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New York Central Lines Magazine

Welcome to our New York Central Lines WebSite

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

Our feature articles are New York Central 1919-1925 and New York Central 1925-1931 .

We have a 1921 article from Transportation World and a story of "Health and Pleasure" from the 1890's.

You can follow the New York Central on Google Earth .

New York Central Pacemaker Service .

Read about Grand Central ownership and what made up the New York Central Railroad? .

Read about the Commodore Hotel , Chauncey Depew , New York Central Districts , and Ken Knapp, New York Central Paymaster .

Be sure to see "A Chronicle of R.W.& O. Days Since 1851" Contributed by Richard Palmer .

Find out what Dudley Rail is and see a great New York Central Advertisement .

We have a story on Michigan Central's Joliet Cutoff , See our reference section too.

See our 1964 Annual Meeting in Chicago; first Annual Meeting ever not held in Albany

Remembering the last New York Central Railway Post Office (RPO) Through Syracuse (by Richard Palmer) : Railroad Photos and Videos
Multimedia website with photos, audio, and video from many of the major freight railroads and tourist lines in the US.

passenger rail guide

Early Bird Service
Strates Carnival No 1
Above picture shows the Strates Carnival Train crossing the Iona Trestle
CSX River Line (former New York Central) on June 7, 2005.

Copyright © 2005 Lewis Bogaty.
More trains at

Click on picture to enlarge
Grand Central Clock

Long time Central employee and watchmaker Jacob Bachtold adjusts one of the more famous clocks in a 1946 photo

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Corsica Ferry

Traveling in Europe?
You will probably need to make a FERRY RESERVATION.

Réservation Ferry en français
Stop by and see our Reservations Center.
Corsica Ferry

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1851 Hudson River Timetable

When did passenger service start between New York City and Montreal? What route did it follow? Give you a hint. Was not up the Hudson River and the Delaware & Hudson had not expanded north of Albany yet.

(1851 Hudson River RR timetable courtesy of Wayne Koch)

New York Central Pacemaker Service

Remember the red-and-white diamond herald of the The Pacemaker Service of the New York Central was unique, it was a mix between "head end" and fast freight.
Pacemaker Trains were dedicated to carrying LCL Merchandise. They used specially-marked high-speed freight cars.

In 1946, the NYC offered overnight service between New York and Buffalo via BN-1/NB-2. This overnight service was resurrected after WW II with the name "Pacemaker" although BN-1/NB-2 ran on essentially the same schedule as the pre-War version which was established in 1935-36, but discontinued during the War.

In 1948-49, BB-1/BB-2 was started to serve the B&A. The Boston-Buffalo Pacemaker trains served Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, Albany, Utica, Rochester & Buffalo while the New York Pacemakers served NY, Yonkers, Albany, Utica, Syracuse & Buffalo. The New York & Boston Pacemakers connected at Albany, Utica and Buffalo. Around this time, NB-1/BN-2 also served Cleveland (NB-1 arrived at Collinwood around 1 pm next day, while BN-2 left Collinwood in the early afternoon.)

"Pacemaker Service" was extended beyond the terminal points of NB-1/BB-1/BN-2/BB-2 using "ordinary" freight symbol trains and local freights/yard transfers to reach points such as Watertown, Malone, Montreal, Niagara Falls, Detroit, Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Toledo, Elkhart, South Bend Chicago (Polk Street), Columbus, Springfield, Indianapolis, East St. Louis, Cincinnati & Charleston WV according to NYC's 1951 Merchandise Car Schedule.

By 1957, Pacemaker Service had been dropped, or replaced in kind by Early Bird Service. Hence, PACEMAKER cars became just another boxcar in NYC parlance.

The original Pacemaker cars were green. 200 brown temporary Pacemaker Service cars were added in 1953. These cars also had a star below the herald that indicated the car was supposed to remain on NYC home rails. I am wondering how long these 200 temporary cars remained in Pacemaker service? Also, was the star removed in the mid-to-late 1950's as the boxcar shortage ended, or did the Pacemaker cars keep the star since they were specialized equipment? How effective were the stars on keeping the cars on home rails?

