Posts Tagged ‘Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad’

Sleuthing to Solve a Historical Mystery

July 5, 2018

Historical artifacts don’t always come with much explanation of their past. Such was the case with this train bulletin board that is mounted on a wall of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society roundhouse in Cleveland.

There are some clues about its past starting with the name of the railroad. When created in October 1960, the Erie Lackawanna used a hyphen, but that was soon dropped.

It can clearly be seen that someone painted over the original name of the railroad with “Erie-Lackawanna.

Given the shaky condition of the EL throughout its lifetime, I can understand how no one cared to change it once the hypen was dropped in 1963.

I can also understand why one bothered to paint over the numbers of trains that no longer operated. The EL was in the passenger business for nearly a decade and took a certain pride in it, but the period was marked by retrenchment until its last intercity train, the Chicago-Hoboken, New Jersey Lake Cities completed its final trips in early January 1970.

So where did this train bulletin come from? Given that the trains shown operated between Chicago and New York that suggests it came out of a former Erie Railroad station.

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western had New York-Chicago through cars that interchanged with the Nickel Plate Road in Buffalo, New York, but I doubted this artifact came from a former Lackawanna station.

A check of the train numbers in the Official Guide of the Railways substantiated that. The Lackawanna did not have a Train No. 1 on the eve of the merger.

In the EL era, Nos. 1 and 2 were the Erie-Lackawanna Limited (nee Erie Limited), and later the Phoebe Snow, a former Lackawanna train.

Nos. 5 and 6 were The Lake Cities, which had a Buffalo section numbered 35 and 36.

No 8 was the Atlantic Express whereas No. 7 was the Pacific Express. These were mail and express trains that also carried passengers.

Train No. 80, though, baffled me because the only No. 80 I could find in Official Guide schedules for the Erie Lackawanna was a commuter train that originated in Port Jervis, New York, and operated to Hoboken.

Could it have once operated to Chicago? Going back into the early 1950s schedules of the Erie, I determined that No. 80 was a Sunday-only section of the Atlantic Express.

The number for another westbound train has been obliterated, but it probably was No. 9, a Saturday-only section of the Pacific Express.

Despite this artifact being displayed in Cleveland I ruled out it having come from Cleveland or anywhere on the former Erie line between Cleveland and Youngstown.

That line once had a substantial passenger business, but those trains in the EL era carried 600 series numbers and did not operate between Chicago and New York.

There are times shown for some of the train, but those were not helpful. Eastbound No. 2 didn’t have a scheduled 43-minute layover anywhere along its route.

It did pause in Binghamton, New York, for 23 minutes, but not at 7 a.m. or 7 p.m.

I checked the times shown here for various stations, but that did not lead me to a particular station. That suggests someone added these times for show.

Buttressing that belief is the fact that Nos. 7 and 8 ceased to carry passengers in July 1965.

There was never a time when the EL had trains 2, 5, 6 and 7 operating when Nos. 1, 8 and 80 did not operate.

There was one more clue to pursue. The board used the letters “P” and “A,” to the right of the column “due,” which probably means p.m. and a.m.

Barely visible for Train No. 5 is the numeral “10” followed by “A,” presumably meaning a.m.

In late 1965 The Lake Cities was due into Akron at 10:10 a.m.

The Pacific Express when it still carried passengers was scheduled to arrive in Akron just before 8 p.m.

The only other train for which there is an “A” or “P” is the eastbound Lake Cities, which was due into Akron at 6:42 p.m.

I detected a faint trace of the letter “A” for the westbound Phoebe Snow, which was scheduled into Akron at 1:25 a.m.

This led me to conclude that this just might have been the train bulletin board at the Erie station in Akron.

Or was it? In checking the schedules more carefully I discovered that on the eve of the Erie and Lackawanna merger No. 5 was scheduled into Youngstown around 10 a.m.

As late as 1963 No. 5 was scheduled to arrive in Kent just after 10 a.m.

The best I can therefore conclude is that this bulletin board probably came out of a station somewhere in Northeast Ohio.

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Meadville Museum Gets Lackawanna Snow Plow

May 21, 2018

A former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 1945 Russell snowplow has been donated to the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

The relic was donated by an economic development agency in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

The plow, which was wide enough to cover two tracks, was owned by Growth Resources of Wellsboro, which owns part of a former Conrail route between Corning, New York, and Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The plow was being sent to Meadville on a flatcar that will arrive in Meadville on tracks of The Western New York & Pennsylvania.

