modern equipment, there are box cab electrics and old cars reminiscent of New York Central suburban service in the 1950's.
The station is built underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the Hilton Bonaventure and an office building. The waiting room and ticket sales area are located in the middle of a shopping center. It seems strange to be walking through a store listening to an announcer call a train for Rouses Point, Plattsburgh, Fort Edward, Saratoga, Albany and New York City. There is a good deal of gate security at Central Station so one must not expect to just walk down to one of the platforms easily.
Central Station, which belongs to the Canadian National, is part of an underground complex that touches shopping centers, METRO (Montreal's subway) and Windsor Station. Windsor Station belongs to the Canadian Pacific and now sees only one commuter line which runs westerly along the St Lawrence River to Rigaud. It is a fortress-like structure and is quite deserted as trains now stop away from the station. It is mostly used as an office building. Amtrak and VIA have deserted it for Central Station. The fact that tracks stop away from the trainsheds and force passengers to walk to the station in inclement weather doesn't make it the greatest of stations anymore.
The commuter line from Central Station runs to Deux-Montagnes and has been operated by a regional authority since 1982. This trip takes a little over 45 minutes and makes 12 stops. There are 56 daily trains with 40 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. The box cab electrics cover rush hour service and usually park below the Hotel Bonaventure when not running.
A rare and diverse fleet of electric locomotives and multi-unit cars runs under 2400-volt DC catenary. Although some have recently been retired, Montreal's commuter line has included six pre-World War I Canadian GE box-cab motors, nine European-built mainline electrics from 1924-1926, and two GE steeple-cabs from 1950.
Montreal electrification was originated in the decade before World War I by the predecessor Canadian Northern Railway as a tunnel and terminal project to reach downtown Montreal from the transcontinental main line north of the city. The reason for the electrification was the 3-mile tunnel through 760-foot-high Mount Royal. Completed in 1918, the electrics operated over an 8-mile route to Cartierville. The electrification was extended to Deux-Montagnes in 1925 and Montreal-Nord in 1946. The service to Montreal-Nord was discontinued in 1969 and replaced with the new METRO line to Henri-Bourassa. Electrification got an expanded role in 1943 when the new Central Station was built. Electrified trackage was more extensive then as all Canadian National mainline traffic and switching was handled by electrics. Dieselization ended this need and electrification across the Victoria Bridge was ended.
The electrification seems properly situated to continue an important role in the transportation network of the city. The residential areas north of the city have grown steadily and important real estate projects in the vicinity of Central Station continue. Modernization proposals generally suggest integration into the METRO system (high performance rolling stock, high level platforms, rapid transit type fare collections, additional stations, and more frequent service).
Montreal is a booming international metropolis where temperatures plummet or soar dramatically from one season to the next. The city has tamed the climate with a weatherproof underground city which gives priority to the pedestrian.
The broad, colorful concourses are lined with boutiques, restaurants and myriad retail outlets. The passageways are vast, airy and dotted with greenery. They are choice spots for the events of daily living in Montreal. Beginning in the 1960s, many major buildings and a complex subway were begun.
Now integrated in this underground web are two railway stations, a bus terminal, over 11,000 parking spaces, six major hotels, 1,200 housing units, a university, three department stores, 25 banks, 25 theaters, two exhibition halls and a convention center. 2,900,000 square meters of space are connected by 12 kilometers of protected corridor. As well as universal use of the metric system, everything is in both French and English. Some areas of the city "forget" the English--- like suburban rail timetables.
The agency which operates the suburban electric service (STCUM Rail) also operates a unique subway system and the bus system. In numbering the routes for the subway system, "3" was reserved for a possible incorporation of the Mount Royal tunnel into the system.
The METRO is the essential element in a rapid, comfortable mass transit system. On rubber wheels, it glides silently under the city, ensuring connections between all major indoor points. Service began in 1966 and it still looks new and is still expanding. Its stations were designed by various architects and each contains several works of art.
The track and subway of the METRO was influenced by hard rock and the need to avoid underground utilities and building foundations. Pneumatic tires have excellent adhesion when dry, which is good for rapid acceleration and steep grades. Many Montreal subway grades dip down when leaving a station, run deep and then rise to meet the next station. These grades, some of them 5 and 6 percent, would be less practical for conventional steel wheels. Other stations (L'Allier for instance) remain very deep and require two and three sets of escalators to reach street level.
The METRO trains are sky blue with a white belt below the windows. Their sides are smooth, free of rivets or fluting, and have large picture windows. The cars are somewhat smaller than other rapid transit vehicles, but the interiors have adequate seating and standing space. Because the cars never leave the underground, their condition remains excellent; however frequent washings are required.
