Welcome to our Troop Trains WebSite
Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:
Our feature article is "All About Troop Trains"
We have a Troop Train Slide Show that will enjoy very much.
See all about Vietnam troop trains, including the last major troop movement from Junction City, Kansas to Oakland, California.
On our site, we cover troop trains on the New Haven Railroad , military movements , hospital trains, camp trains and ammunition trains on the New Haven
We have a section on Freedom Trains. and some great photos at The New Haven Railroad goes to war!!!
Please don't leave without seeing Our reference section
Find out about the Governor's Island Railroad
See the Alco that went to war
Freedom Train Postcard
Rexall Train and engineer Bert Daniels
New Locomotives at Fort Riley, Kansas
The New York Guard and their role guarding railroads
|The New Haven Railroad goes to war!!!|
|See great photos from the New Haven Railroad's "Along the Line" Magazine, "published by and for the employees of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Co." And how about the New Haven Railroad's own railroad battalion? The 749th Railway Operating Battalion.|
The symbol of the Merci Train is a frontal view of a steam engine with flowers on the pilot which are symbolic of Flanders Field, where many American "Doughboys" from WW1 are buried. The drawing was adopted as the official symbol of the French Merci Train Committee, and a plaque of the drawing was placed on each of the Merci box cars. The committee also had gift tags made bearing the symbol, and one accompanied each of the more than 52,000 gifts that came in the box cars.
The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii.
Parades and ceremonies of welcome were conducted in the state capitols and major cities of almost all the states. The largest and most attended was in New York City where more than 200,000 people turned out to welcome that state's assigned box car.
A description of all of the gifts that were in the box cars would fill many books, and the stories of the origins of those gifts would fill many more. The box cars themselves were antiques by 1949, having been built between the years of 1872 and 1885, which means that those still surviving today are more than 100 years old.
Forty-and-eights were French 4-wheel boxcars used as military transport cars (the term itself refers to the cars' carrying capacity, said to be 40 men or eight horses). Built starting in the 1870s as regular freight boxcars, they were originally used in military service by the French army in both World Wars, and then later used by the German occupation in World War II and finally by the Allied liberators.
During the war years the cars ferried troops, prisoners of war, horses, freight, and infamously the Jews and others the Nazis considered "undesirables" rounded up in France and sent to concentration camps and likely death in the Holocaust. Trains of "Forty-and-eights" were frequent targets of opportunity for Allied fighter-bombers operating over occupied France, since they likely held German troops or supplies; unfortunately sometimes a train of prisoners was indistinguishable from a troop train.
In 1949, France sent 49 of those boxcars to the United States (one for each State then in existence and one for Washington DC and Hawaii to share) laden with various treasures, as a gift for the liberation of France. This train was called the Merci Train, and was sent in response to trains full (over 700 boxcars) of supplies known as the American Friendship Train sent by the American people to France in 1947.
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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. 15, 1948
Just Around the Corner
By Bertrande Snell
Your old time railroader was a rugged individual. He had a tough job to do; and when he worked, he worked hard; and when he relaxed he relaxed - easily and with enthusiasm. For all I know, the present breed conforms to these same specifications, but it is inevitable that they have changed in many ways.
For instance, I wonder how many modern "hog-heads," "shacks" and 'brass-pounders" are willing to admit that they believe in ghost trains?
In the early years of this century you could always start a caboose conversation by a casual reference to the "White Flyer" of the Hojack or the "Midnight Drag" of the D.& H.
I am sorry to admit that during more than 20 years of telegraphing on more than a dozen railroads from the Connecticut coast to the sage-brush of Oklahoma, I was never privileged to behold this phantasmagoria - but I recall one night when I came mighty close to it!
In 1901 I was a green night telegrapher at the Hojack depot in Parish. In those days there was a big water-tank there and it was one of the night-man's duties to run the steam pump and keep the water supply adequate at all times. Generally, however, we did our pumping in the daytime, so we could get some "shuteye" at night.
