Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

New York Central System Locomotive sharing?

1165 views
8 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • From: Ludington, MI
  • 326 posts
New York Central System Locomotive sharing?
Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 5:55 AM

Hi all.  My question revolves specifically around locomotives lettered "New York Central System" (i.e. P&LE, MC, Big Four, etc.).  Would they have been kept on their own rails, or would they be shuffled around as needed?  My layout is supposed to depict a branch of the New York Central, but not one of the subsidiaries.  Would locos lettered such as above be out of place on the parent road?  I've been trying to find an answer but have been striking out.  Anyone know?  Thanks in advance!

Moderator
  • Member since
    June, 2003
  • From: Northeast OH
  • 14,363 posts
Posted by tstage on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:37 AM

Being an NYC modeler myself I'll be interested in the answer to your questions.  That being said, I believe they would stayed on their own specified trackage.  The one exception would have been during the final days of steam when Hudsons, Mohawks, Berkshires (P&LE), and Niagaras were shuffled over and did filler work on the Big Four before being scrapped. Sad

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,367 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:43 PM

One big point to remember is that at least some locomotives on subsidiaries (Big Four comes promptly to mind) were not equipped with track-pan scoops, and I would not expect these to be used on, say, the Water Level Route east of Cleveland except in severest emergency.

Somewhat likewise, much of the P&LE steam power was 'specialized' (including the passenger power) and hence might have been somewhat restricted.  I suspect the A2a's you mentioned were NOT actually in that category, but might because of their driver size and other details have been assumed to be.

As far as I know, power on the B&A stayed there, until comparatively late (when, for example, the J2 Hudsons saw service on the West Shore (River Line) - by which time I think they were lettered directly for New York Central.)  I suspect this may be related to the reason NYC, which had tried the "New York Central Lines" lettering on B&A for a few years, went back to Boston and Albany on the tenders.

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 10,792 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:54 PM

New York Central was kinda complicated. It was made up from a number of other railroads, but not all were acquired or operated the same. Some like Boston & Albany and P&LE were in many ways separate railroads in whom NYC had a controlling interest, others were railroads the Central had absorbed but for legal reasons had to keep on paper as separate entities...sometimes with little more than a few initials on the tender and "NEW YORK CENTRAL SYSTEM" instead of just "NEW YORK CENTRAL". (In some situations, the smaller railroad wasn't bought so much as like leased for 99 years or something, so the sublettering indicated it was not fully owned by NYC.)

In some cases, these railroads had been taken over to create a mainline, say between New York and Chicago, or Chicago and Cincinnati, etc. so you would have "regular" NYC engines and trains running over the line, with other engines that worked within the railroad having the sublettering for that railroad. For example, NYC's lines in Ontario came from it's purchase of the Canada Southern, which it assigned to Michigan Central. NYC trains from New York going to Detroit (or through Detroit to Chicago) used the double-track mainline thru Ontario, but engines assigned to work in Ontario would have had "CS DIV" sublettering, indicating the engine worked for the Canada Southern Division of the Michigan Central RR, a part of the New York Central System. Tongue Tied

In many cases, these railroads that had been taken over were more or less treated like divisions - engines and other equipment would be assigned to them, but could be moved to other divisions when needed. In some cases, the engine's numbers were part of the larger NYC system of numbering, sometimes not.

Eventually (I think in the 1930's) the "System" lettering was dropped it became just NEW YORK CENTRAL for the most part, but still with some small sublettering on engines. This was actually pretty common for a number of railroads in the mid-20th century, like C&NW or Soo Line.

p.s. From what I understand, Massachusetts folks complained so much when the Central took over the B&A and started relettering equipment that it was decided best just to keep everything letter B&A as much as possible...kinda like a rail version of the Red Sox / Yankees rivalry I guess.

 

Stix
  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 8,641 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 4:01 PM

Actually, the "System" lettering came into use, I believe, in the late '30s, replacing the former "Lines" version.

The CASO had track pans at Waterford, and all manner of NYC steam used those tracks. There are several very interesting threads in the Classic Trains Forum regarding the line, I believe, on page two and three.

When the Boston & Albany received their Berkshires, ten USRA 2-10-2s were transferred to the Big Four, and, not too long after that, were sold to the CNR.

