NYCSHS 2008 Calendar Sold Out!


The NYCSHS 2008 Calendar has completely sold out! Access to a wide variety of photograph collections enables the Society to again present an excellent selection of high quality images. The front cover features S-1b Niagara 6018 uncoupling and J-1e 5404 getting ready to take the train on to Saint Louis (Photo by Richard Baldwin). On the back cover shows an EMD E-7 #4016 leads a Cincinnati, OH bound passenger train east of Shelby Street Yard in Indianapolis, IN in February 1959 (Photo by Richard Baldwin).

Inside the calendar are photographs of FM '"Erie Built" #4402 and a F-3a on Train #44 at Battle Creek, MI in 1956, EMD GP-35 #2370 leading a four unit locomotive consist near Toledo, OH in 1967, Class J-3a #5413 with Westbound James Whitcomb Riley leaving Cincinnati, OH in 1955, Class J-1e #5401 leaving Chesterton, IN on Train #708 in 1955, Class S-1b #6014 on Train #65 at Croton NY in 1946, Alco RS-3 #5227 on a local freight at North Grafton MI in 1967, Class Ra #300 at Harmon NY in 1939, Streamlined class J-3a #5454 leaving Elkhart, IN on eastbound 20th Century Limited in 1944, EMD E-7 #4003 on a passenger train through Croton, NY in 1947, FM "C-Liner #4502 and #4504 in Buffalo, NY, Class J-2c 5474 leaving North White Plains, NY on Train #5 in 1951, B&A class C-36 #229 sometime between 1895 and 1900.

Calendar Back Issues Available
The NYCSHS has a limited supply of previously issued calendars available for purchase. Quantities are limited, so please order soon to ensure we have your calendar in supply! The following years are available:
The price is $5.00 each postage paid. Ohio residents must include $.29 sales tax. Please send your order to:

NYCSHS Calendar
Dept W
17038 Roosevelt Ave
Lockport IL 60441-4734

NYCSHS 2009 Convention Planning

The plans for our NYCSHS 2009 Convention in upstate New York are being finalized now, and details will be forthcoming shortly. The 2008 convention was successful, and we look forward to next year, where I might be able to factor in Hickory Creek excursions also !

More reports and pix of the 2008 Convention to follow.

--Bill Strassner
Webmaster and VP, NYCSHS

NYC 8223 on the Auburn Road again!

NYC 8223 is running a series of excursions on the Finger Lakes Railway up in upstate New York. The Finger Lakes Railway operates portions of the former NYC "Auburn Road" between Canandaigua and Solvay. The 8223, which is usually on the Adirondack Scenic, will be on FGLK though June, when it will return once more to haul tourists into the North Country.

For more information, please visit

New Book Honors Putnam Division

Forgotten Railroads Through Westchester County chronicles the life and times of several bygone routes through the New York metropolitan area. Of particular interest to NYCSHS members are the first two chapters, dedicated to the Putnam Division and its Getty Square Branch. The Put was opened in 1880 as the New York & Northern Railroad, and was acquired by the NYC in 1905. It ran from a connection on the Hudson Division at High Bridge to a connection with the Harlem Division at Putnam Junction (Brewster). We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the end of regular passenger service, May 29, 1958. The second chapter outlines the Getty Square Branch, built as the Yonkers Rapid Transit in 1888, running from Van Cortlandt Park Junction to the heart of Yonkers at Getty Square. Double tracked and equipped with automatic block signals, this busy branch quickly opened up southern Westchester to development. It was electrified by the NYC in 1926. Abandonment of the Ninth Avenue Elevated in 1940 made ridership drop dramatically, and the line was abandoned in 1943. Many color and black and white photos take us on a tour of the line, with informative captions to help the reader navigate easily. The rest of the book covers New Haven topics, including the pioneering mainline electrification program of 1907, and the ill-fated subsidiary New York, Westchester & Boston Railway. Hardbound, 174 pages. Available from your local dealer or direct.

2008 Annual Meeting - Independence, Ohio

2008 Annual Meeting - Independence (Cleveland) Ohio

Three day meeting program Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 16,17 and 18 2008. Not a member of the NYCSHS? Membership can be obtained by filling out the membership application and sending in the money. Memberships will also be taken at the annual meeting registration desk.

Tel: 1-216-5248050
Fax: 1-216-5249280

Our past successful shows have offered interesting collections of scale models, books, photographs, and other memorabilia portraying the New York Central.


Model and Railroad display
We encourage you to bring NYC items for display and to be judged. All scales are welcome.

