My Present Past
A genealogical experience
New York Central Railroad
The New York Central Railroad (AAR reporting marks NYC), known simply as the New York Central in its publicity, was a
railroad operating in the Northeastern United States. Headquartered in New York, the railroad served most of the
Northeast, including extensive trackage in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and
Massachusetts, plus additional trackage in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec. Its primary connections included
Chicago and Boston. The NYC's Grand Central Terminal in New York City is one of its best known extant landmarks.

In 1968 the NYC merged with its former rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad, to form Penn Central (the New York, New Haven
and Hartford Railroad joined in 1969). That company soon went bankrupt and was taken over by the federal government and
merged into Conrail in 1976. Conrail was broken up in 1998, and much of its system was transferred to the newly-formed New
York Central Lines LLC, a subsidiary of CSX. That company's lines include the original New York Central main line, but
outside that area it includes lines that were never part of the NYC system. The famous Water Level Route of the NYC,
from New York City to upstate New York, was the first four-track long-distance railroad in the world.

In 1867 Vanderbilt acquired control of the NYC, with the help of maneuverings related to the Hudson River Bridge in Albany.
On November 1, 1869 he merged the NYC with his Hudson River Railroad into the New York Central and Hudson River
Railroad. This extended the system south from Albany along the east bank of the Hudson River to New York City, with the
leased Troy and Greenbush Railroad running from Albany north to Troy.Vanderbilt's other lines were operated as part of
the NYC; these included the New York and Harlem Railroad, Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway,
Canada Southern Railway and Michigan Central Railroad.

The Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad was chartered in 1869 and opened in 1871, providing a route on the north
side of the Harlem River for trains along the Hudson River to head southeast to the New York and Harlem Railroad
towards Grand Central Terminal or the freight facilities at Port Morris. From opening it was leased by the NYC.
The Geneva and Lyons Railroad was organized in 1877 and opened in 1878, leased by the NYC from opening.
This was a north-south connection between Syracuse and Rochester, running from the main line at Lyons south
to the Auburn Road at Geneva. It was merged into the NYC in 1890.

On July 1, 1900, the Boston and Albany Railroad was leased by the NYC, although it retained a separate identity.
In 1914 the name was changed again, forming the modern New York Central Railroad.
The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four was formed on June 30, 1889
by the merger of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and
Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railway. The following year, the company gained control of the former
Indiana Bloomington and Western Railway. By 1906, the Big Four was itself acquired by the New York Central Railroad.
The NYC had a distinctive character; different from its arch rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad's mountainous terrain, the
NYC was best known as the Water Level Route; most of its major routes, including New York to Chicago, followed rivers
and had no significant grades. This influenced many things, including advertising and most notably locomotive design.

Steam locomotives of the NYC were optimized for speed on that flat raceway of a main line, rather than slow
mountain lugging. Famous locomotives of the system included the well-known 4-6-4 Hudsons, and the postwar
Niagaras, fast 4-8-4 locomotives often considered the best of their class by steam locomotive experts.
Despite having some of the most modern steam locomotives anywhere, the NYC converted to diesel power rapidly,
conscious of it's by then, difficult financial position and the potential relief that more economical diesel-electric power
could bring. Very few NYC steam locomotives still exist, due to then-NYC high executive Alfred E. Perlman's total lack
of sympathy for historic preservation of NYC's finest steamers. All Hudsons and Niagaras were sent to the scrapper's
torch by 1956. In 2007, the only surviving big steam locomotives are two 4-8-2 Mohawk locomotives: L-2d Mohawk #2933
at the National Museum of Transport in St. Louis, Missouri) and dual-purpose, modern L-3a Mohawk #3001 at the
National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.

The story of their survival is a fascinating one: L-2d #2933 was somehow overlooked during the 1956-57
scrapping process, and was literally hidden for years after this by sympathetic NYC employees at the NYC's Selkirk Yard,
New York roundhouse, behind large boxes.In January 1962, when scrapping her would have been a public-relations
disaster, she was donated to the St. Louis museum. Since the last NYC steam locomotive operated in New York State
on August 7, 1953, her survival defies credibility. As for the only modern WWII-era NYC steam locomotive to survive, L-3a
#3001built in 1940, she was sold by the NYC to the City of Dallas, Texas in 1957, to replace a Texas & Pacific locomotive
which had been heavily vandalized in a city park. Much later, the National New York Central Railroad Museum traded a
Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 electric locomotive for her. She is reportedly in very good condition, and would make a
wonderful candidate for restoration to operating condition if suitable trackage existed for her operation.
The financial situation of northeastern railroading then became so dire that not even the economies of the
new diesel-electric locomotives could change things.
New York Central Railroad System Route  1937

Edward J Engel was born November 29th, 1854 in
Auburn, New York . His parents were
John B Engel and Jacobine Hauter Engel
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