By Ken Kinlock at
Pacemaker Freight

It is 1946 and catch this great publicity photo.

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Pacemaker Service

LCL Terminal at Utica, New York.

(Photo clipped from the Utica Observer-Dispatch)

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Supply Chain Control Tower

Supply Chain Management Control Towers

Control towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations; and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a


in order to monitor and assure your supply? Talk to us, we build them!

So just what is an SCM Control Tower? What are the functions of a Supply Chain Control Tower? Who staffs your Supply Chain Management Control Tower?

If you use an EDI VAN for your business, this message is for you. Move past the ancient VAN technology. JWH EDI Services Electronic Commerce Messaging System will bring your EDI operation into the 21st Century. The power of our global EDI network is available on your server, your cloud platform or your application. AND you cannot beat our prices.
You can connect and communicate with all your customers and trading partners through the JWH EDI Services Electronic Commerce Messaging System - Connect with trading partners around the world on a single Network-as-a-Service platform, get real-time transaction visibility and eliminate those manual network processes. It is a pay as you need model. We track all interchanges from the moment they enter the system, along every step across the network, and through the delivery confirmation.

How can we help you? Contact us: Ken Kinlock at

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Not only can you search hotels by city, but you can search by your favorite chain of hotels.

We can find all the best hotels at the best rates in Nice, Cannes, or Monaco,.
What's a "Chicago Bypass"?
Chicago Bypass
Why do we need a "Chicago Bypass"? YOU WILL BE SURPRISED!

Click on any doctor above to see why.
Detroit Stock Yards

Detroit Stock Yards was owned by the New York Central System

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
JWH Rapid Response Temporary Housing

JWH Rapid Response Temporary Housing

How are your disaster recovery plans for a hurricane?

Talk to us!
We can design a plan to provide you temporary housing, office, manufacturing or warehouse space.
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Buffalo Central Terminal

Here is a great aerial view of Buffalo Central Terminal in 1946.

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
New York Central Railroad
New York Central Railroad by king5021
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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.
Carbon Calculator
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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New York Central and the Erie Railroad

The list of NYC/Erie freight interchange points is as long as your right arm, about 51 in 1943.

NYC trains from the Wallkill Valley Branch ran on the Erie from Montgomery to Campbell Hall, NY, where they interchanged with the New Haven and the Lehigh and New England.

The P & LE subsidiary ran a passenger train to Youngstown and then on the Erie tracks to Cleveland. Power was either NYC, Erie or P& LE.

The Erie and Big Four had a joint track arrangement between Galion and Marion, Ohio, where the Erie owned Track 1 (Westward) and NYC owned Track 2. They operated them as double track dispatched by the Erie.

NYC (B4) operated on the Erie between Glen Echo and Cold Springs, Ohio, bypassing Springfield. From Cold Springs to Tates Point, between Springfield and Dayton, the Erie owned Track 1 and NYC owned Track 2. They were dispatched as double track by NYC.

The Erie interchanged with the Reading at Newberry Jct, PA using an unusual overhead trackage rights arrangement with the NYC. A NYC train crew reported to the Erie yard at Corning, NY and took an Erie train with Erie power and caboose to Newberry Jct and return. The Erie also had trackage rights on the NYC from Corning to Lawrenceville, PA for a Tioga Branch local, after the Tioga Division from Elmira had been severed.

I understand that NYC held ownership of about 20% of Erie continuing into Erie-Lackawanna. To make a long story short, the NYC went so far as to dictate the schedules of certain Erie trains, including passenger trains and TOFC business so as to not provide direct competition with primary NYC trains. A lot of backroom deals were involved.
Ominous Ecology
Greenland's ice caps are melting! Find out more about Global Warming at our Ominous Ecology WebSite.
New MU Cars 1950

It is 1950 and the NY Central is getting new MU cars for commuter districts.

