The Utica Aud Has More Improvements On The Way

Wow! Facade, club boxes, new inner  concourse planned for Aud before hockey starts!

Last year, several renovations were planned to entice a hockey team to the Aud. Now the team is real and additional renovations will make the building appear lots less that it’s 55 years age.

Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority has a lot on its plate:

A newly revamped inner concourse, where the concession stands are located, will be ready

A contract to add a new façade is set to be awarded later this month

A request for proposals to construct club boxes will go out next.

Also, a new parking lot that will nearly triple the number of spaces is already under construction, with the help of $500,000 from Oneida County.

All told, the renovations, which have been ongoing since 2011, will cost more than $6 million. Of that, $5 million comes from a pair of 2013 state grants obtained with the help of Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, and state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome.

The auditorium is a landmark in our community and was in need of repairs,” Brindisi said. “(The repairs) also helped bring in the Utica Comets hockey team.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the resurgence of hockey – the presence of Utica College hockey as well as the Comets – at the Aud has been a major catalyst for the institution’s turnaround, and he’s glad to help foster it.

We had been struggling with the Aud, in terms of its viability and its continuance,” Picente said, referring to past financial troubles at the Aud. “It has become easy to invest in again. That’s what we are doing, and it’s paying off.”

He said he and others who grew up in the area are seeing the Aud become a vital part of downtown life again, just as it was years ago.

Read more about the Aud and Utica hockey.

Moving To The Digital World-Still/Yet

It seems odd to talk about companies moving toward the digital world. It isn’t that this is a strange topic, but isn’t everyone already there? In fact the answer is a resounding ‘no’ – or at least ‘not yet’ as reported in Altimeter Group’s report “The 2014 State of Digital Transformation.” While much of the underpinning work required to make processes and systems digitally functional, most companies are still missing the boat.

Four all-time-best financial marks highlight UP’s strong second quarter.

The diversity of its commodity groups and a big post-winter business boost helped Union Pacific Corp. set four all-time quarterly financial records in the second quarter.The new high-water marks include operating revenue, which climbed 10 percent to $6 billion; operating income, which jumped 17 percent to $2.2 billion; diluted earnings, which ballooned 21 percent to $1.43 per share; and the operating ratio (OR), which improved 2.2 points to 63.5 compared with second-quarter 2013 results. The OR bested the previous quarterly record set in third-quarter 2013 by 1.3 points.

In addition, carloads increased 8 percent to 2.4 million units and freight revenue climbed 10 percent to $5.7 billion, driven by volume growth and core pricing gains.

“Union Pacific achieved record quarterly financial results, leveraging the strengths of our diverse franchise to handle strong demand in the face of challenging operating conditions,” said UP Chief Executive Officer Jack Koraleski in a press release.

By commodity group, agricultural products revenue shot up 19 percent to $934 million and volume soared 16 percent to 243,000 units; intermodal revenue jumped 16 percent to $1.1 billion and volume ballooned 12 percent to 924,000 units; industrial products revenue climbed 16 percent to $1.1 billion and volume jumped 12 percent to 356,000 units; chemicals revenue rose 3 percent to $913 million but volume declined 1 percent to 283,000 units; automotive revenue increased 2 percent to $545 million and volume rose 6 percent to 208,000 units; and coal revenue ratcheted up 1 percent to $989 million and volume inched up 1 percent to 417,000 units.

Operating expenses rose 6 percent to $3.8 billion primarily because purchased services and material costs climbed 9 percent to $636 million, fuel costs increased 7 percent to $923 million, and compensation and benefits costs rose 5 percent to $1.2 billion. Headcount in the quarter increased 1 percent year over year to 47,052.

Looking ahead, Union Pacific leaders are optimistic about business prospects in the second half.

“As always, we are closely monitoring the economic landscape, along with the major drivers across all of our business segments, including the potential impact of weather on grain and coal,” said Koraleski. “As the economy gradually continues to improve, the power of our diverse franchise provides business growth opportunities in all of our commodity groups.”

Adopting E-Invoicing Can Bring Huge Cost Savings To European Businesses

According to a recently released report published by Billentis and sponsored by Ricoh Europe, European companies can enjoy a cost savings of between 60 to 80 percent by adopting e-invoicing. In addition, the report estimated a business will recover its initial investment for implementing electronic invoicing within six to 18 months.

The report concluded that nearly one-quarter (24%) of the approximately six billion invoices and bills transmitted annually in Europe will be sent electronically. Moreover, the report anticipates a 22 percent annual increase in e-invoicing and electronic billing across that continent, both in the private and government sectors.

The impetus for this startling uptick in electronic invoicing? Across the board, the most common response is the cost savings afforded by e-invoicing.

Vancouver Canucks sign Archibald, DeFazio

The Vancouver Canucks, the National Hockey League parent team of the Utica Comets, announced Tuesday it signed forwards Darren Archibald and Brandon DeFazio.

