In the early years of rail building, a series of lines grew up between New York City, Albany, Schnectady, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, linking the Great Lakes and the Midwest to the Hudson River and the world. Brought together in 1853 as the New York Central Railroad, the line eventually served one-half of America’s population, moving passengers in the northeast between New York, Chicago and Detroit, or from Boston to St. Louis.
Measures 13.25” x 10″ closed, and opens to 13.25″ x 20″.
• New York Central 3002, a Class L-3a Mohawk (4-8-2), is on a westbound mail train, hitting the track pan at Seneca River, New York on January 12, 1952. Track pans were long concrete troughs between the rails. The tender was equipped with a scoop that could be lowered into the pan as the locomotive crossed above it. The scoop would pick up enough water to eliminate a time-consuming water stop. Generally, this system was limited to passenger and express trains, many of which operated on expedited schedules. Freight trains usually stopped to take water from a tank or a water plug.
• New York Central 7912, one of 25 Class U-3c locomotives (0-8-0) built by the American Locomotive Company in 1924, is handling the switching duties at Kankakee, Illinois on February 29, 1956. Used mainly in freight yard service and on an occasional local freight, some of these steam switchers remained in service until the end of steam.
• It is a chilly March 1948 day, and New York Central Class H-5L Mikado (2-8-2) has a full load of coal on board and will be handling the East Alton (Illinois) switcher’s duties. This locomotive was built as a Class G-5s Consolidation in 1907, and in 1914 it was rebuilt into a Mikado. This engine was in service into the early 1950s.
• New York Central 126, a Class S-2 Motor built by Alco/General Electric in 1906, is switching commuter cars at Mott Haven Yard, New York in February 1964. There were 34 S-2’s. They were used for switching, but they also ventured out in revenue and excursion service. The S-2’s were durable; 126 had a 56-year service life, before retiring in 1962.
• In May 1965, New York Central 2556, leading two other General Electric Model U25B’s, is on a West Shore freight coming from Iona Island across the Hudson River Inlet at Bear Mountain State Park, about 44 miles north of New York City.
• New York Central M-U (Multiple Unit) two-car train led by 4532 is running westbound at the Yonkers, New York station on June 8, 1952. These cars were fairly new, just constructed in 1950.
• Here come two Class J-3a’s running light coupled at Peekskill, New York on August 8, 1946. Engine 5342 is leading and a non-streamlined engine just like it is trailing. The exact purpose of this light movement is unknown, but a guess would be a passenger train protection assignment.
• New York Central 6010, a Class S-1b Niagara (4-8-4) is in charge of Train #65, the westbound Advance Commodore Vanderbilt near Poughkeepsie, New York on August 8, 1946. The Central called their 4-8-4’s Niagaras. Union Pacific referred to theirs as Northerns. Western Maryland called theirs Potomacs. New York Central’s Niagaras had a short life, only about ten years. Active steam would soon be a thing of the past.
• New York Central 4095, an EMD Model E8A with an E7A trailing, leads westbound Train #35 The Iroquois through Sandusky, OH on September 12, 1962. This is a daily Boston to Chicago train. There are typically a number of head-end cars, and this train is no exception. Head-end cars consist of baggage, railway post office, express cars and the like; these cars almost always are entrained right behind the motive power.
• New York Central 225, a Class P-2b Motor built by Alco/ General Electric in 1929, is putting a commuter train together at Harmon, New York on November 18, 1961. The Central’s electric shops were located near here.
• New York Central 4917 leads Train #4, the northbound James Whitcomb Riley, making a station stop at Kankakee, Illinois on November 13, 1941. 4917 was a Class K-5b Pacific (4-6-2) built by the American Locomotive Company in 1926. Two locomotives of this class were streamlined in 1938. One was for the Mercury, a Chicago-to-Detroit train. 4917 was assigned to the Riley, which operated on a daily schedule from Chicago, IL to Cincinnati, OH in 1941. James Whitcomb Riley, known as the “Hoosier Poet,” was a writer and entertainer. He was born in Greenfield, IN in 1849 and lived in Indiana until his death in 1916. Editor’s note: This pristine Kodachrome slide was taken by Dan Peterson, a resident of Denver, Colorado. The image is flawless and the slide is 79 years old. Amazing!
• New York Central 5415, a Class J-3a Hudson (4-6-4) built by the American Locomotive Company in 1937, is leading a mail train with some deadheading passenger cars after a station stop at Toledo, OH in December 1953. An Alco FA waits for 5415 to clear. The New York Central liked the Hudsons. They owned 275 of them in seven different classes. The first Hudson went into service in 1927, and they were used systemwide. In the early to mid-1950s, the Hudsons were all removed from service. Sadly, none of them were saved.