New York Central Railroad

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New York Central Railroad_table_infobox_0

New York Central RailroadNew York Central Railroad_table_caption_0
OverviewNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_0_0
HeadquartersNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_1_0 New York Central Building, New York CityNew York Central Railroad_cell_0_1_1
Reporting markNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_2_0 NYCNew York Central Railroad_cell_0_2_1
LocaleNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_3_0 Illinois
Indiana 
Kentucky 
Massachusetts 
Michigan 
Missouri 
New York 
Ohio 
Ontario 
Pennsylvania 
Quebec 
Vermont 
West VirginiaNew York Central Railroad_cell_0_3_1
Dates of operationNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_4_0 May 17, 1853 – January 31, 1968New York Central Railroad_cell_0_4_1
SuccessorNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_5_0 Penn Central Transportation CompanyNew York Central Railroad_cell_0_5_1
TechnicalNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_6_0
Track gaugeNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_7_0 4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gaugeNew York Central Railroad_cell_0_7_1
LengthNew York Central Railroad_header_cell_0_8_0 11,584 miles (18,643 km) (1926)New York Central Railroad_cell_0_8_1

The New York Central Railroad (reporting mark NYC) was a railroad primarily operating in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. New York Central Railroad_sentence_0

The railroad primarily connected greater New York and Boston in the east with Chicago and St. New York Central Railroad_sentence_1 Louis in the Midwest along with the intermediate cities of Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Syracuse. New York Central Railroad_sentence_2

New York Central was headquartered in New York City's New York Central Building, adjacent to its largest station, Grand Central Terminal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_3

The railroad was established in 1853, consolidating several existing railroad companies. New York Central Railroad_sentence_4

In 1968 the NYC merged with its former rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad, to form Penn Central. New York Central Railroad_sentence_5

Penn Central went bankrupt in 1970 and merged into Conrail in 1976. New York Central Railroad_sentence_6

Conrail was broken up in 1998, and portions of its system were transferred to CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway, with CSX acquiring most of the old New York Central trackage. New York Central Railroad_sentence_7

Extensive trackage existed in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts and West Virginia plus additional trackage in the Canadian provinces of Ontario (Southwestern and Eastern Ontario) and Quebec (South of Montreal). New York Central Railroad_sentence_8

At the end of 1925, the NYC operated 11,584 miles (18,643 km) of road and 26,395 miles (42,479 km) of track; at the end of 1967 the mileages were 9,696 miles (15,604 km) and 18,454 miles (29,699 km). New York Central Railroad_sentence_9

Early history New York Central Railroad_section_0

Pre-New York Central: 1826–1853 New York Central Railroad_section_1

Albany and Schenectady Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_2

The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad was the oldest segment of the NYC merger and was the first permanent railroad in the state of New York and one of the first railroads in the United States. New York Central Railroad_sentence_10

It was chartered in 1826 to connect the Mohawk River at Schenectady to the Hudson River at Albany, providing a way for freight and especially passengers to avoid the extensive and time-consuming locks on the Erie Canal between Schenectady and Albany. New York Central Railroad_sentence_11

The Mohawk and Hudson opened on September 24, 1831, and changed its name to the Albany and Schenectady Railroad on April 19, 1847. New York Central Railroad_sentence_12

Utica and Schenectady Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_3

The Utica and Schenectady Railroad was chartered April 29, 1833; as the railroad paralleled the Erie Canal it was prohibited from carrying freight. New York Central Railroad_sentence_13

Revenue service began August 2, 1836, extending the line of the Albany and Schenectady Railroad west from Schenectady along the north side of the Mohawk River, opposite the Erie Canal, to Utica. New York Central Railroad_sentence_14

On May 7, 1844, the railroad was authorized to carry freight with some restrictions, and on May 12, 1847, the ban was fully dropped, but the company still had to pay the equivalent in canal tolls to the state. New York Central Railroad_sentence_15

Syracuse and Utica Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_4

The Syracuse and Utica Railroad was chartered May 1, 1836, and similarly had to pay the state for any freight displaced from the canal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_16

The full line opened July 3, 1839, extending the line further to Syracuse via Rome (and further to Auburn via the already-opened Auburn and Syracuse Railroad). New York Central Railroad_sentence_17

This line was not direct, going out of its way to stay near the Erie Canal and serve Rome, and so the Syracuse and Utica Direct Railroad was chartered January 26, 1853. New York Central Railroad_sentence_18

Nothing of that line was ever built, though the later West Shore Railroad, acquired by the NYC in 1885, served the same purpose. New York Central Railroad_sentence_19