The night man worked from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. After midnight the rail traffic became rather thin; quiet settled down on everything and the low hum of the outside wires was conducive to a longing for officially-forbidden sleep. And, sometimes, when a fellow really got into the very depths of slumberland, even a passing train would fail to awaken him.
However, Frank Haynor who had preceded me on this particular job, was a man of attainments and vision. he had perfected a device - an idea, rather - which was guaranteed to produce results; and he passed this invention on to me when he left.
Frank had bored a small hole in the casing of the bay window, facing the tracks. Through this hole he ran a length of fishline out to the main track. Then, he fastened one end to a wooden peg about six inches long, which he drove into the ballast on the INSIDE of the rail. within the office, the coal hod, half filled with anthracite and rounded out with a half dozen empty cans was tied to the other end of the string and balanced on the edge of the telegraph desk by the tautness of the line.
With this arrangement, the weary telegrapher could relax in slumber on bench in the adjacent waiting room, secure in the knowledge that any passing train was bound to break the string and send the loaded coal hod bouncing to the office floor with appropriate sound-effects.
Late one August night in 1901, I ascertained that the line was clear of trains from Pulaski to Salina tower, and prepared to snatch some slumber. I rigged up the contraption described above, turned out the kerosene lamp in the waiting room and laid me down to dream. it was a rather warm, cloudy night. The air was still and a heavy mist hung like a curtain beneath the stars.
As I found later by checking back on the time, I slept for nearly two hours, when I suddenly found myself wide awake. I ran through the office door and found my alarm machine still intact - the hod balanced delicately on the edge of the desk, and the tight string passing through the hold to the outside. There was no sound from outside and the telegraph was silent as the grave.
Rushing to the outside door I took a quick look up the track, eastward. No sound, nothing to see. Then, I gazed west through the mist and I glimpsed twin flickers of red beyond, far beyond, the limits of the switch-target. In a moment the faint gleam was swallowed by the mist or was carried around the curve as it sped toward Hastings depot. But as sure as death and taxes - the two red lights i saw that night were the rear markers on a caboose!
Lantern in hand, I stepped to the main track and closely examined the rails. The little stake attached to my fishing line was still in place - but on the instant, I saw something else.
As I have told you, the night was misty, and the roadbed was saturated with dampness - but, there in front of me, the twin rails were absolutely dry! Even as I gazed, the iron began to gather dampness again - and it was then, brother, I realized I was scared!\par I returned to the lighted office and called Central Square, the next open office, west. Frantically, I clicked out - "CQ, CQ, CQ." and after an agonized century of delay I got an answer - "I-I-CQ." Before my fumbling fingers could begin to spell out the question, veteran telegrapher Sherm Coville's clear, deliberate Morse code informed me: `
""Yes, she just went by - high-tailin' for Brewerton - ain't she a beaut?" "What was it? I asked, "I didn't see or hear a thing."
"Why, you dummy, that was the White Flyer, making her yearly run tonight - first time I've seen her since '87 and I wouldn't have missed it for a month's pay!'
Later reports showed that the four other night offices between Richland and Salina had watched the phantom train go by - nobody had missed it but me!
Roxy Dunham at SX Tower (Salina) reported that he saw the blamed thing vanish into nothingness just as it was crossing the West Shore intersection in front of his office. The report which he forwarded to the division office at Oswego mentioned that the train was made up of engine, tender, two flat cars and a caboose - all glaring white through the misty gloom. The engine got so close to him before it disappeared that he noted the brass bell swinging on the dome and the steam shooting from the safety valve - but there was no sound!
Forty years ago, I could have found you a hundred Hojackers who would swear to having seen the famous White Flyer wheeling its ghostly, soundless way over the silent rails. But all my own memory has to cherish is that one fleeting glance of two red markers shining dimly through the mists of the years.
As Trainmaster Jimmy Halleran remarked when I told him about it: "Bertrande, my experience with you leads me to believe that you're always a little too early, or a little too late. By the way, do they make any rectified cider around Parish these days?"
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Golf in the Montréal area
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AND, we have the best prices too!
