Category Archives: New York Central Railroad

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”.

New York Central Snow Blower

Getting to be that time when railroads see snow.

How many jet snow blowers were there? Apparently quite a few. In reading this GE Reports installment in which they talk with the former NY Central assistant director of technical research Don Wetzel (of Jet RDC fame), I discovered Wetzel personally designed and held the patents on the jet snow blowers. He told GE the blowers had been used on railroads all over the U.S.  Wetzel mentioned — in connection with the Jet RDC but I’m sure this also applies to the snow units — that the J47 turbojet engine is rated at a powerful 5,000 hp. Another factor was cost. About 30,000 J47 engines were produced between 1948 and 1956 (when the engine went out of production), so by 1960 serviceable engines could be acquired on the surplus market at reasonable prices.

One of Mr. Wetzel’s creations (X29493) is shown at the top.

Fascinated with snow and railroads? See more


The Hudson River and the Hudson River Railroad—1851

We welcome stories on the Hudson River and the Hudson River Railroad (later New York Central Railroad).

So we ran into a fantastic article on the Catskill Archive

The Hudson Riverand theHudson River Railroad—1851Published by Bradbury and Guild

The Hudson rises in a marshy tract in Essex county, east of Long Lake. Its head waters are nearly four thousand feet above the level of the sea. After receiving the waters of the Scroon on the north, and the Sacondaga, which flows from Hamilton county, on the west, it turns eastward until it reaches the meridian of Lake Champlain, where it suddenly sweeps round to the southward, and continues in a direct course to New York. One mile above Troy it receives the Mohawk River on the west, the latter being the largest stream of the two at their junction.

The entire length of the Hudson is three hundred and twenty-five miles. The picturesque beauty of its banks,—forming gentle grassy slopes, or covered with forests to the water’s edge, or crowned by neat and thriving towns, now overshadowing the water with tall cliffs, and now rising in mural precipices,—and the legendary and historical interests associated with numerous spots, combine to render the Hudson the classic stream of the United States.

The picture at the top is the Albany Night Boat.

Troy was a railroad center and had a Union Railroad that tied them all together.

Hudson River is named after Henry Hudson, by whom it was discovered in 1609.

THE ENTIRE LENGTH of the Hudson River Railroad, from Chamber street to Albany, is one hundred and forty-three miles and a quarter.

The principal object of interest at Sing Sing is the State Prison. It is situated upon the bank of the Hudson River, ten feet above high water mark. The railroad runs directly through the prison yard. The prison grounds comprise one hundred and thirty acres, and may be approached by vessels drawing twelve feet of water. The keeper’s house, workshop, &c., are built of rough “Sing Sing marble,” quarried from lands owned by the state in the vicinity. The main building is four hundred and eighty-four feet in length, running parallel with the river, and forty-four feet in width. It is five stories high, with two hundred cells upon each floor; in all, one thousand cells.

West Point, fifty-one miles from New York, is unquestionably the most romantic place upon the Hudson River. The approach to it is highly interesting. The village is placed upon the top of a promontory one hundred and eighty-eight feet above the river, where there is spread out a level plateau or terrace, more than a mile in circumference. The declivity is very steep on all sides, and the surrounding craggy hills seem to be nothing but masses of rocks, fantastically heaped by nature, crowding the stream below into a channel less than half a mile in width.

West Point is chiefly noted as the seat of the Military Academy, established here in 1802. The land—about two hundred and fifty acres—was ceded to the United States by New York in 1826. The buildings are two stone barracks occupied by two hundred and fifty cadets, the limited number; a large stone building, for military exercises in the winter, and as a depository for models of fortifications, &c.; a two-story stone building, with three towers, for astronomical purposes; a chapel, hospital, mess-rooms, &c., &c., and a number of other dwelling-houses for the officers of the institution.

