New York Central Important Dates From Mark Tomlinson (November)

November 1, 1857 Because of a financial panic, the Michigan Central and Michigan Southern railroads agree to divide their passenger business between Lake Erie and Chicago 50/50 and their freight business 58/42 in favor of the Michigan Central. Both roads agree to give up their steamboats on Lake Erie used for a connection to Buffalo.

November 1, 1869 The New York Central Railroad (1853) and the Hudson River Railroad are consolidated to form the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad Company (NYC&HR) under the control of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The merger plan was kept secret from regular stockholders until the vote was taken.


November 1, 1872 The New York Central & Hudson River, New York & Harlem and New Haven railroads sign an agreement for the joint use of the first Grand Central Station.

November 1, 1873 The Canada Southern Railway opens for through traffic.

November 1, 1875 The Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad (later PRR) and the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad (later CCC&StL, NYC) begin common operation under an agreement signed on October 4th.

November 1, 1875 Wagner sleeping cars replace Pullmans on the Michigan Central Railroad. Wagner inaugurates through cars between Boston and Chicago via both the MC and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern routes. Because of this, the Erie drops its routing over the MC as does the Toledo, Wabash & Western.

November 1, 1957 New York Central President Alfred E. Perlman and Pennsylvania Railroad President J.M. Symes announce they are discussing a merger of their two railroads.


November 2, 1931 The New York Central pays its last dividend until after the Depression.


November 5, 1862 The Amboy, Lansing & Traverse Bay Railroad, more commonly known as “The Ramshorn Road” (later JL&S, MC, NYC, PC, CR) completes its Lansing to Owosso route. (Some sources say 10/25/1863)

November 5, 1888 The first passenger train arrives in Middlebury IN on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway. When the station is built next month, it will be too close to the tracks. The building is soon moved.

November 5, 1905 The westbound “Michigan Central Limited” is renamed the “Wolverine”. It will become the premier Chicago-New York Train on the Michigan Central route.


November 6, 1967 The New York Central assigns RDC’s to its last remaining Cleveland-Cincinnati service.

November 9, 1958 J.J. Wright of the New York Central announces he has developed a weigh-in-motion device for freight cars using absorbed radioactivity to determine the weight.

November 9, 2011 Thirty years after the original was sold for scrap, a new 50-foot flagpole is installed on top of the former Buffalo [NY] Central Terminal tower.

November 13, 1874 The New York Central & Hudson River Railroad completes a 4-track system between Albany and Buffalo. The line is operated as two double track railroads side by side, one on south side for passenger and one on north for freight. The project includes a freight bypass line around Syracuse.


November 12, 1939 New York Central’s “The Mercury” begins service between Chicago and Detroit.


November 15, 1851 The first train on the southern shore of Lake Erie runs during opening ceremonies of the Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula Rail Road. (later CTRR. LSRR, LS&MS, NYC, PC, CR, NS)

November 15, 1866 The Blue Line, a second cooperative fast freight line, is organized at Albany. (The Red Line had been organized in the spring, running over the NYC and Wabash) The line will operate over the New York Central, the Great Western of Canada and the Michigan Central to Chicago as soon as Great Western lays a third rail for standard-gauge cars. It will run west of Chicago on the Illinois Central, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Chicago & North Western and the Chicago & Alton. The line will own 7,000 cars.


November 15, 1899 The New York Central leases the Boston & Albany.


November 15, 1924 The New York Central begins routing traffic to its new Selkirk Yard, located south of Albany.


November 15, 1962 Congress repeals a 10% tax on railroad tickets created during World War II to discourage travel. Railroads are given permission to raise fares to match the previous prices.


November 16, 1953 Electric operations end at Cleveland Union Terminal. The new diesels save the New York Central $400,000 ($3.6 million in 2016 dollars) per year in operating costs.