The WNYP plans to unload the plow and deliver it to the museum on its own wheels.

Visiting Railfest Weekend at Steamtown

September 5, 2017

Former Baldwin Eddystone Plant switcher No. 26 ran around pulling short excursions through the yard.

A big event here in the New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania area is the annual Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site over Labor Day Weekend. It is a two-day event, featuring displays, train rides and a night photo session. This day was sunny on Saturday morning but turned to overcast skies as the day went on. Here are some highlights.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Original Lackawanna No. 426, a model SC switcher built by EMC, which predates the change to EMD.

The New York, Ontario & Western entered the diesel age in 1941 with the purchase of five GE 44 tonners. This is one of the original five.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 No. 6039.

Nickel Plate Road No. 759 needs no introduction.

Lackawanna painted F-3 #663 pulled caboose rides through the yard.

Reading F-7s 902 & 903 are not owned by Steamtown but reside their when not pulling excursions for the two groups that own them.

Reading T-1 No. 2124 is one of the four T-1s that the Reading preserved for their Iron Horse Rambles. The 2124 was basically a reserve engine for the 2100, 2101 & 2102.

An ‘All Day’ Heritage Unit Chase

May 2, 2017

It took nearly all day, but I finally caught Norfolk Southern No. 1074, the Lackawanna heritage locomotive, on  Sunday in Conneaut.

No. 1974 was on the point of train 14M, a Conway to Buffalo, New York, manifest freight.

It is shown at Parish Road just before entering the Conneaut Yard.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Another Rail Ride for Mail on Shortest RPO Route

February 13, 2017

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Since we have been talking about Railway Post Office service, I thought you might like to see this.

This postcard was mailed via the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s Summit & Gladstone R.P.O. route on April 13, 1954.

This was reportedly the shortest R.P.O. route in the United States at 22 miles in length.

Trains still operate over this line as New Jersey Transit’s Gladstone Branch, but the mail is no longer carried. Since the 1930s, trains on this line have been electric MU cars and the Lackawanna had RPO trailer cars that were attached to the MU trains.

As you can see, the RPO was carried on train No. 426. The Gladstone Branch today is a busy NJ Transit commuter line.

NJT still runs a train 426 over the Gladstone Branch. Last April 13 I took this postcard for a ride on train 426 over the very same route it traveled in 1954. Who says you can’t go home again?

Article and Photograph by Jack Norris

NS Rescues Passenger Car Set to be Scrapped

January 11, 2017

A rail passenger car in danger of being scrapped will instead become part of the NS office and technology car fleet.

NS logo 2NS car 35 will be rebuilt in Roanoke, Virginia, after the railroad acquired it from the Central Maine & Quebec.

Pullman built the car in 1926 for Pullman Director George F. Baker.

Baker held a large amount of stock in the Delaware Lackawanna & Western, so the car because a DL&W office car after Banker died in 1937.

The car was sold to a private party in 1968 and twice damaged by vandals before it was moved to Vermont.

Later winding up on the former Bangor & Aroostook, the car was owned by the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic before being inherited by the CM&Q, which said it would scrap the car unless it was moved.

Railroading as it Once Was: Just Another Day on the Erie Lackawanna in Binghamton, New York

September 1, 2016

EL units

It’s just another day at the office for this Erie Lackawanna crew member as he rides the power back to his train in Binghamton, New York.

The local train buffs were all over that set of Es that had come in earlier on PB100 as it was pretty rare for sets of those to make it that far east by 1975.

The 810, a former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western unit, was only a few hundred feet from the home rails it used to haul the likes of the Phoebe Snow on.

The C-425 and the two U-25-Bs were bought new by the EL in the early ‘60s.

Conspicuously absent are things like ditch lights on the Alco and a green high visibility vest on the trainman. Sometimes change is in the small details.

The 2461 is still with us today as Delaware-Lackawanna 2461. Photo scanned from a Kodacolor print negative.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

 

Phoebe Snow Lounge Cars Still in Service

June 17, 2016
A former Phoebe Snow lounge car at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

A former Phoebe Snow lounge car at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Though Phoebe Snow

She cannot go

Upon a trip to Buffalo

She will delight

That day or night

Her lounges are a pleasing sight

Both of the square-ended tavern-lounge-observation cars that once operated on the Erie Lackawanna’s Phoebe Snow still exist. Metro-North Railroad, the New York commuter carrier, owns both of them and they are used in conjunction with another lounge car as a three-car business/inspection train.

