NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Discussion relating to the NH and its subsidiaries (NYW&B, Union Freight Railroad, Connecticut Company, steamship lines, etc.). up until its 1969 inclusion into the Penn Central merger. This forum is also for the discussion of efforts to preserve former New Haven equipment, artifacts and its history. You may also wish to visit www.nhrhta.org for more information.

NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Tadman » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:10 am

Noel, your father's impression of the CNS&M was pretty accurate. It was way before my time, but the road was known for two things: 1. Speed; 2. Access to downtown over trackage rights on Chicago's L. This mean 48' LOA max on train cars, giving them a "trolley car" feel due to their short length. The L has quite a few 90-degree curves between downtown and Howard street. (11 maybe?)

Imagine if NYW&B or NH used trackage rights on IRT/IND rather than NYC to reach downtown Manhattan...
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Re: Last passenger trains at Danbury & Waterbury

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:15 pm

Tadman wrote:Noel, your father's impression of the CNS&M was pretty accurate. It was way before my time, but the road was known for two things: 1. Speed; 2. Access to downtown over trackage rights on Chicago's L. This mean 48' LOA max on train cars, giving them a "trolley car" feel due to their short length. The L has quite a few 90-degree curves between downtown and Howard street. (11 maybe?)

Imagine if NYW&B or NH used trackage rights on IRT/IND rather than NYC to reach downtown Manhattan...


YES!! I rode the North Shore a couple of different times and I remember it pretty well. It was an impressive ride. Last time I rode it was a couple of months before the last trains. This is one line that should still be running, too bad the states did not step forward to help save it.
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Re: Last passenger trains at Danbury & Waterbury

Postby Tadman » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:06 am

The abandonment of CNS&M leads me to an interesting point: Chicago has the interesting distinction of presiding over the abandonment and removal of two important railroad assets: CNS&M interurban and B&O's Grand Central Station on Harrison. Now both were a bit redundant at the time, given that MILW and C&NW both paralleled CNS&M, and there were six other terminals in town at the time. But the loss of both properties was fought tooth-and-nail. Ultimately the cause to save the properties failed because, at the time, there was no formal method saving such properties.

The loss of the CNS&M was a big catalyst in the effort to secure public funding to subsidize commuter trains. Without the CNS&M as an example, the cause would've taken much longer to become important.

The loss of Chicago's Grand Central was a big catalyst in the historic building preservation effort (NYP was really the biggest catalyst, though) leading to formal procedures for recognizing historic structures and preserving them in their intended state.

All cities, including the New York metro area, have obviously benefited from this - well-funded Danbury and Waterbury passengers arrive in the real GCT, rather than the basement of another Penn Central real estate development.
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Re: Last passenger trains at Danbury & Waterbury

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:45 pm

Site Admin Note: split from MNRR Danbury topic as we're starting to run the gamut here, not just MNRR. No worries, though, it's an interesting evolution of the topic.

Tad, I could definitely imagine the NYW&B using the 2nd or 3rd Ave El trackage, provided of course they had the right equipment. E.g. "A" division equipment, and dual mode, although could you imagine the weight on an El?. Probably the better idea would have been to convert the NYW&B to third rail (possible, since it ended in NYS).

The 2nd Av line was torn down in 1942, a few short years after the death of the NYW&B. Of course, the steel was otherwise needed, and the 3rd Av elevated was lucky it survived that war drive as well. Since the 2nd Ave el was an "off-shoot" of the 3rd, that trackage could have been used all the way into the Bronx, and perhaps continued across Gun Hill Rd to connect. Even without that, a way might have been found to connect it to the Third Ave Bridge over the Harlem River.

That would have been an interesting conversion. Limit the stations (i.e. drastically reduce the stops in the Bronx and Manhattan) and run all the way down from Columbus Junction to Gun Hill and make a right. You'd not only have had access to midtown and competition with GCT and the New York Central, but you could continue on to downtown, Wall St, etc.