Utica Comets Archibald
Utica Comets Archibald

The 24-year-old Archibald, a Comets’ fan favorite, played in 59 games for Utica and recorded 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) with 102 penalty minutes. He played in 16-regular season games with Vancouver and had three points on one goal and two assists.

Utica Comets DeFazio
Utica Comets DeFazio

DeFazio, 25, played the entire season in Utica and was the Comets’ fourth-leading scorer. He had 34 points with 17 goals, 17 assists and 106 penalty minutes in 76 games played.

Passenger 1957: All Kinds Of Cool Stuff On Eastern Railroads, even the REVERSAL of “Travel Tailored Schedule Plan”

We ran an article last month on 1956  and got lots of readers, so now we will try 1957. These notes come from The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society Lots of  years in Pennsylvania RR history are available. But what is great is that they cover lots of other railroads.

1957 The New York Central ends its “Travel Tailored Schedules”, returning to lots of head-end equipment leading long, slow trains. Alfred J. Perlman has designed the new policy to drive away passengers and make train discontinuance easier. Interestingly this REVERSES a 1956 plan to add “Travel Tailored Schedules”. New York PUC refuses permission to change “Empire Service” between New York and Buffalo, which retains the short-train concept. (Doughty, Guide)
 AAR increases per diem charge from $2.40 to $2.75. (NH AR)
Massachusetts Legislature issues report critical of Alpert’s managementof New Haven.
New Haven’s version of “Train-X”, Dan’l Webster, makes first public demonstration run Boston to New York; rear locomotive catches fire inthe Bronx when faulty third rail shoe shorts out; rear locomotive and two-unit car cut off, and train continues to New York, returning toBoston one hour late; damaged section derails at Pelham while being towed to New Rochelle, causing delays to evening rush hour; regular service, scheduled for Jan. 9, delayed indefinitely. (NYT)
Mrs. Robert R. Young sells 3,000 shares, 12%, of Alleghany Corporation’s $4 prior preferred stock. (NYT) 
PRR announces it will buy six experimental Budd MU cars based on Pioneer III design for Philadelphia commuter service; will have ignitronrectifiers an d.c. traction motors; to be followed by regular order for 250 cars to replace MP54’s system-wide. ( , Middleton)
North Shore Commuters Association meets with New York Gov. Harriman to urge placing LIRR in hands of a public authority instead of current reorganization. (NYT)
New Haven discontinues all local passenger service between Providence and Woonsocket. (A-sheet)
PRR corporate headquarters moved from Suburban Station to Transportation Building (6 Penn Center).
PRR VP J. Benton Jones writes to Symes noting that VP Ernest Nickerson of NYC is resisting eliminating through cars to West via Chicago. (VPO)
NYC completes CTC installation on Erie Division between Buffalo and Cleveland; four tracks reduced to two with bi-directionality and capable of 60 MPH freight service; billed as longest double-track CTC in world.
All NYC Northern District (Michigan Central) trains move from Central Station to La Salle Street Station in Chicago; Big Four trains remain in Central Station; service ends at MC local stations in Gary and Hammond. (A-sheet, Sanders)
NYC sells its Huntington Avenue coach yard in Boston to Prudential Insurance Company and moves coach storage to Beacon Park; Prudential builds Prudential Center complex on air rights. (Humphrey)
“Directomat”, machine giving directions to all other subway stations placed in service at Penn Station stop of IRT. (NYT)
New Haven takes delivery of its second lightweight train, ACF’s TALGO train, the John Quincy Adams; train is also bi-directional with locomotives by Fairbanks-Morse.
New $10 million ticket sales & service bureau opens in Penn Station, New York at 12:01 AM; 164-foot ling fluorescent light “clamshell” canopy designed by Lester C. Tichy presents jarring contrast to the original Roman architecture and blocks main axis to concourse; new passages to Concourse cut through former Waiting Rooms; small number of benches in Concourse replace those in Waiting Rooms; new ticket area features electronic and mechanical devices for printing tickets and checking reservation space; includes 105 closed-circuit TV cameras and 100 monitors that show availability of Pullman space. (CE, Guide). On first weekday of operation, new Penn Station ticket sales bureau experiences delays caused by fuzzy, poorly lighted or malfunctioning TC screes; irate customers experience delays of 20 minutes to one hour; on same day begin demolition of old grilled ticket booths to be replaced by counters for Travelers Aid and Western Union and nine new shops. (NYT)
South Station, Boston, ticket office mechanized with Ticketeer machines. (NH AR)
New York PSC begins investigation of January 5.4% fare increase on LIRR. (NYT)
PRR begins use of mobile snack carts designed by Coca-Cola Company instead of dining or cafe cars on some New York-Washington trains.
NYC dedicates new Frontier Yard in East Buffalo; first of Perlman’s large, electronic hump yards; replaces eight older yards including Gardenville Yard and cutoff.
Mar. 1957 New Haven places article in April issue of Harpers Magazine declaring that commuter operations are a public service and not a business and require public funds and tax relief. (AR)
New Haven introduces John Quincy Adams (Fairbanks-Morse/AC&F TALGO train) and Dan’l Webster (BLH/Pullman-Standard Train-X) lightweight trains between New York and Boston; run on schedules of Commander, New Yorker/Bostonian, andMurray Hill westbound and Mayflower eastbound. (Guide)
O&W Diesels
O&W Diesels