In addition, shortly after the Berks began proving their worth, one was sent, on-loan, to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, for testing on the TH&B's eastbound grade up the Niagara Escarpment.  The Central also supplied an H-10 for evaluation on the same grade.  At that time, the TH&B was jointly controlled by the NYC and CPR. 

The tests with the Berkshire proved successful, and TH&B ordered two very similar locomotives from the Montreal Locomotive Works, an affiliate of ALCo.   They were the only two Berkshires owned by a Canadian railway.
In addition, the Central sold two Hudsons to the TH&B in 1948.  Unfortunately, both Berks and both Hudsons went for scrap in the mid-'50s.

Wayne

  • Member since
    February, 2015
  • From: Ludington, MI
  • 326 posts
Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 6:35 PM

Thanks for the good information guys. Sounds like if I pull the trigger on a loco lettered for a subsidiary, I’ll really have to use my modelers license to justify it! 

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 10,792 posts
Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 9:33 AM

Water Level Route

Thanks for the good information guys. Sounds like if I pull the trigger on a loco lettered for a subsidiary, I’ll really have to use my modelers license to justify it! 

 
I'd say either don't worry too much about whether one engine has scale 1" high "T&OC" on it or not, or get some of the excellent books out on NYC history and dive into some research. The books on NYC steam and diesels put out by the NYCSHS have a lot of the info you need. 
 
Problem with railroad history (and US corporate history in general) is things aren't usually simple regarding these things. Railroad A buys Railroad B to create a new Railroad C, or Railroad A buys Railroad B to create a larger Railroad A is easy to understand.
 
However, most large railroad's history is more like Railroad A buys Railroad B to create Railroad C, except Railroad B has to continue at least on paper to exist in Illinois, and engines assigned to the former lines of Railroad B in Illinois have to be sublettered for Railroad B because Railroad B's 1856 Illinois state land grant specified the land grant could only go to a company headquartered in Illinois, and Railroad C is headquartered in New York. Then Railroad C buys a controlling interest (51%) in Railroad D and E and makes them part of their operating system, but doesn't buy them outright so they continue to be called Railroad D and E and their equipment is lettered for D and E. Railroad C then takes out a 99 year lease on Railroad F, and incorporates their lines into Railroad C and letters their equipment for Railroad C - except for small sublettering for Railroad F on the engines to signify that Railroad F still exists, but is under the control of Railroad C. Eventually, the lease is changed to an outright purchase, and the sublettering is removed. Then the owner or owners of Railroad G buys a controlling interest in Railroad C, and begins standardizing equipment between the two railroads although they're still considered separate railroads and their equipment is lettered for each railroad. Then the owner of Railroad C and G sells both to holding company Z that also owns Railroads H, I and J. Z continues to operate each railroad separately, until finally bringing them all together into a new railroad CHZX.
Stix
  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • From: various locations
  • 2,129 posts
Posted by BMMECNYC on Friday, April 27, 2018 7:28 PM

Overmod
I suspect the A2a's you mentioned were NOT actually in that category, but might because of their driver size and other details have been assumed to be.

The A2a's indeed went to the Big Four (at least some) at least a year before the end of steam.

 http://www.railarchive.net/nyccollection/ple9405.htm

RR-fallen flags.org has two photos, one of an A2 at Indianapolis, IN and one in Belfontaine, OH, both in 1955.  

New York Central Power in Color Vol 2 also shows an A2 in Indianapolis in 1955 and states that all the A2s went to the Big Four after the P&LE was dieselized.

 

I would think it plausible to find a MC Hudson running to Chicago or Toledo (I would have to verify with actual photos.  

There is a pretty extensive photo collection here:

http://rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/nyc-steam.html

See if you can find the locomotive type you want in the place you want.  

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.

https://www.facebook.com/elkcreekloggingcompany/

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 10,792 posts
Posted by wjstix on Sunday, April 29, 2018 10:19 PM

Michigan Central ran from Detroit to Chicago on it's own trackage, except maybe a few miles of trackage rights around Chicago to reach the Illinois Central station that they used (but New York Central itself didn't). Normally MC engines would have been used on those trains. Not sure about New York Central trains from New York to Chicago going through Ontario and Detroit to Chicago...I'd imagine in steam days, they would have switched to Canada Sounthern engines in Canada, and then to MC from Detroit to Chicago.

Stix

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!