Posts Tagged ‘Jack Norris’

Remember PRR’s Philadelphia Day Trips

March 14, 2017

For those people that like to take day trips by train, here are some great outings from Philadelphia that were operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1923. I wish those wonderful prices were still around today. Philadelphia to New York by New Jersey Transit and SEPTA today is about $50 round trip. The cheapest Amtrak fare is $56 one way.

Article by Jack Norris

Another Rail Ride for Mail on Shortest RPO Route

February 13, 2017


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

How the B&O Marketed the Columbian

January 12, 2017
I love collecting brochures introducing (then) new trains. I just got this one for the Baltimore & Ohio’s Columbian. It is circa 1949 and the train, with modern diesels and new Strata Dome cars, served Chicago and the East. You will notice one of the cities served was Akron. I already had a dining car menu from the train so I am attaching that, too. I rode Amtrak’s Capitol Limited before the Superliner age. The train had dome cars. The only way to go.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Some Erie Now and Then From the East End

December 30, 2016


Centennial Trains

Centennial Trains

Memorabilia from the Erie Railroad's centennial.

Memorabilia from the Erie Railroad’s centennial.

In keeping with the theme then and now, I thought I would pass on this little tidbit from the Erie Railroad’s east end.

On a late December day I am standing at New Jersey Transit’s Ramsey/Route 17 Station in Ramsey, New Jersey, which is less than 10 years old.

Erie milepost JC 28 is about 600 feet behind me. I am on the station platform looking railroad west (compass north).

You can probably tell that this was the Erie main line and four tracks wide in the Erie/Erie Lackawanna days.

Above me, traffic is whizzing by on the Route 17 overpass. Thousands of commuters and tens of thousands of cars go through and over this unremarked spot every day. If they only knew.

Now, we go back 65 years to 1951. The Erie Railroad is celebrating its 100th Anniversary.

A special train is being run with museum cars, the latest in Erie freight and passenger cars and new, shiny roaring diesel locomotives.

There were also some flat cars. On one of these flat cars is carried the Baltimore & Ohio’s 1855- built William Mason and a period passenger car.

They are disguised as an Erie train from 1851 and will be off-loaded at certain display areas to give operating demonstrations to the crowds of visitors.

Which brings us back to the matter of milepost JC 28.

The William Mason and its train were off-loaded here. Erie officials had given orders to an eastbound freight to temporarily stop and pose with the William Mason for the company photographer.

The photographer was on – you guessed it – the Route 17 overpass directly above my head. Although I can show the spot of the photo I could not duplicate the elevation due to bridge changes and the volume of traffic.

If everyone that passes through today only knew what happened at this very spot 65 years ago.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Remembering Broadway Limited, X2000

December 17, 2016

ARRC blog contributor Jack Norris wrote the following after reading in the November 2016 eBulletin the feature about the day that Amtrak came to Akron in 1990.

I liked the latest newsletter that I received today. My favorite Amtrak ride to Chicago was the Broadway Limited. I was heartbroken when it ended Sept. 9-10, 1995.

Now, if I do travel to Chicago I go to Washington, D.C., and pick up the Capitol Limited.

Here is my shot of the last westbound Broadway Limited, taken at Metropark Station in Iselin, New Jersey. I believe the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Broadway Limited tail car Mountain View was supposed to be on the back, but a failed inspection sidelined it.

Your picture in the same issue of the X2000 also brought back memories. I rode the train twice when it was in regular service. It was a comfortable train, but I like the way the Acela turned out better.

Photographs by Jack Norris



Once the HQ of the Mighty Oval

December 11, 2016




The pictures of the AC&Y Building [in Akron] reminded me that a couple years ago I took pictures of the old New York Central headquarters building adjacent to Grand Central Terminal. The two buildings obviously have common family traits, such as a large external clock with Roman gods and goddesses surrounding it. Although it has been named the Helmsley Building for many years, if one looks carefully you’re find these interwoven NYC initials. At 31 stories, it is a midget among its contemporary neighbors, but the elegance is undeniable.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Derailment Cancels Tourist RR Last Trips

November 8, 2016

On Oct. 28 you printed my article about part of the Catskill Mountain Railroad shutting down.

train image2We had ridden the line for our last time on Oct. 23. The very last runs were supposed to be Oct. 28, 29 and 30. As it turns out, we made the right decision riding the weekend before.

On the final trip of Friday, Oct. 28, the Catskill Mountain train derailed the locomotive and an open-air car. No one was hurt.

The train was eventually re-railed but the railroad was forced to cancel the trips for Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets had been sold in advance. People came from long distances to ride the last trains, only to have to be turned away.

It was a very sad end to a 34 year operation. Don’t take things for granted. Enjoy the moment, as it might inadvertently be the last you will get.

Article by Jack Norris

NY Tourist RR Shutting Down a Line

October 28, 2016


Nothing is more painful than saying goodbye to a tourist railroad, especially one that has been successful for 33 years.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad operates two separate segments of the New York Central’s  Catskill Mountain Branch through beautiful rural New York State.

The segment that runs between Cold Brook, Mount Tremper and Phoenicia has reached the end of the line.

The railroad has endured much hardship through its existence from storms thrown at it by Mother Nature to a three-year legal battle with Ulster County, which owns the tracks.

Without going into a long-winded history about the legal battle, the railroad has lost its lease over the segment and will be shutting down this weekend.

After 150 years of trains through the Catskills, the time has finally run out. I had to take one last rides behind an ex-Long Island Railroad/ex-Staten Island Railroad S-1.

There is nothing better than a open car behind an Alco through the mountains in the fall.

The 1880s U&D station at Phoenicia houses the Empire State Railway Museum, which will remain.

It is off the beaten path, so without the train in the area there is no telling what will happen to the museum.

The other part of the CMRR will continue to operate out of Kingston, New York. Goodbye old friend. Thank you for 33 years of happiness.

 Article and Photographs by Jack Norris




Jack Norris Collection Part of Exhibit

October 27, 2016


Akron Railroad Club blog contributor Jack Norris has been asked by New Jersey Transit and the Fair Lawn Historical Preservation Society to do an exhibit about the railroad and Fair Lawn. This is a lead up to a lecture being given by NJT and FLHPS on Nov 2, 2016, about train transportation through Fair Lawn over the years. My exhibit will be on display during regular library business hours through Oct 30.

A Look Inside Damaged Hoboken Terminal

October 21, 2016




I took a ride to Hoboken recently to check out the terminal after the crash that happened more than two weeks ago.

The terminal partially reopened on Oct. 10. Tracks 10 through 17 are in use and the waiting room is open. But the ticket windows are closed.

There isn’t much to see once you get into the terminal itself. The hole in the concourse roof left by the area that collapsed is only visible from the track platforms.

The north end of the concourse is walled off with floor to ceiling walls. Nothing can be seen.

The north set of doors leading from the waiting room to the concourse is sealed off. The crash hit right outside those doors on Track 5.

Had the train traveled about 15 feet more it would have penetrated the ticket office and waiting room wall.

Hoboken is a waterfront terminal. People leave the former Erie Lackawanna lines and transfer to ferry, PATH trains, buses or light rail to reach their final destinations.

You do not have to enter the waiting room to transfer. With the north end of the concourse closed off people have to go through the waiting room and exit to the outside world in order to transfer.

There were many New Jersey Transit employees around, directing people to roped-off walkways and plenty of signs that make the transfers as painless as possible.

Probably about two-thirds of regular weekday train service has been restored.

There were many NJT police and employees around keeping an eye on things. As my trains entered and exited the terminal and yard, many sets of eyes were watching each train. This was a very bad accident that could have been much worse.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris