Category Archives: History

Hyde Park, New York Railroad Station in the Hudson Valley.

Hyde Park was the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Find out more about trains run for Presidents of the United States.

A post card from our collection.

 

Find more photos and stories from our fascinating WebSites

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The Spring Street Freight House is located in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is a site on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was placed on the Register in May 2007, after being nominated by the Indiana Department of Transportation. It is one of the few railhouses built in the 1920s still standing.

 

It was built by Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway (CCC & St. L RR), also known as the Big Four, around 1925. It was built Craftsman-style, and is 1.5 stories high. Its foundation and walls are made of wood, and the roof is asphalt shingles. It includes a brick chimney. The property upon which the freight house is upon covers .52 acres.

It was originally part of “Jeffersonville Springs”, a resort that featured mineral springs, which being chalybeate was deemed back then to be good for the body. This lent the name to a nearby street, Spring Street. The resort was started by Swiss immigrant John Fischli, who originally owned 13 acres (53,000 m2) of the property, until his death in 1838. In 1852 it was bought by a Methodist church, who converted the gambling houses by it into school houses. The hotel which Fischli had built burned down in 1857.

The property was bought by the Big Four in 1890. There were initially plans by the railroad to rebuild the resort, but that never happened. In 1907 the Railroad had destroyed the Springs.

After the railroad abandoned it in 1963, R.A. Alms & Sons Feed Wholesalers used it from 1970-1975. In the 1980s a cable company used it. It is currently unused, but the Ohio River Bridges Project had plans to restore it in 2008 and turn it into its headquarters; as of August 2009 nothing has been done to renovate it.

The building is a near-perfect example of how train depots of that time period were built and is considered rare as many from that era were dismantled as rail transportation evolved through the late 20th century. The facility still houses the original freight scale, manufactured by the Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in working order. The scale dates to the early 1900s and was potentially manufactured 20-25 years before the building itself.

In addition to its architectural significance, the Freight House played an important role in the economic and demographic growth of the Jeffersonville and Indiana. INDOT’s nominating document called it, “significant as a symbol of the railroad’s vital role in the city’s economic growth, as well as that of the state.”

Find more great sites on or near the famous bridge.

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The Cardinal Train

The Cardinal Train ran in 1926 from New York to Chicago. Pullman supplied the New York Central RR with this heavyweight consist hastily repainted a bright scarlet with gold lettering to carry the College of Cardinals to the XXVIII International Eucharistic Congress held in Chicago.

The Cardinals Train (New York City to Chicago: June 16 – 17 westbound, June 25 – 26 eastbound, 1926)
“Eagle” series hwt baggage-club (ACL service)
10 cpt hwt sleeper (NYC service)
(2) 6-3 hwt sleepers
NYC hwt diner
6-3 hwt sleeper
Private car “Superb” (gothic type)

The train departed Grand Central Terminal and had a large crowd of well wishers. Large crowds, with bands and local dignitaries, were also waiting at Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester.

At Porter, Ind. the “Red Special” (as it had been dubbed) probably left the LS&MS and operated over the MCRR to Kensington, where it would have joined the ICRR.

After the famous train had made its return journey, the cars were repainted to standard Pullman green and returned to regular service.

In 1926, the Hudson would not be available for another year, so The Cardinal’s Train was probably pulled by a Pacific. If it only had a 6-car consist, the Pacific should have been more than sufficient, even up the West Albany Hill.

Con-Cor did a “Cardinal’s Train” set, which occasionally shows up on e-Bay – tain’t cheap! Of course, it featured Rivarossi’s J-3a, which was even more out-of-date for 1926.

The Cardinal Red would certainly would make a colorful contast to the normal NY Central green in 1926 !!!

 

 

See more stories about historic trains

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Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard versus NewHaven’s Cedar Hill Yard

Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard

Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. It was named in honor of former Union Pacific President Edd H. Bailey. If the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers were to play here, they’d have enough room for 2,800 football fields. This massive yard covers 2,850 acres, reaching a total length of eight miles, well beyond the borders of North Platte, a community of 25,000 citizens. Put end-to-end, Bailey Yard’s 315 miles of track would reach from North Platte in western Nebraska east past Omaha on the Iowa border along the Missouri River. Every 24 hours, Bailey Yard handles 10,000 railroad cars. Of those, 3,000 are sorted daily in the yard’s eastward and westward yards, nicknamed “hump” yards. Using a mound cresting 34 feet for eastbound trains and 20.1 feet for those heading west, these two hump yards allow four cars a minute to roll gently into any of 114 “bowl” tracks where they become part of trains headed for dozens of destinations. Together, these two yards have 18 receiving and 16 departure tracks.

New Haven’s Cedar Hill Yard

When Cedar Hill Railyard in New Haven,CT.was built it was 880 acres,154 Miles of track,& could hold 15,000 railcars. Are the new railyards built now just as large or larger?Cedar Hill was big but it was not a really modern yard by today’s standards. Three separate retarder towers all had to be manned when-ever they were humping cars and this was on two different humps if bothhumps were operating. The tracks ran around rivers and waterways, the tracks in the departure yards were too short for modern trains, the yard was very labor intensive and it took too many people in order to operate this facility. Last, the biggest reason that the yard is pretty much not used today is because New Haven is no longer used for through freight trains. The freight bound for New England is mostly off CSX through themodern facility at Selkirk and via the B & A which connects with the former New Haven at a number of locations. Many modern freight cars today can’t even get into Cedar Hill due to clearance restrictions, low bridges, overhead wires and tunnels are the biggest problems. During the New Haven Railroad days and into the Penn Central period as well, New Haven and Cedar Hill was a huge freight hub for southern New England. Today it is a stub end terminal from Springfield with a lesser operation via the P & W from Worcester via Norwich. Years ago there were 20 or more yard jobs on each shift, today there are around 3 jobs left in the whole terminal

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Is a Tool Train a Wreck Train?

The “Big Hook” on the New Haven was referred to as the “Tool Train”.

Penn Central used the work Wreck. What a surprise. On the New Haven Railroad trains were never wrecked they DERAILED, Collided or overturned but never WRECKED.

A “Big Hook” served the New Haven under steam on Penn Central at least until 1975 when it was utilized at a 12 car derailment north of Windsor, Connecticut. It also had been used in 1970 at a Branford, Connecticut derailment.

At the inception of Penn Central, a New Haven Big Hook was immediately hijacked and shipped to Altoona, Pennsylvania. The New Haven had three 230-ton cranes and the mighty Pennsylvania had nothing that big.

Now, the better track and the emergence of contract wreck clean-up outfits like “Hulcher’s Vultures” had reduced the need for the big hooks, although Guilford maintains a “wreck train” of sorts with a hook, which still sees occasional use.

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