Noel Weaver wrote:
Tadman wrote:Noel, your father's impression of the CNS&M was pretty accurate. It was way before my time, but the road was known for two things: 1. Speed; 2. Access to downtown over trackage rights on Chicago's L. This mean 48' LOA max on train cars, giving them a "trolley car" feel due to their short length. The L has quite a few 90-degree curves between downtown and Howard street. (11 maybe?)

Imagine if NYW&B or NH used trackage rights on IRT/IND rather than NYC to reach downtown Manhattan...


YES!! I rode the North Shore a couple of different times and I remember it pretty well. It was an impressive ride. Last time I rode it was a couple of months before the last trains. This is one line that should still be running, too bad the states did not step forward to help save it.
Noel Weaver
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:14 am

IF the Westchester had been connected to the subway before the Bronx portion actually was the logical place to do that would have been 180th Street, right where it eventually was. The subway at 180th Street (actually an el at this location) offered much better transit connections even in the 30's and 40's. If the Westchester had been brought back before the wrecking started it would have made much sense to terminate Westchester service at 180th Street and just transfer everybody to the subway at this location. There could have been a lot of interesting possibilities as to what could have been done in this regard.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Statkowski » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:58 pm

Everyone's talking about the physical capability of doing such, but not mentioned is the significant fact that the NYW&B's charter would have required serious amending, whether using the proposed 2nd Avenue subway, or Hell Gate Bridge, or any of the existing elevated trackage. It is a virtual certainty that neither New York State nor New York City would have permitted such.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby fordhamroad » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:39 pm

Hi Noel and Henry -- Do you recall the proposal of 1936, which was first proposed by the bondholders of the road, which would have reequipped the NYW&B with new cars built by Budd, stainless steel, with pantograph for operation north of the Harlem River, but small enough in dimensions, that they would have eventually fit into subway tunnels? There was also a possibility of switching the Westchester line from 11,00 volts AC to 600 volts DC, to be compatable with city subways.There is a drawing of these cars , recopied from an original in the Budd Co. records in the third. edition of Roger Arcara's book. They probably would have resembles the stainless stell experimental cars Budd built for the BMT. Clinton Bardo apparently explored the idea, as bankruptcy trustee of the Westchester, but nothing was actually done about it before the road ended in 1937.
- The idea was revived in 1940-41 when the Port Authority did a study for the involved communities on the Bronx-White Plains line. At that point, some kind of new equipment would probably have to bought to replace the Stillwell cars. Although LaGuardia did not want to take any responsibility for the NYW&B in 1938, after the City of NY acquired the Dyre Ave branch in 1940, the City was willing to allow continued Westchester service, as a public authority run by the Westchester County communities, on the two center tracks to 180th St. At that point, it might have been possible to change track configurations to allow new, smaller profile trains from the Westchester tracks to enter the subway line. Of course, it didn't happen. But it could have.

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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby pbass » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:59 pm

there were a few reasonable possibilities to continue the service albeit on a modified and altered operation.as for operating on the tracks of the ny subway even with compatible equipment could never happen.the ny subway is strictly a nycta operation,doesnot operate outside of ny city limits,no other agency is allowed to operate on the property of the nycta.even for arguement sake,if the nywb was allowed to operate on nycta trackage,the nycta would be the host railroad,their rules and regulations would prevail as would their signal rules and operating rules requiring nywb employees to be tested and familiar with them and access to nycta property which to this day is not permitted to non nycta employees.the nywb would also be obligated to reimburse the nycta for the use,maintenance,repairs to the row,electric propulsion and other electric uses to con edison,expenses the nywb couldnot afford.once reality set in,even under these circumstances,any disruption to the service of either or both agencies would be chaotic in reestablishing normal operations as one agency may have to operate over the tracks of the other agency,nor if the nywb was to continue using equipment operating on 11,000 volts ac,this voltage would not be allowed on the nycta mostly due to the safety of employees and patrons and also the source and repairs to the overhead.the whole thing in a nutshell is the lack of direct access to manhattan either by way of the nywb's own traqckage or trackage rights over another railroad.alas,the lack of foresight and money were missing at that time to save this outstanding railway.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby fordhamroad » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:38 pm

