Posts Tagged ‘New York Central’

Buffalo Terminal Restoration Getting Started

November 14, 2018

Developers have outlined their restoration plans for Buffalo Central Terminal, which will benefit from a $5 million state grant.

The 89-year-old art deco facility hasn’t served passengers since the late 1970s and last housed railroad offices in the 1980s

The abandoned 17-story structure long has been a symbol of urban decay, but now the future is starting to look bright even if officials caution that restoration is expected to cost $100 million.

Plans include making a portion of the depot into a museum that will expand and preserve the station’s legacy.

Mark Lewandowski, director for Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, said most of the grant money will be spent on new glass and lights for the main concourse.

Some funding will also be allocated to restoring the former Gateway Restaurant.

Most of the old glass in the concourse has been victimized by neglect and vandalism.

The arch windows at each end of the concourse include several four-foot square sections of 4-inch thick glass used as walkways between the windows.

Workers are also recreating the light fixtures in an effort to return the concourse to its 1929 appearance.

Much of the rest of the terminal is in poor condition. The only work it has received has included cleaning and weather proofing.

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That Was a Long Time Ago

November 1, 2018

With each passing year, the number of people who remember the New York Central Railroad, let alone its passengers trains, becomes smaller.

The Central became part of Penn Central in February 1968. By then most of its passenger trains were gone.

Even among those who do remember, not many will recall the DeWitt Clinton or the Cleveland-Detroit Express.

They are more likely to cite the 20th Century Limited when asked to name ex-NYC passenger trains.

But those trains are memorialized in this sign from the Cleveland Union Terminal that was saved by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

It was photographed in the group’s facility inside a former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland. It is displayed in public every now and then.

Strasburg Acquires Another Diesel

September 24, 2018

The Strasburg Rail Road of Pennsylvania had added another locomotive to its diesel fleet to be used for freight service.

The latest addition is a former Santa Fe SSB-1200, rebuilt from a 1953 EMD SW9 that was most recently used by an industry in Narrows, Virginia.

The unit still wears its Santa Fe dark blue livery and was once AT&SF No. 1235. It was retired from the Santa Fe motive power roster in December 1984.

The Strasburg also a has a former Conrail (nee New York Central) SW8 that is uses for freight service.

The railroad has on occasion used one of three operating steam locomotives to haul freight, but that practice may end now that the Strasburg has another diesel.

New Short Line Takes over CSX Routes

September 11, 2018

The Decatur & Eastern Illinois Railroad began operations this past Sunday on former CSX tracks in western Indiana and east central Illinois.

The first train left Decatur, Illinois, en route to Paris, Illinois, using two leased locomotives, blue FURX GP38-2 5514 and WAMX 4002, a former Canadian National Railway GP40-2LW.

The new railroad is owned by Watco Companies and covers 126.7 miles of the former CSX Decatur Subdivision and the Danville Secondary.

The system extends from Decatur to Montezuma, Indiana. At Chrisman, Illinois, another route runs to Terre Haute, Indiana, via Paris.

The former route is ex-Baltimore & Ohio trackage that once stretched from Indianapolis to Springfield, Illinois. The latter route was once New York Central territory.

Connections for the D&EI include CSX at Terre Haute and Hillsdale, Indiana; the Eastern Illinois Railroad at Metcalf, Illinois; Union Pacific at Tuscola, Illinois; and Canadian National and Norfolk Southern at Decatur.

The D&EI will be based in Paris where many of the its customers are located.

The herald of the new railroad features an ear of corn framed by the outlines of Illinois and Indiana.

First Step to a Journey

August 27, 2018

The New York Central System vanished in 1968, although its passenger trains continue to be operated by Penn Central until the coming of Amtrak in 1971.

The national passenger carrier has step boxes to help passengers take that first step from the ground onto a train, but they are modern contraptions painted bright yellow.

The step boxes used for decades by the railroads are largely gone now, most of them probably scrapped.

Some survive in private railroad memorabilia collections and in museums.

Such is the case with this ex-NYC step box at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

It was sitting on the ground next to a passenger car on static display when I spotted it.

Which Central trains did it serve? The Twentieth Century Limited? The Southwestern Limited? The Commodore Vanderbilt? The Pacemaker?

Or did this step box spend its career on lesser trains on branch lines and secondary mainlines?

How many thousands of feet have stepped on this box over the years? Did anyone famous use it?

There are answers to those questions, but they are beyond the reach of us today.

Instead, we can only imagine the places that step box sat in and the people who once used it as their first step to a journey by rail. That might be enough.

Watco Hopes to take Over CSX Routes in Early September

August 14, 2018

Two CSX routes in Indiana and Illinois are expected to begin operation in early September by subsidies of short-line operator Watco.

The Decatur & Eastern Illinois Railroad will take over the Decatur Subdivision in Illinois and the neighboring Danville Secondary in Indiana on or around Sept. 6, pending regulatory approval, Watco said in a filing with the Surface Transportation Board.

Watco recently landed the support of agricultural products company Archer Daniels Midland, which is one of the largest shippers in the territory.

ADM recently told the U.S. Suraface Transportation Board that it supports Watco’s big to buy 126.7 miles of track from CSX.

The sale also includes 3.6 miles of trackage rights on Canadian National (former Illinois Central) in Decatur, Illinois.