Auburn and Syracuse Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_5

The Auburn and Syracuse Railroad was chartered May 1, 1834, and opened mostly in 1838, the remaining 4 miles (6.4 km) opening on June 4, 1839. New York Central Railroad_sentence_20

A month later, with the opening of the Syracuse and Utica Railroad, this formed a complete line from Albany west via Syracuse to Auburn, about halfway to Geneva. New York Central Railroad_sentence_21

The Auburn and Rochester Railroad was chartered May 13, 1836, as a further extension via Geneva and Canandaigua to Rochester, opening on November 4, 1841. New York Central Railroad_sentence_22

The two lines merged on August 1, 1850, to form the rather indirect Rochester and Syracuse Railroad (known later as the Auburn Road). New York Central Railroad_sentence_23

To fix this, the Rochester and Syracuse Direct Railway was chartered and immediately merged into the Rochester and Syracuse Railroad on August 6, 1850. New York Central Railroad_sentence_24

That line opened June 1, 1853, running much more directly between those two cities, roughly parallel to the Erie Canal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_25

Buffalo and Rochester Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_6

The Tonawanda Railroad, to the west of Rochester, was chartered April 24, 1832, to build from said city to Attica. New York Central Railroad_sentence_26

The first section, from Rochester southwest to Batavia, opened May 5, 1837, and the rest of the line to Attica opened on January 8, 1843. New York Central Railroad_sentence_27

The Attica and Buffalo Railroad chartered in 1836 and opened on November 24, 1842, running from Buffalo east to Attica. New York Central Railroad_sentence_28

When the Auburn and Rochester Railroad opened in 1841, there was no connection at Rochester to the Tonawanda Railroad, but with that exception there was now an all-rail line between Buffalo and Albany. New York Central Railroad_sentence_29

On March 19, 1844, the Tonawanda Railroad was authorized to build the connection, and it opened later that year. New York Central Railroad_sentence_30

The Albany and Schenectady Railroad bought all the baggage, mail and emigrant cars of the other railroads between Albany and Buffalo on February 17, 1848, and began operating through cars. New York Central Railroad_sentence_31

On December 7, 1850, the Tonawanda Railroad and Attica and Buffalo Railroad merged to form the Buffalo and Rochester Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_32

A new direct line opened from Buffalo east to Batavia on April 26, 1852, and the old line between Depew (east of Buffalo) and Attica was sold to the Buffalo and New York City Railroad on November 1. New York Central Railroad_sentence_33

The line was added to the New York and Erie Railroad system and converted to the Erie's 6 ft (1,829 mm) broad gauge. New York Central Railroad_sentence_34

Schenectady and Troy Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_7

The Schenectady and Troy Railroad was chartered in 1836 and opened in 1842, providing another route between the Hudson River and Schenectady, with its Hudson River terminal at Troy. New York Central Railroad_sentence_35

Rochester, Lockport, and Niagara Falls Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_8

The Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad was originally incorporated April 24, 1834, to run from Lockport on the Erie Canal west to Niagara Falls; the line opened in 1838 and was sold June 2, 1850. New York Central Railroad_sentence_36

On December 14, 1850, it was reorganized as the Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad, and an extension east to Rochester opened on July 1, 1852. New York Central Railroad_sentence_37

The railroad was consolidated into the New York Central Railroad under the act of 1853. New York Central Railroad_sentence_38

A portion of the line is currently operated as the Falls Road Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_39

Buffalo and Lockport Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_9

The Buffalo and Lockport Railroad was chartered April 27, 1852, to build a branch of the Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls from Lockport towards Buffalo. New York Central Railroad_sentence_40

It opened in 1854, running from Lockport to Tonawanda, where it joined the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad, opened 1837, for the rest of the way to Buffalo. New York Central Railroad_sentence_41

Mohawk Valley Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_10

The Mohawk Valley Railroad was chartered January 21, 1851, and reorganized December 28, 1852, to build a railroad on the south side of the Mohawk River from Schenectady to Utica, next to the Erie Canal and opposite the Utica and Schenectady. New York Central Railroad_sentence_42

The company didn't build a line before it was absorbed, though the West Shore Railroad was later built on that location. New York Central Railroad_sentence_43

Syracuse and Utica Direct Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_11

The Syracuse and Utica Direct Railroad was chartered in 1853 to rival the Syracuse and Utica Railroad by building a more direct route, reducing travel time by a half-hour. New York Central Railroad_sentence_44

The company was merged before any line could be built. New York Central Railroad_sentence_45

