• Quebec Operations

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by Cactus Jack

I am thinking that by 1959 the NYC commuter was only running from Huntingdon, not Malone. I have the date somewhere of the last passenger out of Malone and will have to double check it. I'd love to see any views of this train in the greater Montreal area or the terminal at Huntingdon.

As an aside I had forgotten that Rutland also ran into Montreal (CN - Central) so there was an interesting mix of power in the city from US Roads (NYC, B&M, Rutland).
R. Paul Cary,

Thanks for the explanations on B&M / CR traffic. Back before you were in Utica and must have been early days of Conrail I recall the B&M train to Dewitt sitting out behind the platforms at Union Station on the South Control siding cooling its' heels around mid afternoon if I recall. I always remember it having a PC GE as a leader (2500 series U25B or a U30 2800 maybe) leading the blue B&M GP-9's. It made for an interesting sight to see B&M power under the shadows of Union Station. I don't recall when those trains stopped but I can't recall them later than 1978, or maybe they ran but without B&M power so it wasn't noticeable.
  by Tommy Meehan
Just to revisit this-

In Mohawk & St. Lawrence Div. ETT No. 5 from April 1959 there is no passenger service shown on the Adirondack Div. north of Lake Clear Jct. to Malone or Huntingdon or to Adirondack Jct. (the connection to CP and Montreal). The only passenger service left on the Adirondack Div. was between Utica and Lake Clear Jct. Lake Clear Jct. was forty-two miles south of Malone. The four trains are the Lake Placid trains 162-165, operating on the branch from Lake Placid to Lake Clear Jct. and then south to Utica. They are shown as operating daily and handling mail.

In St. Lawrence - Adirondack Div. ETT No. 2 issued October 1957, there are two trains shown operating Monday-Friday between Malone-Montreal, a distance of 65 miles. No. 25 from Malone at 6:10 AM and No. 32 leaving Montreal at 5:31 PM. Each train makes fourteen stops.

The ETTs I looked at are available in pdf format on the Canada Southern site. There are no ETTs available on the site between Nos. 2 (Oct '57) and 5 (Apr '59). There are public system timetables on the site but the Adirondack local service is not shown, even in October 1957 when it was still running.

So it looks like the train service into Montreal via Adirondack Jct. came off sometime between Fall 1957 and Spring 1959.
  by Cactus Jack
Harter in Fairy Tale Railroad lists May 1957 as when commuter service ended between Malone and Montreal. I find no other info.
  by Noel Weaver
The Adirondack Area public timetable dated April 27, 1958 showed two round trips between Utica and Lake Placid and one round trip between Malone and Montreal. By this time Malone - Montreal was isolated in so far as passenger service was concerned. I will try to search my employee timetables for further on this IF I have any that can help. The service at this time also featured an Lake Placid - Chicago sleeper running on summer weekends. Incidentally the public timetable for this area dated October 267, 1957 showed a passenger train between Utica and Malone (it dropped a portion of its train at Lake Clear Junction for Lake Placid, probably by this time most of the train went to and from Lake Placid), apparently this was the last timetable showing service between Lake Clear Junction and Malone. Southbound one could connect at Malone on the train from Montreal to continue to Utica but not on the northbound trip.
If I can shed any more light on this, I will advise further.
Noel Weaver
  by Tommy Meehan
Last night I found a archive of news articles from northern New York on the website of the Malone (NY) public library. It was very interesting reading some of the local articles about the Central operations.

In about August 1957 NYC slated the remaining Utica-Malone trains, Nos. 2 and 3 I think, for partial discontinuance on Sept. 15, 1957. The trains were to be discontinued between Lake Clear Jct. and Malone, roughly forty-two miles. However there was a good deal of local protest and I think the trains ran until December 1957 or January 1958. They are not shown in a public timetable issued in February 1958.

As Noel Weaver mentioned, the Malone-Montreal service was orphaned when the Malone-Lake Clear Jct. service was dropped. The Montreal commuter train had no connection to any other New York Central passenger service.

