Baggage-Dorm in HO by Dave Staplin

Dave Staplin presents his HO scale NYC baggage-dormitory 8963, Pullman Plan 7543, Lot 6789 (NYC lot 2184). The prototype was built by Pullman in 1948, and was scrapped in 1959. The model is a Great Brass Fleet import with additional detail added.

Caledonia Freight House in HO by Tom Stage

Many years ago, Alexander Scale Models released an HO scale kit based on the New York Central freight house at Caledonia, Michigan. We present Tom Stage's completed model, to which he added lighting and a semblance of an interior that is viewable through the open freight doors. The kit consists of milled wood walls, stripwood for framing and bracing, and metal castings for windows and doors. The kit is currently out of production, but may be available in the future as Tomar Industries has now assumed stewardship of the ASM name.

The exterior walls are light green, represented by mixing Pollyscale Italian Camo Greeen with Pollyscale Reefer White 1:2. The trim and windows were painted with Floquil Dark Green. The platform and eaves were painted with Pollyscale Light Gray. The lamp shades are Floquil Dark Green with Primer White inside. The interior walls were painted with a custom mix of Floquil Earth and Reefer White 1:3. The floor and trim are Floquil Roof Brown. Tom also added working sliding doors, a detachable roof to access detailing, and a center beam to support interior lighting. The lamps are Miniatronics 12v-30mA, 1.7 OD incandescent bulbs (part no. 18-712-10).
Originally built in 1868 by the long defunct Grand River Valley Railroad, the Caledonia station was leased in perpetuity to the Michigan Central Railroad in 1870. This line (which originated from Jackson) was the New York Central's main line to Grand Rapids, Michigan's second largest city. Passenger service ended in 1959. The line was abandoned by NYC successor Penn Central and operated briefly by the Kent, Barry & Eaton Connecting Railroad, with a state subsidy. State money ran out and the rails were removed in the 1980's.

Freight and storage facilities occupied the rear, larger, portion of the building. The front hall is divided into two smaller rooms. One served as the passenger waiting room. The other part served the agent's and telegrapher's office. The depot, still in its original location, is used for storage by the lumber yard across the street.
-- Excerpts taken from Louis Van Winkle’s web site

NYCSHS 2008 Annual Meeting visits Cleveland

Attendees of the 2008 NYCSHS Annual Meeting toured the greater Cleveland area on Sunday. We started our day with a sumptuous brunch at the Station Restaurant, located inside the former depot at Berea, Ohio. Wayne Freed from Utica is alongside the former big four main, with the closed BE Tower and a freight on the former main line in the rear. Wayne recorded and released a DVD of the Hickory Creek charter trip that Bill Strassner arranged for last year's Annual Meeting.

After the brunch, we head over to brookpark RTA shops, and board our chartered light rail car set. RTA Rapid Transit (known locally as "The Rapid") is a rapid transit and light rail system operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (known as the "RTA"). The system includes the heavy rail rapid transit the Red Line and the light rail Blue and Green Lines. All three lines join at the former Cleveland Union Terminal, now know as Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland.

As we ease out onto the RTA main, the adjacent freight activity is heavy and entertaining. Even though our train unit might be classed as a "light rail vehicle," the RTA features one of the heaviest duty installations ever, with heavy rail and full catenary.

On board our chartered train are some well-known Society members including NYCSHS Secretary Jim Suhs and former NYC employees Larry Baggerly and Pete Hansen. Larry gave us a detailed running commentary about greater Cleveland and railroad operations from his memories of working for the NYC.

Our train is coming down the steep approach from the west. You can see the many drawbridges and industrial areas of The Flats. A fair amount of industry is located along Cleveland's riverfront downtown. Terminal Tower can be seen in the distance, behind the drawbridge span. Our train is on the Cuyahoga Viaduct, which once carried the electric trains of the NYC into Terminal Tower.

Approaching Terminal Tower, here is an example of an obsoltete CUT-style catenary bridge, with unusual tapered support legs. The New Haven also utilized tapered legs, just not as dramatic as the ones for CUT. Excess CUT bridges have been removed and recycled. One can be found at Northeast, PA near the station which is now a railroad museum.

After arriving at the end of the RTA line on the riverfront, we were shuttled to the Lake Shore Electric Railway in a restored GMC "Fishbowl bus. The bus came from the museum collection, and provided a comfortable ride for the short trip up to Dock 32 on the shores of Lake Erie.

