Harold Crouch, live steamer

In July 2000, Tom Fedor of Thurmont, Maryland, visited the Finger Lakes Live Steamers in upstate Clyde, New York. He had the chance to meet Harold Crouch while he was busy steaming up his model of a New York Central K-3r Pacific. Harold enjoyed a 34-year career with the NYC, Penn Central, and Conrail, so he knew a thing or two about trains. "I wish I had a good story about Harold to share," Tom says, "Unfortunately, I only met him this one day the photographs were taken. He willingly gave his time to me, this complete stranger who hovered over his shoulder as he steamed up his locomotive." Tom was shooting slides this day, and took mutliple exposures as Harold worked. "I can't imaging how may shots I bracketed and flashes that were popped. Never once did he tire of my presence. I remember him as being very generous with his time. I'm grateful to him for letting me document his passion that day." What follows are some of Tom's photos from that day in 2000.

Harold Crouch lived in nearby Newark, New York. Here he is seen getting his NYC Pacific ready to steam up at the Finger Lakes Live Steamers in July 2000.

Crouch holding a Ball jar of genuine NYC steam cylinder oil he uses on his live steamer. Only fitting that a model NYC Pacific get real NYC oil!

The Pacific at speed! Seven year old David Randolph of Ohio is riding behind Crouch.

See more photos of Harold enjoying his hobby at: http://www.pbase.com/flls/h2c

According to information posted on the Finger Lakes Live Steamers web site, the funeral-mass service will be this Saturday, April4, 2009 at 10:00am at Holy Cross Church; 4492 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY 14612.

-Otto Vondrak, with thanks to Tom Fedor

Harold Crouch: 1920-2009

Railroaders everywhere lost a great friend with the passing of Harold Crouch on Friday, March 27. Harold was a 1943 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a veteran of the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. After his time in the service, he hired on with the New York Central, where he had a long and successful career, utilizing his Mechanical Engineering talents, in a variety of very interesting assignments. Harold was an avid live-steamer, and built a one-inch scale model of a New York Central Niagara, and an inch-and-a-half scale model of a Pacific. After his retirement, he stayed very busy, consulting locomotive maintenance for shortlines all over the Northeast. He made countless road trips with George Hockaday, to help maintain and repair Alco locomotives.

More details will be passed on as they become available.

- Thanks to John Redden, Rochester Chapter NRHS

NYC GE 70-ton Switcher Saved

In 1942 General Electric built eight 70 ton center cab diesel locomotives for the New York Central. Numbered 506-513, they were among the first 70 ton switchers built by GE. Originally intended to be used switching passenger cars in terminals, these locomotives proved to be geared too low for that service and were reassigned to other duties. Some were made into shop switchers while at least one other went to Despatch Shops as a shop switcher. The two locomotives, which started life as NYC 512 and 513, then SSX 40 and 41, finally wound up at Valley Mould as 6114A and 6114B. The 6114A was used primarily for switching scrap cars at the melt shop while 6114B was used as a general plant switcher and for moving bottle cars of molten iron from the melt shop to the foundry. In 1992 Valley Mould closed its doors and a year later the plant was reopened as Ellwood Engineered Castings. Both were originally painted black but 6114B received a coat of read paint in the late 1990s in an attempt to more easily distinguish the two locomotives.

In 2005 EEC realized that their two workhorses would not last forever (they had been in service for 62 years!) and decided to replace them with a pair of GE 80 ton locomotives. Ellwood Group approached the Tod Engine Foundation about preserving one of the locomotives as they recognized the historical significance of these locomotives. In December, 2008 Ellwood Engineered Castings donated the 6114B to the Tod Engine Foundation after both of the 80 tonners had been delivered and placed into service. 6114B will be moved to the Tod Engine Heritage Park where it will be exhibited with our growing collection of steel industry equipment.

Please visit the Tod Engine Foundation website for more details. Photo by Gary Stuebben from George Ellwood's Fallen Flags web site.

NYC Passenger Timetables of the 1960s: 2

City skyscrapers and mountain scenes dominate the cover of the October 30, 1966 passenger timetable. The illustrations are generic enough to be suggestive of many scenes, none of which look like territory served by the Central. While the railroad was looking to cut costs, they spent money to change timetable designs with nearly every issue!

Dramatic illustrations accompany a system map on the inside of the October 30, 1966 timetable. Fresh on the heels of setting the American record for rail speed in July, the inside of this timetable touts the accomplishments of its technical research in providing better transportation solutions.

Yellow was the dominant color for the April 3, 1967 edition of the system timetable. A stylized route map was complimented by a playful illustration of a train traveling from countryside on the back cover to big city on the front cover. The use of bright yellow is very attention-getting.

The Central went for an all-blue look for its November 3, 1967 system passenger schedule, including the same stylized system map. Inside were dramatic passenger service cuts and "rationalizations" ordered by president Alfred Perlman as cost-savings measures. This would be the last timetable to carry the Twentieth Century Limited, which departed Grand Central Terminal for the last time on December 2.