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

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Locomotive 999

Locomotive 999

We do know that 999 was "resurrected" in the 1920s for promotional purposes and was displayed for the company's "centennial" in 1926-27 (also the occasion for the construction of the replica DeWitt Clinton train). I'm not sure if it participated in B&O's Fair of the Iron Horse (1927?). It was definitely displayed at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago in 1933 and at the NY World's Fair in 1939-40. I would imagine it lay fallow all through the war, and then the Chicago Railroad Fair picked up in 1948-49. I also know it was displayed in 1959 in Albany, NY, for the 350th anniversary celebration of Hudson's voyage. After that it would seem that the railroad was losing interest in public relations and gaining interest in cost savings. I'm not sure exactly when it was "retired" to the Chicago Museum of Science, but that certainly would have been the end of any crew assigned to it.

The 999 was on display at Kingston, New York on July 27, 1952, in conjunction with a excursion NYC ran from Weehawken, NJ to Stamford, NY on the Catskill Mountain Branch.
Chicago Annual Meeting - First Ever Outside Albany

Chicago Annual Meeting - First Ever Outside Albany

Not until 1964 did the NY Central Annual Meeting move away from Albany. In Albany, the meetings were usually held in the Ten Eyck Hotel, or sometimes the Palace Theater. One exception was the proxy battle where Robert Young captured control of the railroad. This meeting was in the massive Washington Avenue Armory.
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

New York Central Districts

About 1957 the New York Central divisions on Lines East of Buffalo were reorganized. The whole NYCRR east of Buffalo had been operated as the Eastern Region, headquartered in Syracuse. The railroad east of Croton and North White Plains was known as the Electric Division, and the Superintendent at New York also supervised the Harlem and Putnam Divisions. The NYC west of Croton was part of the Mohawk-Hudaon Division, HQ at Albany.

In 1957 the New York District was created out of the Eastern District. It included the Hudson portion of the former Mohawk-Hudson Division, the River Division (National Jct to Selkirk Jct.), the Electric, Harlem and Putnam Divisions, and the New York Terminal District (West Side).

The Hudson Division had all of the former Hudson, Harlem, Electric and Putnam Divisions. The railroad from Mott Haven to Croton was the Hudson Electric Subdivision, and from Croton to Tower 98, Rensselaer, was the Hudson Subdivision. GCT to North White Plains was the Harlem Electric Subdivision, and NW to Ghent was the Harlem Subdivision.

List of the switchers on the Harlem and Hudson and the Put in late 50's/early 60's

1. A switcher came East from Rensselaer to switch Castleton (Paper Co) and return.
2. Hudson - Switcher 1 handled Hudson Upper to Claverack. Lone Star, Textile Products and more. Switcher 2 handled Univertsal Atlas and East to Poughkeepsie. Traveling Switcher too.
3. Poughkeepsie- Switcher handled local stuff and went to Beacon for National Biscuit. (There was New Haven Switcher also at Poughkeepsie).
4. There were times when VN-4 (road train) did work enroute.
5. Croton West Yard...about 4/5 switchers who handled GM at Tarrytown and often went to Peekskill and back...Tarrytown GM and Irvington. The Electric Division Traveling Switchers reported at Harmon, Yonkers and FH. They all had the same terrritory limits - Westchester Ave (not Port Morris), 72nd Street, and Peekskill.
6 .Yonkers- 4 swrs worked bet Hastings Anaconda-72nd St-Port Morris and handled all swg at High Bridge.
7. Putnam BN/BO Switcher BN to Eastview.& Return......JN/BO Brewster to Elmsford and return.
8. West Side 3 swrs for meat houses
9. WP2 worked North White Plains to BN (Kingsbridge) to move cars from and to Grand Union at Mount Kisco. He couldn't do any local switching between MO and BN, because that was Hudson Division territory. He was used as Passenger Protect Engine.
10.WP1 NW to Brewster & return.
11. The Rut Milk Chatham to Westside and back (two crews) worked enroute.
12. JN/CH worked JN to HK
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New York Central in West Virginia

What did the New York Central do in West Virginia??? Some unusual comments

- Chemical traffic was the big revenue generator. Third morning service via Ridgeway from the "chemical Valley" to CNJ destinations.