This meeting is being held in conjunction with the NMRA Mid-Central Region hosted by Division 4 North Coast Division and NOARS (Northern Ohio Association of Railroad Societies).


Friday May 16th:

8 AM TO 6 PM, Tour to Marion Ohio, VIA Bellevue, Bucyrus and Galion. (Advance reservation required!)

Saturday, May 17th:

9AM TO 3PM - Train / Memorabilia Show open to the public. Presentations on Various NYC-related subjects

6PM - Banquet -(Advance reservation required!) Banquet Reservation form included in Registration Form above, and should be mailed soon

8:00PM - Annual Business Meeting

Sunday, May 18th:

10:30AM - Brunch at Berea Station Restaurant (in Big Four Station) (Advance reservation required!)

12:30PM / 4:30PM - Tour or RTA Electric Lines including stop at Lake Shore Electric Trolley Collection at Dock 32. (Advance reservation required!)

Bus transportation to and from the brunch and tour will be provided including stops at the Airport for those having a Sunday flight. (Advance reservation required!)

Note: The NMRA Convention commences Thursday May 15th. NYCSHS members wishing to attend the NMRA Events on Thursday and Friday may do so, but MUST pay a surcharge as shown on the registration form. The full schedule of the NMRA meet mat be found at .


Dept W
PO Box 81184
Cleveland OH 44181-0184

Edward L. May Memorial Photo Collection

The Edward L. May Memorial Photo Collection is a private collection of negatives of various New York Central railroad images from around the system. This is a varied and diverse collection of sharp subjects in a variety of poses and locations. Images from this private collection may be purchased from Richard Stoving. Please write for more information.

Central Images
Ed May Collection
264 Dartt Settlement Rd
Wellsboro PA 16901-8388

Class F-2 #2097 Castleton, NY, circa 1908

Class L-2a #2731 at Selkirk, NY - May 1941

Class K-3g #4850, Kingston, NY - July 15, 1939

Class J-1d #5296 at Roa Hook, near Peekskill, NY - July 20, 1941

Class J-3a #5442 at Harmon, NY - December 5, 1937

LS&MS Class J-41a #4715, Cleveland, OH - pre-1917

Class I-10g #786, at Weehawken, NJ - July 21, 1923

Class F-12e #831 southbound at Katonah, NY - March 1941

Class I-b #898 crossing the Harlem River Bridge in New York, circa 1895

Class E-b #1552 at Castleton, NY - circa 1908

Class H-10b #2396 at Detroit, MI - February 25, 1950

Class L-1a #2502 at Jersey Mills, PA - August 8, 1948

Class L-3a #3022 at Harmon, NY - May 1941

Class L-4a 3106 at Breakneck Ridge, near Cold Spring, NY - June 21, 1947

Class J-1b 5216 at Oscawana, NY - September 14, 1941

Class J-1b #5242 at Albany Union Station, NY - March 22, 1936

Class J-3a #5447 at Manitou, NY - July 1, 1939

Class S-1b 6014 at Croton, NY - August 2, 1946

Class U-2b 7406 at High Bridge, in The Bronx NY - May 25, 1951

NYCSHS Central Headlight

Editorial Submissions
The Central Headlight is the official journal of and published by the New York Central Historical Society, Inc. Address all material and articles to:

R. L. Stoving, Editor
264 Dartt Settlement Road
Wellsboro, PA 16901-8388

We welcome all submissions, and invite your contributions to our magazine. We cannot emphasize too strongly our continuing need to receive well-researched and well-written feature articles for our magazine, and we urge all of our members to contribute to this effort. Otherwise, there can be no Central Headlight. All submissions become the property of NYCSHS, Inc. and will be held on file for future use.

For The Modeler
Items and questions directed to the "For The Modeler" column should be sent to:

James M. Benedict, NYCSHS
PO Box 374
New Canaan, CT 06840-0374

The Tack Board
Items and questions for "The Tack Board" column should be sent to:

R. L. Stoving, Editor
264 Dartt Settlement Road
Wellsboro, PA 16901-8388

Passenger Car Roster Information

Hugh T. Guillaume has reviewed the classification books and microfilm records in the NYCSHS archives and has developed a large data base of NYC passenger car roster information. He will be pleased to field questions about passenger car numbering and renumbering, rebuildings, etc. However, he must restrict this service to specific questions and must have a road name, car number and/or lot number as a starting point. General questions, such as “Tell me about Big Four diners,” cannot be answered. The time frame of the available data is 1870 to 1968, although the early data is less complete. When requesting this service, please send Mr. Guillaume a stamped self-addressed #10 envelope; otherwise no reply can be made.

