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Classic Railroad Quiz (at least 50 years old).

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 10:16 AM

The railroad is the Virginian.  The squareheads were Alco-Westinghouse products.  The subsequent power (EL-2B's and EL-C's) came from GE.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 12:20 PM

The Squareheads were built by Alco at VGN's request.  Originally supposed to be built at Alco's Richmond plant, the bodies were built at Schenctady.  GE apparently declined to provide the rotary phase converters, so Westinghouse gear was used.

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Posted by NP Eddie on Sunday, January 17, 2021 3:45 PM

What are "squareheads"? Where they the new VGN electrics? I believe that the newest ones were sold to the NH and wore three color schemes.

Ed Burns

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 17, 2021 6:43 PM

NP Eddie
What are "squareheads"?

They were the original boxcab, side-rod electrics from the early Twenties.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 18, 2021 7:29 AM

Both N&W and Virginian (N&W first) used "split phase" electrics which had large motor-generator sets in the carbodies to convert single phase 11KV AC to three phase, allowing the use of synchronous motors.  This allowed the use of a single overhead wire instead of the paired wire required on Great Northern's early Cascade Tunnel electrification.  VGN classified them by whether they were set up as singles (EL-1A) or as part of a three unit set (EL-3A).  They were supplemented by AC-DC units in the 1940s and 1950s, first the EL-2Bs with motor-generators, later with EL-C rectifiers.  None of the Squareheads lasted until the N&W merger, most of the rectifiers went on to further use on New Haven/Penn Central/Conrail.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, January 21, 2021 8:07 AM

Waiting for CSS's question

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, January 21, 2021 1:55 PM

Back to the Chicago area:  When was the Chicago Aurora & Elgin RR legally abandoned?

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:07 AM

From Wiki:

 

The official abandonment of CA&E came at 5:00pm on July 6, 1961, four years after the final passenger trains had run. The real estate became part of the Aurora Corporation of Illinois, a small conglomerate, which slowly sold off the right-of-way and other properties

 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, January 22, 2021 10:12 AM

We have a winner.  Anybody familiar with CA&E knows how it died in installments.

Dave, it's your question.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 24, 2021 5:53 AM

If I wee traveling from New Rochelle to New York City in 1928, I would have a choice of four trasonably direct rail routs, but five distinct services. with widely vayring speed and departure frequencies and fares to choos from. Several provided additionsl alternatives before reaching Manhattan, and route one was notable for using parts of others.  Name the four and five, and as a bonus, dscribe as much as you can about quipment, route details, any changes required, etc.  Try to have all six before

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 25, 2021 8:34 AM

The two services to  NYCity that share the sam route to the city have different terminals in the city, one not located in Manhattan and requiring change to other rail transportation to reach Manhattan, a characteristic of two of the other three routes.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 25, 2021 10:39 AM

This is pretty broad so I'll take a stab with just a few details for a start.

1) NYNH&H to Grand Central - suburban and through services

2) NYNH&H to Penn - through services only

3) NYNH&H Harlem River branch - suburban service only

4) New York Westchester and Boston - suburban service

3) and 4) shared a terminal in the Bronx and about 4 miles of ROW

2) and 3) are essentially the same route.  Since trains on 2) did not stop at local stations, passengers on 3) and 4) had to transfer to Rapid Transit.

There were a couple of transfer spots to get to Manhattan off of 3) and 4) at east 180th and at Willis Avenue, which I think makes option 5...

Patient and frugal folks could use the "A" Main St New Rochelle line of the Third Avenue Railway system to 241st St. in the Bronx, after which they had the choice of subway or surface lines to Manhattan.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, January 25, 2021 11:34 AM

Add the New York and Port Chester.

It's still fascinating to consider how dramatically Morgan & Company misjudged what the "Manhattan end" of the NYW&B should be.  Of course the planning started when the first of the modern subways was only half a decade old ... and, I believe, when Sprague was still heavily in the running to build the first of the East Side lines, something I still think all these years later would have been a far better thing for New York City.  Improvement over 'last-mile' service via the els would still look practical in terms of end-to-end trip flexibility for what would essentially be a two-seat ride (three if a change from IRT express to local were to be made at an appropriate point).  The problem became that actual demand involved very different methods of reaching one's "place of business" when taking the train from the suburbs -- methods that assuredly didn't involve long stretches of stop-and-go riding on transit equipment...

