New York Central passenger service in 1949

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New York Central passenger service in 1949

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:19 pm

I get into a “kick” when I re-read old stuff from my collection. Right now I have been going through my old New York Central 1001’s. For those who don’t know the New York Central issued a public timetable that while it did not show every train operated it did show basically just about every line operated and has lot of interesting stuff in it. Most commuter trains were not shown and the Putnam Division never warranted a listing of any sort. I have most of them from 1949 until the end and a few earlier issues as well, all provide a history of their superb passenger services through the years.
Here are some notes from the 1001 dated September 29, 1949, why did I pick this particular issue? I can’t give you an honest answer.
They devoted a full page plus promoting their passenger services, here is a quote”
“YOU GAIN IN WEATHER DEPENDABILITY!
Let storms sweep the skyways…or sleet glaze the highways., Day or night, the year around, you’re sure of your railroad travel plans. For you go weather or no…aboard New York Central’s streamliners and Dreamliners.”
They didn’t shut the railroad down because of a snow storm, ice storm or most any other storm either for that matter, they ran generally as scheduled.
Some more tibits from 1949:
Chicago to New York had 10 daily through trains
Chicago to Boston had 6 daily through trains
St. Louis to New York had 4 daily through trains
St. Louis to Boston had 2 daily through trains
Detroit to New York had 5 daily through trains
Detroit to Boston had 2 daily through trains
Cleveland to New York had 11 daily through trains
Cleveland to Boston had 5 daily through trains
Buffalo to New York had 16 daily through trains
Buffalo to Boston had 6 daily through trains
Buffalo to Albany had 15 daily through trains
Albany or Troy to New York had 23 daily trains
Albany to Boston had 8 daily through trains

Many trains made almost no scheduled intermediate stops so I did not include them in the above, for example if a train did not stop at Buffalo for passengers I did not include it in the above totals. There may be errors but it is simply amazing what existed at the time. Of course this predates interstate highways and jet planes but the Central was really after the passenger business and invested heavily in really good equipment through these years to steadily improve their already fine passenger operations.

Many of the through trains between New York and mid-west points had multiple sleepers, the consists would sometimes list 10-6 (bedrooms/roomettes) 3 cars or whatever number of sleepers of that particular type were normally assigned. Some of these trains also ran in two or more sections.

These 1001 folders also included the trains on the Harlem Division between New York and Chatham of which some continued on to North Adams, the River Line through trains between Weehawken and Albany plus the Catskill Mountain Branch to Oneonta and the above one also showed passenger trains (two each way daily) between Toledo, Ohio and Charleston, West Virginia with meal service of sorts on one of them. The Charleston trains went the following year but even after that they still ran a passenger train between Charleston and Hitop, WV, two round trips a day which went in to some remote country in backwoods West Virginia. I think these trains also acted as school buses. These trains lasted long enough to get an RDC assigned to them and I think the Central modified the RDC assigned to this service to 3 and 2 seating for increased capacity. Trains Magazine did an article on this many, many years ago. That will be my next research effort.
Hope I did not bore you all with this stuff.

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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby BR&P » Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:43 pm

They didn’t shut the railroad down because of a snow storm, ice storm or most any other storm either for that matter, they ran generally as scheduled.


You sure can't say that today! :(
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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby shlustig » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:44 am

Noel:

That "school bus" operation was on the Hitop Branch out of Charleston. 2 RT's timed to get kids to and from school. Many stops less than a mile apart as the route went through the "hollows". The RDC replaced a motor car which failed often enough that it was replaced by standard equipment.
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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:43 pm

Quite a few years ago Trains magazine did a feature detailing the shuffling of sleepers in Buffalo Central Terminal every night (around the -40's or -50's), in all weather, with switchers working each end of most trains, and getting everything out again in a very short time.
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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:16 pm

shlustig wrote:Noel:

That "school bus" operation was on the Hitop Branch out of Charleston. 2 RT's timed to get kids to and from school. Many stops less than a mile apart as the route went through the "hollows". The RDC replaced a motor car which failed often enough that it was replaced by standard equipment.


Did they ever print a separate folder for the Hitop Branch RDC shuttle?

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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:15 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:
shlustig wrote:Noel:

That "school bus" operation was on the Hitop Branch out of Charleston. 2 RT's timed to get kids to and from school. Many stops less than a mile apart as the route went through the "hollows". The RDC replaced a motor car which failed often enough that it was replaced by standard equipment.


Did they ever print a separate folder for the Hitop Branch RDC shuttle?

-otto-


They may have but I do not have any in my collection. The schedules for Hitop was in the system timetable (Form 1001) and lasted beyond the other New York Central service in and out of Charleston.
I suspect if they had one it might have been on a single card or piece of paper.
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Re: New York Central in 1949

Postby mmi16 » Mon May 01, 2017 9:02 pm

BR&P wrote:
They didn’t shut the railroad down because of a snow storm, ice storm or most any other storm either for that matter, they ran generally as scheduled.


You sure can't say that today! :(

And what was the MofW employment level in 1949 vs. what is employed over the same territory in 2017.

When it comes to sustained operations in the face of inclement weather - it takes manpower, manpower and more manpower. Manpower that doesn't have to travel 50 or 100 miles over highways that are suffering their own issues. In the 1949 era, MofW employees normally lived within walking distance of the reporting point.

Mid 20th Century vs. early 21st Century.
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Re: New York Central passenger service in 1949

Postby ExCon90 » Tue May 02, 2017 3:30 pm

Also, weather forecasting is incomparably better today; I suspect that some trains would have been annulled back in the day if they had known what was coming. Would the City of San Francisco have left Ogden that day if they had known what was in store for Donner Pass?
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Re: New York Central passenger service in 1949

Postby Statkowski » Tue May 02, 2017 4:09 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Would the City of San Francisco have left Ogden that day if they had known what was in store for Donner Pass?


What the weather "forecast" says and what it's going to be like at Donner Pass are two totally unrelated issues.
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Re: New York Central passenger service in 1949

Postby ExCon90 » Wed May 03, 2017 2:53 pm

Is it that "chancy" even today?
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Re: New York Central passenger service in 1949

Postby Statkowski » Wed May 03, 2017 10:00 pm

Between Winter and Spring storms? One never knows up in the Sierra Nevadas. Up in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges they have highways that they literally shut down (complete with swinging gates) in mid-November and don't open them up until mid-March.

They still maintain a rotary snow plow at Roseville, Ca. for Donner Pass. They may not use it for ten years in a row, but they still keep it ready, just in case.

Just east of the Sierra Nevada Range is the Great Basin Desert. One morning in early June back in the early 70s I remember it was already 100 degrees in Las Vegas and less than 100 miles north, but 3,000 feet higher in elevation, it was snowing up a storm on Payute and Ranier Mesa.
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