Buried away “somewhere” near Grand Central is the Metro-North Railroad Operations Center. Not only did it replace a half-dozen signal towers in and around Grand Central Terminal, but it controls the three main lines: Poughkeepsie, Brewster and New Haven PLUS all those smaller lines like New Canaan. Quite an undertaking.
Yes I know they are not perfect yet, but they are trying.
One of the best sources of pictures and articles about the Operations Center is an independent WebSite called I Ride The Harlem Line. They even cover night-time operations.
A little about “ I Ride The Harlem Line”
My name is Emily, though I am known by many who ride the train simply as Cat Girl, for the hats I customarily wear during the winter time. I am a graphic designer, a Metro North train rider, and a person that has always been interested in history. For the past 4 years I’ve been a regular commuter, though I’ve been a Harlem Line rider all my life. This site is a collection of my usually train-related thoughts, observations, photographs, and travels, as well as my never-ending hunt for intriguing historical artifacts.
In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools. The Senate censured Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, whose scowling rants about Communist subversion had prompted witch hunts. The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville advised a skinny young truck driver named Elvis Presley to stay behind the wheel.
And a baby-blue railroad bridge was changing the landscape between Manhattan and the Bronx. By its completion a couple of years later, it would ease the ride for suburbanites commuting to Cheever country and long-haul passengers reveling in the red-carpet treatment on the Twentieth Century Limited, a train so famous that it played a supporting role in the Alfred Hitchcock classic “North by Northwest.”
Now the bridge is getting considerably more than a face-lift — a top-to-bottom overhaul that has a price tag of $47.2 million and involves installing new cables to raise and lower the 340-foot-long track sections. Also scheduled are a new electrical control system, new wiring and new power-supply equipment for the third rail on the tracks.
Read More About this Bridge
The New York Times sort of summed it up on May 10, 2014: Since before World War II, when rail was king and Prohibition was dead, the rolling saloon has been a national staple — its contents relied upon to make the strangers less strange, the commutes less interminable. But over the years, the bar cars began to disappear: Chicago, one of the last holdouts, abandoned its bar service in 2008.
We wrote about bar cars before then even more about bar cars
Connecticut can and cannot afford, it’s well known that this is a service that more than pays for itself. In the 1960s, the bankrupt New Haven had exactly one line of black ink on its ledgers: commuter bar cars! I can’t think of any reason why the economics of this are any different today.
The commuter bar cars were a post-war phenomenon. The New Haven began operating them in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Supposedly Wilfred Duprey, the NH’s dining car department superintendent, got the idea after observing the crowds of drinkers in grill cars employed on special excursion trains. However, in the early 1930s the New Haven operated what was known as a “breakfast bar car” for commuters. This car operated on morning trains running between Stamford and GCT. It may have actually served as the inspiration for the evening commuter bar cars. Regardless, it was the alcoholic beverages served in the commuter bar cars that kept the NH’s dining car service marginally profitable through the end, which is something that no other “modern” railroad was able to do.
Quote from Marc J. Frattasio Feb 18