Passenger 1958: All Kinds Of Cool Stuff On Eastern Railroads.

Robert R. Young (1897-1958), principal supporter of Penn Central merger on NYC side, commits suicide in Palm Beach, Florida, at age 60.

Robert R. Young
Robert R. Young


We ran articles on 1956  and and got lots of readers, so here goes 1958. These notes come from The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society Lots of  years in Pennsylvania RR history are available. But what is great is that they cover lots of other railroads. Internal Pennsylvania RR material not included.

PRR and NYC begin honoring each other’s tickets between New York and major Midwestern cities. (Guide)

New Haven drops 10 of 38 New York-Boston trains and 4 of 32 New York-Springfield trains; The Senator discontinued between Boston and New York; through coaches to Grand Central discontinued on The Pilgrim; other trains discontinued include The Mayflower ,

The Commander, The Murray Hill, The Bostonian/New Yorker; eastbound Narragansett

merged with The Owl; Advance Merchants Limited discontinued except for eastbound on Fridays. (Guide)

New Haven retires last lightweight train as part of service cut and returns all New York-Boston service to conventional equipment. New Haven announces it has removed TALGO Train Dan’l Webster and “Train-X” John Quincy Adams from New York-Boston service; maintenance is expensive and had to maintain standby trains of standard equipment for heavy traffic; soon splits modified RDC Roger Williams into two consists and assigns to Boston area local service. (NYT)

First 129 miles of Connecticut Turnpike open; closely parallels the main line of the New Haven between New York and New London.

Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission makes final report calling for permanent bi-state NY-NJ Metropolitan Transit District; endorses modified version of Page Plan of 1957, with rapid transit loop and new Hudson River tunnels at Battery and 59th Street.

PRR Motive Power Dept. orders the retention of 75 steam locomotives as reserve. (VPO)

Philadelphia & Cape Charles RPO cut to Philadelphia & Delmar RPO. (Kay)

Del-Mar-Va Express makes last run between Philadelphia and Cape Charles; RPO contract terminated and passenger service discontinued between Delmar and Cape Charles. (tt)

Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee under Sen. George A. Smathers (1913- ) of Florida begins investigation of “sick” railroad industry; PRR Pres. Symes testifies before Smathers Subcommittee investigating the railroad industry; urges creation of Transportation Dept. in Cabinet. (NYT)

U.S. Supreme Court rules that ICC must consider all intrastate passenger and freight revenues on a given segment, not just commuter revenue when ruling that commuter service is a burden on interstate commerce.

NYC Pres. Perlman testifies before Smathers Subcommittee; notes NYC has cancelled all improvement expenditures for 1958; names passenger deficit as greatest threat to railroads’ solvency. (NYT)

New York Times reports that Robert R. Young sold 30,000 shares of Alleghany Corporation common in Dec. 1957, keeping only 17 shares; still owns 9,800 shares of prior preferred and 109,370 shares of 6% preferred. (NYT)

NYC Board votes to pass first quarter dividend; first missed dividend of Young’s administration. (AR)

Allan P. Kirby succeeds Robert R. Young as Chairman of Alleghany Corporation.

U.S. launches its first satellite, Explorer I.

Heavy snowstorms hit eastern PRR Philadelphia and New York Regions; 13 inches at Philadelphia highest since 1935; fine snow crystals infiltrate air intakes on electric locomotives, then melt, grounding out traction motors; GG1’s disabled for first time; by Feb. 17 all freight and most passenger trains suspended; by morning of Feb. 18 only 5 of 139 electric locomotives working; this and following storms in Feb. and Mar. 1958 cost PRR $10 million; contribute to $8.8 million deficit for Feb. 1958; worst month’s performance since Feb. 1951. (PR, MB)

NYC dedicates Robert R. Young Yard at Elkhart, Ind.; second of Perlman’s large computerized yards. (AR)

NYC Board abolishes post of Chairman; passes second quarter dividend; denies it plans any cuts in executive salaries. (AR). NYC confirms that it has put its 1929 headquarters tower at 230 Park Avenue up for rent. (NYT)