1853 company formation New York Central Railroad_section_12

Albany industrialist and Mohawk Valley Railroad owner Erastus Corning managed to unite the above railroads together into one system, and on March 17, 1853 executives and stockholders of each company agreed to merge. New York Central Railroad_sentence_46

The merger was approved by the state legislature on April 2, and by May 17, 1853 the New York Central Railroad was formed. New York Central Railroad_sentence_47

Soon the Buffalo and State Line Railroad and Erie and North East Railroad converted to 4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge from 6 ft (1,829 mm) broad gauge and connected directly with the NYC in Buffalo, providing a through route to Erie, Pennsylvania. New York Central Railroad_sentence_48

Erastus Corning years: 1853–1867 New York Central Railroad_section_13

The Rochester and Lake Ontario Railroad was organized in 1852 and opened in fall 1853; it was leased to the Rochester, Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad, which became part of the NYC, before opening. New York Central Railroad_sentence_49

In 1855 it was merged into the NYC, providing a branch from Rochester north to Charlotte on Lake Ontario. New York Central Railroad_sentence_50

The Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad was also merged into the NYC in 1855. New York Central Railroad_sentence_51

It had been chartered in 1834 and opened in 1837, providing a line between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. New York Central Railroad_sentence_52

It was leased to the NYC in 1853. New York Central Railroad_sentence_53

Also in 1855 came the merger with the Lewiston Railroad, running from Niagara Falls north to Lewiston. New York Central Railroad_sentence_54

It was chartered in 1836 and opened in 1837 without connections to other railroads. New York Central Railroad_sentence_55

In 1854 a southern extension opened to the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad and the line was leased to the NYC. New York Central Railroad_sentence_56

The Canandaigua and Niagara Falls Railroad was chartered in 1851. New York Central Railroad_sentence_57

The first stage opened in 1853 from Canandaigua on the Auburn Road west to Batavia on the main line. New York Central Railroad_sentence_58

A continuation west to North Tonawanda opened later that year, and in 1854 a section opened in Niagara Falls connecting it to the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge. New York Central Railroad_sentence_59

The NYC bought the company at bankruptcy in 1858 and reorganized it as the Niagara Bridge and Canandaigua Railroad, merging it into itself in 1890. New York Central Railroad_sentence_60

The Saratoga and Hudson River Railroad was chartered in 1864 and opened in 1866 as a branch of the NYC from Athens Junction, southeast of Schenectady, southeast and south to Athens on the west side of the Hudson River. New York Central Railroad_sentence_61

On September 9, 1876, the company was merged into the NYC, but in 1876 the terminal at Athens burned down and the line was abandoned. New York Central Railroad_sentence_62

Hudson River Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_14

For current Metro-North Railroad operations, see West Side Line, Hudson Division, and Hudson Line. New York Central Railroad_sentence_63

The Troy and Greenbush Railroad was chartered in 1845 and opened later that year, connecting Troy south to Greenbush (now Rensselaer) on the east side of the Hudson River. New York Central Railroad_sentence_64

The Hudson River Railroad was chartered May 12, 1846, to extend this line south to New York City; the full line opened October 3, 1851. New York Central Railroad_sentence_65

Prior to completion, on June 1, the Hudson River leased the Troy and Greenbush. New York Central Railroad_sentence_66

Cornelius Vanderbilt obtained control of the Hudson River Railroad in 1864, soon after he bought the parallel New York and Harlem Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_67

Along the line of the Hudson River Railroad, the West Side Rail Line was built in 1934 in the borough of Manhattan as an elevated bypass to street running trackage on Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. New York Central Railroad_sentence_68

The elevated section has since been abandoned, and the tunnel north of 35th Street is used only by Amtrak trains to New York Penn Station (all other trains use the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad to reach the Harlem Line). New York Central Railroad_sentence_69

The surviving sections of the West Side Line reopened as a linear park between 2009 and 2014. New York Central Railroad_sentence_70

Heyday New York Central Railroad_section_15

Vanderbilt years: 1867–1954 New York Central Railroad_section_16

In 1867 Vanderbilt acquired control of the Albany to Buffalo running NYC, with the help of maneuverings related to the Hudson River Bridge in Albany. New York Central Railroad_sentence_71

On November 1, 1869 he merged the NYC with his Hudson River Railroad into the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_72

This extended the system south from Albany along the east bank of the Hudson River to New York City, with the leased Troy and Greenbush Railroad running from Albany north to Troy. New York Central Railroad_sentence_73

Vanderbilt's other lines were operated as part of the NYC; these included the New York and Harlem Railroad, Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, Canada Southern Railway and Michigan Central Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_74

The Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad was chartered in 1869 and opened in 1871, providing a route on the north side of the Harlem River for trains along the Hudson River to head southeast to the New York and Harlem Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_75

Trains could head toward Grand Central Depot, built by NYC and opened in 1871, or to the freight facilities at Port Morris. New York Central Railroad_sentence_76

From opening it was leased by the NYC. New York Central Railroad_sentence_77

The Geneva and Lyons Railroad was organized in 1877 and opened in 1878, leased by the NYC from opening. New York Central Railroad_sentence_78

This was a connection between Syracuse and Rochester, running from the main line at Lyons to the Auburn Road at Geneva. New York Central Railroad_sentence_79

It was merged into the NYC in 1890. New York Central Railroad_sentence_80

In 1885, the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railway, a potential competitor with trackage rights along the west shore of the Hudson River, was taken over by the NYC as the West Shore Railroad, and developed passenger, freight, and car float operations at Weehawken Terminal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_81

The NYC assumed control of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie and Boston and Albany Railroads in 1887 and 1900, respectively, with both roads remaining as independently operating subsidiaries. New York Central Railroad_sentence_82

In 1914, the operations of eleven subsidiaries were merged with the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, re-forming the New York Central Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_83

From the beginning of the merge, the railroad was publicly referred to as the New York Central Lines. New York Central Railroad_sentence_84

In the summer of 1935, the identification was changed to the New York Central System, that name being kept until the acquisition by the Pennsylvania Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_85

The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four, was formed on June 30, 1889 by the merger of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railway. New York Central Railroad_sentence_86

The following year, the company gained control of the former Indiana Bloomington and Western Railway. New York Central Railroad_sentence_87

By 1906, the Big Four was itself acquired by the New York Central Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_88

It operated independently until 1930, it was then referred to as the Big Four Route. New York Central Railroad_sentence_89

Topography New York Central Railroad_section_17

The generally level topography of the NYC system had a character distinctively different than the mountainous terrain of its archrival, the Pennsylvania Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_90

Most of its major routes, including New York to Chicago, followed rivers and had no significant grades other than West Albany Hill. New York Central Railroad_sentence_91

This influenced a great deal about the line, from advertising to locomotive design, built around its flagship New York-Chicago Water Level Route. New York Central Railroad_sentence_92

Bypasses New York Central Railroad_section_18

A number of bypasses and cutoffs were built around congested areas. New York Central Railroad_sentence_93

The Junction Railroad's Buffalo Belt Line opened in 1871, providing a bypass of Buffalo to the northeast, as well as a loop route for passenger trains via downtown. New York Central Railroad_sentence_94

The West Shore Railroad, acquired in 1885, provided a bypass around Rochester. New York Central Railroad_sentence_95

The Terminal Railway's Gardenville Cutoff, allowing through traffic to bypass Buffalo to the southeast, opened in 1898. New York Central Railroad_sentence_96

The Schenectady Detour consisted of two connections to the West Shore Railroad, allowing through trains to bypass the steep grades at Schenectady. New York Central Railroad_sentence_97

The full project opened in 1902. New York Central Railroad_sentence_98

The Cleveland Short Line Railway built a bypass of Cleveland, Ohio, completed in 1912. New York Central Railroad_sentence_99

In 1924, the Alfred H. Smith Memorial Bridge was constructed as part of the Hudson River Connecting Railroad's Castleton Cut-Off, a 27.5-mile-long freight bypass of the congested West Albany terminal area and West Albany Hill. New York Central Railroad_sentence_100

An unrelated realignment was made in the 1910s at Rome, when the Erie Canal was realigned and widened onto a new alignment south of downtown Rome. New York Central Railroad_sentence_101

The NYC main line was shifted south out of downtown to the south bank of the new canal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_102

A bridge was built southeast of downtown, roughly where the old main line crossed the path of the canal, to keep access to and from the southeast. New York Central Railroad_sentence_103

West of downtown, the old main line was abandoned, but a brand new railroad line was built, running north from the NYC main line to the NYC's former Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad, allowing all NYC through traffic to bypass Rome. New York Central Railroad_sentence_104

Trains New York Central Railroad_section_19

Steam locomotives of the NYC were optimized for speed on that flat raceway of a main line, rather than slow mountain lugging. New York Central Railroad_sentence_105

Famous locomotives of the system included the well-known 4-6-4 Hudsons, particularly the 1937–38 J-3a's; 4-8-2 World War II–era L-3 and L-4 Mohawks; and the postwar S-class Niagaras: fast 4-8-4 locomotives often considered the epitome of their breed by steam locomotive aficionados (railfans). New York Central Railroad_sentence_106

