Category Archives: New York Central Railroad

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 Of course, it featured Rivarossi’s J-3a, which was even more out-of-date for 1926.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 !!!



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Fort Plain versus South Fort Plain

The post card says Fort Plain, but it looks like a 4-track main line, not the 2-track West Shore that went through Fort Plain. Fort Plain, NY is directly across the Mohawk River / Barge Canal from Nelliston which is on the NY Central Main Line. Checked Form 1001 for April 30, 1950. Local service on the mainline referred to the station in Nelliston as “Fort Plain”, while just down the road, Canajoharie (on the West Shore, like Fort Plain) was served by Palatine Bridge on the main line. The West Shore timetable (no passenger by 1950, but freight through Fort Plain) neatly sidestepped the issue by calling it “South Fort Plain”. Little Falls to South Fort Plain was abandoned in 1971.


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1964 to 1965 World’s Fair held in New York City

These are some advertisements / features related to the 1964 to 1965 World’s Fair held in New York City (Photos clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
New York Central’s property included the following hotels: Barclay, Biltmore, Commodore, Park Lane, Roosevelt, Waldorf-Astoria.


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More about Mail and Express (M&E) trains on the New York Central

The M&E trains were ordinary passenger trains in the timetable. the term “first class” was really without meaning as those trains ran only in double track territory where they were cleared by signal indication. They were just part of the flow of passenger trains and moved at the usual passenger train speeds with no special priority that wasn’t usual for any other passenger train.

The time it took them to get across the railroad was purely a matter of the horsepower per ton of the train. The reason the Century could make better time was that it had less tonnage for the horsepower. A heavy M&E train could not get across the line as fast because it took much longer to accelerate to the speed limit.

There seems to be a mystique about these trains arising from the romance of the fast mail of earlier years. On the NYC they didn’t “go like hell” any more than other passenger trains that ran nonstop between Albany and Syracuse or Buffalo and cleveland, or …etc.

A Rider Car was operated at the rear of a Mail & Express train for the benefit of the train crew. Passenger equipment was perfered or mandated for this purpose because these trains operated at passenger train speeds and a regular caboose would not be suitable for this service account its running gear (springs & journal boxes). Because all cars of a mail train may not have steam head connectors, Rider Cars assigned to this service usually had a stove/furnace in one end for crew comfort in inclement weather.

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Little Falls & Dolgeville RR

About 3 miles North of Little Falls (rt 167) there is a remnant of a fairly large Trestle. This is near a restaurant called the Half Way. What surprises me is the condition of the Trestle. The Dolgeville line closed up in 1964. It ran from the mainline to the Adirondack Bat Co. The line north of this was closed in the 30’s. Industries in Dolgeville were shoes: Daniel Green and others as well as Hal Schumacher’s Adirondack Baseball Bat factory. The first train ran 12/14/1892 and last 7/15/1964. The last train used engine 847, a 600 hp switcher. The NYC purchased the line in 1906. Business on the line consisted of coal, iron ore, piano sounding boards, milk, pulp wood, canned goods, etc.

This company was incorporated December 27, 1902, as the successor of a company of the same name, incorporated February 20, 1891, construction of whose road was completed December 31, 1893, at a cost of $575,000, to cover which $250,000 capital stock, $250,000 first mortgage bonds and $75,000 second mortgage bonds were issued. The original company went into receivership May 27, 1899, and the first mortgage was foreclosed. The property of the company was sold July 24, 1902. Reorganization was effected and $250,000 of new capital stock and $250,000 of new first mortgage bonds were issued. The holders of the original first mortgage bonds received an amount of the new issue equal to their holdings of the old bonds and capital stock equal to the amount of unpaid interest which accrued during the receivership. The balance of the capital stock was used to pay the expense of reorganization. The operation of the road under the new organization commenced on January 1, 1903. The control of the road passed to The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company on July 24, 1906, through its purchase of a majority of the capital stock. Consolidated April 16, 1913.