NYC begins Flexi-Van service; first train departs Weehawken at 9:05 PM for second morning arrival in Chicago; system uses special containers which can be transferred to special truck bodies without cranes or special ramps; trailers and trucks are owned and operated by subsidiary New York Central Transport Company; initial cost of equipment $8 million; traffic volume doubles each month through end of 1958. (NYT, Guide)

Chicago Skyway opens from Indiana state line to Englewood, Chicago, running along PRR main line; completes limited access highway between New York and Chicago. (NYT)

Last run of B&O “Royal Blue Line” passenger service between New York and Washington; B&O discontinues all passenger service north of Baltimore; PRR picks up $2 million annual revenue from former B&O Northeast Corridor passengers. (AR, Guide)

20th Century Limited
20th Century Limited

NYC permanently combines the Twentieth Century Limited and Commodore Vanderbilt on 16:00 schedule; coaches added and extra-fare, valet, shower and barber shop dropped; PRR Broadway Limited remains all first class: PRR aggressively promotes its special status and posts 14% gain in ridership in 1957-58. (Guide, Doughty, Welsh)

NYC replaces The Southwestern Limited with The Southwestern, running only between Cleveland and St. Louis, combined with Ohio State Limited east of Cleveland; merges eastbound Chicago Mercury (Detroit-Chicago) into The Wolverine .(tt, TRRAHS, Sanders)

LV consolidates the Asa Packer with the Black Diamond. (Guide)

Smathers Subcommittee makes final report; recommends government- guaranteed loans to railroads up to $700 million, to be used for operating expenses and fixed charges as well as capital improvements. (NYT)

NYC cuts all executive salaries by 10% of amount over $15,000.

P&LE opens new Gateway Yard at Struthers near Youngstown; third modern, electronic yard on NYC system.

New Haven sells Berkshire Street Railway Company. (AR)

New York State Realty & Terminal Company announces plan for 50-story building, to be called “Grand Central City”, over rear portion of Grand Central Terminal. (CGCity, Condit)

Real estate developer Erwin Wolfson announces he has hired Emery Roth & Sons as architects to design “Grand Central City” on the site of the baggage and office wing on the north side of Grand Central Terminal, preserving the head house; will include a 50-story tower and three theaters. (NYT, Belle)

Greyhound Corporation files formal application with New York City Planning Commission for a new $10 million bus terminal on site of existing terminal opposite Penn Station but extending back to 8th Avenue; in return, promises to close 50th Street & 8th Avenue terminal. New York City Board of Estimate turns down Greyhound Corporation’s application for new bus station on 34th Street, citing policy established in 1947. (NYT)

NYC asks a group of New York and Chicago banks for a $50 million, two-year revolving line of credit, like the one Bevan had secured for the PRR. Chicago banks decline to grant NYC $50 million, two-year revolving line of credit; offer $25 million; NYC then lowers its request to $40 million. NYC and banks compromise on $35 million line of credit. (NYT)

Putnam Yorktown Station
Putnam Yorktown StationLast run of NYC


Last run of NYC Division passenger service between Sedwick Avenue, Bronx, and Brewster; one train remains between Brewster and Lake Mahopac Crossing, where switches to New York & Harlem Railroad. (Gallo)

Federal Court orders New Haven to continue Old Colony passenger service pending hearings; New Haven had announced abandonment effective June 1.

Last run of all NYC passenger service between Boston and Riverside via Highland Branch; later becomes Green Line of local transit system. (Humphrey)

Haworth NY Railroad Station
Haworth NY Railroad Station

NY PSC approves discontinuance of NYC West Shore passenger service between West Haverstraw and Albany and reduction to 9 Weehawken-West Haverstraw commuter round trips. NYC discontinues all passenger service between West Haverstraw and Albany on West Shore (River Division).