For two-thirds of the twentieth century the New York Central had some of the most famous trains in the United States. New York Central Railroad_sentence_107

Its 20th Century Limited, begun in 1902, ran from Grand Central Terminal in New York to LaSalle Street Station, Chicago, and was its most famous train, known for its red carpet treatment and first class service. New York Central Railroad_sentence_108

In the mid-1930s many railroad companies were introducing streamliner locomotives; until the New York Central introduced the Commodore Vanderbilt, all were diesel-electric. New York Central Railroad_sentence_109

The Vanderbilt used the more common steam engine. New York Central Railroad_sentence_110

The Century, which followed the Water Level Route, could complete the 960-mile trip in 16 hours after its June 15, 1938 streamlining (and did it in 15½ hours for a short period after World War II). New York Central Railroad_sentence_111

Also famous was its Empire State Express through upstate New York to Buffalo and Cleveland, and Ohio State Limited from New York to Cincinnati. New York Central Railroad_sentence_112

NYC also provided the Rexall Train of 1936, which toured 47 states to promote the Rexall chain of drug stores. New York Central Railroad_sentence_113

Despite having some of the most modern steam locomotives anywhere, NYC's difficult financial position caused it to convert to more economical diesel-electric power rapidly. New York Central Railroad_sentence_114

All lines east of Cleveland, Ohio were dieselized as of August 7, 1953. New York Central Railroad_sentence_115

Niagaras were all retired by 1956. New York Central Railroad_sentence_116

On May 3, 1957, H7e class 2-8-2 Mikado type steam locomotive #1977 is reported to have been the last steam locomotive to retire from service on the railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_117

But, the economics of northeastern railroading became so dire that not even this switch could change things for the better. New York Central Railroad_sentence_118

Prominent New York Central trains: New York Central Railroad_sentence_119

New York to Chicago New York Central Railroad_section_20

New York Central Railroad_unordered_list_0

  • 20th Century Limited: New York to Chicago (limited stops) via the Water Level Route 1902–1967New York Central Railroad_item_0_0
  • Commodore Vanderbilt: New York–Chicago (a few more stops) via the Water Level RouteNew York Central Railroad_item_0_1
  • Lake Shore Limited: New York–Chicago via Cleveland with branch service to Boston and St. Louis 1896–1956, 1971–Present (Reinstated and combined with New England States by Amtrak in 1971)New York Central Railroad_item_0_2
  • Chicagoan: New York–ChicagoNew York Central Railroad_item_0_3
  • Pacemaker: New York–Chicago all-coach train via ClevelandNew York Central Railroad_item_0_4
  • Wolverine: New York-Chicago via southern Ontario and DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_0_5

The Mercuries New York Central Railroad_section_21

New York Central Railroad_unordered_list_1

  • Chicago Mercury: Chicago-DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_1_6
  • Cincinnati Mercury: Cleveland-CincinnatiNew York Central Railroad_item_1_7
  • Cleveland Mercury: Detroit–ClevelandNew York Central Railroad_item_1_8
  • Detroit Mercury: Cleveland-DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_1_9

New York to St. Louis New York Central Railroad_section_22

New York Central Railroad_unordered_list_2

  • Knickerbocker: New York–St. LouisNew York Central Railroad_item_2_10
  • Southwestern Limited: New York–St. Louis, from 1889 to 1966New York Central Railroad_item_2_11

Other trains New York Central Railroad_section_23

New York Central Railroad_unordered_list_3

  • Empire State Express: New York-Buffalo and Cleveland via the Empire Corridor 1891–PresentNew York Central Railroad_item_3_12
  • Ohio State Limited: New York-Cincinnati via Empire CorridorNew York Central Railroad_item_3_13
  • Xplorer: Cleveland-Cincinnati 1958–1960 (Special experimental lightweight train)New York Central Railroad_item_3_14
  • Cleveland Limited: New York–ClevelandNew York Central Railroad_item_3_15
  • Detroiter: New York–DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_3_16
  • James Whitcomb Riley: Chicago-CincinnatiNew York Central Railroad_item_3_17
  • Michigan: Chicago-DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_3_18
  • Motor City Special: Chicago–DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_3_19
  • New England States: Boston-Chicago via the Water Level Route 1938–1971 (Retained by Penn Central and, for Amtrak, combined with reinstated Lake Shore Limited)New York Central Railroad_item_3_20
  • North Star: New York-Cleveland, branches to Toronto and Lake PlacidNew York Central Railroad_item_3_21
  • Twilight Limited: Chicago–DetroitNew York Central Railroad_item_3_22