- Site of the test project in 1963 for keeping hopper car inventories in mining areas.

- Hitop branch - 3 unit F-7's, a 75 car train of hoppers serving two (or three ?) mines.

- Short lines connecting and crossing (Kelley's Creek, KC&NW) using NYC hopper cars to move coal from mine to barge and not even paying NYC per diem.

- TT&TO operation operation with three scheduled trains at eight hour intervals in only one direction - many coal trains during the lake season.

- VGN's western connection.

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Joliet Cutoff

The Joliet and Northern Indiana Railroad was built in 1855. It was just over 44 miles in length and it extended from Joliet, Illinois to Lake Junction (East Gary), Indiana.

The new line cut off over 30 miles compared to lines going through Chicago.

The Joliet cutoff railroad never had it's own engines or rolling stock because it was leased to the Michigan Central and then folded into the New York Central.

Stations, and mileage from Lake Junction
East Gary
New Chicago 1.8
Liverpool 2.9
Glen Park 5.3
Ross 7.8
Griffith 10.3
Hartsdale 12.7
Dyer 15.4
Chicago Heights 21.4
Matteson 21.8
Frankfort 32.5
Spencer 37.1
Joliet 44.5

It lasted until Penn Central, but was never part of Conrail. A lot of the line is now part of the Old Plank Road Trail

The first railroad into Joliet was the Chicago & Rock Island. The second was the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad Company. Its name was changed to the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis. RR Co.

Joliet businessman and politician Joel Matteson successfully promoted the building of the Joliet & Northern Indiana. The charter used was the previous project, the Oswego & Indiana Plank Road. Documents show that Matteson and others had no real interest in plank roads and wanted to build railroads instead.

Matteson and other Jolietans wanted a direct connection with the eastern railroads for rates and speed of service. Congestion in Chicago was deemed a serious problem in getting freight to and from New York and Boston (in the 1850s).

The first railroad proposal and survey was for a line to La Porte Indiana tentatively called the Joliet & La Porte Railroad. A preliminary survey was apparently completed in August 1853. The route would be difficult and expensive so another routing was secured. That was the one that led to an eastern connection with the MCRR at Lake Station Indiana instead of the Northern Indiana Railroad at Laporte.

Matteson's new line was nicknamed the Joliet Cut-Off Railroad.

In Sept. Of 1854 the MCRR signed a lease to operate the Joliet Cut- off upon completion. The MCRR even helped finance and finish construction of the track and facilities. Service started on the line in July of 1855.

The Alton line had reached Joliet when it completed the line up from Bloomington in August 1854. Alton trains ran between Chicago and Matteson over the Illinois Central, and between Matteson and Joliet over the partially completed MCRR Joliet Cutoff. The Alton had no line into Chicago until July 4, 1856, when the Alton's own line between Joliet and Chicago opened.

The MCRRs Joliet Cut-off line became the western connection for freight and passengers to and from the Chicago & Rock Island and the Alton line.

Then, in 1886 The Joliet, Aurora & Northern Railroad was chartered. Aurora business men were driving their teams to Joliet and shipping their products to the east on the MCRR thus avoiding the continuing railroad congestion in Chicago.

The JA&N was an immediate success. The line was used for the transfer of dressed beef in refrigerator cars and for other important freight between the CB&Q and the MCRR at Joliet. The MCRR had an icing facility at their Joliet yard. There was also a stock yard at the MCRR for the feeding and resting of livestock. If an interchange transfer was late from the "J" and the MCRR and the cars missed the outbound train local yardmasters and others were called to task and had to explain the failure.