Organized July 8, 1907, to construct a railroad from Dolgeville to the iron mines belonging to the Salisbury Steel and Iron Company at Irondale, a distance of 3.89 miles. Under the terms of a contract dated July 24, 1906, entered into between the Salisbury Steel and Iron Company and the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company, the latter named company was to operate the road on its completion. The road was reported as completed September 1, 1909. Under the conditions of the contract, the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company agreed to pay the sum of $2.00 for each car passing over the line, the amounts so paid to be considered as installments for the purchase of the capital stock of the Dolgeville and Salisbury Railway Company. When the amount of those installments should reach the sum of the cost of construction of the Dolgeville and Salisbury Railway, the entire capital stock of $150,000 would become the property of the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company. Up to the time of the consolidation of the Little Fall and Dolgeville Railroad Company into The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, April 16, 1913, the Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad Company had paid, in the manner above described, an aggregate sum of $35,724.00. The agreement was assumed by The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company and the payment of the installments continued, the amount reaching the total of $40,210.00 on December 31, 1913. On completion of the necessary payments the capital stock will become the property of The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company.


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Dayton Union Railway

The first train to run into Dayton occurred on Jan. 27, 1851. It ran from Springfield to Dayton over the newly constructed tracks of the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad Co. The MR&LE RR went through a number of name changes, but eventually became the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry. (Big 4). By 1854 six railroads had made their way to Dayton, and laid the basis for the railroads that run through Dayton today. Although some of the names were different at the time of their construction, the six railroads were the CCC&St.L (NYC), PRR, CH&D (B&O), Dayton & Union (Union City, Ind. now part of the B&O), and Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern (FRR Lytle branch).

Sometime in the early 1850’s the first of the “big time” stations was built.

The 3rd Dayton station was built, this time on the north side of the tracks across from the older station, and consisted of a considerably larger structure with a large clock tower, a covered promenade along Ludlow St., five station tracks, and three station platforms (the longest was 750 ft.). A corporation called the Dayton Union Railway Co. was formed by the CCC&St.L (NYC), CH&D (B&O), and PRR to build and operate the new station.

The next step in the evolution of Dayton Union Station came in 1924 when the City Plan Board of Dayton made a comprehensive study of the elevation of tracks through downtown Dayton. For years grade crossing elimination had been on the minds of Dayton’s citizens, and the interest intensified with the development of the automobile. In those days Dayton saw about 66 passenger trains and 100 freight trains daily. In September 1925 formal conferences started between city officials and the railroad engineers, with a general plan developed in July 1926. In November 1927 a bond issue was passed by the citizens of Dayton to cover the city’s share of the cost of the elevation project (35%). Detailed plans were completed; contracts were finalized; and right-of-way was secured before the actual work began on March 5, 1930. The first train to run over any of the elevation occurred on Dec. 15, 1930, and the first train to use the entire elevation was a PRR local from Xenia at 4:30 PM on Jan. 15, 1931. All street level operations were abandoned on Sept. 30, 1931. Along with the track elevation came major changes to the station and the operation of trains through Dayton. As for the station, the structure built in 1900 remained basically unchanged, but the platforms were obviously raised, with a new waiting area, Post Office and REA facilities, and station offices being built underneath.

With the steadily increasing interest in the automobile, and decreasing concern with the passenger train (we all know that story), the City of Dayton became interested in bettering the traffic flows in the downtown area in the early 1960’s. In doing so, the city wanted to extend 6th Street to Wilkinson Street, but Union Station sat right in the way. Since the station was deteriorating somewhat and was really larger than it needed to be, considering the steady decline in passenger trains, there was no choice but to tear it down. The City purchased the station, tore it down, and built the new street. On May 1, 1971, Amtrak took over the former Pennsylvania Railroad Columbus-Indianapolis passenger train and discontinued the other routes through Dayton. This Amtrak service lasted until October 1, 1979, when the last passenger train through Dayton was discontinued.


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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”.