Trains left from Grand Central Terminal in New York, Weehawken Terminal in Weehawken, New Jersey, South Station in Boston, Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Michigan Central Station in Detroit, St. New York Central Railroad_sentence_120 Louis Union Station, and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago. New York Central Railroad_sentence_121

The New York Central had a network of commuter lines in New York and Massachusetts. New York Central Railroad_sentence_122

Westchester County, New York had the railroad's Hudson, Harlem, and Putnam lines into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan (Putnam Division trains required a change at High Bridge, New York), while New Jersey and Rockland County, New York were serviced by the West Shore Line between Weehawken and Kingston, New York, on the west side of the Hudson River. New York Central Railroad_sentence_123

Decline New York Central Railroad_section_24

The New York Central, like many U.S. railroads, declined after the Second World War. New York Central Railroad_sentence_124

Problems resurfaced that had plagued the railroad industry before the war, such as over-regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which severely regulated the rates charged by the railroad, along with continuing competition from automobiles. New York Central Railroad_sentence_125

These problems were coupled with even more formidable forms of competition, such as airline service in the 1950s that began to deprive NYC of its long-distance passenger trade. New York Central Railroad_sentence_126

The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 helped create a network of efficient roads for motor vehicle travel through the country, enticing more people to travel by car, as well as haul freight by truck. New York Central Railroad_sentence_127

The 1959 opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway adversely affected NYC freight business. New York Central Railroad_sentence_128

Container shipments could now be directly shipped to ports along the Great Lakes, eliminating the railroads' freight hauls between the east and the Midwest. New York Central Railroad_sentence_129

The NYC also carried a substantial tax burden from governments that saw rail infrastructure as a source of property tax revenues – taxes that were not imposed upon interstate highways. New York Central Railroad_sentence_130

To make matters worse, most railroads, including the NYC, were saddled with a World War II-era tax of 15% on passenger fares, which remained until 1962, 17 years after the end of the war. New York Central Railroad_sentence_131

Robert R. Young: 1954–1958 New York Central Railroad_section_25

In June 1954, management of the New York Central System lost a proxy fight in 1954 to Robert Ralph Young and the Alleghany Corporation he led. New York Central Railroad_sentence_132

Alleghany Corporation was a real estate and railroad empire built by the Van Sweringen brothers of Cleveland in the 1920s that had controlled the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) and the Nickel Plate Road. New York Central Railroad_sentence_133

It fell under the control of Young and financier Allan Price Kirby during the Great Depression. New York Central Railroad_sentence_134

R. R. Young was considered a railroad visionary, but found the New York Central in worse shape than he had imagined. New York Central Railroad_sentence_135

Unable to keep his promises, Young was forced to suspend dividend payments in January 1958. New York Central Railroad_sentence_136

He committed suicide later that month. New York Central Railroad_sentence_137

Alfred E. Perlman: 1958–1968 New York Central Railroad_section_26

After Young's suicide, his role in NYC management was assumed by Alfred E. Perlman, who had been working with the NYC under Young since 1954. New York Central Railroad_sentence_138

Despite the dismal financial condition of the railroad, Perlman was able to streamline operations and save the company money. New York Central Railroad_sentence_139

Starting in 1959, Perlman was able to reduce operating deficits by $7.7 million, which nominally raised NYC stock to $1.29 per share, producing dividends of an amount not seen since the end of the war. New York Central Railroad_sentence_140

By 1964 he was able to reduce the NYC long- term debt by nearly $100 million, while reducing passenger deficits from $42 to $24.6 million. New York Central Railroad_sentence_141

Perlman also enacted several modernization projects throughout the railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_142

Notable was the use of Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) systems on many of the NYC lines, which reduced the four-track mainline to two tracks. New York Central Railroad_sentence_143

He oversaw construction and/or modernization of many hump or classification yards, notably the $20-million Selkirk Yard which opened outside of Albany in 1966. New York Central Railroad_sentence_144

Perlman also experimented with jet trains, creating a Budd RDC car (the M-497 Black Beetle) powered by two J47 jet engines stripped from a B-36 Peacemaker bomber as a solution to increasing car and airplane competition. New York Central Railroad_sentence_145

The project did not leave the prototype stage. New York Central Railroad_sentence_146

Perlman's cuts resulted in the curtailing of many of the railroad's services; commuter lines around New York were particularly affected. New York Central Railroad_sentence_147

In 1958–1959, service was suspended on the NYC's Putnam Division in Westchester and Putnam counties, and the NYC abandoned its ferry service across the Hudson to Weehawken Terminal. New York Central Railroad_sentence_148