Our fearless Cleveland tour leader and NYCSHS Treasurer Shel Lustig explains the local territory, such as the location of the former NYC facilities on the lake front. And yes, as per the sign, he held onto - but did not drink - from that water bottle, thus obeying all rules. Former railroad Rules Examiners tend to obey regulations, for the most part!

The collection at the Lake Shore Electric Railway was fascinating, as they had an amazing amount and variety of traction equipment. Our hosts were very friendly, knowledgeable and rightfully proud of their collection. The cars came from the Trolleyville USA collection that closed its doors in 2005. A group of enthusiasts and businessmen, in cooperation with the City of Cleveland, had the collection relocated to a temporary location the waterfront. The goal of the group is to eventually operate their collection of trolleys along the waterfront.

Larry Baggerly and Bill Strassner headed out onto the dock area, and proceeded to try out the hand car sitting on former dockside trackage. A museum official came out, and said it was okay and even encouraged us to ride, so Rich and Nancy Stoving took a turn also.

The LSER has an interesting collection that goes beyond trolleys. Pete Hansen checks out an 1883-built four-wheel 'bobber' caboose from the New York, Ontario & Western. What's this car doing here so far away from home? Sometime in the 1920s, the little car was sold to the Iowa Southern Utilities Railway, where it was in use until it was acquired by Trolleyville USA in 1974.

After a tour of the museum, we were shuttled back to our chartered train and headed back to the shops. Here is a view of the newer NYC drawbridge No. 1 over the Cuyahoga River as taken from our transit vehicle going over the roller coaster route from the waterfront. A discussion was had regarding the tragedy when train Penn Central train OV-8 ran into the counterweight of the draw decades ago.

--Photos and captions by Bill Strassner

NYCSHS 2008 Annual Meeting visits Marion, OH

During the NCYSHS 2008 Annual Meeting, attendees were fortunate to tour the superbly and lovingly restored rare control machine inside "AC" Tower at Marion, Ohio. The interlocking functions all work properly, and the model board displays the track diagram and the lights on each reflect the status of the track circuits representing the location of train movements. Also on the model board are the signal "wind-offs", which are mechanical clocks that safely lock the route and regulate the ability of an operator to take a signal away from an approaching train.

NYCSHS members Pete White and Bill Strassner each gave demonstrations of how the timers actually work, since both men used them often in our careers as railroad towermen, also referred to as "Block Operators" on one property both gentlemen worked upon. A full simulation of a train approaching, having a route lined up, signals cleared and thence its passing was fully demonstrated, with several NYCSHS members actually operating the machine levers. The photo at left is the old Tower "F" machine from the tower at Fostoria, Ohio.

Bill Strassner says, "I had been wanting to visit the Marion Union Station Association for years, ever since I was told about their superb signaling collection, especially control machines of various types." This picture shows a small part of their collection, including a piece of the General Railway Signal Model 5 machine from NYC "BE" Tower, Berea. "CT" tower at Cleveland Union Terminal also had a GRS Model 5 machine, one of the largest in the world and a pleasure to work, according to former leverman Ben Anthony. The towermen had to hustle during the heyday of passenger traffic, as those large CUT motors could readily perform fast and heavy switching in the terminal.

Behind the machine is a typical NYC style GRS 2 arm simple 3 aspect CL signal, the staggering indicating an automatic signal, although missing the required number plate. Also a semaphore signal, posed at clear, and a very rare US&S machine, model MU, with 'true' pistol grip handles for operations. This is a small sample of a fascinating display of signal control machines, as used in towers and also dispatchers' offices. Also in the station complex was the model railroad, on display form our group. A slide show of times past on area railroads was enjoyed by all. Simply a wonderful midday tour, thanks to Pete White and his Marion co-hosts.

Marion, Ohio, with AC Tower, 1976. Photo by Gary Morris.

The relocated, and slightly shorter AC Tower as part of the Marion Station Museum.

NYCSHS 2008 Annual Meeting visits Bucyrus, OH

During the NYCSHS Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, some members had the chance to visit areas along the old Toledo & Ohio Central. This is an early postcard view of the T&OC (NYC) Eastern District passenger station at Bucyrus, OH. Also showing in the background is the signal tower for the junction and multiple crossing diamonds over the PRR Main Line and the PRR Sandusky Branch. This was a railroad location later named "COLSAN," which name remains to this day, but merely upon a blue sign.