The rubber-tired ride equals the comfort of a steel-wheeled car and the acceleration is remindful of an electric trolley coach. Noise levels are low in the station areas but the whine of the tires rolling on concrete planks in the tunnels precludes normal conversation.
The trains are composed of motor-trailer-motor sets with control compartments at the ends. In practice, two or more three-car sets are coupled together. Because of the design, trainmen cannot pass through between each three-car set. When running, the trains are not turned at the end of the line so a trainman in the forward control compartment runs the train while a trainman in the rear compartment takes a break. It is interesting to see a train go through a station with the rear trainman reading a newspaper.
The map in STCUM Rail's cars all indicate a projected "regional METRO" which would include the commuter lines as well as some METRO extensions. Since the Quebec government is subsidizing at least $5 million annually, it will be interesting to see what additions and improvements will be possible.
By Ken Kinlock at email@example.com
Have you heard about
Required Attire for a Remote Workforce
Ever wonder how your telecommuting colleagues really live? Turns out, many of them actually do work in their pajamas. They also tend to love their work-life balance – to the point where they’d take a pay cut to maintain the status quo. This is a “must read” for both remote workers and for their office-bound managers.
Find out about freedom and Fair Promise
Biographical Sketch of Bertrande H. Snell
Bertrande H. Snell, author of the following articles, 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. One of his columns, dated Jan. 30, 1949, outlines his career in a way only he could write it:
"The first person singular pronoun, is going to come in right handy during today's blast, because I am minded to discourse to you a little on a very uninteresting and pallid theme - myself. You see, something happened to me last week which changes the complexion of many familiar things around and about me.
"A few days ago my Western Union boss called me into his office and recited a few salient facts of which I was already aware.
'The old Morse code,' he remarked, ' is all shot to hell. In almost no time at all, we're not going to have any. Our modern system of telegraphy has given Mister Morse the final coupe de grace; he is now defunct, obsolete, and completely knocked for a loop. So, arrives now the moment when some of you oldtimers who have stuck so closely to your key and sounder will have to go way back and sit down.'
"Then, in a few (but not few enough) well chosen phrases he offered me a voluntary retirement from the vanishing field of dot-and-dash.
As the solemn tones of John's voice fell upon somewhat deafened ears, the walls around me seemed to fall away, the speaker's voice faded, the rushing years tumbled backward - and I stood, once more, a teen-age youth in the office of the railroad depot at Parish.
"It was in the late winter of 1899. I had graduated from Parish high the year before; and now I had come to the depot to see genial Bill Shaver, the station agent, in regard to matriculating as a telegraph student. Bill grinned widely at my request and freely admitted that he could find room for one more.
"At the time, he already had three students - Roy Nutting, Burnell Miller and Loyal McNeal - but he was the kind of man who dearly loved to lead the helping hand. So the next day I started on my careen (I mean career) as a telegrapher - and now, 50 years later, almost to the day, I have come to the end of it.
"After graduation from Bill Shaver's "School," I worked on the Hojack for a few years; but a certain irrepressible restlessness, combined with the fact that Trainmaster Jimmy Halleran tied a can on me, set me to wandering from one railroad to another, looking for "something new." From the east to the west, so far as Wisconsin, and south to the Texas borderline I traveled, working on no less than 14 different railroads in a span of two years.
"It was a great life, my friends, a wonderful life, but you gotta be young to fully appreciate it. That's why I'm free to tell you that I'll do it all over again the very next time Mister Morse and I come back!
"In 1905 I kinda 'settled down' on the Pennsylvania division of the New York Central, where I spent 12 happy and carefree - if not profitable - years in and around Williamsport, Pa., and the adjacent county of Lycoming. Coming to Syracuse in 1917, I threw in with Western Union and here I have been ever since.
"I have learned to love Syracuse and its people. The passing years have only served to increase that feeling to the point where it is hard for me to imagine a better community in which to spend one's days (and nights).
"Thus I sat and dreamed as the Boss finished the details of his gentle heave-o; and behold! I awoke to find myself a pensionaire. Or, as Bill of Avon puts it, "A lean and slipper pantaloon." Come to think of it, my good, old dad had a phrase which carries the idea to its ultimate. He used to say:
'Generally speakin', a man don't know how much until he's 60 - and by that time, it's too darn late."
But let's not dwell upon that just now; because if the good Lord and you readers spare me for another two years or so, i intend to come up with a diatribe on "How It Fells to Be an Unrepentant Failure." So stick around, folks - the worst is yet to come!