Btw, I read a number of articles from the archive about what was the NYC's old Adirondack Division (or Mohawk & Malone) and some of the stories were decidedly bittersweet. This was because by the mid-1950s, many of the local railroaders saw the handwriting on the wall, and began resigning to look for work in another field while they were still young enough to make the change. One locomotive engineer was interviewed and he said when his father worked on the division they had forty or fifty men employed in train and engine service. By 1959 that had been drastically reduced and he felt the number of men employed was going to keep getting smaller. He quit around that time and went to work at the local Veteran's Administration hospital as a boiler fireman.
  by Noel Weaver
I have both a New York Central and a Canadian Pacific employee timetable for April, 1959 for this area and neither timetable shows any passenger service north of Lake Clear Junction. What might have been the case was that the New York Central received permission to remove the train in the United States but not in Canada and it remained between Huntingdon and Montreal but was not carried in the timetables. I don't know what the situation was but my first ever trip to Montreal was in the spring of 1959 and I think it was after April 26, 1959. I have dug several timetables out to research this but to try to dig out photos or movies to go further would just be too much for me to do. I don't really think I have a movie of the New York Central train anyway because I was concentrating on Canadian Pacific steam power around Westmount and Montreal West Stations. At that time I don't think I was expecting a New York Central train either so maybe this will remain a mystery. One thing this did for me was to provide me a chance to read through a bunch of old Canadian employee timetables as well as a couple of old New York Central timetables too and that is always interesting reading, I was reading about more than just Malone - Montreal tonight. I suspect the trains in question might have been running on almost a day to day basis maybe on a court order. Strange things sometimes happened when a railroad was trying to pull off a passenger train or a bunch of passenger trains. It might have been running as an extra every day or whatever.
Noel Weaver
  by Tommy Meehan
Noel Weaver wrote:..What might have been the case was that the New York Central received permission to remove the train in the United States but not in Canada and it remained between Huntingdon and Montreal but was not carried in the timetables...I suspect the trains in question might have been running on almost a day to day basis maybe on a court order...
That sounds very plausible. It was really a Canadian train. Running between Malone NY and Canadian Pacific's Windsor Station in Montreal, sixty-five miles, of the sixteen stations served only two were located in the U.S., in New York. That was Malone and Constable, the latter being 60.4 miles from Montreal. The next station north of Constable was Athelstan, located in Quebec Province.

I am pretty sure someone in one of the NYC groups once posted a timetable scan that showed in the last weeks of operation the train's terminus had been changed to Huntingdon Que.

Another interesting feature of these trains was the fact that there was a customs inspection at Athelstan but it must've been very brief. It is noted in the ETT that, "Northward passenger trains stop at Athelstan for customs inspection." There is no note for the southbound train. In the October 1957 Adirondack Div. ETT, No. 25 is allowed fourteen minutes to cover the 8.8 miles between Constable NY and Athelstan Que. At night No. 32 did it in thirteen minutes. Both trains were alloted six minutes for the 3.8 miles between Athelstan and Huntingdon. The MAS between Constable and Athelstan was 45 mph. (Between Athelstan and Adirondack Jct. -- the Canadian Pacific connection nine miles from Windsor Station -- the speed limit was 55 mph.) The Malone-Montreal running time was 128 minutes.

Since many of the stations had no agent, Central crews would've collected some cash fares, taking Canadian money I guess as well as American and maybe making change in both. Wonder if any of the crews could speak French? :-)

In a northern New York news archive I did find one brief comment by a New York Central trainman about working the Montreal passenger trains out of Malone in the 1950s. This was in an article looking back at Central's role in the North Country. The trainman said he enjoyed working the Montreal train, especially chatting with the Canadian Pacific guys during the layover at Windsor Station. He said they were good guys.
  by Cactus Jack
Another related question that someone may be able to answer or shed some light or thought upon is this:

Why did NYC opt to run the Massena interchange with CNR and pull out of the CPR interchange after the Adirondack Division was severed by maintaining their interest in the Rutland trackage rights from Norwood to Malone Junction ?
They kept Malone north until 1980 and only into CR days did they acquire the CN.

I know that certain stockholders filed suite in US District Court and the matter went before the ICC regarding NYC buying the Rutland trackage, but I understand that ICC docket (don't have the number handy) was more involved with preserving the ADK Division as a whole entity rather than a total preclusion of operating the Rutland line after the ADK was severed.

It would seem from what I have read the NYC was more allied to the CPR than the CNR but maybe that was really not the case.

In any event it would seem that operations on the Malone to ADK Jct. stub would have been more economical and there would have been more competitive access and rates if both lines were open. Could the Massena traffic have been a big factor as being the bulk of the NYC business by the early 1960's and NYC no longer saw Montreal as a viable market ? Also is the reported condition of the Rutland track but I don't have any solid details on how bad it was or how much capital NYC would have had to put into it. Nor do I know rate divisions or labor agreements other than the Massena line was St. Lawrence seniority and the Adirondack Division had their own list but at some point Mohawk, St. Lawrence and ADK men went into an equity arrangement later on.
  by R Paul Carey
The Rutland between Norwood and Malone was abandoned in the 1960s, a period of time neither NYC nor any other road was seeking to acquire and maintain marginal branch-line trackage.

NYC/PC and CR had significant business on the portion of the Ottawa Branch between Helena Jct and Roosevelttown, which was only accessible via CN trackage rights. Trackage rights enable substantial cost savings to the tenant, as the tenant only pays for its actual use. The owner bears the cost and risk that maintenance and taxes may NOT be recovered with sufficient business.

These decisions were not made without good reason: for example, In NY State, many branches - such as the 44 mile Lyons Falls Branch - cost more in property taxes than the traffic grossed (that included the off-branch revenue for the subject traffic).

In the late 1980s CR decided to purchase the CN line for reasons I've previously explained.

