This Weekend’s 50th Anniversary Special

There was no American train more famous, nor one with more cachet than the NYC’s 20th Century Limited. For 65 years it was the pinnacle of rail travel, and numbered Presidents, business tycoons and the Hollywood elite among its regular passengers. The 20th Century defined Red Carpet Service. In the days preceding its last run, The New York Times dubbed it the train that was known for six and a half decades as “The World’s Greatest Train”.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.40.40 PM

Loading the passengers for another run of the NYC 20th Century LimitedNYCSHS Collection.

The weekend of December 2nd and 3rd, 1967 was to see the last run of the 20th Century Limited and of all of the NYC’s named, inter-city trains. On Saturday, at 6:00 P.M., the half-full train left GCT, track 34 for the last time. Keeping with The Century’s tradition, carnations were given to men and perfume and flowers to women boarding the train. The next day, it arrived at LaSalle Street Station in Chicago with the observation car Hickory Creek carrying the markers. Once the passengers had detrained, The Century would become a notable chapter in railroad history.

That same day, the Central’s crack GCT to Buffalo train, The Empire State Express, lost its named train status and became simply a train number, another chapter in railroad history.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.44.16 PM

NYCSHS Central Headlight cover.

Fast forward to Dec. 2, 2017, the 50th Anniversary of the last runs of these iconic NYC trains, and we find their memory being celebrated with Amtrak Empire Service Train #223 bringing history alive. NYC #3, the 1928 heavyweight observation car built as a private car for Harold Vanderbilt, the last member of the Vanderbilt family to run the Central, and which later carried the markers for the Empire State Express was coupled next- to-last in the Amfleet consist, with the original 1948 vintage Hickory Creek elegantly carrying the 20th Century Limited markers as she had done so often.

When Amtrak Engineer Steve Leunig drew Train # 233 from the Extra Board he wasn’t aware that his train would be anything other than the normal Penn Station to Rensselaer run. A 50th Anniversary Special never entered his mind. Through a series of Facebook Messenger notes, he shared, “I was unaware that today marked the anniversary of something so historic.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.46.24 PM

I consider myself a casual railroad enthusiast, and I am very pleased to be a small part of commemorating such a historic event. I am an extra board employee, and just happened to line up for this job assignment today. I look forward to seeing you trackside this afternoon. While I wish I was running a lightning striped E8, the Phase III Empire Service P32 will have to do for today!”

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.47.49 PM

I caught The Anniversary Special as it was leaving Rhinecliff Station and splitting the original New York Central signals at CP89.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.49.10 PM

The NYC #3 is owned by VarChandra, Inc. and operated by its president Lovett Smith.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.49.19 PM

The Hickory Creek is owned by the United Railway Historical Society and is operated by Star Trak, Inc and its President, Scott Clauss. Scott is a NYCSHS member.

Photos & Text by Nick Ariemma, NYCSHS except as noted.


Posted in Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS News, Research Information | Leave a comment

More Good News From The Adirondack Scenic Railroad

logo copy

The two formerly Norfolk Southern (NS) passenger cars were acquired at an auction August 17 in Roanoke, Virginia arrived to our Utica yard at approximately 8:00am this morning! The cars will be put into service next week, on the Adirondack Christmas Train, November 24th and 25th, traveling to Thendara and providing service on the Santa Trains, as well.

The cars, along with 72 NS locomotives, were retired by NS in an orderly and anticipated plan to periodically freshen their fleet. The five coaches up for bid are in excellent condition and are AMTRAK certified for immediate service. The acquisition of two of these cars by ASR is recognition that the rail operation will continue to grow and therefore the purchase of additional rolling stock and the rehabilitation of existing equipment is needed. A New York State grant helped finance the purchase. Among other successful bidders, also for two cars, was the Alaska Railroad. Board president Bill Branson noted, “this purchase is the beginning of a long-term plan to upgrade and expand our service capabilities.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 6.24.02 PM


Posted in Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS News | Leave a comment

4th Quarter 2017 Central Headlight Is In the Mail November 6.

Next Issue of Central Headlight Is In The Mail

on November 6


If you’re a member of the NYCSHS, there’s some great holiday reading in store for you in the 4th Quarter issue of Central Headlight, as well as dozens of never-before published photos of your favorite railroad.  It was mailed to you on November 6. Members who have paid to received digital copies will also receive it on that date.

If you’re not a member, this would be a great time to join for 2018, because in addition to the four great 2018 issues you will receive with your membership, you will receive this final 2017 issue as a bonus. That’s five issues for the price of four!

Members are reminded that you need to renew your membership to continue receiving Central Headlight. You can do this using the handy membership renewal form that you will find inserted in the magazine, or better yet, you can do it on-line at today!


Posted in Central Headlight, Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS News | Leave a comment

The 4th Qtr. 2017 NYCentral Modeler is Ready to View

The 4th Qtr. 2017 NYCentral Modeler is Ready to View


The cover photo for this quarter’s edition is from Pete LaGuardia and he tells us about a “NYC Railroad Tug and Covered Barge.” Ed Enyedy models the “NYCS Collinwood Turntable in HO-scale.” Canadian modeler, Will Boyle, models a “NYC Hot Train.” Kyle Coble’s “The Early Car Shop” features “Using Sketchup for Modeling.” Bob Shaw’s “NYC O-Gauge Model Railroading” explains “Dressing Up a Lionel Grain Elevator.” HO-scale modeler, Roger Murphy, returns with “NYC’s Weehawken Terminal, Part 3.” Manuel Duran-Duran and Larry Faulkner show us how to build a “NYC&HRR Signal Tower.” And you also get all of the regular features with “NYCSHS RPO,” “Extra Board,” “What’s New” and “The Observation Car.” All in the Oct 1, 2017 edition.