"To say that I am leaving my old organization without regret would be untrue, but this same regret is thickly studded with the jewels of happy remembrance. I have tried to make as few enemies as possible; and as for myself, I hope no slightest thought of enmity or envy toward anyone in Western Union (Or anywhere else, for that matter.). They're a fine bunch of boys and girls, all the way from superintendent to caretakers. May they all live long and happy and flourishing as the evergreen tree in the vale of happiness."
Bertrande Snell commenced his column in the Syracuse Post-Standard on Jan. 13, 1945 and continued it until shortly before his death on June 26, 1949. For years his column was expanded from four to six days a week. The weekly columns were of a light-hearted nature, making note of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. His Sunday columns were primarily of a reminiscent or historical nature, which included railroad stories.
His writing days ended on the morning of June 25, 1949 when he suffered a stroke at his home at 326 S. Crouse Ave. in Syracuse. At the time he was striken he was working on his column and a partially typed page was still in his typewriter when he was taken to the hospital. Also beside the typewriter were his notes he had written with a soft pencil on news copy paper. He died on June 27, 1949 at the age of 67. Mr. Snell was survived by his wife, who he always referred to as "Milady Helene;" two sons, Harold of Syracuse and Gerald of New Brunswick, N.J.; a daughter, Mrs. George Booth of New Hartford, N.Y.; three step sons, J.H. Huff of Toledo, Ohio, Elmer Huff of Syracuse and Dorman Huff of Holland, Ohio; seven grandchildren nd three great-grandchildren. Following funeral services Mr. Snell was interred in Pleasant Lawn Cemetery, in his home town of Parish.
Syracuse Post-Standard, June 28, 1949
Bertrande Will Be Missed
To the Editor of The Post-Standard:
Bertrande is dead. He left us on rather short notice, which was quite unlike him. Barely a week ago I met him on the street where we chatted for a few minutes, and he wanted me to go to lunch with him. I was headed for home for that, so we went into the editorial department at the Post-Standard, and visited a few minutes longer.
Probably but few of his readers knew his real name. It was Bertrand Harry Snell. We always called him Bert. Like my own, his early ancestors probably were among the Palatines who came to this country in 1710. This name is found in the lists of these people; and I understand that several Snells, who probably were descendants, have their names inscribed on the honor roll of the Oriskany monument.
I shall have to confess that although those of my own forebears are also said to be there. I have never seen this battlefield memorial except in pictures. I mentioned his apparent ancestry and the Revolutionary War service to Bert one day some years ago. His gravity and response were characteristically humorous: "Yes, sir, and they wee where the bullets were the thickest! - biding under the ammunition wagons." But to all accounts there was no hiding.
Bert and I, still having some difficulty believing that our own independence had been achieved, carried on the conflict through many long years of service with the Western Union in this city; fighting life's battles shoulder to shoulder, and sometimes, in a friendly way, with each other.
But Bert was always my staunch friend, despite some unimportant points of philosophic disagreement now and then. He always eventually conceded that I was right - probably because my superlative obstinacy offered no alternative!
When I retired from the telegraph service in 1936 it was Bert who saw to it that I was presented with a beautiful gold watch suitably inscribed: and he, himself, made the presentation.
He and I were country boys learning telegraphy about the same time on the old "Hojack," he at Parish, i believe, and I at Cigarville, now Clay. I didn't know him then, nor of that fact until I met him some years later. He had some newspaper experience before coming to Syracuse. He wrote good verse. Among his poetical compositions, "Ingetrude of Helsingfors," stands out as a vibrant, heart-throbbing tale of Viking love. The man who could read it and not want to discover a continent - or another Ingetrude! - is completely immune to the lure of adventure:
"So deep of chest, so round of thigh,
So flaxen haired, so blue her eye,
She looked - and cravens turned to Thors
For Ingetrude of Helsingfors."
I shall miss him and his writings; his reminiscences of his railroad days, his "Uncle Noel," and such tales as The Battle of Clapsaddle Pond." Some of these are in my scrap-books. But I find that I am about five years older than Bert, and soon.
I too, shall rest with none - and persecuted Dalatine.
EDWIN H. YOUNG.
(Editorial) Post-Standard, June 28, 1949
Bertrande H. Snell
Bertrande was a man worth knowing. Quiet and unassuming, with a rare sense of humor and a deep understanding of human nature, good and bad, he was a fine companion.