The Decatur Sub (nee Baltimore & Ohio) extends between Montezuma, Indiana, and Decatur. The Danville Secondary (nee New York Central) extends between Terre Haute, Indiana, and Olivet, Illinois, and includes the Paris Industrial Track in Paris, Illinois.

Watco projects revenue to top $5 million from the 14 customers currently served by CSX routes.

The STB filings do not disclose the sale price of the routes.

A Watco spokeswoman said the carrier plans to assign six GP38-2s to the routes. The company plans to hire four conductors, five engineers, a locomotive laborer, a track inspector, two track laborers, and two track foremen.

CSX put the routes up for sale last January.

Painesville Depot Marks 125th Anniversary

August 1, 2018

The former New York Central passenger station in Painesville will mark its 125th anniversary with an open house an Aug. 4.

The station at 474 Railroad Street, was built by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and opened on Feb. 1, 1893.

It is now the home of the Painesville Railroad Museum.

The depot served NYC and later Penn Central passenger trains until the coming of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited passes the station twice a day but does not stop there for passengers.

For a time the depot also served Greyhound buses. But that ended in June 1988 and the station became derelict.

The station was eventually purchased by Ed Dunlap who planned to convert it to a restaurant. But that didn’t happen and the Western Reserve Railroad Association was formed in 1997 and became owner of the depot.

The City of Painesville made Railroad Street and the Depot a Historic District in 2015.

In the past two to three years, restoration work at the depot has included adding two ADA-compliant restrooms, renovating the walls and ceiling and adding period appropriate chandeliers.

Also being renovated was the express room, which received a new coat of paint, new trim and refinished wood floors. The express room can be used as a meeting room.

In the works is development of a 6,000-square-foot Lionel Experience and Event Center.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and feature complimentary birthday cake and ice cream.

Hamburgers and hot dogs with soft drinks will be available for a small donation. There will also be live music, face painting, a balloon artist, games, a Chinese Auction and a 50/50 raffle.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

WATCO Buying CSX Lines in Indiana, Illinois

July 9, 2018

Two CSX secondary routes in Indiana and Illinois are being acquired by Watco Companies.

The 126.7 miles of track involved in the transaction includes the Decatur and Danville Secondary subdivisions.

The routes are former Baltimore & Ohio and New York Central respectively.

Watco plans to name the property the Decatur & Eastern Illinois Railroad will be the new name for the 126.7 miles of track that Watco will acquire from CSX as the Class I railroad seeks to prune its network of lower-density, non-core routes.

The Decatur Subdivision extends from its namesake city in Illinois to Montezuma, Indiana. It once extended between Indianapolis and Springfield, Illinois.

The Danville Secondary runs from Terre Haute, Indiana, and Olivet, Illinois, and also includes the Paris Industrial Track in Paris, Illinois.

The track between Terre Haute and Paris once was part of the NYC’s Indianapolis-St. Louis mainline and hosted such crack passenger trains as the Southwestern Limited, Knickerbocker and Missourian.

The track north of Paris was a Central route that linked Northwest Indiana and Cairo, Illinois.

Watco has told the CSX union members who work on the affected lines that it will have employment opportunities in Decatur and Paris.

The Pittsburg, Kansas-based short line company is looking to hire four conductors, five engineers, a locomotive laborer, a track inspector, two track laborers and two track foremen.

CSX, which put the lines up for sale last January, expects the sale to close in early August.

Affected CSX employees who choose not to go to work for Watco, retire or resign, will be given the option of remaining with CSX.

Neither CSX or Watco disclosed the terms of the proposed sale.

Watco operates 38 short-line railroads in the United States with 5,100 miles of track. It also holds 31 industrial contract switching contracts.

Ceiling Collapse Closes Amtrak Station

July 6, 2018

A ceiling collapse prompted Amtrak to temporarily suspend service to Rome, New York, this week.

The ceiling fell in about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday but just one person was in the depot at the time and was not injured.

Amtrak closed the station in order to make repairs, which are expected to take until at least July 10.

Passengers are being steered to the Utica, New York station 14 miles away.

New York Central built the Rome station between 1912 and 1914 and it has been owned by the City of Rome since 1988.

The station was renovated between 2002 and 2004. Trains stopping there include the New Y York-Toronto Maple Leaf and two Empire Service round trips.

Going Back a Few Years on the Marion Branch

June 20, 2018

A standard cab GE starts down the short section of street running at Warsaw.

Marty Surdyk’s story of his Memorial Day weekend chase of Norfolk Southern’s Marion Branch brought back memories for me. When I lived in Indiana that line was a favorite to chase trains.

It’s a former New York Central/Big Four Line but had Pennsylvania Railroad style signals.

This could be confusing but is explained by the fact that it was an unsignaled line in NYC days.

Conrail, wanting to add traffic to this route, added CTC to improve capacity. The signals came from a former Pennsy route that was being eliminated.

As Marty relates it is still a busy and a fun route to chase. The Pennsy style signals have since been replaced but I’ve included a few photos from the early 2000s after NS took control of the line from Conrail.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Another southbound has just crossed where the Erie Lackawanna used to run at Lakeland. A 2-mile spur went west to serve a small ethanol facility. I believe that has since been abandoned.

Southbound train also at Leesburg

A northbound at Leesburg

Farm country south of Warsaw