We are working on our list of Golf Hotels and Resorts
Some of these are well known because of PGA Tour events held there. Pinehurst; The Greenbrier; and Pebble Beach certainly belong in this catagory. Others are located in towns with even more than golf as an attraction. In this Category is The Otesaga in Cooperstown, New York; Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain.
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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See more about hospital trains
The cars were operated in WW2 in both the European and Domestic Theatres. The trains (at least in the USA) were equiped with at least one car equipped as an operating room to perform any emergency surgeries that might be needed during transport. There was another car that was more like a clinic or doctors office for changing dressings.
The whole idea of a hospital train was to provide a fully equipped hospital on wheels to take to where it was needed and to park. These were more like med-evac flights of today where a large # of patients are transported out. The operation of these trains was more or less for supervised care of patients while in transport.
The use of a Hospital Train today for disaster relief in many ways doesn't hold up as they really aren't a hospital on wheels, they are more like a really big/long super-capable ambulance. An Army CSH (pronounced "CASH" today's decendent of a MASH unit) is much more capable and able to get to where people need them. A hospital train is dependendent on rails being intact where'as a CSH can be trucked or flown in avoiding destroyed RR tracks.
A scenerio that could work well for a hospital-train might be to have some to evac hospitals or nursing home before a disaster avoiding the need to assemble a large convoy of ambulances.
I would have to say the best way to get a hospital to a disaster is if near water, hospital ship (US has 2 USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort), anyplace else, Military "tent hospital" (parts are also containerized)like an Army CSH. The Army CSH can be flown in using planes that can use improvised landing strips, or they can be trucked in. An Army Cash also has field kitchen facilities capable of serving large numbers of people including staff and a full patiend load. They can also set up shop in buildings.
Very briefly, railway surgery was the medical specialty devoted to caring for railway employees, and sometimes non-employee family members or injury victims. A railway surgeon was a physician who practiced railway surgery. Railway surgeons provided a wide range of care including trauma care and occupational health services. They worked out of their own offices or at hospitals and clinics the railroads established. Many employee timetables contained a listing of them.
See more about hospital trains
Rhoades Hospital and the Ontario & Western
Rhoades Hospital was built during WW2 and was served by the Ontario & Western who ran numerous hospital trains into this facility near Utica, New York.
Traveling in Europe?
You will probably need to make a FERRY RESERVATION.
Also available in French
Stop by and see our Reservations Center.
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Railroads On The Rebound
Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.
It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.
Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
What's the most environmentally-friendly way to transport goods? The answer is freight rail. The EPA estimates that every ton-mile of freight that moves by rail instead of by highway reduces greenhouse emissions by two-thirds. But what does that really mean? Our easy-to-use carbon calculator will estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that can be prevented from entering our environment just by using freight rail instead of trucks. We'll even tell you how many seedlings you'd need to plant to have the same effect.
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Let us search our numerous sources for you. Contact us, give us your location, specifications of the truck you want, and the price you want to pay. "We Talk Trash"!
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There is a
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.
Freedom Train Postcard
When I was much, much younger, I had a bunch of Freedom Train postcards, I cut them up for my stamp collection!
JAZZ ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA
Sidney Bechet (1897-1959)
Bechet's style of playing clarinet and soprano sax dominated many of the bands that he was in.
He played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets and was a master of improvisation.
Many African-American jazz musicians came to France and to the French Riviera because of the warm and friendly reception of the French people.
Because the Riviera is an "outdoors" place, the "jazz festival" was born. In France, there are over 250 jazz festivals: mostin July and August, and most in the French Riviera.
Bechet summered many years in Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera. A statue there, presented by the city of New Orleans, commemorates his life.
Don't miss culture on the French Riviera.
An old train that has always interested me was the New York Central Rexall Train.
The engine was an L-2 Mohawk #2998 or #2873 (I have conflicting stories).
It was the predecessor to the L-3a dual purpose Mohawks (4-8-2's) 3000-3024.
The NYC used 4-8-2 Mohawks for fast freight service on the water level route hence the name Mohawk not Mountain.