NYC Passenger Car Roster Information
Hugh T. Guillaume
160 Parkledge Dr.
Amherst, NY 14226-3925

Photograph Listing
Listings of the locations of published photographs of specific NYCS equipment or sites is available. These will be sorted from a data base of over 14,000 entries. Inquiries can be accommodated for locomotive sub-classes, equipment lot numbers, specific engine or car names/numbers, towns, cities or stations. Copies of the bibliography, abbreviation list and a preliminary response will be furnished. Please send a large #10 SASE with your request.

NYC Photograph Listing
Kent Singer
146 Barrington Rd.
Pooler, GA 3 1322-9434

Classified Ads
There is no charge for NYCSHS members for this service for ads of 50 words or less, exclusive of address. Over 50 words, there is a charge of 25 cents per word, per issue. Non-member rate is 50 cents per word per issue, exclusive of address. Items for the Classified Ads column should be sent to:

Central Headlight Classified Ads
264 Dartt Settlement Road
Wellsboro, PA 16901-8388

Address Changes
Send all address changes, at least 60 days in advance of effective date, to:

NYCSHS Membership
P. O. Box 81184
Cleveland, OH 44181-0184

Address changes must be submitted in the standard USPS format. Please see for details. It is extremely important that you keep the Society informed of your current address, as the USPS will not forward publications, including Central Headlight, which are sent under a bulk mailing permit. The Society does not re-mail magazines returned to us on account of a change of address. Members who miss issues on account of failure to notify us of change of address may order replacement copies at the back issue price. See instructions under “Back Issues.”

Central Headlight Back Issues
Address all orders for back issues of Central Headlight to:

James C. Suhs, NYCSHS Secretary
17038 Roosevelt Ave.
Lockport, IL 60441-4734

The price of back issues is $8.00 per copy, postpaid. Copies of all 2007, 2006, and 2005 issues are available, as well as a limited number of earlier issues. A listing of available earlier issues, 1985-2004, may be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Secretary Suhs at the address given above.

NEW! Bound Reprint of the First Five Years of Central Headlight
These issues have been out of print for many years and are sought after by many to complete their Central Headlight collections. Issues comprise the complete New York Central System Historical Society Central Headlight magazine from 1970 (The society's founding) through the end of 1974. Approximately 160 pages, reprints of the original newsletters, Headlights and articles, embellished with additional color photos. Here are some highlights:
  • Volume 1 - NYC 800 - HS-1a 4-8-4, P&LE 91st Birthday, M-497
  • Volume 2 - Inspection Loco Cleveland, Cleveland Union Terminal
  • Volume 3 - The Mercury, NYC 119 Years Ago, X-660 Rotary Snow Plow Diesel Roster: Pt 1 FM, NYC X-8016
  • Volume 4 - Motor Car Roster, NYC oval and application, Surviving NYC Steam, 999
$30 plus $5.00 USPS Priority Mail shipping. Ohio residents must include $2.10 in state sales tax. Get yours now by mailing:

NYCSHS Headlight Reprint
Dept W
17038 Roosevelt Ave
Lockport, IL 60441-4734

Book Review: Steam Locomotives of the New York Central Lines

In the mid-1960’s, William D. Edson and Edward L. May collaborated to produce Locomotives of the New York Central Lines, the first all-time roster ever published of steam and electric locomotives of the New York Central, its subsidiaries, and its predecessor lines. First advertised in Model Railroader magazine in October 1966, this 136-page, soft-cover book included primary data on over 14,000 steam and electric locomotives, with 210 line drawings and diagrams as well as several useful charts. It was offered at only $4.95 postpaid, and it immediately became an important reference for anyone who cared about the history of Central’s steam and electric motive power.

The authors of this seminal work were eminently qualified to undertake its preparation. Mr. Edson had had a twenty-two-year career with New York Central in a variety of positions including Chief Mechanical Engineer, and Mr. May had studied, researched, photographed, and documented New York Central motive power as a life-time avocation. The work is remarkably free of errors or omissions, and this writer still finds his copy so useful that it does not ever find a regular place of repose on his bookshelf.

By the 1990’s, the Edson-May publication was long out of print and there appeared to be a good market for a more heroic work to include much more data as well as representative photographs. Rising to the challenge, Mr. Edson teamed up with H. Lansing Vail, Jr. in the preparation of a two-volume work that would become the ultimate authority on New York Central steam and electric power. Mr. Vail was one of the founders of and later became the president of the New York Central System Historical Society.

