Posts Tagged ‘New York Central Railroad’

Locomotive Finds at Collinwood Yard

September 30, 2021

It is late in the New York Central era or perhaps early in Penn Central Days. New York Central Alco RS3s No. 5344 and No. 5287 are joined by two EMD switchers, an ALCO FB, and an EMD E7A. all of them sitting in Collinwood Yard in Cleveland. Some of these locomotives might be used for parts or scrapped, others might be rebuilt or repaired, and still others might be repainted into PC paint.

Photography by Robert Farkas

Awaiting its End

April 30, 2021

It’s the late 1960s at the New York Central Bridge Yard in the Collinwood facility in Cleveland where NYC F3A No. 1635 awaits its end. Built in April 1948, we don’t know how it wound up getting smashed in like this.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Penn Central’s Stock Certificates Were Elaborate, Colorful, But Today are Mere Collector’s Items

January 27, 2017

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When Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1970 it was not only the largest business failure in America to date, but it rendered stock in the beleaguered company all but worthless.

One footnote to the Penn Central story is that when the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merged on Feb. 1, 1968, the company was officially known as the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company, a name that didn’t last long and was shortened to Penn Central Transportation Company.

As seen above the stock certificates came in two colors, blue and brown. Shareholders also had the option of mixing the two shades.

Not unlike many stock certificates, Penn Central stock had an elaborate appearance, featuring a profile of the Roman god Mercury. He was the god of financial gain, commerce, messages/communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves.

Given some of the financial shenanigans that PC management practiced during their trouble company’s life, perhaps the choice of Mercury was appropriate given their embrace of the latter two of Mercury’s traits.

Mercury appears amid scenes of a city skyline and various forms of transportation.

Because the PRR was the nominal survivor of the merger, it’s date of origin is listed toward the top on the right hand side.

From a legal perspective, the PRR had changed its name to Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company.

That didn’t last long. On May 8, 1968, the company name changed to Penn Central Transportation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Central Company.

For awhile, PC paid dividends to stock holders in an effort to create the illusion of success.

In reality, the railroad ran up a deficit of $2.8 million in its first year and it only grew from there, reaching $83 million in 1969. On June 21, 1970, PC entered bankruptcy proceedings.

At the time, Penn Central was the nation’s sixth largest company.

We all know that many of the railroad operations of PC were turned over to Consolidated Rail Corporation on April 1, 1976. Some PC lines not picked up by Conrail were saved, but others simply never saw rail service again and were eventually abandoned.

Penn Central Company survived the bankruptcy. It had considerable real estate holdings and eventually evolved into a financial services and insurance company later known as American Financial Group.

Today, Penn Central stock is a collectors item. One website that deals in old stocks and bonds is offering PC stock certificates online for $6.95, marked down from $10.95. On eBay, PC stock certificates on Thursday ranged in asking price from $2.19 to $8.19.

The stock certificates shown above are from the collection of Jack Norris.

Ex-NYC Syracuse Platform Rehabilitated

November 30, 2016

The New York State Department of Transportation has completed a $1.5 million restoration of a former New York Central station platform in Syracuse, New York.

NYC 3The work was done after a 2015 inspection found that the platform had decayed to a point where a privately-owned space below was threatened.

The work was paid for from the state’s transportation budget and involved replacing the concrete deck of the 560-foot long platform.

Workers also removed rust from steel columns, installed a new lightweight roof and painted the columns and back wall.

The NYC passenger station and freight platform were in 2009 placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fort Wayne RR Celebration Set for Early February

January 5, 2015

The Three Rivers Railroad Heritage Council of Fort Wayne, Ind., will present its Railroad Celebration 2015 on Feb. 7 and 8 at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in that city.

The event, which will focus on the history of the New York Central Railroad as well as other rail lines in the tri-state region, will feature historic maps, photographs, memorabilia and model railroads. This is not a buy and swap show.

The restored Pennsy station is located at 221 West Baker Street in Fort Wayne. The station served Amtrak’s Broadway Limited and Capitol Limited until November 1990.

Hours for the event are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees are asked to make a $5 donation with children under age 12 free.

For further information call 260-489-2392.

NY Model Railroad Shop to Rebuild Station

September 18, 2014

A New York State model railroad shop that had been housed in a former New York Central depot that was destroyed by fire last May plans to rebuild.

Stan Slade, the owner of the Despatch Junction store in East Rochester, plans to model his new store after an 1880s Victorian-style station that served Chelsea, Mich. The Michigan station was located on the former Michigan Central, which became part of the NYC system.

