NYCS Research Resources

NYCS Research Resources

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The purpose of this page is to provide information for research on the NYCS from the pages of the NYCSHS Central Headlight magazine and other sources of information to help historians and modelers have access to historically correct data.

This page will be updated periodically with additional materials.

All about NYCS cabooses.

Cabooseroofshot 1966.1

You will find the information here about most NYCS cabooses

Click here for Caboose information#1.

Click here for Caboose information #2

Click here for Caboose information #3

Click here for Caboose information #4

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The Making of A Legend – The Niagara Story

Part 1

By Thomas R. Gerbracht, NYCSHS Director

In Central Headlight 3rd Qtr. 1988

 NiagaraPhoto

In 1945, the Equipment Engineering Department of the New York Central Railroad developed and Alco executed a locomotive design which had a marked impact on the steam locomotives to follow, and on the traditional measurements by which motive power would be evaluated. This locomotive was so significant that its performance is still discussed by the men who design and run locomotives. The locomotive was the New York
Central class S1 4-8-4 Niagara.

Click here for the article.

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The Making of A Legend – The Niagara Story

Part 2

By Thomas R. Gerbracht, NYCSHS Director

In Central Headlight 1st Qtr. 1989

Pages from 1989Q1

There are more variables in the measurement of steam locomotive horsepower than in diesel or electric horsepower. In the steam era, the railroads who supported the most comprehensive test programs to measure steam locomotive performance, including horsepower, were the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central.

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Road Testing NYC Niagaras.

By Dick Dawson

In Central Headlight 3rd Qtr. 1975

NiagaraPhoto

For best reading click below to open the article file and then download it to your computer for better quality viewing.  It can be viewed in your browser, but the quality will not be as good. 

There were a few errors in the article when it was published almost 40 years ago. There is a short errata sheet at the end of the article with corrections.

Dick Dawson gave his blessing for us to put this up on the site and noted that he had significant help from Harold Crouch, Charlie Smith and Lans Vail.  It is a wonderful article and we appreciate Dick’s willingness to allow us to post it here.

Click here for Niagara information.

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NYC Standard-Design, All-Steel

Heavyweight Coaches

By John S. Horvath & Richard L. Stoving

In Central Headlight 2nd Qtr. 1980

Pages from 1980Q2

Few people realize that the NYC had an all-steel heavyweight coach of a standard design all its own. It, too, was mass-produced, and, by any number of yardsticks, it was a success. For lack of a better name, these coaches were simply referred to as 70-foot steel coaches.

Click here for NYC Heavyweight Coach information.

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NYCS Business Cars

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight, 4th Qtr 1978, 1st Qtr 1979,  & 3rd Qtr 1979

By W. D. Edson & H. L. Vail, Jr.

Fireplace

Business car #3 even had a working fireplace installed.

Click here for NYCS Business Car information.

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New York Central’s Rebuilt Observation Cars.

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight,  2nd Qtr 1979

By Richard Stoving

 CarRepair

An unusual shot of one of the observation cars being rebuilt.

Click here for NYC rebuilt observation car information.

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Painting the NYC 20th Century Limited

By H. L. Vail, Jr.

Hickory

Click Here for the article on Painting the 20th Century Limited.

Click here for the second article on Painting of the 20th Century Limited

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“The NYC Oval

Its Evolution and Applications” Parts 1 & 2

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight, 2nd Qtr 1974 & 1st Qtr 1976

By H. L. Vail, Jr.

The NYC OvalThe New York Central Oval, reportedly suggested by an employee in about 1904, underwent. a series of minor changes during its use until the major design in 1958 when the colored one was designed for use on the “New” jade green cars. This article covers the period up to this change. The original herald had Roman capital letters
and was designed in five sizes for the “New York Central Lines”and used as follows on  revenue service cars. It was, of course, used on other equipment, bridges, and as the official company logo.

Click here for NYC Oval Part 1 information.

Click here for NYC Oval Part 2 information.

Some Additional Comments on the Oval

The “Oval” on NYC J-3 Hudsons below the headlight was “deep blue”, and ‘black” in later years. The oval on Dreyfuss Hudsons was “deep blue”. The ONLY Hudsons with red ovals were the two Empire State Express engines, J-3 5426 and 5429.

All first generation diesels, E’s, F’s, Alco and F-M cabs, etc had red painted ovals. I believe that the NYC GREY passenger F-3’s had cast red oval plates on the nose. (We have one of these at the lockers.)

On most NYC ovals, the lettering was white and the “background color” within the oval was the same color as the surface it was stenciled on. For example, on cabooses, the background color was the color of the caboose.