We'll miss him here at The Post-Standard, with which he was associated for many years indirectly as a Western Union telegrapher ad directly as a columnist. His work was a columnist began in 1945 and became popular immediately. But it is a characteristic of him that his work was improving constantly. His writings had reached a high degree of excellence, but even so he would never have been satisfied.
Bertrande had built up a wide circle of readers even before he started his column, "Just Around the Corner," however. He earlier wrote many poems for the Morning's Mail; they attracted attention because of their rolling rhythm and pungent _expression of thought.
He had a gift not only for expressing his thoughts with poetic and epigrammatic feeling, but also possessed a keen eye for the unusual, quaint or bizarre. His columns benefited from these gifts.
He was happy in his field and it is too bad that he was stricken at a time when he was so firmly established in his field. His death is a serious loss to us and to those who enjoyed his epigrams, observations and poems so much.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Sun., Sept. 23, 1945
Just Around the Corner
By Bertrande (Bertrande Snell)
Not so many years ago, the village depot was a kind of general meeting place, where citizens in all walks of life were prone to meet informally and often to discuss the pros and cons of this and that, while waiting for the evening train from the city.
There was always a continuous flow of light, or heavy, sarcasm thrown in the general direction of the station agent, who, generally, richly deserved it and always had more or less an adequate answer.
Yes, sir, it was always a jovial and carefree crowd that watched No. 3 come in, each evening. After the train's departure, the agent always hied himself homeward, leaving the premises to the tender care of the night operator. All he had to do was hang around from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. - or whatever time the usually fat and always blowsy agent considered near enough - sweep the floor, trim the lamps, copy train orders and telegrams off the Morse wires, and, hardest of all, keep away - at which lasttask he was seldom successful.
It was, of course, one of these night men who first saw and reported the "White Flyer" - a legend on the old RW&O railroad- which more or less serves the village north of Syracuse to Watertown and points north and east.
This branch of the NYC has from time immemorial, been known as the "Hojack." The origin of this title seems to be lost in the mists of antiquity, which mists will be in some future article, endeavored to pierce
- but that will be another story.
To return to the "White Flyer."
In the lonely watches of the night, as the presumably wide awake
telegrapher kept his lonely vigil at the key, he would, betimes, hear a
sound like the rush of a mighty wind, and peering fearfully through the
window, he would see the White Flyer - ghostly engineer at the throttle and fireman with his hand on the bellrope - tearing swiftly through the night.
It was never my good, or ill, fortune to see this phantasmagorum, but I have the (almost)unimpeachable evidence of many old-time Hojackers who did.
There was George Murphy, now retired and dwelling in Phoenix, who counted the caches on the ghost train, as it swept through Parish. He made the number six, but Frank Hayner at Mallory claimed there were but five that night.
You don't suppose, do you, that they might have stopped at Hastings and switched one?
George Rowe relates that he saw the White Flyer pulling in to Central Square about 3 a.m. one dark, misty night.
He grabbed a red lantern and ran out on the tracks to flag it. George says he caught his foot on the outside rail and fell flat, directly in the path of the on-rushing train, which passed over his prostrate body, doing him not the slightest harm. He admits, however, that he was considerably peeved!
Many old railroaders, readers of The Post-Standard, will recall
trainmaster Jimmy Halleran, located at Oswego for many years. Noted for many things other than just railroad, was Jimmy.
How many will remember the circular of instructions which emanated from Jimmy's office on the completion of the double track line between Pulaski and Richland?
Some office wag had inserted the following paragraph:
Trains - approaching each other on double track, will come to a full stop and will not proceed until each has passed the other.
Another time, during a terrific storm, the bridge at Red Creek went out and all traffic was at a standstill beyond that point.
Jimmy hurried to the scene, with his master mechanic and crew. From division headquarters at Watertown, came a bevy of engineers and craftsmen to speed to speed the work of construction. Anon, comes a message from the superintendent's office:
Red Creek, N.Y.
Advise if engineers have completed drawings and when construction will start. D.C.M.
And back, over the vibrant wires, goes this immediate reply:
Don't know, if the pictures are done, but the bridge is up and the trains running.
One time, a few of "us boys" got together and drew up a set of "rules" for the government and railroad telegraphers. Time has proven to most of us that we might have been better employed, but I venture to give you a discreet number of these rules, as first authorized by a committee, consisting of such old timers as Roy Nutting, Loyal McNeill, Earle Benson, this chronicler, and many others:
The Rum, Waterburg & Ogdenstown R.R.
Rules Governing Telegraph Operators
I - J.H. G. is the Whole Push.
II - Train Detainers report to the Chief Train Detainer and will also, be governed by the rules of the Bartenders' Union.
