• Routing of FDR funeral train, April 1945

  • 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 Morning Zephyr
When President Roosevelt died in Georgia and his remains were brought to Hyde Park, where and how did the funeral train get on the Hudson line? If it came up from Washington DC on the Pennsylvania Railroad and went through Manhattan, obviously it did not go via Grand Central. One history book shows it passing through Mott Haven. How did was it routed?
  by DutchRailnut
PRR to New Rochelle , then NYC engine on other end and with pilot go New Rochelle via Mott Haven to Hudson Line.
  by Allen Hazen
PRR to New Rochelle? PRR's own tracks would end at Penn Station, New York, wouldn't they? So this would involve use of tracks of at least two other railroads: Long Island (which at the time was a PRR subsidiary) and New Haven. Would the PRR crew have operated through to New Rochelle?
  by DutchRailnut
Believe hellgate branch was jointly owned by New Haven and PRR.
and even as such it would only require a pilot for train to operate past NYP.
  by Statkowski
Washington, D.C. to Penn. Station, N.Y. via the PRR.

GG-1 uncouple, New Haven EP-4 couple on, then pull the train to New Rochelle, N.Y. via the East River Tubes, Hell Gate Bridge and the Harlem River Branch.

If a NYC steam engine was used, it was operated in reverse to New Rochelle (no wye at New Rochelle) with a New Haven pilot.

Engine on east end of train uncoupled, new engine coupled on to west end of train, pulled train down the New Haven main line to Mount Vernon, N.Y. where it joined the NYC's Harlem Branch, thence south to Mott Haven, went around the wye, and then operated westward on the NYC's main line up the Hudson River to Hyde Park, N.Y., just north of Poughkeepsie.

For President Roosevelt's visit to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, immediately north of Grand Central Terminal, New Haven engines would be used from Penn. Station to New Rochelle and from New Rochelle to Grand Central Terminal.
  by TCurtin
A very good (for the most part) book published several years ago, FDR's Funeral Train by Robert Klara describes this whole operation.

It does contain a couple of errors in the routing of the train between Penn Station and the NYC at Mott Haven. The author says the train ran Penn Station to New Rochelle, then west at New Haven's New Rochelle Jct., to Mott Haven, around the sharp side of the Mott Haven wye where it changed to an NYC Hudson.

That's impossible. You couldn't, then or now, go west at New Rochelle from the New Haven's Harlem River Br. onto the NH's main into GCT The train changed end at New Rochelle to another NH electric then ran straight through MO toward GCT. When train was fully in the clear of the MO home signal, the NYC Hudson backed on to the north (NYC railroad direction west) end of the train.

These were physically complex moves for a variety of reasons:
1. There were two trains so this was all done twice. FDR's body was in the last car of the second train. The presidential car Ferdinand Magellan was the second to last car.

2. That consist may well have been the heaviest passenger move ever. Probably only PRR and New Haven electrics and NYC Hudsons were up to moving such a train single handed.

3. The SEcret Service and police were very concerned about the safety and security of these moves at Mott Haven [the "dank underbelly of The Bronx" author Klara called it]. and the movements had to be conducted in daylight around 6:15 AM or so. However the record shows they came off with no problem. Naturally the New Haven and NYC had the absolute very best people on the job.

Tom Curtin
Controller, New Haven RR Historical & Technical Association
  by Backshophoss
PRR and New Haven,Penn to New Rochelle Eastward .
New Rochelle to JO tower(Woodlawn) Westward move.
NYC JO tower(Woodlawn) to MO East interlocking limit,Eastward move on NYC's Harlem line.
NYC MO East limit to Hyde Park,westward move on NYC.
Seems everybody gets confused due to the change of RR direction at JO tower(Woodlawn)!! :wink:
  by Statkowski
The New Haven was north and east (Ney York to Boston).

The Pennsylvania was north and east (Washington to New York).

The New York Central, however, was north and west (New York to Chicago).

And that's why a westbound New Haven train was actually an eastbound New Haven train entering Grand Central Terminal.