I can only imagine the agony involved in riding NY&PC 'electrics' into the city ... which brings up the other thing we need to mention, the New Haven service that connected at ... what was it, around 155th St. ... with the elevated, using the line that delivered the coal to be used in the various station stoves.  I still haven't quite figured out how this line wormed its way in there, but it certainly involves connections from New Rochelle in some sense.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 25, 2021 1:33 PM

The New York & Port Chester is a predecessor of the NYNH&H Harlem River line.  It (and the NYNH&H route to Penn Station, which uses it) are now part of the Northeast Corridor.  It was merged into NYNH&H in 1927 after 54 years of being leased - which is why it wasn't mentioned separately.

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 25, 2021 3:28 PM

RC got the complete answer, and Iask him to provide as much fetail as he would like, as well as ask the next qujestion.

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 25, 2021 5:37 PM

It would be easy to write whole books on that one stretch - and some have!  New Haven had both MU (some with open platforms) and locomotive-hauled trains on both the Grand Central and Hell Gate routes, though the Harlem branch trains did not climb Hell Gate's approaches, but settled for a terminal on the north side of the Harlem River.  The line did host NH freight operations, both to the Hell Gate line and eventual connections to the LIRR and PRR (via carfloat) and to the local Oak Point yard in the Bronx for local New York City traffic. Through passenger trains to Penn - all of them through trains with PRR - used the Hell Gate line.

The NYW&B duplicated, at least in purpose, the New Haven's Harlem River Line and the New York Central's Harlem line.  The lack of a one-seat ride into Manhattan probably doomed the line from the start, but it was really killed by its huge bonded debt with its fantastically high quality construction and limited traffic potential.  When parent New Haven quit helping with the bonds, abandonment was quick.

Oddly enough the street railway line lasted longer than the "interurban" NYW&B.  It was not converted to bus until 1950. 

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Posted by rcdrye on Monday, January 25, 2021 5:47 PM

On to a new question:  This granger road modified some of its railcars from the factory supplied baggage-RPO-coach configuration to eliminated the baggage compartment, substituting a 30 foot RPO section instead.  This was done at the Post Office's request to handle a particular commodity that was seasonal, but when it hit, required efficient handling.  Name the railroad, the type of equipment and the commodity.  For a hint the railroad came up with a unique method of replacing the missing baggage and express space.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 30, 2021 1:10 PM

some indication of the time might be a helpful hint

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Posted by rcdrye on Saturday, January 30, 2021 2:27 PM

The first three cars were delivered in 1953, then modified.  The last two were delevered in 1956.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 31, 2021 5:06 AM

The equipment Budd RDCs.   Looking for the RR now.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 31, 2021 5:18 AM

The railroad is the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific, the only "Granger Railroad" to own five RDCs.

Still doing some research.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 31, 2021 8:55 AM

 

think the train ran on the Memphis - Ameillo lline, possibly cntinuing to Tucmcarey.

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, January 31, 2021 4:37 PM

You have the railroad and the equipment type right, now think about the product shipped...  The line west of Memphis crosses an area which still has several famous producers of something produced from the product delivered by mail...

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, February 4, 2021 7:16 AM

Cane-sugar to candy?

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, February 4, 2021 8:24 AM

I was thinking 'rice'.

Or greeting cards.

Or those Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes.

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, February 4, 2021 11:46 AM

The items were things about which the question "which came first" was frequently asked.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, February 4, 2021 3:04 PM

Well, eggs.  Bottled eggnog for the holidays?  Seasonal

Chickens and eggs aren't seasonal.   Or are they?

 

Express and baggage?    How about just using the rear vestibule and using the front for receiving and unloading passengers?

5g-no

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, February 4, 2021 11:55 PM

Easter chicks?

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, February 5, 2021 5:35 AM

What are Easter chicks?

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, February 5, 2021 6:28 AM

Overmod

Easter chicks?

 

Close enough.  Baby chicks were shipped from the hatcheries (by U.S. Mail!)  in flat containers with air holes to the farms where they were brought to full size and processed, all year round but mainly in spring.   The region remains a major chicken product producer to this day.  The "Choctaw Rockettes" were operated mainly as mail trains between Memphis and Amarillo.

I think Easter Chicks went to other markets... The practice of giving them to children at Easter (as pets) is more of an urban thing.

Because the RPO compartment was only U.S. Post Office territory and could not be used for baggage or express, they were normally handled in the passenger compartment which was not particularly busy.  During overflow periods a trailer was attached for express - either one formerly used with a gas-electric or a prewar streamlined round end observation (stove equipped) with a baggage compartment cut into the observation end.

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