Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/22/21 8:33 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

Any idea who built it(or the other 2)? There were no details with the pics. FYI if you'd like to be added to it just lmk. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/22/21 9:46 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

The Mogul was part of a batch of 5 (#19-#23) built by Baldwin in '26. The IT had bought some saturated steam Moguls with the rarely-seen Southern valve gear in 1917 (#15) and 1920 (#16-#17). Then in 1922 they bought a single Mogul, #18, from Baldwin that was a bit of a transitional engine, it kept the Southern valve gear of the #15 and #16-#17 but added the superheater that was on #19-#23. Then the #19-#23 kept the superheater but dumped the Southern valve gear for more conventional Walschaerts. That last batch was rated at 37,000lbs of tractive effort, so they were a pretty rugged little engine. They had 52" drivers though, so they didn't go anywhere fast.

The 2-8-2s were ordered from Baldwin in '29, right before the market crash. They were the first steam engines owned by the IT that were larger than a 2-6-0, but they were still pretty small and light by Mikado standards and had some stubby 55" drivers, more in line with a mining/logging engine. They did have thermic syphons and quite a bit of superheater area, so they were fairly modern. The 3 of them lasted until 1950.

The 0-8-0 is actually ex-FEC. During the Florida real estate boom of the '20s, the Florida East Coast went all-out, double-tracking most of their main line and buying a ton of modern 0-8-0s, 4-6-2s and 4-8-2s. Then the one-two punch of the real estate bubble bursting and the Great Depression nearly shook the FEC apart and they sold off a lot of this newer motive power. Built in '25, the FEC sold three of them to the Illinois Terminal in 1930. While all the IT 0-8-0s are gone, there is a surviving FEC 0-8-0, #253, down in Florida.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/22/21 11:28 a.m.
NickD said:
Sidewayze said:

Having followed this thread for quite a while, I think one of the more resounding take aways is that the historic railway community is kinda chock full o' crazy...

Yeah. There are a few names that always draw groans or controversies when mentioned: Dick Jensen, Don Lind, Bob Diamond, Fred Kepner, James Riffin (holy E36 M3, there's a read, what a lunatic)

To expand on this a little further, I think anyone involved in railway preservation is some amount and type of crazy. The average sane person doesn't think spending a couple million to restore a massive machine to operation that they can only run in very select places is a good investment. I also think that it is not helped by you have these guys who are visionaries but they don't always have a solid grasp on reality. Some can look at an engine rusting away in a park and some rails that haven't seen a car since 1976 and go "I can make this work" and actually make it work (Andy Mueller, Ross Rowland, Doyle Mccormack) but then you have guys like Dick Jensen or Don Lind who have that same vision but no plan how to actually get there. Ross Rowland dragged a Reading T-1 out of a scrapyard and overhauled it in 30 days and cleaned up an NKP Berkshire and ran it across the country, while Dick Jensen ended up owning 3 steam locomotives and got 2 of them scrapped. Nelson Blount grabbed up every steam locomotive he could get his hands on and ran a pretty successful museum until his death, while Don Lind and Fred Kepner had/have a bunch of locomotives rusting away in the weeds that they'll "fix up someday". 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/22/21 2:52 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Sounds about like the classic car community, but with a budget scaled up relative to size & weight. ;-)

Thanks for the IT history! I would have never expected FEC motive power to have ended up in central IL. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/22/21 3:26 p.m.

A quick rundown of some of those names:

Dick Jensen was a guy in the Chicago area, made a bunch of money delivering bread (seriously) and at the age of 29 purchased a GTW K-4a Pacific, #5629, to haul excursions with. He had a lot of success early on (sold-out 15 car trains) and was emboldened by that and bought a CB&Q O-5a Northern, #5632, and a CB&Q O-1a Mikado, #4963, after the CB&Q retired their corporate excursion program. He had grand designs of using the profits from #5629 to fund completion of the overhauls on #5632 and #4963, but then was evicted from the C&WI roundhouse and both engines were illegally moved by the C&WI to a scrapyard. The #5632 was cut up when it derailed, and he won a lawsuit against the C&WI but never saw a dime. Southern Railway tried to buy the #5629 off him to convert to a Southern Ps-4 but he turned them down, wanting far too much money, and Ross Rowland also tried talking to Jensen to explain that going it alone and trying to run excursions solely off their profit was impossible. Jensen refused to see reason and continued trying to run excursions, but had some bad luck with events on both the Rock Island and the Penn Central forcing cancellation of trips. The #5629 was evicted by a number of railroads it was stored at over lack of payment, and Jensen was injured in a freak incident that left him in poor health. When Rock Island went bankrupt, Metra wanted #5629 out of the Blue Island yard it was stored at, which they took ownership of. The #5629, which hadn't run since '74, was in poor shape and missing parts, Jensen alleged that Metra employees stole them while Metra alleged that Jensen took them to make it so that they couldn't move the engine, and after years of legal battles, Metra was given permission to scrap #5629 where it sat. Jensen had also received an NKP 900-series Mike that he never had moved out of the scrapyard and was cut up, bringing the total of dead engines under his stewardship to 3. Still, Jensen was mechanically brilliant, as he helped revive T&P #610 for the American Freedom Train and overhauled GTW #4070 for Lou Keller. Today, Jensen is a source of conflicting views and controversy. Some say he had good intentions but was just beset by bad luck at every turn, while others say he had an unrealistic plan and no contingency for when things completely and utterly fell apart. A tribute to his controversial legacy, his name was inscribed on a plaque for those who worked on T&P #610 and later on someone tried to remove his name with a chisel.

Don Lind was a gentleman in Annandale, MN who owned the "Minnesota & Western RR Museum". Calling it a museum is being a bit generous. He had a Minnesota & St. Louis 2-8-0, a Coronet Phosphate 2-6-2T, an Iowa Central outside-braced wooden boxcar, a MILW refrigerated car, some old passenger cars and a couple trolleys, all tucked away in the weeds. The stuff was in rough shape in the '70s, and Lind had no real money, no employees and no museum income so it all sat there and rotted away for years. Some other museums tried to purchase stuff from him to preserve but he refused to part with it. He finally passed away in 2013 and while the M&StL and Coronet Phosphate engines were saved, most of the other stuff was beyond saving. A lot of the cars were knocked on their side with an excavator, the trucks were scavenged out from under them and the rest of it was sent to a landfill.

Bob Diamond is a strange one, I kind of feel bad for him. Bob Diamond found the Long Island Rail Road's Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, which was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits. Legend has it that the tunnel was reopened in the 1920s when it was used for mushroom growing and bootlegging, and in the 1940s when the FBI opened it looking for Nazis. But soon after, it was lost. In the 1950s two historians attempted to find it and failed. Diamond rediscovered the tunnel in 1980 and got a permit from the city to lead tours down there from 1982 to 2010. Diamond wanted to start an official museum down there, and was also convinced that just behind a wall was an 1836-built steam locomotive that was left down there by the LIRR when they sealed up the tunnel. He had magnetometers readings that indicated there was something behind the wall. But Diamond was also not very diplomatic and irritated a lot of city officials, and the city wasn't enthused about doing all sorts of underground demolition. So the city locked Diamond out of the tunnel in 2010 and threatened to toss him in jail if he ever went down there again. Diamond spent the remaining 11 years of his life arguing with city officials and lawyers and historians, passing away just a few months ago. The mystery of whether that engine is down there will likely go unsolved. Diamond also tried building a trolley line from Red Hook to downtown Brooklyn, with plans to operate vintage trolleys over it, and got pretty close, but then the city tore up the tracks and the stranded trolleys had to be cut up where they sat.