They travel all lines of Metro-North, which is mostly ex-New York Central, and New Haven trackage.

I had the pleasure of riding these cars in the early 1990s on a special charter. These pictures show their current configuration.

Once a year, these cars travel across the Hudson River to Hoboken. They then ride the former Erie Railroad up to Port Jervis, since from Suffern, New York, to Port Jervis is a Metro-North operation.

I have never seen the cars in Hoboken in person. It is usually during a weekday when I’m working and they pop up with no announcement.

The Phoebe Snow is best known as a passenger train of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western. It began in 1949 as a daytime streamliner between Hoboken and Buffalo, New York.

However, the image of Phoebe Snow was used by the Lackawanna in the early 1900s to promote passenger service pulled by steam locomotives burning Anthracite coal.

Verses set to nursery school rhymes extolled the virtue of the Road of Anthracite, most notably how it was a clean burning fuel that would not soil Phoebe’s white dress.

Tavern-lounge-observation cars 789 and 790 were the signature feature of the Phoebe Snow until they were removed from service in October 1962 when the train was rerouted and use of the Phoebe name was dropped.

After being named EL president in June 1963, William White ordered the tavern-lounges restored to service. The Erie-Lackawanna Limited between Chicago and Hoboken became the Phoebe Snow. 

However, the tavern-lounges only operated in revenue service between Hoboken and Meadville, Pennsylvania.

If they ever passed through Akron, it would have been for a special occasion. Nos. 1 and 2 passed through Northeast Ohio in the dead of night.

Declining patronage led the EL to discontinue the Phoebe Snow. It began its last trips on Nov. 27, 1966.

I am also showing a Phoebe Snow tavern lounge menu to show the good old days. Order a drink and enjoy the ride.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Posing for a portrait in Dover Plains.

Posing for a portrait in Dover Plains.

Inside a lounge car once used on the Phoebe Snow.

Inside a lounge car once used on the Phoebe Snow.

At Poughkeepsie, New York

At Poughkeepsie, New York

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Railroading as it Once Was: This Long Hood Forward Unit Had me Getting Quite Excited

June 1, 2016

EL long hood

Some folks don’t like a long hood lead unit but I was all over this one at Binghamton, New York, in 1975.

It’s a former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western unit built as a long hood front engine, which were common back in the ‘50s, so it was “properly” orientated on this train.

These GP7s were everywhere on the east end of the Erie Lackawanna system but conspicuously absent in Ohio.

I never saw one in my home state until Conrail took over and scattered the EL power to the four winds, so this beauty was a real treat for me.

Nice paint, clean and on the point of a westbound freighter on its former Lackawanna rails.

My buddy from over east thought I was nuts getting all excited about this “common” unit.

I mean, I had Alco RS3s out the wazoo in Ohio so why would I want to see this common geep? One man’s junk is another man’s treasure was all I could say.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Erie/EL Stations of the East: The Stately Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, NJ

May 30, 2016

DL&W Hoboken Terminal Built 1907

First of a Series

New Jersey is big on preservation and many communities have preserved and/or restored their train stations.

Except for Mahwah, Waldwick, Middletown and Port Jervis, all of these stations still provide their waiting rooms for daily commuters using New Jersey Transit trains.

Only Mahwah does not sit in its original spot. It is now located about 200 feet from the tracks it once served.

In this first of a five-part series, Jack Norris takes us on a tour of Erie Railroad and Erie Lackawanna passenger stations in New Jersey and New York on the former New York Division.

We begin with the Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey. This became the terminal for all EL passenger trains after the October 1960 merger of the Erie and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Lackawanna Terminal opened in 1907. The exterior is copper and the waiting room ceiling was made by Tiffany (yes, THE Tiffany).

The original clock tower was removed in the early 1950s due to it being unstable. The clock tower you see is a recreation that New Jersey Transit installed in 2008.

During Superstorm Sandy, 5 feet of sea water and mud filled this waiting room. That is about a foot or so above the ticket window counters.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Hoboken Terminal Entrance

Hoboken Ticket Windows

HobokenTiffany Ceiling