PRR holds meetings with representatives of Curtiss-Wright Corporation and Budd; Curtiss-Wright proposes to enter high-speed rail passenger market with trains of three Pioneer III type cars modified to be driven by 10-foot aircraft propellers and aircraft engines at speeds up to 165 MPH; to operate New York-Washington non-stop in 2:17. (MB)

NYC assumes operation of all Pullman cars on system. (Guide)

NYC Pres. Perlman warns NYC is considering abandoning Grand Central Terminal and suburban service unless it receives relief from state and local taxes. (NYT)

Eisenhower Lock of St. Lawrence Seaway opens at Massena, N.Y. (NYT)

Hudson & Manhattan designates one car of rush-hour New York-Newark trains as women-only; trains use new air-conditioned equipment. (NYT) First 5 of 50 new PRR/H&M cars built by St. Louis Car Company for Hudson Tube service between Hudson Terminal and Newark placed in service; 30 are PRR Class MP52 and 20 H&M Class K; first non-experimental air-conditioned transit cars in New York. (NYT)

NYC extends Flexi-Van service to Boston and St. Louis; NYC inaugurates first carriage of mail by COFC in expedited Flexi-Van service between Chicago and Detroit. (Guide)

New England Transportation Company consummates sale of all remaining bus routes except New Britain-Berlin to Short Line of Rhode Island and Johnson Bus Lines. (AR)

LIRR receives first five of 30 ex-B&M 1935 lightweight coaches, purchased at $6,300 each; rebuilt from 84 seats to 117 seats. (NYT)

Examiner Howard Hosmer presents the “Hosmer Report” on the rail passenger deficit to the ICC, predicting, if the current rates of decline continue, the end of first class U.S. passenger service by 1965 and coach service by 1970; notes total number of passengers in 1957 was smallest since 1890; while containing various suggestions, report makes no formal recommendations.

New York Thruway Authority opens New England Thruway between New York City and Connecticut state line, running directly parallel to New Haven main line and connecting with Connecticut Turnpike. (NYTA)

NYC discontinues all passenger service between Malone, N.Y., and Montreal. (A-sheet)

Pan American Airways begins first transatlantic jet service with Boeing 707’s between New York and Paris (Aviation); in next 10 years airlines’ share of intercity common-carrier passenger miles increases from 35% to 70%.

Boonville in 1950
Boonville in 1950

NYC merges St. Lawrence-Adirondack Division into Mohawk Division; Pennsylvania Division into Syracuse Division; headquarters of Mohawk Division moved from Albany to Utica.

Democrats increase majorities in Congress; Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908-1979), grandson of John D. Rockefeller. elected Gov. of New York, defeating W. Averell Harriman (1891-1986), son of Edward H. Harriman. (EAH)

Last section of Connecticut Turnpike opens between Plainfield and Lisbon, completing road to Rhode Island state line west of Providence; has immediate effect on New Haven traffic levels. (NYT)


Army-Navy Game traffic largest for PRR to date; carries 21% of all spectators in 27 special trains.(photo of Harry Truman going to game)

New England Transportation Company discontinues last bus route between New Britain and Berlin, Conn.; is henceforth truck-only. (NH AR)

Waterbury Yard
Waterbury Yard


New Haven discontinues all passenger service between Winsted and Waterbury, Conn. (AR)

NYC agrees to sell part of right of way of Boston & Albany between Boston and Riverside for use by Massachusetts Turnpike and remove two of four tracks. (Humphrey)

New York Central Transport Company assumes ownership of containers and operation of trucking and terminal loading of Flexi-Van.

New Haven abandons coach yards at New Rochelle and Port Chester and turns all trains at Stamford; eliminates use of NYC yard at Mott Haven and does all servicing at New Haven. (AR)

New Haven eliminates 23 of 32 engine servicing facilities. (AR)


New Haven closes hump yards at Hartford, Providence and Maybrook (pictured above) and transfers all work to Cedar Hill. (AR)

New Haven completes 23.4 miles of CTC on Maybrook line between Poughkeepsie and Berea. (AR)

Passenger 1957: All Kinds Of Cool Stuff On Eastern Railroads, even the REVERSAL of “Travel Tailored Schedule Plan”

Passenger 1956: All Kinds Of Cool Stuff On Eastern Railroads, even “Travel Tailored Schedule Plan”


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