Fanatic5 - Family Passions
Dedicated to My Grandfather (NYC)
Fanatic5 - Family Passions
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In My Father's Memory

My Grandfather
New York Central "E-8" (mid 1960's)

Grandpa (Tony):

My Grandfather retired from the New York Central System after 50 years of service, primarily on the "Syracuse Division." He retired just months before the Penn Central merger in 1968, making him a pure "Central" man. His favorite steam locomotives were the "Mohawks" (Alco Class L-2a).

Grandpa (circa late 1940's)
New York Central "Mohawk" 4-8-2


New York Central memories...
Andy Post & Grandpa (left) and the protoype "hogger" (right)


Me and my Grandpa (1959)
Gardenville Yards (Alco FA-1 #1031)


As a child, I spent many days during the summer accompanying my Grandfather to work. During the 1960's, my Grandfather was senior man on the division, which usually meant being "called" for the "Empire State Express" or "20th Century Limited" to Syracuse and points east.
The photo (to the left) is my earliest record with my Grandfather, sitting at the controls of an Alco FA-1.
Prior to "Frontier" becoming the main freight yards for the New York Central in Buffalo, the classification yards and engine terminal at Gardenville supplied most of the activitiy.
The Terminal Railway of Buffalo was part of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad. It built the Gardenville Branch (or Gardenville Cutoff) allowing through trains to bypass Buffalo. The Terminal Railway was chartered on June 12, 1895 to connect the New York Central & Hudson River main line at Depew, going through Gardenville, to the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway at Lackawanna. A double track line was built from Depew southwest to Bayview Junction ("BV" tower), creating a yard complex on the line (replaced by the modern "Frontier" yards in the mid 1950's). The line, intended to ease congestion in Buffalo, opened on September 20, 1898.

When originally built, the southwest end only provided direct access towards Buffalo, merging with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern at Seneca Yard. The cutoff was soon built allowing for through New York City - Chicago traffic without turning at the yard. A connection was also built around 1923 from the northeast end at Depew north to the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad (chartered 1880). This allowed trains on the West Shore, which paralleled the NYC, to also use the cutoff.

The Terminal Railway was merged, along with the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway to form the New York Central Lines in 1914. The cutoff has since been abandoned in favor of other parallel lines. A short spur running north from "GJ" (Gardenville Jct.) tower is the only remaining track on this line.

I remember dropping off my Grandfather at the Gardenville yards (Losson Road entrance) in the early 1960's and seeing various "stored" steam locomotives in the roundhouse, waiting to be scrapped. The yards were eventually abandoned.  

I miss my Grandfather.....

~  Favorite Locomotives  ~
Over his 50 year career on the New York Central, my grandfather had numerous stories about steam and diesel locomotives. His favorite steam locomotives were ALCO's 4-6-4 and 4-8-2 contributions. In his opinion, nothing matched the superior design of the locomotives from Schenectady. However, the diesel era was a little different, with my grandfather favoring EMD's "E" class locomotives. He would often say..."They rode much better than those (#4200) engines." The following are examples of the locomotives engineered by my grandfather:

NYC #5339 "Class J1e" 4-6-4 near Lancaster (NY) 11/26/48

The "Hudson" 4-6-4 locomotive was designed for the New York Central, due to the increase in passenger business. During the mid 1920's, longer trains were required and the existing motive power could not handle more than 12 cars. There was a requirement for a passenger locomotive which could haul 16 to 18 cars. In 1926, the new chief mechanical engineer, Paul Kiefer, designed a 4-6-4 locomotive with greater starting tractive effort, along with the ability to pull longer trains and maintain higher speeds.
The locomotive design was so successful, that 275 "Hudsons" were built for the NYC system, including its subsidiaries. Of the 275 Hudsons, 30 went to Michigan Central, 30 went to the CCC&StL (Big Four), 20 went to the Boston & Albany and 195 were used on the NYC. Only 10 were built by the Lima Locomotive Works, with the balance built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO).


. . . and then came the "Niagaras"

NYC #6018 11/26/48

The New York Central 4-8-4's were called "Niagaras" after a third New York river (the 4-8-2's were "Mohawks" and the 4-6-4's were "Hudsons"). These efficient locomotives handled the 12 daily "New York-Chicago" passenger trains such as the "Commodore Vanderbilt" and the "Empire State Express."


Road #

Year Built












October-December 1945




January 1946




April 1946




June 1946


Enter the Diesel Era

NYC #4209 "PA-2" (10/14/62)

The ALCO "PA" was a family of A1A-A1A diesel locomotives built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in Schenectady (NY), between September 1946 and December 1953, to haul the railroad's passenger fleet. In my opinion, the most beautifully designed diesel locomotive . . . EVER!
New York Central roster:

Road #



Alco PA-1


Alco PA-2


Alco PB-1


Alco PB-2


Paper Items



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