“I’m doing it because I want to, not because I have to – I should be retired on an island somewhere,” Slade said. “I had so many letters and things from people saying I should get back into it.”

Slade plans to rebuild the store on the same site. The local zoning board will not require a variance if he rebuilds within a year.

The Chelsea station, which Slade found in a book of photographs of old railroad stations, still stand. It was preserved by a community group after Amtrak ceased serving it in 1981.

 

 

BO Tower Interlocking Machine Shut Down

September 12, 2014

 

Operators are still lining signals and switches at BO Tower in Kalamzoo, Mich., but not for much longer.

This past Tuesday the 44-level Saxby & Farmer interlocking machine inside of the tower was taken out of service. The tower remains open 24 hours a day with operators using a control panel to authorize movements.

But in the not too distant future an Amtrak train director in Chicago will be handed the responsibility to control the junction of Amtrak’s Michigan Line (former Michigan Central) and the Grand Elk Railroad.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is acquired the former MC line east of Kalamazoo from Norfolk Southern. NS will eventually relinquish to Amtrak the dispatching of the route.

The Michigan Railroad Commission approved the now decommissioned interlocking by New York Central affiliate MC in January 1915

BO tower once controlled lines affiliated with the Grand Trunk Western, NYC and Pennsylvania, along with interurban Michigan Railway

The ex-MC was divided between Amtrak and Conrail in 1976. Conrail also acquired the ex-PRR line.

Norfolk Southern got the two Conrail routes in 1999 and sold the ex-PRR line to the Grand Elk in 2009. The ex-MC east of Kalamazoo was sold to the Michigan Department of Transportation in 2013 with NS retaining freight rights.

Amtrak and the state of Michigan are rebuilding the Kalamazoo-Dearborn corridor for 110 mph speeds, which includes major track upgrades along with a complete replacement of the signal system to modern hardware that provides positive train control.

The route is used by the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service and the Chicago-Port Huron, Mich., Blue Water.

 

 

When Penn Central Carried the Mail

January 22, 2014

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Do you remember the westbound afternoon Penn Central mail train on the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad mainline? It was well-known for having a mixture of PRR, New York Central, and PC E-units. Here it is in September of 1972 passing Fairhope Tower in Canton.  The lead unit is PC E-7A 4211. As for the grain, I’m sorry about that, but this was taken on Agfachrome film.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What Might Have Been Is in HO Scale

March 14, 2013

A New York Central Alco FA locomotive leads a local freight on the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad in Marty Surdyk's basement.

A New York Central Alco FA locomotive leads a local freight on the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad in Marty Surdyk’s basement.

Few people still alive ever saw the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad, which operated in the early 20th century between Lorain and Custaloga, Ohio, a junction with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Fort Wayne Line in far southern Wayne County.

The LA&S was abandoned in 1925 and only a few traces of it remain today, many of which you need to know where to look to find.

Marty Surdyk has long had a fascination with the LA&S and last year he began to recreate it in the basement of his home.

The project began with Marty scrapped his model railroad layout that had been based on a New York Central branch line in far southern Ohio.

In doing this, Marty took a few liberties with historical fact. First, he assumed that the LA&S survived until the early 1960s. Second, he assumed that NYC controlled the LA&S and not that dastardly “P Company” along with the Erie Railroad.

But that’s the beauty of model railroading. You can create any universe that you want and pay attention to any historical facts that you choose.

I recently had a chance to watch Marty’s LA&S in action. We had spent a few hours sorting slides to be auctioned off at an upcoming Akron Railroad Club meeting.

At my request, Marty brought the railroad to life, running a short freight train led by an NYC Alco FA locomotive that he received as a Christmas present.

In real life it is unlikely that branch line road freights would have had an FA for their motive power, but this is a model railroad layout and you make your own operating rules.

The train repeatedly snaked around the layout, a pattern that would not be typical had Marty been having an operating session complete with train orders and customers to serve.

Like most layouts, Marty’s LA&S is a work in progress. You have to use a little imagination to visualize the LA&S because unlike the real thing Marty’s LA&S moves in curves and circles and not linear lines.

Aside from a few snapshots that I took in the early 1960s with a Kodak Brownie camera, I never photographed the New York Central. So, I couldn’t resist getting my camera out and capturing the LA&S Division of the Mighty Oval. It was kinda fun going back to the 1960s to photograph with a digital camera.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Of course there is a caboose on this train and of course its owned by the Central.

Of course there is a caboose on this train and of course its owned by the Central.

It was the weekend and switcher won't be going back on duty in the Lorain Yard until Monday morning. So I didn't get to see it in action.