III - Telegraph Operators report to the Chief Train Detainer, and will also receive instructions from anyone who thinks he has any authority, including the Section boss.
IV - Operators will receive sufficient salary to enable them to purchase uniforms and chewing tobacco. If they have families - "The Lord will provide."
V - The Operators' summer uniform shall consist of a dirty shirt and a straw hat. The winter uniform will be the same as above, with the addition of a rawhide cord, wound nine times around the body and terminating in a leather badge, bearing the inscription, "I AM IT." This must never be removed, except at the wearer's funeral.
VI - Any operator who is observed on duty under the influence of intoxicants will be asked to explain why he did not whack up with the boss. If no satisfactory explanation be forthcoming, enough money will be deducted from his salary to treat the crowd.
VII - Any operator who has been dismissed from the service will not be again dismissed unless, and until, he has been re-employed.
VIII - If you faithfully observe the above rules, you will deserve all you get.
Just a fleeting memory of an old-time Syracusan who also was prominent along the Hojack 40 years ago: Louis Windholtz owned and operated a canning factory at Parish for many years. He was a kindly man, with a keen sense of humor as the subjoined trifle will show. I was a "student: at the Parish station, learning (I hoped) to be a telegrapher. I was alone in the office one day, Agent Shaver having gone to the village for a short time. Mr. Windholtz came in and inquired about something, the details of which I do not recall. Blown up with pride at being in charge of the office for even so brief a period, I gave him the kind of answer which was known, in those times, as 'fresh."
Louis eyed me for a long moment; his eyes twinkled andhe said:
"Ach so! Venn ve sveep der floor, ve run der railroadt, 'nicht wahr."
The Days of Old, the days of Gold,
When skies were blue and fair;
Ah, knew not I that these would die,
Or, if I knew, would care.
But Memory is a living thing,
Or gay, or sad it be -
And, so I say to you today,
"Thank God for Memory!"
Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY Nov. 18, 1945
"Give 'er the gun, hoghead, the Big Roundhouse is Just Around the Corner!"
Post-Standard, July 7, 1946
Unvarnished solution of the great mystery of the Hojack highjack
Syracuse Post-Standard, July 21, 1946
Jimmy Halleran, trainmaster on the Hojack, had his office in Oswego and he spread out from that point like a a fungus.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 27, 1946
The Pennsylvania Division of the old New York Central, known to old-timers as "The Fall Brook," connects with the main line at Lyons and winds south through Corning to Clearfield, Pa.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 17, 1946
So - a mighty storm howled and raged outside
Syracuse Post-Standard, March 10, 1946
Syracuse Post-Standard, May 9, 1946
"Now ain't that a hell of a way to run a railroad?"
Syracuse Post-Standard, Sept. 15, 1946
You know where Woodard is, of course. It's three miles north of Liverpool on the Hojack; and it's here that the road branches - one leg going to Oswego via Phoenix and Fulton, and the other continuing on to Richland and the north.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Nov. 16, 1946
Ballad of the Lumberjack
Syracuse Post-Standard, March 9, 1947
The old time telegrapher always claimed he was in a class by himself
Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 26, 1947
Syracuse Post-Standard, March 23, 1947
Early summer of 1905
Post-Standard, April 13, 1947
A bridge to history
Syracuse Post-Standard, May 25, 1947
Harry L. Schneider, The World's Only Two-Fingered Telegrapher
Syracuse Post-Standard, Aug. 17, 1947
Just Around the Corner
by Bertrande Snell
(Excerpt from an article essentially about the intensity of the heat wave at the time).
"Whatdaddye mean - hot?" snorted Denny Haley, the erstwhile, politically-minded Hojacker. "boy, when I was alderman, I could make the north side (of Syracuse) hotter'n this right in the middle of a blizzard. Why, look, son; when I was railroadin' on the Hojack - that was when they used to have the hot days - and I don't mean of course.
"Why, I remember one day in latest August of 1904, i was flaggin' on the local freight from Salina to Richland; and when I hopped the caboose at 6 a.m. it was already so hot you couldn't put your hand on the grab iron without raisn' a blister. By the time we got to Central Square that mornin', Barney Fidler, the fireman, didn't have much to do after he banked the fire.
"He took on a full tanko' water at Brewerton and the sun beat down on the engine on the engine tank so fierce that by the time we got through Hungry Lane cut, she was bilin' like all get out. All Barney had to do was set there an' work his injector, lettin' the water run from the tank into the boiler. Yep, that sure was a hot day.