Joliet Cutoff in Joliet

Connections in Joliet were made with the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Chicago & Alton. The MC passenger depot in Joliet was on the south side of their tracks on Washington Street, just east of Jefferson Street. the MC was elevated in 1908-1910 and the Rock Island was relocated along side the Michigan Central at that time. the MC was a tenant in Joliet Union Station from 1912 when JUS opened until 1925 when the MC discontinued passenger service to Joliet. MC became part of the New York Central System in 1930 and the NYC merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form the Penn Central. The Joliet Cut-Off was embargoed by the Penn Central west of Chicago Heights in about 1973. The former right-of-way of the Joliet Cut-Off between Chicago Heights and Joliet is now occupied by the Old Plank Trail recreational trail. The present Metra-Rock Island yard in Joliet is on the former site of the MC-NYC-PC Joliet yard.
Niagara locomotive

In a 1946 photo, New York Central is showing off the new Niagara locomotive to the head of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. In just a few short years, it will give away to the diesel.

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

Lettering on Pullman Cars

Most former Pullman cars (sleepers) in New York Central service were, like most RRs, painted for specific trains, including pool service. Former, meaning after Pullman was forced out of the sleeping car monopoly.

The "Pullman" over the letterboards indicated that the car was always operated BY the Pullman Co, staffed by Pullman personnel, and that a Pullman Co conductor was onboard the train. This during the era when Pullman owned and operated its own cars in everyone else' trains. br>
Pullman cars (Pullman owned) were usually lettered "Pullman" on their letterboards. Indvidual RR lettering did not usually appear on cars Pullman owned (except PRR, see below).

Pullman cars which were lettered "Pullman" but which were in fact *owned*, or *contributed* by the operating RR had sublettering on the vestibule end in many cases. The car was however, operated and staffed by Pullman employees, and not RR employees, and the Pullman conductor usually had authority over that car. The exception to all of this was the PRR which managed to bully Pullman into just about anything it wanted, including what colors Pullmans cars could be painted while in PRR service. (Most Pullman HW cars were Pullman green, but the PRR insisted they be Tuscan Red while in PRR consists. PRR also had its lettering on Pullmans cars whether or not Pullman liked, approved or agreed to it. PRR was the US largest passenger train operator, and it always got its way). Few RRs actually made an effort to provide cars that they *owned* to the Pullman Co. The relationship between most RRs and Pullman was often adversarial rather than cordial, which is one of the things that eventually brought about Pullmans demise in the sleeping car industry (the antitrust lawsuit).

In later years, once Pullman left the sleeping car business and sold its fleet of sleepers (Pullmans) to the RRs, the RRs were free to letter them any way they wanted to. The Pullman name eventually dropped off, and was replaced by RR names on the letterboards. Booting Pullman off the RRs property was, in its day, cause for great celebration among RR managements, (sort of what would happen today if Amtrak were suddenly put out of business on the freight RRs property).

A variance, not necessarily in keeping with Pullman or RR practices of the day indicated that some passenger trains carried train names on their letterboards, instead of RR names. Example: Calif Zephyr. Usually, these types of cars were also sublettered with the initials (reporting marks) of the RR owning or contributing that car to the trains consist. Letterboard: Calif Zephyr, sublettering: CB&Q, DRGW, WP to show car ownership. (Non- Zephyr cars, or cars from RRs not normally part of the named trains consist traveled in whatever paint scheme came along from the providing RRs pool fleet. Example: NYC and PRR cars regularly showed up in the Cal Zep, in their home-road schemes - sometimes.

Pullman established his company in 1867 and built luxury sleeping cars which featured carpeting, draperies, upholstered chairs, libraries and card tables and an unparalleled level of customer service. Once a household name due to their large market share, the Pullman Company is also known for the bitter Pullman Strike staged by their workers and union leaders in 1894.