By the time the line was severed by the Khanawake Nation in the mid-1990s the CP had acquired D&H, which eliminated most of CR's CP interchange traffic over the Montreal Secondary, short-hauling CR on the remainder that continued to interchange at Selkirk.
  by Engineer Spike
I know this is an old topic, but I have one more question. I reread and was using a bad example.

If I was shipping from an east coast point on Conrail, to California. How much latitude does the shipper have in saying whether the car would be interchanged to BNSF in Chicago, or St. Louis? Obviously each carrier would like the maximum line haul. Does this have much to do with which railway initiated the movement? How do the carriers market this? Conrail might quote better rate to encourage this, while BNSF may want to stick it to the shipper for not using their closest gateway.
  by R Paul Carey
This supposedly simple question involves a look at facts and circumstances that are anything but simple.

Typically, it is the SHIPPER who prescribes the routing. Traffic is generally handled under Contracts, rather than Tariffs, since the Staggers Act had taken effect in the early 1980s. The effect of Staggers was to strip antitrust immunity from the industry and "collusive" arrangements such as Rate Bureaus were dissolved. The benefit was the industry became unfettered (as to ICC interference) in seeking profitable business in a truly competitive environment.

BNSF (BN+ATSF) was approved by the ICC in 1995.

The OLD way: Tariffs governed pricing and routing over specified junctions. Revenues were settled between carriers on the basis of Territorial Divisions, administered by legions of clerks (agents and others) with extensive Tariff and Divisions libraries.

The NEW way: Contracts governed pricing and other terms, including routing and some new things, such as performance standards. Carriers set terms and price their services independently.

NYC and ATSF: for obvious operational reasons, Chicago "Gateway" traffic (i.e., traffic destined to or originating from "California") has been handled over Streator, IL., with Streator identified as the junction. This junction handled a large volume of traffic, frequently as many as two trains a day in each direction, throughout the NYC/PC/CR years.

Direct interchange vs. Intermediate Switching: Intermediate Switching introduces cost and delay, and is avoided wherever possible. As to CR, any "California" BNSF traffic would flow via Elkhart and be interchanged direct via Streator (if the California destination were on the ATSF part of BNSF), or via Cicero (in the case of a California "BN" destination), depending upon how BNSF would prefer to "see" the traffic interchanged.

CONCLUSION: From CR's perspective in the example you pose, St. Louis, with its intermediate switching (vs. Chicago) makes no sense as to service, or cost!
  by Noel Weaver
Years ago in my New Haven firing days on a freight train and especially a New York freight job we would spend a lot of time just sitting around waiting for cars, inspections, other trains or something else. Many conductors rode the head end during that period and even if they did not they often had the bills ride the head end after they separated them. I would sometimes look through them for various interesting routings. I remember two small boxes on most if not all of these bills and one stated "Agents Routing" and the other "Shippers Routing". Most often neither was checked and if one was checked it was more likely the "Agents Routing". In the 60's on the New Haven it often involved not just one or two other railroads but a bunch of them. A car going from Connecticut to lets say the Midwest could involve the New Haven, Lehigh and Hudson River, Reading, Western Maryland, Pittsburgh and West Virginia and more after that. Oh the things we could have experienced if the railroads in those bygone days had been pooling power they way they do today. I don't think any of those old routes had cab signals so most likely their engines could run through in many cases.
Noel Weaver
  by R Paul Carey
Noel, as you probably know, the NYC and NYNH&H had - in the 1960's - a negotiated interchange routing arrangement, based upon the NH station to which the car was routed (Eastward) or from which the car was originated (Westward). This was quite possibly the "trigger" for the Agent's Routing that you describe.

It was an operating agreement that possibly took effect about the time the interchange at State Line was closed and the NH branch between there and Vanduesenville MA was abandoned.

  by Noel Weaver
Makes a lot of sense to me. I seem to think the State Line interchange finally ended around 1958. I know the New Haven wanted out of that operation even before then. Seems to me that most of the cars that were interchanged at State Line were instead interchanged at Springfield. We had a job NS-4 which left Cedar Hill late in the afternoon and upon arrival at Springfield we pulled them right up B & A track 2 and cut off after we were well east of the Springfield passenger station, pulled our power up light to Athol Junction to cross over and return. I think the B & A took the cars for the New Haven up to Yard Three (the old B & M Yard which was a joint yard with the New Haven at least during my years). We went all the way up the B & M to Brightwood Station at the time. During the early 1960's Springfield was a joint terminal with the B & M and the New Haven to the point that one of the hostlers at the New Haven engine terminal (serving both railroads) was a B & M employee while the other two were New Haven employees. At the same time at least one switcher at Yard Three was crewed by New Haven employees sometimes using a New Haven engine and other times a B & M engine. Springfield was both interesting and quite busy during the early 60's. I worked the fireman's spare board for a while during that period and also worked out of New Haven often going to Springfield also in the early 60's.
Noel Weaver