Category Archives: New York Central Railroad

VIDEO: NY Central Engineer Retires In 1929

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My grandfather, Ken Knapp, COULD have been in this video. He was Railroad PAYMASTER until 1954 when Vanderbilts left. Seen (still only) photos at “last day” events. In 1929 he still worked in New York. Then they were relocated to Albany. By 1933 they were in UTICA. Whole 3rd floor was PAYROLL, but they cut the “PAY CARS”



Mark Tomlonson’s New York Central Dates In History


September 16, 1956 The New York Central replaces the male secretaries on the “20th Century Limited” with “Girls of the Century” – stewardesses patterned after those on airliners.

Girl Of The Century
The Century Girl, or, if you prefer…The Girl of the CenturyJoan Jennings Scalfani

Getting ready to reprise her role as a “Century Girl” for the 20th Century Limited express passenger train brought back these memories and more for Joan Jennings Scalfani.

“It was a fabulous job because I love to talk and I love to listen,” said Scalfani, 80, recalling her days in the early 1960s as a hostess aboard the historic line. “Those were happy days.”

One Century Girl was assigned to each trip.

See a YouTube presentation featuring Joan Jennings Scalfani in Grand Central Terminal

“The train was beautiful,” she said. “In the center lounge car there were love seats. … It was a very classy-looking…

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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 !!!



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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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