Fred Kepner is a reclusive old fellow up in Oregon. He purchased a bunch of steam locomotives and moved them to his property. They include a GN 2-8-0, a Pickering Lumber 90-ton 3-truck Shay, a Santa Maria Valley 2-8-2, a Sierra Railway logging Mallet that's cut into about 3 pieces, and a Sierra Railway 2-8-0. They have all been collecting rust for many years, and Kepner doesn't have the means to restore any of them. People have tried making offers but he either hits them with some outrageous price for their decrepit condition, or he refuses to split the "collection" up because he wants someone to inherit the complete collection when he dies. 

James Riffin, well, I can't explain just how nutty this guy is. This is a good read: https://vansmith.me/2017/10/10/train-wreck-one-mans-dreams-of-a-local-freight-line-run-smack-into-reality/ The short story is he keeps finding abandoned segments of rail, and we're talking like 200-300 feet sometimes, where the abandonment paperwork has a misspelling or some other discrepancy and then tries to file with the STB to hand it over to him. Not sure what he plans to do with some of these segments, but its all very quixotic. Just recently he popped up trying to get a couple hundred feet of the old Stewartstown Railroad and Northern Central Railroad right-of-ways. Some of his weirder moves included that declaring he himself was a railroad and therefore doesn’t have to comply with local and state laws, only federal ones. He's caused considerable grief to the STB, transit authorities, railroads, museums, and municipalities for no discernible reason.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/22/21 3:48 p.m.

Its too bad the GTW #5629 got scrapped, because she was a real looker. Jensen was a real stickler about aesthetics and made a number of modifications to the #5629 to meet his standards. The smokebox and stack were painted silver to give it that USRA look. He replaced the original headlight and bell with those off Illinois Central 2-8-4 #8049, which was the original Lima Berkshire demonstrator that they used on the Boston & Albany before selling it to the IC. The bell was also relocated from just forward of the smokestack to being hung out over the smokebox. Nickel cylinder caps were installed. And for longer range, he swapped the original tender out for one off a scrapped Soo Lines 4-8-2s, which looked positively massive behind the Pacific. The fate of the original tender for the #5629 remains a mystery, although it's believed it might have been with the CB&Q #5632 and #4963 and all the boxcars of parts that were stored at the C&WI roundhouse and scrapped illegally.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/23/21 9:20 a.m.

GTW #5629 in storage at Detroit, alongside Reading #2102 and a GTW Geep. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/23/21 9:20 a.m.
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) said:

Thanks for the IT history! I would have never expected FEC motive power to have ended up in central IL. 

FEC stuff ended up scattered to the four winds in the late '20s through the early '40s. There were FEC Mountains in California on the Western Pacific and down in Mexico on the Ferrocarril Nacionales De Mexico, FEC Pacifics seemed to end up on nearly every other line in the South (Georgia Northern, Savannah & Atlanta, Atlanta Birmingham & Coast, Appalachicola Northern) and I can't find much info on the 0-8-0s but some went to Illinois Terminal and it wouldn't surprise me if other railroads ended up with some as well.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/23/21 9:36 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

The idea of an 0-8-0 is strange to me. It seems too big for a yard switcher, but not really suited for mainline duty?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/23/21 10:34 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Basically a big yard switcher for moving huge or heavy cuts of cars. You definitely do not want to run them on a mainline. There is a reason only one has ever been restored to operation in the preservation era and why it is no longer in service: it was murderously hard on the tracks. By the time you make the cylinders big enough to take advantage of 4 driving axles, you have some pretty serious thrusting forces, and then you have no lead and trailing trucks to control the ensuing hunting action. The New Haven and Indiana Harbor Belt had some big three-cylinder 0-8-0s, which likely had less dynamic augment to them because instead of a power pulse every 180 degrees, you had three pulses, with one in the center, every 120 degrees. The IHB engines also had Franklin side-rod tender boosters to make them even more powerful.

Not terribly common, but some railroads went as big as o-10-0s for hump yard service or switching coal and iron ore cars. The New York Central had a handful, Alton & Southern had at least one, and B&O, C&O and Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range all rostered some as well. The DM&IR engines made almost 86,000lbs of tractive effort by themselves and then had Franklin side-rod tender boosters as well. They later found that the engines made enough power all by themselves that the Franklin boosters weren't worth the trouble and took them off.