This negatively impacted the railroad's West Shore Line, which ran along the west bank of the Hudson River from Jersey City to Albany, which saw long-distance service to Albany discontinued in 1958 and commuter service between Jersey City and West Haverstraw, New York terminated in 1959. New York Central Railroad_sentence_149

Ridding itself of most of its commuter service proved impossible due to the heavy use of these lines around metro New York, which government mandated the railroad still operate. New York Central Railroad_sentence_150

Many long-distance and regional-haul passenger trains were either discontinued or downgraded in service, with coaches replacing Pullman, parlor, and sleeping cars on routes in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. New York Central Railroad_sentence_151

The Empire Corridor between Albany and Buffalo saw service greatly reduced with service beyond Buffalo to Niagara Falls discontinued in 1961. New York Central Railroad_sentence_152

On December 3, 1967, most of the great long-distance trains ended, including the famed Twentieth Century Limited. New York Central Railroad_sentence_153

The railroad's branch line service off the Empire Corridor in upstate New York was also gradually discontinued, the last being its Utica Branch between Utica and Lake Placid, in 1965. New York Central Railroad_sentence_154

Many of the railroad's great train stations in Rochester, Schenectady, and Albany were demolished or abandoned. New York Central Railroad_sentence_155

Despite the savings these cuts created, it was apparent that if the railroad was to become solvent again, a more permanent solution was needed. New York Central Railroad_sentence_156

Demise New York Central Railroad_section_27

Merger with the Pennsylvania Railroad New York Central Railroad_section_28

One problem that many of the Northeastern railroads faced was the fact that the railroad market was saturated for the dwindling rail traffic that remained. New York Central Railroad_sentence_157

The NYC had to compete with its two biggest rivals: the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), in addition to more moderate-size railroads such as the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad (DLW), the Erie Railroad, the Reading Company, the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad. New York Central Railroad_sentence_158

Mergers of these railroads seemed a promising way for these companies to streamline operations and reduce the competition. New York Central Railroad_sentence_159

The DL&W and Erie railroads had showed some success when they began merging their operations in 1956, finally leading to the formation of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad in 1960. New York Central Railroad_sentence_160

Other mergers combined the Virginian Railway, Wabash Railroad, Nickel Plate Road and several others into the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W) system, and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), Western Maryland Railway (WM), and Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) combined with others to form the Chessie System. New York Central Railroad_sentence_161

Heavy streamlining and reduction in passenger services led to the success of many of these mergers. New York Central Railroad_sentence_162

Following this trend, the NYC began to look for a potential railroad to merge with as early as the mid-1950s and had originally sought out mergers with the B&O and the NYC-controlled Nickel Plate Road. New York Central Railroad_sentence_163

Unlike the aforementioned mergers, however, a NYC merger proved tricky due to the fact that the railroad still operated a fairly extensive amount of regional and commuter passenger services that were under mandates by the Interstate Commerce Commission to maintain. New York Central Railroad_sentence_164

It soon became apparent that the only other railroad with enough capital to allow for a potentially successful merger proved to be the NYC's chief rival, the PRR: itself a railroad that still had a large passenger trade. New York Central Railroad_sentence_165

Merger talks between the two roads were discussed as early as 1955; however, this was delayed due to a number of factors: among them, interference by the Interstate Commerce Commission, objections from operating unions, concerns from competing railroads, and the inability of the two companies themselves to formulate a merger plan, thus delaying progress for over a decade. New York Central Railroad_sentence_166

Two major points of contention centered on which railroad should have the majority controlling interest going into the merger. New York Central Railroad_sentence_167

Perlman's cost-cutting during the '50s and '60s put NYC in a more financially healthy situation than the PRR. New York Central Railroad_sentence_168

Nevertheless, the ICC, with urging by PRR President Stuart T. Saunders, wanted the PRR to absorb the NYC. New York Central Railroad_sentence_169

Another point centered on the ICC's wanting to force the bankrupt New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven, into the new system, which it did in 1969, something to which both companies objected. New York Central Railroad_sentence_170

Eventually, both points would ultimately lead to the new Penn Central's demise. New York Central Railroad_sentence_171

In December 1967, the New York Central published its last public timetable. New York Central Railroad_sentence_172

The final timetable revealed a drastically truncated passenger schedule in anticipation of its merger with the PRR. New York Central Railroad_sentence_173

Most deluxe long-distance passenger trains ended on December 3, 1967, including the famed 20th Century Limited. New York Central Railroad_sentence_174

Only those trains which were to be continued after the merger with the PRR were retained, along with the railroad's commuter trains. New York Central Railroad_sentence_175