November 16, 1957 New York Central Extra 4000 East (nee Train 90) out of Chicago derails at White Pigeon MI. The train was diverted off the Toledo Division onto the “Old Road” at Elkhart due to an earlier derailment east of Elkhart. The engineer, who had not checked for slow orders nor run on the line for three years, ran though a 15 mph slow-order turnout at 55 mph. One Railway Mail Clerk was killed (HENRY NICHOLS, 54, of Chicago, mail car foreman)., 23 Railway Mail clerks, 8 passengers and one train service employee were injured. Many of the injured were from among some 30 railway postal train clerks assigned to the big combination mail-passenger run. Their cars were immediately behind the locomotive. Of the cars that left the tracks, three were railway post offices, two were mail storage cars

November 17, 1954 The New York Central begins its “Early Bird” fast freight service.


November 18, 1883 The railroads in the United States and Canada agree to a system of standard time, replacing the confusing and unsafe practice of each locality setting its own “sun” time. The system will take effect the following spring. However, it will not be until 1918 that Standard, or “Railroad” time is made the official U.S. system.

November 18, 1981 Conrail (ex-NYC) and Grand Trunk Western operations through downtown Battle Creek MI are consolidated onto the GTW tracks.

November 19, 1850 Irate farmers set fire to the Michigan Central Railroad freight house in Detroit as a protest over what they believed were unfair company policies that hurt farmers. Top on their list was MC’s refusal to reimburse them full market value when their animals were killed while on the tracks, as the earlier, state-owned Central Railroad of Michigan had done. The blaze, part of a larger campaign of violence and sabotage that pitted the planters and cattlemen against the encroaching railroads, destroys $100,000 worth of flour, corn and wheat stores in the depot.

November 19, 1956 The last passenger train runs on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern “Old Road” from Elkhart IN through Coldwater, Hillsdale and Adrian MI to Toledo OH.


November 20, 1924 New York Central holds formal dedication ceremonies for its new Selkirk Yard, located south of Albany as well as the new Alfred H. Smith Bridge spanning the Hudson River.


November 22, 1902 Alfred E. Perlman is born in St. Paul MN. He will be the last President of the New York Central and the first President of Penn Central.


November 23, 1840 The Southern Railroad of Michigan reaches Adrian.

November 23, 1845 The Central Railroad of Michigan reaches Battle Creek.

November 25, 1963 All rail and transit services in the United States are halted for one minute to commemorate the National Day of Mourning for the assassinated President John F. Kennedy.


November 26, 1867 Michigan Central’s Master carbuilder, J.B. Sutherland, in Detroit, patents a refrigerator car.

November 27, 1910 The “20th Century Limited” receives new all-steel cars.


November 30, 1917 The “Broadway Limited” is withdrawn for the duration of the war. New York Central will continue running the “20th Century Limited” as it does not have the freight congestion of the PRR.

December 1, 1929 Cleveland Union Terminal begins limited operation, serving ten westbound New York Central trains.

December 1, 1942 Wartime gasoline rationing is imposed across the United States.

December 2, 1967 Last run of New York Central’s “Empire State Express”.

December 3, 1853 Illinois Central and Michigan Central railroads begin using a temporary station built on fill on the lakefront of Chicago between Randolph and Water Streets. The track has been extended north from 12th Street.


December 3, 1967 Last run of New York Central’s “20th Century Limited”. A more prosaic numbered train protects the service.


December 5, 1868 The Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne & Chicago Railroad (later PRR) Board appoints a committee to settle a dispute between the Grand Rapids & Indiana (later PRR) and the Kalamazoo, Allegan & Grand Rapids Railroad (later LS&MS, NYC) so that there will be a single north-south line in Michigan. The committee will fail in its mission. Both railroads will build between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

December 5, 1870 The last independent Kalamazoo & South Haven timetable is printed in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Timetables after this date will be printed as “Kalamazoo Division, Michigan Central Railroad”.

December 5, 1948 The New York Central combines “The Pacemaker” and “The Advance Commodore Vanderbilt”. Also combined: the eastbound “Fifth Avenue Special” and the “Interstate Express”. Eliminated: the Michigan Central “North Shore Limited”.


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