I am aware that some Pacemaker box cars had an oval with a black background……
There is no drawing, or if we have one we have not scanned it, for the oval for the Mercury Pacifics, 4915 and 4917. I am aware that former prez Lans Vail worked with Mort Mann of Sunset models and provided the tech info for the O scale Mercury Pacific and the cars. We have elevation drawings for the Mercury cars, and there is no red color used. Colors used include gray lacquer, aluminum lacquer, aluminum scratch brush lacquer, Paladium leaf edge black line, black paint, and gray roof paint.

I have seen an image of a Mercury streamlined Pacific in one of the NYC color books, perhaps one of Dave Sweetland’s?

As info, the passenger car drawings are grouped by type of car, i.e. head end cars, coaches, Pullmans, Observation cars, etc. This was done to be most beneficial to a modeler and also to avoid doing custom sorts, and to offer each file as complete as possible at a nominal cost. This has been the arrangement since the program’s inception.

We no longer have, or we have and have not digitized drawing SK-V-4539.

Hope this is helpful.
Tom Gerbracht

NYCSHS Director

Found a reference to the color used on the cast oval plates used on the Pacemaker rebuilt passenger cars. This was in a tack board correction made by Lanse Vail back in the early 90s and his research shows the background color to be “Aurora Red,” DuPont 88-363-R. It was called out in a drawing, SK-V-4539.

Dave Staplin

NYCSHS Modelers Committee

https://nycshs.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/line.jpgNYC Rail

By Dave Staplin

9295185

Click here for NYC Rail Information

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NYCS Water Scoops and Track Pans

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight 2nd Qtr. 1982

“High Speed Water Scoop and Locomotive Tender Design for the NYCS”

By Carl F. Kantola

Pages from 1982Q2

Click here to read about NYC Water Scoops

“Some Notes on the History of Water Scoops and Track Pans”

By Edward May

TrackPans

Click here to read about NYC Track Pans

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NYC Streamlined Steam Locomotives

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight, 3rd Qtr 1981

By Carl F. Kantola

CommodoreVanderbilt5344

The NYC constructed several streamlined steam locomotives beginning in 1934.  The country was coming out of the great depression and railroads felt that they needed something to inspire interest in railroads. The streamline locomotive and passenger cars seemed the answer.

Click here to read about what the NYC did about that.

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NYC Diesel Rosters

By Willaim D. Edison

DieselDataCover

On May 3, 1957 the New York Central announced the complete dieselization of all train operations in the system. From that point on only diesels ran on the NYCS.  The two articles that were run in the NYCSHS Central Headlight in the May 1975 and November 1975 editions provide an excellent overview of all of the NYCS diesels.  They are presented here for your research and enjoyment.

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #1

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #2

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #3

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #4

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #5

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Roster #6

Click here for NYCS FM Diesel Roster

Click here for NYCS Baldwin Diesels

Click here for the NYCS Diesel Classification Guide

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NYC Steam Locomotives

You will find several NYCSHS Central Headlight articles on steam locomotives added here and more to be added in the future.

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NYC Class H7 Mikado Locomotives

By Ray S. Curl

From the NYCSHS Central Headlight
1st Qtr 1984

H-7MikadoPhoto

Among the most interesting steam locomotives operated by the New York Central System were the H7 Class Mikados. While all of these locomotives were built to a standard design, many of them acquired different tenders and a variety of appliances as they went through their careers. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the H7 fleet and to document the modifications made on specific locomotives.

Click here for the NYCS Class H-7 Mikado article.

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NYC Class H10 2-8-2 Mikados

MikadoPhotos

The H10 class locomotive was the first result of the efforts of William E. Woodard, Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Lima Locomotive Works, to develop a more powerful and more efficient steam locomotive than
those in service during the early 1920’s. Lima’s management approached the President of the New York Central, Alfred H. Smith, to agree to test and later, if successful, purchase a locomotive incorporating Woodard’s ideas and designs.

As a result, Lima constructed, at its own expense, one locomotive, Michigan Central 8000, in May, 1922, on order L-1027. The basic design evolved from the ten Michigan Central class H7e 2-8-2’s, built in 1920 along with 50
similar locomotives for the Big Four, that were considered to be very powerful and efficient locomotives.

Click here for the NYCS Class H-10 Mikado article.

 

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The Kaye-Elevens (NYC K-11s)

By F. Ray McKnight

K-11Photo

In the first decade of this century some of the most notable advances in American locomotive design and construction was taking place. Almost every major railroad in the
United States was in the process of ordering engines for a specific service over assigned divisions. Naturally, the New York Central was no exception. History proves the motive
power on the New York Central always kept pace with, and often was the leader, in the industry.

Buried in the 1920 locomotive roster of over 6,000 engines were 200 that made up the K-11 class that truly deserve a belated “Well done!” The reason why these engines were
built may never be confirmed but if we take the liberty of assuming we might have a logical answer.

Click here for the K-11 article.