Quite a few railroads homebuilt their own 0-8-0s by taking old Consolidations or Mikados and taking the lead and trailing trucks off to make the drive wheels carry more of the weight. GTW also built some 0-8-2s from Mikados with the lead truck removed but the trailing trucks left intact. Crews much preferred those because they rode a lot better. Similar things were done to 2-10-0s and 2-10-2s. Canadian Pacific had some 2-10-0s that they converted to 0-10-0s, and C&NW had a pair of 2-10-2s that they tried using in hump yard service, and after issues with the lead truck derailing, cut them down to 0-10-2s.

Union Railroad, which was a Class 3 switching railroad in Pittbsurgh and exclusively served steel mills, purchased 9 unique 0-10-2 locomotives, an arrangement which became known as a Union type. Union Railroad had short turntables, short distance hauls, and low speeds but was moving heavy trains of iron ore. Due to heavy trainloads, they decided they needed ten driving wheels. To drive five axles, it needed a large boiler and firebox, so that necessitated the trailing truck. To fit on the turntable, they had to delete the lead truck, which didn't matter because they weren't going far or fast. Built by Baldwin in 1936, they made 90,893lbs of tractive effort, plus another 17,150lbs of tractive effort from a Franklin tender booster. They were pretty successful machine, but the Union dieselized in 1950, so they were sold to Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range, who ran them almost another ten years. The DM&IR dumped the tender booster but added weights to the frame to compensate. When they retired them, they actually returned one to Union Railroad who put it on display in Greenville, PA.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/23/21 11:58 a.m.

There was actually supposed to be an operational FEC Pacific right here in Central New York. Frank Menair was the guy who was behind the revival of the NYC Adirondack Division in 1979 for the Winter Olympics, and while the Adirondack Railway ran for the Olympics with two Alco RS-3s and an Alco RSC-2, Menair always planned for it to operate steam locomotives once it got up and going. Menair's Menair-Fetzer Corporation had been working on restoring DL&W 2-6-0 #565 at the New Hope & Ivyland for a customer, and when the customer bailed on the restoration, Menair took ownership and was going to send it north to the Adirondack Railway. Simultaneously, Sam Freeman, who was a friend of Menair's and also involved with the Adirondack Railway, was going to ship his FEC Pacific, #148, up to Utica, as well as Canadian National Mikado #3254, which was also at the NH&I. Unfortunately before any of this could happen, the Adirondack Railway went belly-up after track conditions severely deteriorated during the summer of 1980. 

FEC #148 ended up being parked shortly afterwards. It had a running gear that had had a bunch of work done and was in great shape but the boiler had had some really crummy work done to it and overall was in terrible condition. It kicked around a bunch of places, including Valley Railroad in Connecticut, the Railroad Museum of New England, Traverse City, Michigan, and Commerce City, Colorado, before finally coming home to Clewiston, Florida and receiving an extensive rebuild by U.S. Sugar, where it returned to operation a year or two ago. DL&W #565 ended up becoming a major point of legal contention. Photographer/author/Steamtown USA president Don Ball saved it from an uncertain future, then tried to donate it to Scranton, PA, which turned into a massive legal battle and disappointment of Don Ball, and ultimately ended up in the Steamtown collection when Steamtown moved to Scranton. A few years ago, Steamtown employees tried to cosmetically restore it, but after disassembling it, it got snarled up in bureaucratic red tape and sits partially disassembled in the Steamtown roundhouse. Those involved with that aborted restoration said that, when searching for parts that had been missing for decades, a bunch of them turned up in Rome, NY and Thendara, NY. CN #3254 was sold to Sloan Cornell and run briefly at Gettysburg Railroad but then was swapped for Steamtown's CP G-5 Pacific #1278 when Steamtown moved to Scranton and needed a more powerful engine. The #3254 served as one of their main engines for years, although it was always troubled by mechanical issues from a severe crash during it's life with the CN. Steamtown parked it in 2011 when it's FRA certifications ran out and has said that they're unlikely to return it to operation due to the issues the running gear had.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 8:16 a.m.