During our Convention Tour, we visited the station, which has undergone a super restoration effort by local folks. Bucyrus, Ohio is located on the T&OC Eastern Division Line between Toledo (Stanley) OH and Thurston, OH, where it rejoins the Western Div. of the T&OC -which passes through Columbus. A concise capsule description of the T&OC and history of the many Ohio Central Lines of the NYC can be found on pages 449 through 452, inc. in "Steam Locomotives of the New York Central Lines, Volume 2", which is still available from the Society. Below are some additional pictures from our tour, postcard views, including the station at night, the yard and shops, and an interesting T&OC cigar box! The yellow glass skylight was coated with soot, and also fully blackened for the duration of World War II. Local artisans delighted in restoring the skylight back to its original appearance so that its intricate design could be enjoyed once more.

An airborne view of the complex at Bucyrus, Ohio.

First Quarter Central Headlight in the mail!

We are pleased to announce that the First Quarter Central Headlight has been sent to the Post Office. NYCSHS members should be getting their copies shortly. Not a member? Join today and get all the benefits of NYCSHS membership, including the Central Headlight.

Rich Stoving's HO scale Hudson Division layout

The setting is the Hudson Division in the Highlands. The time period is roughly 1940s, but Rich manages to dodge the time cops when he runs his Alco PA's and the Commodore Vanderbilt detours! Rich's layout covers an area roughly 24'x21' in a U-shaped configuration, with some easy chairs placed in the middle. This is Rich's 10th layout, his first was a 3-rail American Flyer system he started in 1944. He started his present layout when he settled into his present home in 1991, but didn't get to work on it much during the ten years he was playing with a 1:1 scale railroad! Now he has more time to devote and it actively working on it again. Scenery on the Breakneck Ridge area was completed last winter, a little more work needs to be done before starting on the SS 43 section (where four tracks go down to two). Here we see a Westside J-3a #5414 with passenger train eastbound at Breakneck Ridge on NYCSHS director Rich Stoving's HO scale layout. Digital photograph by John Heitmann using a Nikon D70s, 50mm at 1/3 sec, f/22, processed with Helicon Focus.

Another photo from Stoving's Hudson Division layout, this time it's NYC 5344, the shovel-nosed streamlined steam engine named "Commodore Vanderbilt," seen here exiting Bear Mountain Tunnel eastbound. Digital photograph by John Heitmann using a Nikon D70s, 48mm, 0.4 sec at f/22.

NYC E8's move to Medina, NY

After being stored in Lockport adjacent to the Falls Road Railroad engine house for several months, the New York Central E8As were finally moved to their new home in Medina, NY. They are residing across the Falls Road Railroad main from the Medina Railroad Museum. The E8s are not currently in operating condition, though they are rumored to be by late July. At any rate, they should be hauling excursion trains before the end of the year. The move was made on a special excursion run in the morning hours, apprioriately using New York Central coaches, a bright sign for things to come here in Western New York.

Photo by Nick Wilson

Pacific K-11e in HO by Mark Sklar

The locomotive is a Pacific K-11e #4560 modeled as seen in 1950. There is a photo of the prototype engine in Rich Stoving's "Power Along the Hudson Vol. 2" on page 45. It is a highly modified New York Central K-11 Pacific Bowser HO kit. It has a fully detailed cab, Tsunami sound decoder with operating front and rear lights and operating class light that are DCC controlled to display green or white. Model and photo by Mark Sklar.

NOARS 2006 Symposium Booklet Available

The Society has for sale a few of the remaining stock of booklets from the 2006 Northern Ohio Association of Railroad Societies symposium. The topic of the September 2006 symposium was the Van Swerigen roads and the Advisory Mechanical Committee. The Vans once controlled the Nickel Plate, the Erie, and the Chesapeake & Ohio. The AMC pooled the engineerings resources and talents of the three roads to come up with standardized designs for locomotives and rolling stock. The booklet is 28 pages and contains essays from the Symposium, of interest to our members will be the information presented about Cleveland's Terminal Tower and CUT. Booklets are $9.00 each, USPS First Class postage included. Ohio residents please add 60 cents sales tax. and can be ordered from the Society while supplies last.

New York Central System Historical Society, Inc.
Dept. W
PO Box 81184
Cleveland, OH 44181-0184