After George Pullman's death in 1898, Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln became company president. The company closed its factory in the Pullman neighborhood (Chicago) in 1957. Pullman purchased the Standard Steel Car Company in 1930 amid the Great Depression, and the merged entity was known as Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company. The company ceased production after the Amtrak Superliner cars in 1982 and its remaining designs were purchased in 1987 when it was absorbed by Bombardier.

The United States brought an anti-trust suit in 1940 against the Pullman manufacturing and operating company. The final judicial decision in 1944 said that Pullman Inc. must separate car building from car operating. The company sold its sleeping car service transferring its operating unit on June 30, 1947 to a group of fifty-nine U.S. railways.

Operations of the Pullman Company sleeper cars ceased and all leases were terminated on December 31, 1968. On January 1, 1969, the Pullman Company was dissolved and all assets were liquidated. (The most visible result on many railroads was that the Pullman name was removed from the letterboard of all Pullman-owned cars.)

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If you have "GOOGLE EARTH©" installed on your computer, you can "fly" these routes with these "PLACEMARKs"

The New York Central's Mohawk Division

Harlem Division New York Central Railroad

The West Shore of the New York Central

The New York Central along the Hudson River

The New York Central Adirondack Division to Lake Placid

What's left of the New York Central's Putnam Division?

The Peoria & Eastern Railway

Troy & Schenectady Railroad

New York Central Catskill Mountain Branch

Hojack Line


The name Airline Junction - the intersection of the east-west former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern mainline from Buffalo to Chicago and the Michigan Central from Detroit on the south side of Toledo, Ohio takes its name from one of the straightest sections of track in the U.S. between Toledo and Butler, Indiana. This was long claimed to be the straightest U.S. trackage, but there are other claimants.

Another story that I have read as to why Toledo West was referred to as the Air Line had more to do with the fact that it was an alternate route to Elkhart- the Old Road went into Michigan and headed west to Elkhart in a rather "roundabout" fashion. The Old Road was completed sometime before 1850, while construction on the "Air Line" started in the mid 1850s. The route via the new road was more on an "Air Line" to Elkhart rather than the Old Road.
Railroad Station at Troy, New York

Railroad Station at Troy, New York

The station in Troy was owned by the Troy Union Rail Road. The TURR lasted from the mid 19th Century till the mid 20th Century. It was owned by the New York Central, Delaware & Hudson and Boston & Maine. Access from the South was from Rensselaer; from the West, via the Green Island Bridge; from the North was street running almost the entire length of Troy. See Penney's blog for more information (and a great movie from the 1950's).

Strates Shows heading into Troy in 1950's

NY Central pay car at Minoa, NY
NY Central pay car at Minoa, NY
Lowest Car Rental Deals

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A Chronicle of R.W.& O. Days Since 1851

From:New York Central Lines Magazine, December, 1926, PP 84-85

Contributed by Richard Palmer
(Pioneer railroad days as far back as 1851 and 1852 are graphically described in these reminiscences by P.E. Carney of Dekalb Junction, N.Y., who was for many years closely associated with the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad. Largely a chronicle of his own experiences in early-day railroading, the story revives the names of many well known persons in railroad history and the old familiar names will doubtless recall to many of the older members of the New York Central family incidents and experiences of the past which even the flight of years cannot dim).
In 1851 and 1852 the Watertown & Rome Railroad was completed only from Rome to Cape Vincent. I was born in the Town of Dekalb and my father helped build the road through Dekalb Junction. he was killed five miles east of Dekalb Junction Station, September 16, 1857, on the railroad opposite the Tabor Farm.

I went to work for the railroad at Dekalb Junction in 1872 and worked continuously for 21 years at odd jobs around the depot and yard and wherever I was needed or sent by the agent. I spent one year of that time firing the engine “Jefferson” on the work train. For two years I was night watchman at the engine house.

In the spring of 1893 I was sent to Gouverneur and from there I went to Norwood Yard where I remained four years. From Norwood Yard I went to the Rutland Railroad and helped build the railroad across the islands from Alburgh to Burlington. Later I went to Malone Yards where I remained for two years, then I returned to Dekalb Junction.