It was the weekend and switcher won’t be going back on duty in the Lorain Yard until Monday morning. So I didn’t get to see it in action.

I can rember seeing Deep Rock tank cars such as these many years ago and Deep Rock service stations.

I can rember seeing Deep Rock tank cars such as these many years ago and Deep Rock service stations.

You really didn't think that Marty would create a model railroad layout without a grain elevator did you?

You really didn’t think that Marty would create a model railroad layout without a grain elevator did you?

Remembering the LE&P

February 22, 2013

Most of the former right of way of the Lake Erie & Pittsburgh is now a hiking and biking trail. The trail is shown crossing over Barlow Road.

Most of the former right of way of the Lake Erie & Pittsburgh is now a hiking and biking trail. The trail is shown crossing over Barlow Road.

The right of way of the Lake Erie & Pittsburgh railroad is today mainly a hiking and biking trail, but it used to be an important link in the area’s transportation system.

The LE&P was a paper railroad. It existed legally but had no equipment.  Everything was supplied by the New York Central, which owned it.

Built around 1910, the LE&P ran from Marcy in Cleveland to a connection with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Brady Lake. From there trains ran on trackage rights either to Alliance and Minerva, or to Ravenna where they got on the Baltimore & Ohio to go to Niles Junction.

From there trains went back to the PRR until reaching the Lake Erie & Eastern (another paper railroad) at Girard. The Lake Erie & Eastern took the trains across Youngstown into the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie yards at Struthers, Ohio.

This was quite a confusing arrangement but it made for a direct Cleveland-Youngstown route for both the NYC and PRR.

The B&O between Ravenna and Niles Junction had trains of the NYC and Pennsylvania railroads as well as its own. That must have been a sight. Also, the LE&P had PRR trains using it as well.

The story doesn’t end there, however. The LE&P originally planned to build from Cleveland to Lorain on a routing that would take it through Berea just south of the current Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

This was never completed but it was graded and bridge piers were constructed over the east and west branches of the Rocky River. These piers still stand.

The LE&P was busy until the Penn Central merger. It was quickly abandoned and torn up with only a two-mile siding from Brady Lake to serve Hugo Sand near Twin Lakes and the Akron water treatment plant. The grade of the route was level, but it hugged the east side of the Cuyahoga Valley. Many tall steel bridges were required to cross Marcy, Tinkers Creek and Brandywine Creek

These bridges required heavy maintenance that Penn Central could not afford.

The ex-PRR mainline paralleled the LE&P just a few miles east and had signaled double track as opposed to the single-track dark territory of the LE&P.

Throw in the automotive plants located on the Pennsy and it was a no brainer for Penn Central’s management team to favor that route over the LE&P.

I was able to photograph a Conrail local on the ex-LE&P in 1989 switching the remaining track at Brady Lake. NS served this branch for while, but I have not seen any trains on it in about four years now.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

There were plenty of trees along the last segment of the ex-LE&P that was used by Conrail and later Norfolk Southern.

There were plenty of trees along the last segment of the ex-LE&P that was used by Conrail and later Norfolk Southern.

A pair of Conrail GP38-2s was typical power for a local freight.

A pair of Conrail GP38-2s was typical power for a local freight.

Bringing up the rear is bay window caboose 21313, N21 class. Interstingly, the N21 class 21202-21313 built by Conrail in 1978 was the last of that order. These were the only cabooses builtfor Conrail.

Bringing up the rear is bay window caboose 21313, N21 class. Interstingly, the N21 class 21202-21313 built by Conrail in 1978 was the last of that order. These were the only cabooses that were built for Conrail.

The LE&P diverged from the ex-PRR at Brady Lake tower. The westbound track rose in elevation until crossing over the Pennsy on this bridge located just west of Lake Rockwell Road.

The LE&P diverged from the ex-PRR at Brady Lake tower. The westbound track rose in elevation until crossing over the Pennsy on this bridge located just west of Lake Rockwell Road. The eastbound track is visible at the far left.

The former eastbound main of the LE&P is still extant, joining the NS main nearly beneath the Lake Rockwell Road overpass. A westbound NS manifest freight passes the junction.

A map of the former New York Central Cleveland Division shows the former LE&P and the trackage rights arrangement that the NYC had to reach Youngstown from Cleveland.

A map of the former New York Central Cleveland Division shows the former LE&P and the trackage rights arrangement that the NYC had to reach Youngstown from Cleveland.

Brady Lake tower still stands inside the Tower's Woods Park in Portage County.

Brady Lake tower still stands inside the Tower’s Woods Park in Portage County.

The former LE&P right of way, now a trail, in a view looking west from Ohio Route 91.