New York, Ontario & Western ends all service; first Class I railroad to be totally abandoned. (Trains)

Perlman unveils “Flexi-Van,” his system of container-on-flat-car; reduces dead-weight and drag of conventional piggyback but requires special trucks, flat cars and lightweight containers developed by Fruehauf; truck cabs are used to move containers on and off cars rather than overhead cranes; system used only on NYC and Milwaukee Road; not placed in revenue service until 1958. (NYT)
George Alpert named Board Chairman of New Haven as well as President in vote of confidence. (AR)
NYC assigns hostesses to Empire State Express. (Guide)
Teamsters Union begins three-month strike against Railway Express Agency. (MB, NYT)
PRR adopts Daylight Savings Time exclusively in all published timetables for first time.
Last run of a New York Central steam locomotive at Cincinnati; 2-8-2 No. 1977.
ICC grants Eastern railroads 15% first class fare increase and makes permanent a 5% rise in coach fares granted effective Jan. 9, 1957. (Guide)
New Haven’s “Train-X” Dan’l Webster locomotive catches fire at 7:35 PM, just after arriving at track 18, upper level, of Grand Central Terminal; smoke forces evacuation of some sections for about a half hour. (DlyNws)
Massachusetts Turnpike opens between Boston and New York state line near Albany.
NYC formally dedicates Cleveland Technical Center, $1 million research laboratory at Collinwood Shops under 35-year old James J. Wright; parts open since 1956; begins experimenting with radioactive isotopes, including plan for phosphorescent switch lamps using krypton 85; are also experimenting with gas turbine.
PRR forced to pay 4.43% interest on $5.5 million equipment trust certificates issued to buy 21 diesels and 320 freight cars; thereafter discontinues use of car trusts and instead forms subsidiaries to lease equipment directly from manufacturers.
Arthur W. Page (1883-1960), former VP of AT&T, makes report on improving rail transit between New York and New Jersey to Metropolitan Transit Commission; recommends creation of bi-state public agency called Metropolitan District of New York & New Jersey; $55 million for rehabilitating New Jersey commuter railroads; $345 million rapid transit loop using BMT line in New York City with tunnel from near Battery to CNJ terminal, then running east of Bergen Hill to Hoboken, then west and parallel to NYS&W and tunneling the Hudson
near 59th Street with transfers from all railroads approaching from New Jersey except PRR; $10 million to modernize H&M, which is otherwise left out and encircled by proposed loop; operating deficits to be made up by taxes in proportion to valuation of taxable property in service region; plan is opposed by Hudson & Manhattan and bus interests. (Rept)
ICC approves PRR and Santa Fe bid for joint control of Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad. (ICC)
 K4s No. 1361 dedicated as memorial on Horseshoe Curve. (Pennsy)
Port of New York Authority and NYC start drive to equalize rates at all Eastern ports, ending differentials established in 1870s 
citing competition from St. Lawrence Seaway. 
LIRR resumes parlor car service to East End resorts with two cars; by 1967, LIRR acquires 37 heavyweight parlor cars, 
most from PRR. (Trains – some sources say 1955)
PRR handles biggest peacetime special movement for Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge; requires 18 months planning; 
50 special trains and extra cars on regular trains; trains arrive at Norristown July 9-11 with scouts ferries to Valley Forge Park by bus;
 those traveling in less than full trainloads change at Paoli; operation coordinated by Elmer F. Schrumpf, 
Assistant Manager of Special Movements. (Pennsy)
In Aug. 1957 issue of Architectural Forum , Lester C. Tichy describes the modernized ticket counter at Penn Station and also 
his plan for developing air rights; “Every function of the station, except the glory, occurs below street level.” (ArchForum)
Three-year boom of mid-1950s ends; first major post-World War II recession begins, lasting eight months; industrial production 
falls 13% by Apr. 1958; causes drastic drop in freight earnings; railroad net income down 17%; unemployment nears 8% in early 1958; 
decline for Northeastern railroads continues into 1961. (worst in last quarter of 1957 and first half of 1958); downturn catches 
all Eastern railroads operating on thin profit margins made possible only by 12 years of deferred maintenance; 
Eastern railroads are fatally squeezed between recession in business and continuing inflation, and most are brought to 
the edge of bankruptcy by the early 1960s, when the business cycle again enters an upswing. (NBER, AR)
NYC Pres. Perlman announces that NYC and New York Central Transport Company have placed orders for $8 million in 
Flexi-Van equipment, including 150 special flat cars ordered from Strick, 900 containers and 150 special truck bodies. (Guide)
NYC’s lightweight Ohio Xplorer “Train-X” makes last run between Cleveland and Cincinnati. (Doughty, Guide)
New Haven places first two FL-9’s in service between Grand Central and Springfield; has accepted two others and 
announces will receive a total of 30 by end of 1957 and another 30 in 1958; will permit scrapping 360 older locomotives. (NYT)
Last trip of weekend-only Washington-Hyannis sleeper on Night Cape Codder . (Guide)
NYC pays its third quarter dividend in common stock of Reading Company at equivalent of $1.31 per share to conserve cash; 
NYC stockholders receive one share of Reading for each 25 of NYC; liquidates NYC’s Reading holdings (all?) that date back to 
the 1900 “Community of Interest”. (RDG)
James M. Symes visits Robert R. Young at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York and outlines proposal to merge PRR and NYC. (late Sep.). 
A.E. Perlman and J.M. Symes announce later in year that PRR and NYC are studying merger; combined assets $5.6 billion; 
news draws negative reaction from liberals in Washington and local governments. (NYT)
Soviet Union launches Sputnik, first artificial earth satellite, beating the U.S. in the first phase of the “Space Race.”
New York-Los Angeles sleeping car via Overland Route begins running daily on NYC after PRR service abandoned; runs on
Commodore Vanderbilt and City of Los Angeles . (Guide)
NYC places Xplorer lightweight train in Chicago-Elkhart commuter service; car converted to lounge soon after beginning service is 
reconverted to coach. (Guide)
Union Pacific replaces “Aerotrain” with conventional equipment on City of Las Vegas; last run of “Aerotrain” in main line service; 
was too small and had inadequate food service facilities.
Last run of NYC passenger service between Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls. (Guide)
New York PUC authorized NYC to drop two passenger trains between Lake Clear Jct. and Malone, N.Y. (NYT)
Boston & Albany Railroad announces sale of Highland Branch to Metropolitan Transit Authority for $10.6 million; becomes Green Line 
extension of subway-surface lines, relieving B&A of commuter service.