The Mohawks started in the 2500 and 2600 L-1 class and moved to the L-2 2700,2800 and 2900 classes.
These were all freight engines with 69" drivers. I believe the Rexall engine and one other were rebuilt with 72"
drivers and counter balance for higher speeds. The 3000 series L-3 class had several subseries (a, b, and c) that were built by
Alco and Lima. The 3000-3024 were the only dual purpose engines. The last series of Mohawks were the L-4a and b 3100
series engines. These were real brutes and all were dual purpose engines. These were the final extension of the 4-8-2 type on
the NYC and the 4-8-4 Niagara 6000-6025 S-1a, S1b and 5500 poppet valved S-2 were built in 1945-46.
I do know that Bert Daniels, who was road foreman of engines for the NYC, was the engineer on this train which ran from September 15, 1936 until November 21, 1936. From the news clippings it appears that this train was some kind of Convention Special tour train. The articles state that it was a 12 car train with air-conditioning which had a streamlined engine identical to the Commodore Vanderbilt engines that pulled the 20th Century Limited at that time. It also had an auxiliary booster engine on the trailer wheels that gave an additional 15,000 lbs. of tractive effort in starting. Was this engine a precursor to the Niagara type engines? The article states that the engine had 4 drivers to a side instead of the customary Pacific type. The only photos of the engine are mostly frontal and seem to show a 4 wheel leading truck. The train was nicknamed "Old Roxie" and from the schedule that is included in the book appears to have traveled from Boston to Albany, NY then through PA, Ohio, Ind, Ill, Iowa, Ky, W.Va, Va, NC, SC, Ga, Tenn, Miss, Ala, Fla, and ended up in Chicago then on to Seattle. The book states that this train covered 29,000 miles overall. At one point while on the NorthWestern it had covered 14,000 miles without being shopped. The only thing that had been done to it was inspections. It was also an oil burner because coal wasn’t available in the Southwestern area. Instead of a "Johnson Bar' it had a wheel reverse gear and also had automatic train control.
Pictures and info on the Rexall Train appear in Arthur Dubin's "Some Classic Trains" (or "Some Classic Trains II"). It was an exhibition train which Rexall (United Drug Company) packed with demonstrations and exhibits of all of the company's wares and took around the country to show to its many pharmacy franchisees.
Rexall Train of 1936. These rolling drug stores exhibited common Rexall products, and offered new and improved "suggestions" on how to configure local Rexall stores to a "common plan" using the latest and most modern materials, including adding soda fountains. The Rexall train was intended primarily for the annual Rexall Druggists Convention of the era, and was their show piece. It was primarily a demo train for the druggists, and not a retail store for the public. The public still had to use the "in place" Rexall stores in their immediate areas. It is interesting to note that the term "druggist" was used back then. Today,we call them "pharmacists" or "pharmacy technicians". "Rexall" seems to have gone away. The last time I saw a Rexall store was in the mid 60s. Since then, well, a different named drug store is on every corner these days. Never heard of a Walgreens, Hooks, Rite Aide Longs, Eckerds, or CVS train yet.
Aubrey Wiley has created a WebPage about the 1936 Rexll Train in Virginia.
Bert Daniels, engineer on the Rexall train, had an unusual career with the
New York Central. He became a freight engineer,
then served in World War I with the 54th Transportation Corps in Europe. After the war he returned to
and in 1925 was advanced to passenger engine service. Two years later he became road foreman of engines, a position he held until 1940
when he was promoted to supervisor of fuel and locomotive performance. In 1942 he was promoted to trainmaster at Rochester, and was transferred to Utica in 1943.
In 1953 he requested a return to road service. His seniority was intact and he had his pick of trains on the Mohawk Division. His choice was the Ohio State Limited.
The engine was NYC 2873, a Mohawk 4-8-2 converted to burn oil for
this use on the train and the streamline cowling was inspired by the
Commodore Vanderbilt Hudson 5344. The locomotive lost its streamline
cowling after use on the Rexall train and converted back to burning coal.
I picked up a lot of information frpm New York Central online forums.