"Why, wen we got to Richland, old man Butts an' his clerk, Schwartz had organized a picnic. There they set, in the shade of th' ash pit, stuffin' themselves with grilled frog-legs, by Judas!"
'Where'd they get'em, Denny?" I foolishly asked.
"Well, I just been tellin' you how hot it was, and in them days there was considerable of a yard at Richland, with a lot o' switches to throw; an' I'll be teetotally swizzled if the sun hadn't roasted every frog on every switch in th' yard...Yep, that was a hot day, son - so long call me again."
-And I softly and reverently laid the receiver in its cradle and walked away on tip-toe.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Aug. 31, 1947
Yes Sir - Morse Telegraphy is on the rocks,” mourned a veteran Syracuse telegrapher as we sat on a park bench and exchange views and comment.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Oct. 12, 1947
Ah, but there's bad news in the North Country!
Syracuse Post-Standard, Nov. 16, 1947
Fifty years ago, the lowest-paid railroad traffic employee was the telegrapher.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 25, 1948
Telegraphing for the New York Central in Northern Pennsylvania.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 15, 1948
Your old time railroader was a rugged individual.
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 29, 1948
The "Coffee Experts"
Syracuse Post-Standard, April 5, 1949
Just Around the Corner
By Bertrande Snell
First Lieut. Robert F. Harding (U.S.A., retired) writes from Marblehead, Mass.:
"Would like to add my comments to the letters written about your stories of the old Hojack and adjacent territory. My interest in the Hojack is that my father started railroading out of Cape Vincent about 1886, as a brakeman. Later he went firing and became an engineer there; but in 1891 he joined up with the New York, Ontario & Western. When he resigned in 1910, he was the third man on the engineers' seniority list.
"I am not a railroad man, but I take a great interest in the two roads mentioned above. Perhaps you may remember my brother, Jerry, who was a telegrapher in Oswego for many years.
"He picked up the code at Valley Mills on the O&W, later became agent at Liberty Falls; but finally quit railroading and worked for The Associated Press in Buffalo for many years.
"Your write-ups are forwarded to me by a sister, who is a school teacher in Oneida, and by a cousin living in Oswego...I will look for more write-ups."
Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse, Aug. 29, 1948
A "Three Day Hero"
Syracuse Post-Standard, Oct. 3, 1948
The "Hop Train"
Syracuse Post-Standard, Nov. 14, 1948
"The old-time train dispatcher was a man who deserved no one's envy."
Syracuse Post-Standard, Sunday, Dec. 5, 1948
"The ubiquitous section gang" FIX
Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 16, 1949
"The American Hobo"
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 6, 1949
"I got half a notion to run him in for corruptin’ the morals o’decent railroad men!”
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 20, 1949
"Around the corner I have a friend"
Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 27, 1949
“All trains approaching each other from opposite directions on the new double-track between Pulaski and Richland will come to a full stop and will not proceed until each has passed the other.”
Post-Standard, March 27, 1949
"Abandoned depots along the old Hojack"
|An added special feature, courtesy of Richard Palmer, is "The Milk Business of the New York Central R.R". By Charles W. Brainard (Written about 1940)|
|Richard Palmer's West Shore Abandonment Lists|
|Abandonments of New York Central "Hojack" Lines Contributed by Richard Palmer|
|Notes on the Lincoln Inaugural and Funeral Trains . Compiled by Richard Palmer.|
|Notes on the Lincoln Inaugural and Funeral Trains|
|A Chronicle of the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Compiled by Richard Palmer.|
|A Chronicle of R.W.& O. Days Since 1851 From:New York Central Lines Magazine, December, 1926, PP 84-85 Contributed by Richard Palmer|
|We have a special feature by Richard Palmer on Where Did the Term "Hojack" Originate?|
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In the last few years, a lot has been done to restore but not much has been said about Lake Placid to Montreal rail service.On June 24, 2000 a news story (Montreal Gazette) stated that Montreal and Lake Placid officials will meet to consider a joint bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics. This could be great news for more rails! Having been involved with rail transportation for the 1980 Winter Olympics, this could be a tremendous thing providing Montreal-Lake Placid rail service (track cut in 1960 Gabriels to Malone, 1962 Lake Clear Junction to Gabriels, and 1983 Malone to Canadian border) was restored. Biggest problem we had in 1980 was that the rails went to Utica (no real airport). Closest other airports were Albany and Syracuse (not international) so Adirondack Railway depended on Amtrak from New York City. The 86-mile (that was the newspaper's figure, not mine, it must be from the border?) Montreal-Lake Placid distance is really nothing for a high-speed line (and it would help Montreal commuter service too). The real clincher would be rail to Mont Tremblant (imagine an Olympics using both Whiteface and Tremblant).