Passenger 1956: All Kinds Of Cool Stuff On Eastern Railroads, even “Travel Tailored Schedule Plan”

Robert R. Young sells 27,300 shares of NYC, reducing his holdings to 1,200 shares of common stock.
NYC files with Indiana Public Service Commission to abandon all passenger service west of Indianapolis, citing $1.2 million loss in 1957;
also files with Ohio to discontinue all service between Cincinnati and Toledo. (Guide, Sanders)
County Transportation Company, a New Haven subsidiary, ceases last bus operation in Port Chester area. (AR)
 LIRR applies “Dashing Dan” herald to all passenger cars. (Keystone) 
Perlman begins replacement of NYC 4-track main line (2 high-speed passenger tracks; 2 low-speed freight tracks) with double-track with
CTC for bi-directional running; first section completed between Buffalo and Cleveland.
Number of airline passengers exceeds number of intercity rail passengers for first time.
Number of Hudson & Manhattan Railroad passengers bottoms out at 30 million; down from 114 million in 1927. (Palmer)
New Haven begins single track with CTC between Maybrook and Poughkeepsie. (AR)

Germany’s Top Secret World War II Weather Station Kurt Found On North American Soil

Saw this the other day on the newly-renovated Weather Wunderground the other day and thought you might be interested.

A daring but little-known mission took place in Canada during World War II.

But this stealth mission didn’t use bombs and bullets. It was all about the weather.

The German military had trouble getting accurate weather forecasts. In temperate climates, weather systems generally move from west to east. That fact, and the Allied network of North American weather stations, gave them an advantage.

In 1943, German submarine U-boat 537 arrived in Canada’s Labrador’s Martin Bay with an automated weather station code-named “Kurt.”

The crew, along with two meteorologists, assembled the bulky apparatus a quarter of a mile inland.

Weather Station Kurt was lost to history until 1977 when archeologists stumbled upon what they thought was an old Canadian weather station.

Franz Selinger, a retired engineer who was working on a book on Nazi weather stations, eventually located U-537’s log book, which confirmed the unbelievable story of the only armed German landing in North America in World War II.

In 1981, Selinger told the Associated Press, “The Canadians wouldn’t believe me. But when i presented them with proof, things started humming.”

He said the station operated from October 1943 until January 1944, when extreme cold became too much for its batteries.

You can see Weather Station Kurt in the Canadian War Museum located in Ottawa, Canada.

With help from Penney Vanderbilt