The resulting hardcover Volume 1 of Steam Locomotives of the New York Central Lines was published by the Society in 1997. Basically, it covers locomotives of New York Central lines east of Buffalo. Its title is something of a misnomer, since electric locomotives in classes P, Q, R (but not the Michigan Central R-1’s in detail), S, and T are covered. The title page credits Mr. Edson as the compiler, assisted by Mr. Vail and Mr. May.

The second hardcover volume was published by the Society in 2002. It covers lines west of Buffalo: Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, Lake Erie & Western, Indiana Harbor Belt/Chicago Junction/Chicago River & Indiana, Ohio Central, Big Four, Michigan Central, and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, as well as all of their predecessor lines. The Michigan Central R-1 electric locomotives are also covered in this volume. Mr. Edson is again named as the compiler, assisted by Mr. Vail. Mr. May had died in 1998.

For the serious researcher, Volume 2, like Volume 1, stands above the original Edson-May roster book because, in addition to the provision of generalized data for classes or subclasses including wheel arrangement, cylinder dimensions, driving wheel diameter, boiler pressure, weight, and tractive force, locomotive-specific data is also provided including year and month of construction, builder’s serial number, all known renumberings, retirement date, and in many cases scrap date. While the Edson-May book provides general data for groups, usually subclasses, of locomotives, both later publications devote a line to each engine. For example, where the Edson-May book provides the range of retirement dates for LS&MS K-2A engines 4823-4844 as 1929-1936, the Volume 2 roster book gives the retirement date for engine 4823 as July 1934, for engine 4824 as April 1933, and so on.

The space required for such detailed information is enormous. What Edson and May summarized with generalized data in 136 pages requires 310 pages in Volume 1 and 428 pages in Volume 2 of the Edson-Vail work. Of course, it must be recognized that Volume 1 and Volume 2 are also profusely illustrated with photographs, whereas the Edson-May roster book features no photos, and the type size is considerable larger in the later books. Also, the reproduction of the diagrams is satisfactory, whereas some of the diagrams in the Edson-May book are so small as to render the dimensioning almost unreadable.

Regarding the many photographs and diagrams, their reproduction is first-rate, and there is an abundance of them. Volume 2 contains 672 illustrations, mostly appearing on the right-hand pages of the book. But, like Volume 1, it is much more than a nice picture book. It was never the intention of the compilers, nor of the Society, to publish either Volume 1 or Volume 2 for the picture-book market. Both volumes are invaluable tools for people seriously interested in the motive power history of the New York Central System and its many predecessor lines. The photographs and diagrams provide a pleasing esthetic balance and often serve to illustrate differences between or among subclasses or changes that were made to locomotives over time, but the real merit of both volumes is to be found in the meticulously researched data.
Because of the complexity of the subject and the completeness of the book there are times when the old Edson-May roster book can be considerably easier to use. Suppose one wants to obtain an overview of Central’s K-3 Pacifics – when they were built, who built them and for what road, how many there were in how many subclasses, etc. The data appears on pages 123 and 124 of the Edson-May book. It covers K-3’s built for NYC&HR, NYC, LS&MS, MC, and CCC&StL, and it includes references to the transfers made to the Peoria and Eastern and to the Boston and Albany. But using Volume 2 for the same information, it becomes necessary to look at pages 404-405 for the LS&MS K-3’s, pages 552-554 for the CCC&StL K-3’s, and page 646 for the MCRR K-3’s; and then, if it’s at hand, to consult pages 198-203 in Volume 1 for the NYC&HR and NYC K-3’s. That’s a lot of hunting.

This is not to say that the by-line, rather than by-class, primary organization of the book ought to have been otherwise. The compilers must have given much thought to the organization and presentation of their data, and it is the opinion of this reviewer that their choice, to divide the book into seven parts, each dealing with a different line, or group of lines, was correct. Much of the material deals with locomotives that predate line consolidation by many decades. And if one wants to follow the development of, for example, Pacifics built for the Michigan Central, the organization, which flows directly from K-80 to K-3 to K-5, makes perfect sense.

Steam Locomotives of the New York Central Lines, Volume 1, sold very well, and only a limited number of copies are still available from the Society. Volume 2 will surely be equally successful. The two volumes constitute a complete record of Central’s steam and electric motive power and deserve a place together in the reference library of everyone interested in the history of the New York Central. If you now have one, you ought to have the other.

It is regrettable that both Mr. Edson and Mr. Vail died only a short time after the publication of Volume 2. Both men labored diligently to complete the work in spite of developing health difficulties. Taken together, both volumes stand as a fitting memorial to them and to their untiring efforts to preserve for us all a significant portion of the history of our favorite railroad.
--R. L. Stoving