George Hart's Canadian Pacific D-10 Ten-Wheeler, the #972, doubleheaded with Florida East Coast #148 on the Lehigh Valley's Delaware River Bridge at Phillipsburg, NJ. the trip was run on a cold dreary day in October of '75, and was, typical of big excursions of the era, somewhat of a comedy of errors according to those present. The morning was spent loading the #972's coal bunker with a bucket brigade (#148 was oil-fired, so you just hooked up a hose connection from an oil truck and topped her off). It rained the entire day, except for when they turned the locomotives on the wye at South Plainsfield. The consist was a dog's breakfast of George Hart's ex-Reading coaches and some Erie Stillwell coaches borrowed from the Erie-Lackawanna that had been stored someplace, because they are remembered as being musty and mildewy inside with all the window's rusted shut (one fellow found a brake shoe backing plate along the ballast during a photo run and used that to pry some of the windows up). Being run over the Lehigh Valley in 1975, the track condition was in terrible shape and between the wavy track and groans from the old coaches, it was said to be akin to riding an old wooden schooner through a storm. Someone in an act of vandalism left a shopping car between the tracks, which then got under the cars and popped a brake hose connection loose and sent the whole consist into emergency. One rider, who was 7 at the time, said he had a front tooth knocked out when the emergency brakes went on after he had a large gentleman with a hard camera case get cannoned into him. He also recalls being traumatized when the train coasted downgrade through the Lehigh Valley's double-tracked tunnel, while a Lehigh Valley freight with four Alcos on the lead was working upgrade on the other track. Between the smoke and the noise from two steam locomotives and four Alcos, he said he thought he was in hell itself. And, as typical of those era trips, they ran very late, which did give a cool glimpse of the steel mills at Bethlehem when they rolled by in the dark and could see them pouring molten metal. I'm honestly sad I missed these early excursions of this era. Yeah, they were typically a mess, but privately-owned double-headed steam locomotives rattling around on the Class Is is something that just doesn't happen anymore. The '60s and '70s excursions were like the Wild West of railroading, run on a wing and a prayer.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 8:28 a.m.

FEC #148 was a good running gear with a terrible boiler. George Hart's #972 was just a wretched machine all around. It wasn't that the CPR D-10 was an inherently bad engine, no, those who had an opportunity recalled they were fairly stable engines at speed for a Ten-Wheeler, and were pretty gutsy little machines. They steamed well and were pretty easy to fire, although the firebox grates sloped so steeply towards the front that your fire would slowly work itself towards the front and crowd the brick arch. But the #972 was pretty used up and Hart never really had the money to get everything sorted out at one time. Someone said they remember chasing it on one of it's trips and there was a spot where the road ran right alongside the tracks, and so they were pacing it while taking photos. The guy taking the film realized that he could hear the connecting rods clattering over the sound of the stack, the bushing were so worn out on them, and told the driver to get ahead of the train because he really did not feel like having his teeth brushed by locomotive connecting rods. Another guy recounts that the #972 made "you pray the Rosary on crossovers at track speed", confirmed by another guy saying "The only time I have ever been tempted to pull a Sim Webb and dive to the ballast was on #972 when she went into such a gut-wrenching slip at speed I swore we were on the ground and headed for the ditch. After looking around the cab once she regained traction, I realized I was not the only who had considered bailing... neat, but scary." That auxiliary tender that #972 is towing in both photos was built out of a Reading Camelback tender and when George Hart was basically evicted by Jim Thorpe and left the equipment at Jim Thorpe it ended up in the hands of Reading & Northern. That tender is still in use behind the #425 and was used on the October 2nd trip I took. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 8:31 a.m.

Another of the #972 and #148, near Bethlehem. With Conveyance Day in just a few months, the trip was being run as a farewell to the Lehigh Valley Railroad

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 9:01 a.m.

