About N.Y.C.

NYC Railroad History

NYC_Hudson
The New York Central System was a one of the largest American railroads operating in the northeast. Headquartered in New York City, the railroad served most of the Northeast, including extensive routes in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts, plus additional routes in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec. The origins of the NYC can be traced back to 1826 and the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad. In 1853, Erastus Corning merged 10 railroads across New York State to form the New York Central railroad between Albany and Buffalo. The Vanderbilt era began in 1867 with the merger of his Hudson River Railroad with the NYC. Also in 1869 Vanderbilt acquired the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, which ran from Buffalo along the southern shore of Lake Erie through Cleveland, Toledo, and South Bend to Chicago. While operated as separate companies, the NYC&HR and LS&MS gave the Commodore a high-speed water level route under one management providing through service between New York City and Chicago. The New York Central & Hudson River and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern were merged in 1914 to form the New York Central Railroad Company. Several leased and affiliated lines made up the core of the New York Central System, including:

NYC_StripesAt one time, the NYC also controlled the Rutland and the Nickel Plate Road, but was forced to divest of these properties due to anti-trust concerns. The rest of the subsidiaries and leased lines continued to be operated as the New York Central System, though “local” names persisted for many generations. A man in Detroit would tell you he worked for the Michigan Central, for instance.

NYC_CenturyThe flagship operation of the NYC was the luxurious first-classTwentieth Century Limited, operated on a crack 16-hour schedule between New York’s Grand Central Terminal and Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. It was one of America’s premiere passenger services, and the subject of pop culture lore. The service was started in 1902, and came to an end in 1967 as a victim of corporate belt-tightening.

NYC_UBoatAs a result of shifting traffic patterns to trucks and Federally-funded interstate highways and a rapid decline in passenger traffic due to the advent of commercial jet travel, American railroads suffered from reduced revenue. More so in the industrialized northeast, where factories were closing and relocating to the south to take advantage of cheaper labor. On February 1, 1968, NYC merged with its chief competitor, the Pennsylvania Railroad to form the ill-fated Penn Central. A year later, the new company was forced to absorb the ailing New York, New Haven & Hartford. The cost savings from eliminating duplicate facilities and workers never happened, and Penn Central declared bankruptcy in 1970. A massive bailout came from the Federal government in 1976 in the form of Conrail, who took over the operation of the majority of the former PC system, along with five other bankrupt northeastern railroads. Today, much of the former NYC is operated by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.

1918_NYCRR_map_only

Further Information:

Care to write about a specific division or subsidiary of the NYC? Contact the webmaster:  Noel F. Widdifield  Webmaster

Surviving NYC Steam Locomotives

The following enumeration of surviving New York Central Steam locomotives was printed in the pages of the Central New York Chapter, NRHS Green Block by Richard Palmer. The list is a bit longer than we had previously imagined, but sorry, still no Hudsons!

New York Central System

#6894 B-10w 0-6-0 Alco Pittsburgh 1912 Connorsville, IN, Whitewater Valley Railroad
#6721 B-11k 0-6-0 Alco Schenectady 1913 Utica, NY
#999 C-14a 4-4-0 West Albany 1893 Chicago, IL, Museum of Science & Industry
#2976 G-6k 2-8-0 Alco Brooks 1910 Fairview, OK
#5780 G-43a 2-8-0 Alco Brooks 1901 Chamberlain Lake, ME
#8085 I-80a 4-4-2 Alco Schenectady 1902 Dearborn, MI
#2933 L-2D 4-8-2 Alco Schenectady 1929 St Louis, MO, National Museum of Transportation
#3001 L-3A 4-8-2 Alco Schenectady 1940 Elkhart, IN
Photo of #8505 above:  Click here.
New York Central Subsidiary Roads
B&A #39 4-4-0 Boston & Albany 1876 St Louis, MO, National Museum of Transportation
IHB #15 4-6-0 Alco Schenectady 1897 Chamberlain Lake, ME
P&LE #9153 F-102 4-6-0 Alco Schenectady 1896 Delson, QUE, Canadian Railway Museum
LE&W #5541 H-6a 2-8-2 Baldwin Locomotive Works 1918 Beech Grove, IN, Indiana Transportation Museum
DSI #5 0-4-0T Vulcan 1923 Henrietta, NY (no public access)
   
New York Central Predecessor Roads
Dewitt Clinton (replica) 0-4-0 West Point 1831 Dearborn MI
Pioneer Utica & Schenectady #7 4-2-0 Baldwin 1837 Chicago IL

Here are some documents that will help you with your NYC research.  Just click on the any of the following links and they will open in your browser.  Each contain information about Penn Central file locations that include those of the NYCS.  They will help you locate where many of the files from Penn Central and the NYC went after they went out of business.

New York Public Libaray PennCentral

PAStateArchivesPennCentral

NHPRC Final Report–Penn Central Records Appraisal

2 Responses to About N.Y.C.

  1. Robert Luce says:

    Send me any graphics or photos of LOGOs for the New York Central & Hudson River RR. Thanks

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