The train was painted blue and white, with red lettering on the locomotive, white lettering and black roof on the cars. The cars were all fairly stock Pullman cars (mostly parlors) which received rounded roofs and full width diaphragms to create the appearance of a streamliner. Other than the streamlined roof and the diaphragms little was done to modernized the cars, though most interiors were stripped.
The cars used were as follows and all cars were Pullman owned at the time that the train ran. The first name is the car's Pullman name, the second (in quotation marks) is its Rexall name, the car's previous configuration and dispositions are also provided:
Whitney, Rexall "Kantleek", baggage-club - to Alton 419, to GM&O 419.
Haldeman, Rexall "First Aid", 16 section sleeper - to Pullman tourist sleeper 4278, to SPMW 5554.
Lanesville, Rexall "Ad-Vantage" , 36-seat parlor - to PRR coach 1205 (1942)
Norwich, Rexall "Research", 36-seat parlor - to PRR 1204 (1942)
Bolton, Rexall "Bisma-Rex", 36-seat parlor - to PRR 1202 (1942)
Halifax, Rexall "Cara-Nome", 36-seat parlor - to PRR 1203 (1942)
Hadlyme, Rexall "Klenzo", 36-seat parlor - to Tourist car 6070, to MP (1950)
#22 ex-Wanakena, Rexall "Symphony", originally a 16 Section sleeper rblt. to a dining car - to ACL
Hingham, Rexall "Adrienne", 36-seat parlor - to Tourist car 6071 - to MP (1950)
Montwait, Rexall "Mi-31", 36-seat parlor - to Tourist car 6072 - to MP (1950)
Ridgeville, Rexall "Joan Manning", 10 Compartment sleeper - to Royal American Shows (1958)
Newport, Rexall "Puretest" - to NP business car 4 (1941)
Kentleek (originally Pullman Plan 2415H) was configured as a generator - workshop - storage car, probably one of the earliest examples of head-end power being used. The generators were needed for powering the AC, lights and display motors. Not open to the public.
First Aid, built to Pullman Plan 2412F, retained its 16 Sections for the Rexall crew and staff and was not open to the public.
Ad-Vantage, Research, Bisma-Rex and Cara Nome, all were stripped of their interiors and set up for displays, with Ad-Vantage also featuring a soda fountain. All four cars were open to the public and featured the many products that Rexall made.
Klenzo, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was stripped of its interior and set up as an 88-seats lecture car which doubled as a dance hall after hours. The Rexall band accompanied the train on its tour and provided music for the staff, as well. This car was not open to the public, only to pharmacist and druggists.
Symphony, originally built to Pullman Plan 2412C it was rebuilt by Pullman into a Plan 4004 dining car, which served the crew and staff of the train, as well as feeding druggists lunch, but not open to the public.
Adrienne, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was also stripped of its interior and set up as an 88-seats lecture car. This car was not open to the public, only to pharmacist and druggists.
Mi-31, built to Pullman Plan 2916, was stripped and converted to a bar-lounge-dance hall car, where store owners and druggists were entertained. The car was not open to the public.
Joan Manning, built to Pullman Plan 2416, retained its compartment configuration and was used by the train's crew and staff. The car was not open to the public.
Puretest, built to Pullman Plan 2502B, was a 4 Compartment private observation car, was said to be used by the Rexall president.
I believe the shroud material removed from the locomotive at the end of its tour and stored at West Albany for a few years, probably going into one of the scrap drives during WWII.
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"
Bert Daniels was a close friend of my grandfather Ken Knapp.
When he went from Trainmaster to the
Ohio State Limited, he took a vacation in Europe.
Mr. and Mrs. Daniels even brought me back a present! I got small cloth patches with the emblams of
Monaco. My grandmother sewed
these on my sweater (and sewed them on other sweaters as I grew).
Now the rest of the story! 50+ years later I live in Nice and my business involves Monaco.
By Ken Kinlock at firstname.lastname@example.org
All about the PT Cruiser, the Mini Cooper, the
and other "Back to the Future" cars!
|See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads.||See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open|