The schedule for Utica to Montreal on the New York Central Adirondack Division (sometimes referred to by its prior name Mohawk & Malone) just before discontinuance was Fall, Spring, Winter trains 4 (Southbound) and 5 (Northbound) went to Montreal up to 4/26/53 after that only Malone to Montreal commuter service existed until at least 4/27/58. In Summer, trains 3 (Northbound) and 2 (Southbound) also continued to Montreal (until 1952). In Winter, they only went as far as Lake Placid. All Utica to Lake Placid service died in April 1965. Last freight from Lake Clear (Saranac) to Malone ran in 1960.
In the April 29, 1956 timetable, mileage was shown as Adirondack Junction 9 miles from Montreal; Malone 65 miles; Lake Clear Junction 107 miles. Commuter train #32 left Montreal at 4:35 pm and arrived in Malone at 6:40 pm. Train 4 left Malone at 7:45 pm and arrived in Lake Clear Junction at 9:05 pm. Train 26 ran on Saturday from Malone to Montreal. Train 5 left Lake Clear Junction at 6:30 am and arrived in Malone at 8:10 am. It missed commuter train 25 which left at 5:10 am and arrived in Montreal at 7:20 am. Train 35 ran on Sunday from Malone to Montreal. The connection from Lake Placid to Lake Clear Junction was about 16 miles and took 40 minutes.
Going back into history, both the Delaware & Hudson Chateaugay Branch and the NY Central started operations from Saranac Lake in 1893. D&H ceased service in 1946. NYC quit passenger in 1965 and freight in 1972. D&H sold to NYC their 9 miles from Saranac Lake to Lake Placid in 1946. Yes, another route to Lake Placid existed from Plattsburgh (where Amtrak from Montreal goes now). The D&H Chateaugay branch times were not great. In 1908 an express was 2 hours 25 minutes. In the 1940's when D&H rerouted over NYC via Lake Clear Junction, times were about 4 hours. Service ended in 1946 and the line cut to Lyon Mountain. Passenger service there ended in 1948. In 1966, the D&H abandoned Lyon Mountain to Dannemora. Dannamora to Otis Jct (near Plattsburgh) was abandoned in 1981. The mileage from Plattsburgh on this branch was: Dannemora 20 miles, Lyon Mountain 36 miles, Plumadore 50 miles (D&H abandoned Plumadore to Lake Clear Junction in 1940 because a parallel route over the NYC was used); Saranac Lake 72 miles; Lake Placid 82 miles.
So, laying a track from Malone to Lake Placid wouldn't be excessively hard, given that a train could go there from Mirabel Airport just North of Montreal easily. The train from Mirabel would go to E.J. Tower onto the St-Laurent subdivision, then towards Malone either through Adirondack Junction and Valleyfield, or through Laprairie/Delson. And, likewise, laying a track from Sainte-Adèle to Mont-Tremblant wouldn't be to hard, either.
Would this line be run by an international authority (isn't the St Lawrence Seaway Authority already international?) What about currency? Will they have vending machines in Lake Placid and Malone that accept Canadian money? Or will we have an absurd situation like the SNCF's (French national railway) Ventmiglia station, which because it is located in Italy, does not take french money for payment (although all neighborhood stores and cafés do).
The New York Central wanted to keep their crews and trains in the US. So the lucrative commuter service from Beauharnois onward was served via Malone to keep US crews in the US and not because of any GREAT demand for Montreal-Malone service. The main reason the equipment tied up in the United States was to avoid paying customs duty on it. American equipment could only spend so much time in Canada before duty became payable. (The reverse was also true for Canadian Equipment in the U.S.) This customs business is a complicated subject. I think the equipment had to be on it's way back within 36 hours of its being "released" or emptied.
As described by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society: The old New York Central line was built by Dr. William Seward Webb, a self-made millionaire who married Lila Vanderbilt, the daughter of New York Central Railroad President, William H. Vanderbilt. Dr. Webb figured the best way to access Nehasane Park, his large hunting preserve to the north, was by train. In 1890, he financed a railroad into the Adirondack wilderness. The original survey for Webb's "Golden Chariot Route" was laid out from Herkimer to Remsen, then north to Thendara, Tupper Lake, Lake Clear Junction and on to Malone, then down through Chateauqay to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Most of the work was by hand and black powder was used to blast through the native granite of the Adirondack Mountains. The first through train ran from New York City to Montreal on October 24, 1892. The railroad later became part of the New York Central System and it provided freight and passenger service from New York City and Utica to Montreal and Lake Placid.