CPR #972 heading around the curve out of Jim Thorpe, passing an RS-3 restored in CNJ "toothpaste" livery. For about 30 years, George Hart's Rail Tours Inc. ran the trains out of Jim Thorpe up the Lehigh Gorge until Jim Thorpe chose not to renew his contract, going with Reading & Northern instead, and pretty much threw him off the property.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 9:07 a.m.

CPR #972 at the old CNJ station in Jim Thorpe with a single open-air car. A far cry from today's 11-12 car trains that are fully sold out. But at the time, Jim Thorpe wasn't really a tourist hotspot like it is today. It was just another post-industrial coal mining town.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 10:47 a.m.

Crossing a bridge at West Falls, PA. The #972 is lettered for Philadelphia & Reading, because it was running an excursion for the centennial of the Philadelphia & Reading (later the Reading Company's) centennial anniversary. There were no Reading engines in steam in the area (#2100 was in Ohio, #2101 was four years in the grave, #2102 was also in Ohio, and #2124 was up in Vermont, having been stored since 1964), so they made do with George Hart's little Ten-Wheeler with P&R lettering.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 10:58 a.m.

The sad reality of the #972 today. It was at Strasburg Railroad for significant work when George Hart went bankrupt, and since they had lots of labor into it already, it was decided that Strasburg would take ownership of it as repayment. Unfortunately, the #972 was found to need extensive work, including a complete rebuild of the running gear and a new firebox and rear boiler course, along with basically every nut, bolt, washer, cotter pin, and rivet. Strasburg already had the #31, #89, #90, and #475, plus the agreement to lease LIRR #39 when/if it's done, so they didn't need another engine, and certainly not one that needed so much work. And Strasburg is not a museum, it's an operating railroad, so they shoved it out in their deadline and haven't touched it in years. It's unlikely they'll ever need to return it to operation, and no one else wants to buy an engine that is in such poor shape and isn't that unique or historically significant (the reason Age of Steam bought Reading 0-4-0C #1187).

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 3:31 p.m.

George Hart actually had a second D-10 Ten-Wheeler, the #1098. It ran very sparingly though. It was bought by Nelson Blount for Steamtown USA in 1961 and moved to the North Walpole, NH location, then to the second location at Bellows Falls, VT in 1966, and then to Steamtown's third home in Scranton, PA in 1985. In 1986, George Hart purchased it to run on his trips out of Jim Thorpe, since the #972 was at Strasburg receiving a bunch of work (it never returned from there). They began work on the engine in 1988 (the engine had been shopped by CP in '57 and then placed in storage with almost zero miles on it, but had sat for nearly 30 years outdoors) and steamed it up for the first time in 1993, ran it for about three weekends and then more issues developed. It was stored serviceable until 1996 (around when #972 was sold to Strasburg), when more work was done to it. It was test-fired in October of '96, then needed more work, and was test-fired again in 1998. And then it never ran again. When it looked like Jim Thorpe was about to give George Hart the boot, there was a renewed interest in the #1098, either in hopes that an operating steam engine would let him stay or to get it ready for the move. When Hart was basically evicted, he left the #1098 behind for Reading & Northern. It sat deteriorating for years, then was given a paint job similar to the #425, renumbered to #225, and moved to Reading Outer Station as a display piece. R&N has no interest in firing up the #1098/#225, since they need bigger power and it's smaller than the #425, plus it is supposedly in need of some serious work.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 3:48 p.m.

George Hart had a funny habit of owning matched locomotive pairs. In addition to CPR #972 and #1098, both CPR D-10s 4-6-0s, he also owned two Brooklyn East District Terminal 0-6-0 tank engines, the #13 and #14, and then two Canadian Pacific G-5 4-6-2s, the #1238 and #1286.