The inside of the November 3, 1967 system passenger timetable featured an updated advertisement for "Sleepercoach" accommodations. "A private room by day... a bedroom by night... Sleepercoaches combine comfort and economy for your travel convenience."

"The beginning of the end..." The December 3, 1967 edition adopted a different cover design, using the same stylized map from earlier editions. Dramatic cuts in passenger service included the elimination of the flagship Twentieth Century Limited, as well as all other named passenger trains, with the odd exception of the James Whitcomb Riley.

Here is the last New York Central system timetable published, effective only five days before the Penn Central merger on February 1, 1968. The timetable shows three trains east, three trains west, and five each way between New York and Buffalo. The five trains to Buffalo were shown in December 1967, but without the "Empire Service" name. Huge passenger service reductions took place west of Buffalo.

See you in Geneva, April 17-19!

Join us in Geneva for a fun weekend of New York Central history and fellowship with Society members. NYCSHS Members (including family members and spouses) $110.00 for all activities, including Finger Lakes Railway excursion, Evening Banquet, and Train Show Admission. Non-members can register at $95.00 plus $35.00 extra. The extra fee covers membership in the Society for one year, including all rights and benefits, including a year of the Central Headlight. Rooms are at the Ramada Lakefront in Geneva, NY. Rooms can be reserved at the special NYCSHS rate of $89.00, you must mention the NYCSHS Convention to get the rate. Early reservations are essential, only 70 rooms are reserved for us on a first come, first served basis. You are responsible for making your own reservations.

NYC Passenger Timetables of the 1960s: 1

Through the 1960s, the New York Central was preparing for merger with its archrival Pennsylvania Railroad. In an attempt to be viewed as a more modern mode of transportation, the railroad experimented with many cover designs for its system timetable. Here is Form 1001, effective April 29, 1962. The illustration is an older style map that continues to wrap around to show the western part of the railroad.

Here is the portion of the April 29, 1962 timetable that wraps around. The top of the page contains an ad for New York Central's revolutionary containerized freight "Flexi-Van" service. Unfortunately, the railroad was about ten years too early for the containerized freight revolution.

The Central experimented with futuristic looking arrows, suggesting greater speed for an illustration of a passenger train pulled by two F-units. A drawing of a Sleepercoach (note the window arrangement) is clearly seen behind the locomotives. The October 25, 1964 edition also contained a full page ad for "Sleepercoach" travel.

Sleepercoaches made their first timetable appearance in late 1959. They were advertised in the inner folds of the timetable. At this time, the 20th Century Limited and the Commodore Vanderbilt were operating as a combined train known as Century/Commodore. Sleepercoaches were also operated on The New England States. They were configured as 24 single room/8 double room cars.

The New York 1964 World's Fair is the dominant theme for the April 25, 1965 timetable. The Pennsylvania Railroad had the direct route, though, thanks to its subsidiary Long Island Rail Road. By the mid-60s, the concept of the World's Fair was beginning to ring hollow with the public.

An illustration of speeding Slumbercoaches over a simplified New York Central map are the theme for October 31, 1965 edition. The purple and yellow colors were a departure from earlier somber colors. The new simplified system map would make many appearances both inside and outside the timetable in future editions.

Inside, the marketing department highlights the technical achievements of its research and development, proving that the Central is truly the "Road the the Future!"

2009 Annual Meeting - Friday Schedule

17 APRIL 2009

Time 1:00pm - 4:00pm

1) Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society & Depot Museum
8 High Street, Shortsville, New York

2) Central New York Chapter NRHS: Martisco Depot Museum
Martisco Road, Marcellus, New York

3) Rochester Chapter NRHS: Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum
282 Rush-Scottsville Road, Rush, New York

4) Central New York Model Railroad Club & Historical Society
4986 Jordan Road, Elbridge, New York

5) Finger Lakes Railway (release required - go directly to yard office)
68 Border City Road, Geneva, New York

6) Livonia Avon & Lakeville Railroad (release required -go directly to yard office)
5769 Sweeteners Boulevard, Lakeville, New York

17 APRIL 2009

Time 7:00pm - 11;00pm (Ramada Inn - Geneva - Seneca Room)

1) Richard Palmer - The Auburn Road

2) George Vergamini - New York Central Depots in Ohio and Neighboring States

3) Victor Hand - The New York Central in the Hudson River Valley

For more details and Annual Meeting registration information, please click here.


Vintage Hudson Division Photos

A few photos from along the scenic Hudson Division from the mid-1960s, taken by Robert K. LaPorte, from a private collection. Supplied by Bill Strassner.

April 10, 1965, a New York Central train speeds northbound at Breakneck Ridge, splitting the masts at Milepost 55. Metro-North trains make limited stops here to pick up and drop off day hikers.

March 28, 1965, and eastbound freight with a dog's breakfast of Alco power rumbles past the station at Montrose, New York. The photographer's 1955 Chrysler Imperial is parked at the station! Metro-North closed this station, along with Montrose in 1995.

May 2, 1965, New York Central train #15 (pulling Flexi-Vans in the consist) pass the site of East Garrison tower (note the pipeline carriers still in place).