pbass - -With all respect, your breathless answer contains so many points of view that I am unable to respond to it.
-Putting the NYW&B on 600v. operation was really considered as a possibility after 1937.
-The original plan for the New York and Portchester RR, the predecessor of the NYW&B, was to run IRT sized cars with an identical 600v third rail system from 180th st. over the IRT elevated tracks. That involved cooperation between two private companies, and would have required franchise permissions.
- The situation was the same legally prior to NY City acquiring the IRT in 1940. What might have happened after that between two publicly owned lines, I have no idea.
-I can recall on another of our forums, the long and wise arguments explaining how different managemant, different union rules, different operating rules, and different types of equipment would absolutely forbid commuter trains from ever running from Connecticut to New Jersey via Hell Gate and Penn Station. Have you been to a Giants game lately?


Best wishes

Roger
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby pbass » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:45 am

the company was in bankruptcy with no possible solution to the millstone of debt causing it's demise,so all suggestions and proposals are made moot.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Statkowski » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:04 pm

pbass wrote:the company was in bankruptcy with no possible solution to the millstone of debt causing it's demise,so all suggestions and proposals are made moot.

The fact that the company was in bankruptcy possibly offered more options to break free from its millstone. One possible option (although you said none) was dissolution of the company. This was done. It wasn't a nice option, but it was an option. There may well have been other options, but they became moot once this option was chosen.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby pbass » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:53 pm

i am not versed in business and bankruptcy laws but i assume even with the disolution of a company exists the debt still owed to it's creditors. clue me in:because the company is disolved and no longer exists the creditors just walk away without their claims being entertained without any compensation and the property and other assets remain as is or are they reclaimed by the creditors and sold for payment?
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Ridgefielder » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:42 pm

pbass wrote:i am not versed in business and bankruptcy laws but i assume even with the disolution of a company exists the debt still owed to it's creditors. clue me in:because the company is disolved and no longer exists the creditors just walk away without their claims being entertained without any compensation and the property and other assets remain as is or are they reclaimed by the creditors and sold for payment?

When a company goes into bankruptcy, the duty of the bankruptcy trustee is to maximize return to the creditors.

Sometimes the best way to do this is to reorganize the company but keep it a going concern. When that happens, the owners/shareholders of the pre-bankruptcy company are usually wiped out, and the creditors become the new owners (similar to what happens to a house when the homeowner stops paying the mortgage.)

However, sometimes the trustee comes to the conclusion that the best way to maximize return to the creditors is to liquidate. The trustee will auction off all the assets of the company; the resulting funds are distributed to creditors in proportion to the amount of money they are owed. If the company owed you $100, but your share of the assets is only worth $20, the trustee will give you a check for $20 and that's it-- you have no more claim on the bankruptcy estate.

In the case of the Boston-Westchester, the trustee concluded that the railroad was worth more dead than alive. Unfortunately for the people of central Westchester County, there was a good market for scrap metal in those days thanks to the doings of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo...
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby pbass » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:59 pm

thank you ridgefielder for your enlightenment.my thinking was correct in such if no successful reorganization was feasible,then all assets were to be sold to satisfy the creditors claims which brings us back to the theme of this thread[NYWB on IRT].for reasons already mentioned,prior to or during the bankruptcy,joint useage would not be practible.
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Re: NYW&B Westchester Discussion on Potential Use of IRT

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:34 pm

The problem for NYW&B's owner -- which was the New Haven Railroad -- was that the smaller road never in its existence came close to earning its fixed costs or carrying charges. As Herb Harwood described it in his fascinating book, Morgan's Magnificent Mistake, the NYW&B's entire gross revenue never equaled the annual interest on the money borrowed to build it.

IIRC the annual fixed charges were in the neighborhood of $3 million a year while revenues seldom exceeded $1 million. The New Haven was in reorganization at the time as well, and there was no way possible the NYNH&H could provide the cash subsidy needed to keep the NYW&B running. And for what business purpose? The NYW&B lost money on operations.

The NYCTA did takeover and still operates most of the Bronx segment of the line. There was interest in public operation of the Westchester County segment as well but in that era there was way too much political opposition (just as there would be today, think about it!) and the plans never got anywhere.

Remains one of the saddest cases in New York railroad history. :(

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