Malone to Montréal Commuter Service
From New York Central: St. Lawrence, Ottawa and Adirondack Divisions Employee Timetable - Effective April 29, 1956
Morning train 25; Evening train number 32
Speed limit was 55 with exceptions (yards, etc)
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Special Train to 1980 Winter Olympics
Transportation for the 1932 Olympics was a "piece of cake". The full resources of the New York Central System brought not only passengers, but also snow for the Olympic events. But by 1980, the rail system in the United States wasn't what it used to be. Amtrak ran nearby on its run between New York and Montreal and you took a bus the last leg of the trip. The old line between Utica and Lake Placid had been fixed up and reopened. But there was also another private train that brought spectators to the Lake Placid Olympics.
A special train made up of five private cars cobbled together by both Amtrak and Delaware & Hudson Railway operated five round trips on time between New York City's Grand Central Station and Plattsburgh, New York to transport the New York City based Irving Trust's guests from around the world to the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games.
This train was made up of five private cars: a diner / entertainment car, two sleepers for passengers and crew, the Virginia Beach sleeper lounge with 6 double-bedrooms for passengers (a private car), and an open platform business car on the rear (the D&H's). The train's passengers boarded at 5 PM enjoying cocktails and dinner as the vestabule doors slammed shut and the special rolled north out of Grand Central Terminal at 7:00 PM for the overnight run northward. The returning southbound run was mostly in daylight and evening that provided the oustanding vistas along the Hudson River.
Any train movement in Winter can be challenging, but this train ran on-time over Conrail to Schenectady, then the Delaware & Hudson.
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|The New York Central entered Montreal over the Canadian Pacific's bridge across the St Lawrence River. This bridge, parallel to the Mercier highway bridge, is still in service. In February, 2006, high winds caused six cars to "almost" topple off the bridge.|
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CSX Montreal Line
New York Central operated to Montreal both out of Utica (abandoned) and
out of Syracuse. The Syracuse connection continued through Penn Central
and Conrail. It got into the hands of CSX, who is looking
at "outsourcing" it to a short line.
CSX recently had representatives from 7 different shortlines in Massena, NY touring the line. Top contender at this point is RailAmerica, but other lines are present. Others include NY & OG (Vermont Railway), Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, NYS&W, Finger Lakes Railway.
Rail America recently purchased the Massena Terminal Railroad from ALCOA, so RA is automatically in a good position to consummate the deal.
I'm not sure how or where they'll get the motive power to run the line, but they'll need AT LEAST 4 heavy haul motors to perform all the jobs that need to be done on a daily basis, and that's being conservative. An average road train through here easily exceeds 10,000 tons, and there are 3 or 4 of them per day. And probably 5 or 6 "short runs" or as they're called down South "Locals".
2nd contender is probably the Susie-Q, but might be an interesting bout with MM&A. MM&A has expressed interest in running van trains on the line jointly with the CN. In the trackage's present condition, I'd say that'll never happen, unless they get a shot in the arm of cash-money.
NY State has set aside $200 Million in the '06, and is prepared to put an equal amount aside next year for "shortline rehabilitation grants".
A $50 Million price tag has already been estimated to get the track between Fort Covington, NY and Syracuse, NY back to track speed standards, as well as lay more yard track in Massena and Watertown, and potentially go to automatic signaling of some sort. I don't know about the track segments in Canada.
There was talk of selling the Montreal Branch (Massena to Adirondack Junction) at the very least to a short line operator for years, even before the 1999 take over of Conrail. Only once did I read ona forum that the Montreal Secondary (Massena to Syracuse) was possibly up for sale.
Vermont Rail System has proven to be a very efficent railroad in Ogdensburg.
If the Montreal Maine & Atlantic RR got a hold of the Montreal lines, they would likely find it better to relay that stolen rail in Kahnawake so they can have a fluid movement from their existing running rights over CP, instead of adding more costly rights over CN from Montreal to Cecile Junction.
Beyond Massena, it's now CSX to CNR Montreal Yard: over CSX (Montreal Branch) to Valleyfield, QB, then CNR Valleyfield Sub to Coteau, and CNR Kingston Sub (nee Cornwall Sub) to Taschereau Yd (nee Montreal Yd).
CSX pretty much abandoned, for all practical purposes, the Montreal Branch north of Beauharnois, whereby they lost their connxn with the CPR, and St. Luc Yard. Thus, they now run over CNR N of Valleyfield.
Railway Express and Railway Post Office
On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than
sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally
'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.
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