BEDT #13 ended up at the Railroad Museum of PA, where Hart was the first director of the museum. BEDT #14 is at the Ulster & Delaware Railroad in Arkville, NY as a display piece. CPR #1238 and #1286 were both sold to Jack Showalter for use on the Allegany Scenic Railroad, until he was evicted from that area, then they sat in storage for years and then they were repatriated back to Canada and are on display at the Prairie Dog Central Railway in Manitoba. 

He also had Reading #1251, an 0-6-0T that was used as the Reading shop switcher until 1963, which is also at RRMoPA

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/24/21 5:06 p.m.

Very rare footage of the #1098 in action. Someone says that whistle is a Western Maryland 5-chime, and, wow, it is searing.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/26/21 8:56 a.m.

For Thanksgiving, my parents, my oldest sister and her family, and myself all went to my father's older sister's house. After dinner, she dug out a box of old photographs that she has been trying to sort and identify everyone in, predominantly of their mother's family. One of the things in there was this Certificate of Service given to my great-grandfather (my father's mother's father), James Henry Fitzpatrick, on his retirement from the New York Central. He was the chief clerk for the accounting department for the Mohawk Division (East Syracuse was the western terminus, Rensselaer was the eastern terminus, and it included the West Shore Line as well) and worked out of Little Falls, NY originally and then moved to Utica after Utica Union Station was constructed in 1914. According to my father, the Central actually wanted him to move to New York City and run the accounting department for the whole railroad, but by that point he was nearing retirement age and, as an accountant, he could see the way things were trending for the NYC and decided he would rather get out while the getting was good.

/

The lightning stripe E7s rolling along the Hudson River are a nice touch. I can't decipher the signature, looks like G. Meguiar perhaps, and I can't readily find who was president of the New York Central then. I know Robert R Young came along in '54, and Alfred Perlmann in '58. I'm not sure who was before Young.

There was also this photograph of him taken in the late '40s. I believe this was Woodgate, NY, up on the Adirondack Division, since it was packaged with a bunch of other photos taken at a family friend's up in Woodgate. The scenery certainly looks right to be the Adirondack Division.

He passed away in '63, when my father was only 4, so he barely recalls him. But he does remember his mother taking him into Utica Union Station and pointing out where his office had been. He also talks about how, due to his standing in the NYC, he had a system pass, where he could ride trains for free. So when he came to visit my grandmother, he would hop a caboose on a freight train headed up the St. Lawrence Division (Rome-Watertown) and get off at the Camden depot and then walk over to her house.​​​​​

LS_BC8
LS_BC8 New Reader
11/26/21 10:53 a.m.

All I know of my grandfathers retiring (William B Munsil) is a couple of lines in the October 1941 Headlight. He was head electrician (so my grandmother told me) for the Boston & Albany Railroad.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/26/21 12:04 p.m.

I know my great-uncle Bernie (one of James Fitzpatrick's sons) also worked for the New York Central. I'm not entirely sure what he did, but I believe he was on a section gang. My father talks about how in the '50s and '60s, the Adirondack Division was pretty much dormant, and so the Central would rent out the section houses along the Adirondack Division to employees in the fall and winter to use as hunting lodges. My great-uncle was a pretty avid hunter of small game, and so he and his friends would rent one out and go hunt rabbits. The one section house had one of the old handcars, but it had been converted to self-propulsion with a small gasoline engine, and so they would hop on and ride it to an area and then lift it off the rails and go hunting, and then come back, lift it onto the rails and ride back to the section house. While traveling on the rails, they would have a forward lookout and a rear lookout, since there were occasional trains up that way. One time they were heading back and it was snowing, and the guy keeping a lookout to the rear got mesmerized by the snow blowing around behind them and went into a kind of daze. All of a sudden my great-uncle heard a horn blast and he and the other guy look back and there's an RS-3 with a train bearing down on them. They had to hurry up and jump off and toss the car clear before they got struck.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/26/21 12:21 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

That's some awesome family history!

I found my great grandfather's death certificate & obituary last year. I knew he'd worked for the C&EI(I think as a signal man), but his obit mentioned that he got injured at work causing him to retire early. It also sounded like his death was at least somewhat related to his injuries. 

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