Penn Central: 1968–1976 New York Central Railroad_section_29

On February 1, 1968, the New York Central was absorbed by the Pennsylvania Railroad, forming the new Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company that was eventually renamed the Penn Central Transportation Company, with the NYC's Alfred Perlman as president. New York Central Railroad_sentence_176

Penn Central was quickly saddled with debt when the ICC forced the money-losing New Haven into the railroad in 1969. New York Central Railroad_sentence_177

In addition, the merger was handled in a haphazard manner with no formal merger plan implemented. New York Central Railroad_sentence_178

The two companies' competing corporate cultures, union interest, and incompatible operating and computer systems sabotaged any hope for a success. New York Central Railroad_sentence_179

Additionally in an effort to look profitable, the board of directors authorized the use of the railroad's reserve cash to pay dividends to company stockholders. New York Central Railroad_sentence_180

Nevertheless, on June 21, 1970, Penn Central declared bankruptcy – the largest private bankruptcy in the United States to that time. New York Central Railroad_sentence_181

Under bankruptcy protection, many of Penn Central's outstanding debts owed to other railroads were frozen, while debts owed to Penn Central by the other roads were not. New York Central Railroad_sentence_182

This sent a trickle effect throughout the already fragile railroad industry forcing many of the other Northeastern railroads into insolvency, among them the Erie Lackawanna, Boston and Maine, the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Reading Company, and the Lehigh Valley. New York Central Railroad_sentence_183

Penn Central marked the last hope of privately funded passenger rail service in the United States. New York Central Railroad_sentence_184

In response to the bankruptcy President Richard Nixon signed into law the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 which formed the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, a government-subsidized railroad system. New York Central Railroad_sentence_185

On May 1, 1971, Amtrak took over operation of most regional and long-distance intercity passenger trains in the United States. New York Central Railroad_sentence_186

Amtrak would eventually assume ownership of the Northeast Corridor, a mostly electrified route between Boston and Washington, D.C., inherited primarily from the PRR and New Haven systems. New York Central Railroad_sentence_187

Penn Central and the other railroads were still obligated to operate their commuter services for the next five years while in bankruptcy, eventually turning them over to the newly formed Conrail in 1976. New York Central Railroad_sentence_188

There was some hope that Penn Central, and the other Northeastern railroads, could be restructured towards profitability once their burdensome passenger deficits were unloaded. New York Central Railroad_sentence_189

However, this was not to be and the railroads never recovered from their respective bankruptcies. New York Central Railroad_sentence_190

Conrail and CSX: 1976–present New York Central Railroad_section_30

Conrail, officially the Consolidated Rail Corporation, was created by the U.S. government to salvage Penn Central, and the other bankrupt railroads freight business, beginning its operations on April 1, 1976. New York Central Railroad_sentence_191

As mentioned, Conrail assumed control of Penn Central's commuter lines throughout the Lower Hudson Valley of New York, Connecticut, and in and around Boston. New York Central Railroad_sentence_192

In 1983 these commuter services would be turned over to the state funded Metro-North Railroad in New York and Connecticut, and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Massachusetts. New York Central Railroad_sentence_193

Conrail would go on to achieve profitability by the 1990s and was sought by several other large railroads in a continuing trend of mergers eventually having its assets absorbed by CSX and Norfolk Southern. New York Central Railroad_sentence_194

Conrail, in an effort to streamline its operations, was forced to abandon miles of both NYC and PRR trackage. New York Central Railroad_sentence_195

Nevertheless, the majority of the NYC system is still intact and used by both CSX and Amtrak. New York Central Railroad_sentence_196

Among the lines still used are the famed Water Level Route between New York and Chicago, as well as its former Boston & Albany line between these points, the Kankakee Belt Route through Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, and the West Shore Line between Jersey City and the Albany suburb of Selkirk where the old NYC – now CSX – Selkirk Yard is among the busiest freight yards in the country. New York Central Railroad_sentence_197

On June 6, 1998, most of Conrail was split between Norfolk Southern and CSX. New York Central Railroad_sentence_198

New York Central Lines LLC was formed as a subsidiary of Conrail, containing the lines to be operated by CSX; this included the old Water Level Route and many other lines of the New York Central, as well as various lines from other companies; it also assumed the ′′NYC′′ reporting mark. New York Central Railroad_sentence_199

CSX eventually fully absorbed the subsidiary as part of a streamlining of Conrail operations. New York Central Railroad_sentence_200

See also New York Central Railroad_section_31

New York Central Railroad_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New York Central Railroad.