Click Here to View

Don’t miss out!! Read it now at Click here to read.


Posted in Members Information, NYCentral Modeler, NYCS News, NYCSHS "Collinwood Shop" Your NYCSHS Hobby Store, NYCSHS Models, NYCSHS News, Research Information | Leave a comment

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad Wins in Court Ruling

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad Wins in Court Ruling

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 4.49.39 PM


Posted in Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS News | 1 Comment

The Grand Opening Was a Success

Ribbon Cut at NYCSHS Headquarters



On Saturday NYCSHS members, guests and the Board of Directors attended the Grand Opening of our new headquarters in Middleburg Heights, OH.  A large crowd watched as the ribbon was cut at the new facility.  NYCSHS founder, Joe Quinlivan, and NYCSHS president, Dave Mackay used a pair of large scissors to cut the red ribbon at the entrance to the building.

officers - nycshs - headquarters grand opening - september 23, 2017 - d. leffler

Former president, Rich Stoving, current president, Dave Mackay, archivist, Joe Epperson, treasurer and business manager, Noel Widdifield, and NYCSHS founder Joe Quinlivan pose in front of the red ribbon and the headquarters building just prior to the cutting of the ribbon and opening of the new facility.

attendees - nycshs - headquarters grand opening - september 23, 2017 - d. leffler

The large tent provided much needed shade for attendees as the temperature reached the mid-eighties for the event.  Attendees watched as Dave Mackay recognized all who had contributed to the completing the facility for the Society and the ribbon was cut to open it to the members.

cutting of the cake - nycshs - headquarters grand opening - september 23, 2017 - d. leffler

Joe Epperson assisted by Rich Stoving  cut the cake decorated with the NYCSHS logo as the NYCSHS board of directors stand behind them.  After the cake was cut, it, drinks, and a large array of snacks were provided to all who attended.


The NYCSHS Board of Directors

Back row – Nick Ariemma, Noel Widdifield, Tom Gerbracht, Rich Stoving, Dave Mackay, Shel Lustig, Ralph Schiring, Darwin Simonaitis, Mike Vescelus.

Front row – Jim Suhs, Joe Epperson, Dick Barrett

The new NYCSHS Headquarters is complete and the contributions from members to the Flight of the Century fund made it possible to completely furnish and equip the facility.  A plaque honoring all who contributed is prominently located above the reception desk at the entrance to the facility.

Photos by Nick Ariemma and Doug Leffler.


Posted in Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS News | Leave a comment

NYCSHS Headquarters Grand Opening

Join Us at the Grand Opening

of the NYCSHS Headquarters

It is Almost Here!!!!

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 7.43.08 AM

Saturday, September 23

Starting at 2:00 pm

The New York Central System Historical Society is proud to announce the grand opening and dedication ceremonies for its new headquarters in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Long a goal of the Society, acquiring a headquarters facility provides an accessible, long term home for thousands of New York Central artifacts, photographs and research materials. The headquarters also creates a home for our business operations.

Join us on Sept. 23, 2017, at 2:00 PM for the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony. After the ceremony, you are invited to tour the facility and to view displays of historic memorabilia and photography. NYCSHS’s Collinwood Shop will be open with a wide array of books, memorabilia, modeling items and logo clothing. There will be demonstrations of some of the activities preformed at the facility and a selection of surplus archive material on sale. You will have a chance to meet with the volunteers who work in the facility and talk with them about what they do. The NYCSHS Board of Directors will be present to greet you and talk with you about the various activities of the Society. Light refreshments will be served.

The NYCSHS Headquarters is located at:

6950 BBB Engle Road

Middleburg Heights, Ohio 44130


Even if you haven’t responded with an RSVP we would still like to have you attend.  Just jump in your car and join us in our celebration.


The New York Central System was an iconic American Railroad. Headquartered in New York City, the railroad had 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. The railroad’s flagship operation was the luxurious, first-class Twentieth Century Limited, which operated on a crack 16-hour schedule between New York’s Grand Central Terminal and Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. It was America’s premier passenger train, and the subject of pop culture lore. The service was started in 1902, and came to an end in 1967. The NYC System ceased operations in Feb. 1968 when it merged to form Penn Central.

The New York Central System Historical Society, founded in March 1970, keeps the legacy of the New York Central System alive by acquiring and preserving its history, traditions, documents, and artifacts; and by disseminating accurate information and products consistent with good stewardship. Among its many offerings are its outstanding quarterly magazines, Central Headlight and NYCentral Modeler. The NYCSHS is chartered as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio and has more than 1,700 members.
While you are there you can check out some of the new items we are offering for NYCS enthusiasts. Be sure to take a look at the NYCS logo and locomotive art we have on the wall of our new facility.

The Collinwood Shop will be open for purchases of

NYCS goodies.

Posted in Members Information, NYCS News, NYCSHS "Collinwood Shop" Your NYCSHS Hobby Store, NYCSHS News | 2 Comments