It was in 1854 and 1855 that the railroad was built from Watertown to Norwood by a contractor named Phelps. This was called the Potsdam & Watertown Railroad and the name of Norwood was changed to Potsdam Junction, remaining so for 15 years before being changed back to Norwood.

In 1861, the branch from Dekalb Junction to Ogdensburg was built and the name of the railroad was changed to the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg. The Dekalb Junction Station was located about three miles west of Red Rock and another station was located just east of the Forrest House crossing and was called Hermon Station. J.W. Moak and Addison Day were the two superintendents of the line with headquarters in Watertown.

Those were the days when all woodburning engines were used. They were all Taunton engines, made in Taunton, Mass., with 10-by -20-inch cylinders and a capacity of 10 cars of 10 tons each. All the engines were named as well as numbered. Some them I remember were:No. 1, Watertown; No. 2, Rome; No. 3, Adams; No. 4, Kingston; No. 5, Orville Hungerford (named after a director of the road); No. 6, Kirby, and No. 7, Norris M. Woodruff (named after a stockholder of the road from whom the Woodruff Hotel in Watertown also derived its name).

The Norris M. Woodruff was used on the work train summers and on the snow plow in the winter and was run by J.B. Cheney, Engineman, and A.V. Huntress, Fireman. Other engines were No. 8, Camden; No. 9, J.L. Grant; No., 10, Collamer; No. 11, Jefferson; No. 12, Doxtater, which was run between Dekalb Junction and Norwood for 10 years by George Schell, Engineman; No. 13, O.V. Brainard; No. 14, Moses Taylor (later number changed to 35); No. 15, T.H. Camp; No. 16, Silas Wright; No. 17, Antwerp (run by Jeff Wells); No. 18, W.C. Pierrepont; No. 19, St. Lawrence; No. 20, Potsdam; No. 21, Ogdensburg; No. 22, General Kirby; No. 23, Farlow’; No. 24, J.W. Moak (run by Sam Purdy who used a board with cleats on one side to get into the cab and the smooth edge to slide out on); No. 26, Delos DeWolf; No. 27, Utley; No. 28, M.M. Massey; No. 30, Comstock (run by James Simonds); No. 31, S.F. Phelps (run by Samuel Clark); No. 32, W.M. Lord (run by Samuel Clark); No. 33, Gardner Colby; No. 39, Zabriskie; No. 40, Theodore Irwin; No. 41, Denny; and No. 42, White.

In those days all engines had pop-strings until No. 38, the Garner Colby, blew up just east of Canton Station in Harrison’s Cut. A popular joke in rhyme about No. 30, run by Jim Simonds with “Zebe” as Fireman, was the following:

“Says Jim to Zebe, ‘Pull down the pop,
Or with the slack we’ll surely stop.
Says Zebe to him, ‘At this here rate,
We’ll reach Watertown four hours late.’”

These engines were in use until about 1880 when a larger and improved type replaced them. It was at this time that two coal-burning engines came into use and they were named “Samson” and “goliath.” Their first trips were to Norwood after circus trains.

About this time the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg took over the Syracuse Northern which operated between Syracuse and Sandy Creek since 1871. With that road they received four heavier engines named “Pulaski,” “Brewerton,” “Sandy Creek” and “Syracuse.” The R.W. & O. next took over the Lake Ontario Shore which operated from Oswego to Niagara Falls. The Oswego River was bridged at Oswego and a through line from Norwood to Niagara Falls was thus established. At this time E.A. Van Horn was appointed superintendent in place of J.W. Moak.

There was great rivalry at this time between the R.W.& O. and the Utica & Black River as to which would carry the New York mail into this north country tract. I have seen mail, express and passengers loaded onto the train at Dekalb Junction and delivered in Norwood, a distance of 25 miles in 35 minutes and that included stops at Canton and Potsdam. A Main Line train made the record run, Ben Batchelder, Engineman, from Watertown to Ogdensburg, making 11 stops, in one hour and 48 minutes.