Albany city, the capital of New York, is directly opposite Greenbush, with which there is constant communication by means of a ferry. The city is built upon a flat alluvial tract of land, along the margin of the river, from 15 to 100 rods wide, back of which it rises abruptly, attaining, within the space of half a mile, an elevation of 153 feet, and in one mile 220 feet above the river. Beyond this the surface is level. The older portions of the city are laid out very irregularly, and some of them are very narrow. The streets recently built are more spacious and regular. State street is from 150 to 170 feet wide, and has a steep ascent to the top of the hill. Many of the private, and more especially the public, buildings of Albany have fine situations, and overlook an extensive and a beautiful prospect.

The Capitol, which stands at the head of State street, on the hill, is a large stone edifice, 115 feet long, and 90 feet broad, fronting east, on a fine square. It contains spacious and richly furnished apartments for the accommodation of the Senate and Assembly, and various rooms for other public purposes. From the observatory at the top, which is accessible to visitors, a fine view of the city and surrounding country is obtained. The City Hall is on the east side of the same square, facing west, and is constructed with marble, with a gilded dome. The Albany Academy, built of freestone, adjoining the square, has a park in front of it; and both squares are surrounded by an iron fence, and constitute a large and beautiful public ground, laid out with walks, and ornamented with trees. The Exchange, at the foot of State street, is a commodious building of granite, constructed a few years since. The Post-office is in this building. It has also an extensive reading-room, supplied with papers and periodicals, both American and foreign, to which strangers are admitted without charge.

Abraham Lincoln and New York Railroads



Plaque in honor of President Lincoln at 414 W. 30th Street in NY City

It is at the site of the Hudson River Railroad’s New York City passenger station. Lincoln arrived here February 19, 1861 on his route to be inaugurated in Washington DC as President of the United States. After his assination Lincoln’s body went through here April 25, 1865. The Hudson River Railroad became part of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad and moved it’s main station to what became Grand Central Terminal. The old Hudson River Railroad line in the city became the West Side Freight Line.

See more about Abraham Lincoln’s trips


Picture ABOVE is the engine that pulled the Lincoln Funeral Train

Photo courtesy of Wayne Koch

Information on Lincoln’s funeral train, including details on the route, is fully covered in Scott Trostel’s book on the subject, with maps.

See more…

View original post 142 more words

Great Movie of New York Central and New Haven Trains in 1961


If you like trains in the New York City and Connecticut area, like New York Central Railroad, and/or like New Haven Railroad, like “old” (well, 1961 was not “old” for a lot of us; then you cannot miss this movie.


Above: New Haven electric locomotive on Park Avenue viaduct.


Above: New Haven MU train at Stamford (the station before the old station)


Above: New Haven “Washboard Electrics” at Stamford


Mail train (called M&E for mail and express) on the West Side Freight Line headed for the General Post Office on 8th Avenue. Motive Power is RS3’s. The old R Motors that used to haul these went to the South Shore.


Above is a NY Central “P Motor” at the 125th Street Station.. These were the BIG electrics that came from Cleveland when they took out power into/out of Cleveland Union Terminal. None of these were preserved.


Above is…

View original post 87 more words

Albany Troy Belt Line



Picture above was the Maiden Lane Bridge in Albany, NY. It plays a part in a recent discussion on the “Belt Line” that provided frequent train service. After a lot of guessing, we finally got the straight scoop from Gordon Davids:

The Albany – Troy Belt Line was jointly operated by the New York Central and the Delaware and Hudson. Contrary to a statement made on another web site and widely quoted, it was not initiated in response to competition from electric
railroads. The service was begun around 1881, according to the 1916 Annual Report of the New York State Public Service Commission.

It appears from that 1916 report that both railroads had reduced the frequency of service in that year, and the Public Service Commission took some exception to that action.

The Belt trains operated in a loop, using the upper level of Albany Union Station, Maiden Lane Bridge…

View original post 736 more words

The Backbone of New York State’s High Speed Rail

Yes! New York State has such a great basis for high speed rail: the 4 Track New York Central Railroad that ran from New York City, through Albany  to Buffalo. Postcard at top shows the old main line going through Fonda.

Read more on ideas for high speed rail in New York State.