Friday PM out of New York

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Friday PM out of New York

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:57 am

A summer Friday PM on the New York end of the railroad. Most of us who had time on the New Haven can't forget Fridays, in addition to the regular heavy passenger travel we had six additional trains eastbound each with its only distinctive flavor. The following is from the summer of 1955:

1. Train 146, The Housatonic, for Pittsfield left Grand Central Terminal at 4:25 PM with a diner lounge, parlor car and coaches, it was like an advance of 144 one hour behind. Usually about 6 cars.

2. Train 108, The Neptune, for Cape Cod (Hyannis and Woods Hole) left Grand Central Terminal at 4:30 PM with a parlor on each end or maybe more than one parlor, coaches and a diner or grill, also usually a lounge car, the diner went to Hyannis and the lounge to Woods Hole, this was the "party train" out of New York usually 12 to 16 cars, split at Buzzards Bay.

3. Train 40, The Seashore, for Providence making local stops along the Connecticut Shore, left Grand Central Terminal at 5:37 PM with a parlor, diner and maybe 3 or 4 coaches, usually around 6 cars out of New York.

4. Train 184, The Bar Harbor, for Ellsworth, Maine (bus from Ellsworth to Bar Harbor), left Penn Station at 7:30 PM, this was the class train of the lot with no coaches, a diner to Providence off the PRR, this train only made conditional stops on the New Haven and ran with a lot of sleepers some of them were heavyweight, 8 to 12 cars and maybe more on a peak weekend. Sleepers originated in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. This train changed engines and crews at South Worcester Yard and did not make a station stop in Worcester.

5. Train 166, The Night White Mountains, for Bretton Woods Fabyan left Grand Central Terminal at 11:00 PM with sleepers and coaches for Bretton Woods Fabyan. It also had a through sleeper from Washington via 168 at New Haven. Maybe 6 or so cars. The next stop after Hartford was Brattleboro, Vermont. It stopped at the yard in Springfield to change power and crews but did not make the move in to Springfield Station.

6. Train 110, The Night Cape Codder, left Grand Central Terminal at 12:00 MID for Hyannis and Woods Hole with a through sleeper to Hyannis from Washington via 168 at New Haven. Maybe 10 or so cars.

Two of the three overnight trains had lounge car service only the Night Cape Codder did not

Friday evening also made for increased consists on many of the Shore Line trains out of New York, the Merchants was very long, train 168 had more sleepers than on other days, train 144 was heavy all the way to Pittsfield, 80 to Springfield had extra cars for north of Springfield. Fridays were indeed very busy on the New Haven. Incidentally Boston also had an extra round trip to Hyannis Friday evening. Very interesting times indeed.

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Re: Friday PM out of New York

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:51 pm

Yes, a great lineup then. I used the Merchants Limited a lot, and it left at 5 PM. Just ahead of us was a long 4:57 commuter train [pulled by a Jet], and we overtook him at Noroton Heights stop, IIRC.

Another train for the list is the State of Maine.
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Re: Friday PM out of New York

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:56 pm

When I made up this list it was intended to be only the trains that ran once a week to accommodate weekend crowds heading to New England. The State of Maine ran every day out of both New York and Portland. I rode it near the end and indeed it was sad to see it come off.
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Re: Friday PM out of New York

Postby Saugatuck » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:29 am

One thing I wonder about is how this weekly parade of trains out of New York on summer Friday evenings would thread its way through local commuter and especially freight traffic. Were there substantial freight movements during the late afternoon/evening, or was the schedule framed so that there would be little competition for track space?
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Re: Friday PM out of New York

Postby BobLI » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:24 am

Off topic!! I'm wondering how they were able to process all the reservations for sleeper space etc. without the use of computers as we do now. There had to be a heck of a lot of clerks and paperwork involved. Can anyone shed light on the process?
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Re: Friday PM out of New York

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:02 am

BobLI wrote:Off topic!! I'm wondering how they were able to process all the reservations for sleeper space etc. without the use of computers as we do now. There had to be a heck of a lot of clerks and paperwork involved. Can anyone shed light on the process?


To try to answer two questions here:
1. Passenger and especially commuter business was nowhere near as heavy in the 50's and 60's as it is today and there were not nearly the number of passenger trains either even considering that there were some rather interesting destinations for the trains back the. As for freight trains, all through the 60's train GB-4 out of Bay Ridge around 4:00 PM would hit New Rochelle Junction maybe 5:30 PM or a little bit after, next stop Cedar Hill and it was not often held for any passenger trains anywhere between New York and New Haven. We had a lot of freight in those days and it moved.
2. Reservations - space was assigned to various stations originating, for example a train from Boston to New York would have most reserve space assigned to Boston but also space assigned to Providence and maybe New London as well. In the big and busy stations like New York the Pennsylvania had a reservations center in New York and it was called Penn Pullman, I remember the clerk in Waterbury calling Penn Pullman for space on a Florida train out of New York on a very frequent basis. They had cards for every car on every train and filled in the information on the card (reservation number, origination and destination), it was old, cumbersome and needed a lot of clerks but it worked and it handled a lot of Pullman and parlor reservations.
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