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Boston & Albany A1s (Early Super Power)

Pages from B&AAClassesHeader

The A1 Berkshire type on the Boston and Albany was a paradox. On the one hand it proved the theory, along with the Texas and Pacific 2-10-4, of “Super Power” on
America’s railroads. On the other, the New York Central did not embrace it as its next logical step in system wide freight power development.

Click here for the B&A A1  article.

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The Late Mohawks

By T. R. Gerbracht

Mohawk1

Tom describes and reviews the performance of the “late” Mohawks obtained by the New York Central, and acquaints readers of the Central Headlight with the characteristics and the performance of these fine locomotives, which were obtained by the New York Central starting in 1940. He also included a table of weights and dimensions of the L3’s and L4’s, which demonstrates the evolution of the Mohawk type on the Central from the late 1920’s to the final design, which was produced in 1943-44. It was significant that there were very few 4-8-2 type locomotives built after the NYC L4b class. By this time, many roads which required a locomotive with four driving axles had developed 4-8-4’s.

Click here for the article.

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PT Tenders

From the records of W.D Edson – By: H. L. Vail, Jr.

Pages from PT-Tenders

The second PT-1 tender, as new. First applied to class J3a #5453. Note no expansion chamber or overflow pipes. NYC RR photo, 5-26-43.

The roster charts showing the locomotives to which these PT tenders were assigned during their service lives were compiled from the NYC tender historical record cards, which, fortunately, exist these many years later and provide the information for this article.

Click here for the PT Tender article.

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NYC Electric Locomotives

We plan to add several articles on the electrics.

Extract from Railway and Locomotive Engineering.

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The NYCS Motor Cars

NYCS Motor CarBuild new in 1906 by Barney & Smith Company, as a passenger and baggage combine, No. 107, NYC, Motor Car M-8 begins a new life after rebuilding at the West Albany, NY shops in 1928 as a motor car.  This is just one of the many motor cars owned and operated by the NYCS.

Click here to read about the NYCS motor cars.

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The following section will be used to post Central Headlight Articles about NYCS rolling stock.

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Since the NYCSHS has offered a large number of hopper car models of late, we will start with an article on Hoppers.

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USRA Design Hopper Cars

By C.M Smith

 HopperPhotoCropThese three cars from Lots 390-H (79262) and 390-H (79464, 79536) were rebuilt at the Beech Grove shops in 1933 using the Union Metal Products Company’s pressed steel paneled sides with integral stakes. The 1936 renumbering program is still in the future, and the cars proudly carry Big Four reporting marks.

During the period of federal control of the American railroads during and immediately following World War I, from January 1, 1918 to March 1, 1920, the United States Railroad
Administration acquired a total of 93,400 standardized freight cars. These were distributed to the various railroad properties as required to alleviate equipment shortages
brought about by the wartime traffic demands. This included about 3,000 hopper cars for the NYCS.

Click here for the article on the USRA hopper cars.

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NYC Marine Operations

By Thomas Flagg

TugboatPhoto

An important division within the New York Central system was the Marine Department at New York. In 1921, for example, it employed 1,500 men and boasted 308 pieces of “floating stock” (as opposed to rolling stock) to handle the enormous traffic to, from, and within the Metropolitan region. (All articles by Thomas Flagg)

Click here for NYCS Marine Department Part 1 & 2

Click here for Part 3

Click Here for Part 4

Click Here for Part 5

Click Here for Part 6

Click here for Tugboat #34

Click here for a complete roster of NYCS barges and some ferryboats

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NYCRR Scheduled Merchandise Cars

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Click here to read!!

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NYCS Structures and Facilities

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We received a list of NYCS structures and facilities from William Husband who is working on an extensive database of materials about US railroads that will include extensive material on all railroads including the NYCS.  He has provided this list of structures and facilities for us to provide to NYCSHS members and others.  It cannot be republished without his permission.

Click here for the list of NYCS structures and facilities!!!

If you know of additional structures or facilities contact use at NYCSHS@verizon.net to provide us with updates.

 

 

4 Responses to NYCS Research Resources

  1. Daniel Shankel says:

    I am trying to find out builder and date info on a bridge over the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw, Michigan. It located between Paines and the Genessee St. West Saginaw Depot. Any help would be greatly appreciated. -Dan

  2. bill says:

    hi there im trying to find out why is that the headlight on #606 b&a is one style then when is was renumbered to 5402? or #,s 5455-5474 why was the head light changed ? i have the head light and are trying to find out . i do have a photo of #606 and its different on all the others for the nyc j2b engines i am looking for the photo of the nyc engine that was the b&a any info would help thanks bill

  3. Bill Morris says:

    Does anyone know what the trucks were called on the B&A wooden cabooses such as #1142 as replicated by OMI #1206 in HO scale ? I cannot find ANYONE still alive with this knowledge. The Caboose Classics series shows photos of the same truck but never refers to them by name or type. I would like to replicate them in S Scale
    Thanks Bill

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