About 1884 or 1885 the road was purchased by Parsons & Sons, and H. M. Britton became General Manager in place of E.A. Van Horn. W.S. Jones was Superintendent of the East End and F. M. Britton was superintendent of the West End. In 1892 the road was purchased by the New York Central.

Early in the 1870s a man named Warner was train dispatcher at Watertown Junction. A few years later N.B. Hine of Dekalb Junction took his place and William Lawrence was night dispatcher. Lawrence later went to work for the Rock Island Railroad. A.C. Hine was station agent at Dekalb Junction at this time.

On Oct. 14, 1872, A.J. Penney became clerk and operator at the station. Later he was made agent and F.W. Thompson was clerk and operator. In 1880, A.J. Penney went to Potsdam, and Fred DeSalles took his place at Dekalb Junction with Frank L. Wilson as clerk, A year later Wilson was made agent. That was in the time when clerks and operators earned their money, as there were no night operators. The day clerk was called up to attend the midnight train and remained on duty until the train arrived in Ogdensburg because there were no night operators in Rensselaer Falls or Heuvelton.

There was a severe snow storm in January and February of 1880. The Cape Vincent Branch was tied up for 28 days. Three trains stalled on the branch remained there until the snow melted. The mail was taken to Cape Vincent from Watertown by teams.

At this period all oil for station, section, and engine use was supplied from Dekalb Junction. The repair shop and tool and rail store houses were located there also. Wood sheds with fuel supplies for the locomotives were located at Norwood, Dekalb Junction, Gouverneur, Philadelphia, and Watertown. The wood was racked in cords and half-cords and the amount of wood each engine took was recorded in each wood shed. The record was turned over to the wood piler at the end of each month and he in turned turned it over to the station agent.

The coaches on passenger trains were heated by means of common wood-burning box stoves in the end of each coach. They were lighted with one-candle-power sperm candles, four in each coach. Three snow plows, “Storm King, “Snow Bird” and “Pathfinder,” were used to keep the track clear in winter.

H.S. Leach, Road Master, was located at Dekalb Junction for 17 years. Later he went to Malone on the Rutland Railroad and served there until his death. E.M. Moore, General Freight Agent, was located at Watertown, and Hiram Moore, his father, was Assistant Master Mechanic.

The following are the names of some of the men who still survive:Fred Cooper, George Webb, Frank Smith, Ed. Mahan, Eugene Sullivan, Lawrence McCormick, John McCormick con McCormick F.J. Britton, B. Reynolds, Jake Angley, O.A. Hine, Jake Hermann, William Carnes, B.Dullea, John Anable, Timothy McCarty, F.L. Wilson, Fred Thompson, George Brown, Eugene McCarty, Alvin Barber, Frank ‘Taylor, John O’Sullivan, John O’Neill, Charles Seaman, Robert Colburn, M.J. Smith, J.H. Lent, B.E. Jones, D. Regan and E. Regan.
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Al Sherry Retires

Long time Central employee Al Sherry Retires After 75-Year Career

(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

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"

New York Central wrecker at Danbury Rail Museum

New York Central wrecker GCT No. 1 at Danbury Rail Museum

Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch
The May 15, 1914 issue of what was then called "Railway Age Gazette," described NYC&HR's new electric crane delivered as GCT No. 1.

The 100-ton capacity crane was designed with low clearance booms to work within the confines of Grand Central or the Park Avenue Tunnel. Builder was Industrial Works of Bay City Michigan. The unit was equipped with third rail shoes and double-ended with a boom and operating compartment at each end.

I found fascinating that the self-propelled crane had 800 hp available for traction and was rated at 25 mph, yet reached 34 mph (with an 80-ton trailing load) during tests. The machine also had a 230-cell battery for service off the third rail or when power was interrupted.
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Some interesting things about New York State Railroads, mostly New York Central Railroad

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New York Central station in Ogdensburg New York Central station in Ogdensburg

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