Troy Union Station Clock and More

Troy Railroad Station Clock, an artifact from the Troy, NY station is coming up for auction. This might be the last time it will be on public display, it’s likely to disappear into a private collection, not to be seen again for decades.


The clock is described as a Reed & Stem station clock. It appears in this _completed auction_ eBay postcard:

Understand itis currently owned by an antique  & architectural salvage dealer called “Urban Archeology”. UA has hired Guernsey’s auction house to liquidate part of their accumulation..

This site shows a slideshow of lots. Note that the Troy Station clock is the GREEN clock with two mythological figures (There are other clocks in the same auction.)

Some questions posed and some anwsered by New York Central experts:

Did Reed & Stem design the whole Troy Station, or did they just design the interior decoration?  Yes, the whole thing.  And they were the first architects on Grand Central Terminal.  I never saw the clock, but I would believe that the “Reed and Stem” was on the clock to commemorate the architects, and not to represent the clock maker, whoever that was.

Do we agree that the style is “Beaux Arts”? Yes

How did this station fit into the operations of the NYC _System_? Trains left Troy for what points? Albany (Belt Line), Schenectady, New York (NYC), Montreal (D&H), Burlington and Montreal (Rutland), and Boston (Boston and Maine).  The Albany-Troy Belt Line was a joint NYC-D&H operation.  At one time, B&M and D&H operated a Boston-Chicago service via Binghamton-Erie.

What can we come up with about the clock itself? Weights? Spring-wound? Electric? Chimes?

Which department maintained clocks in stations? The Bridge and Building Department.


Does anyone remember actually seeing the clock?


Is Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer a Dinosaur or a Visionary?

While back Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced a requirement that Yahoo employees who work remotely relocate to company facilities. Isn’t this bucking the trend of businesses around the globe? Is she trying to go back to the old ways or is her “spirit of collaboration” what will bring her company back ahead of its competitors?

Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” reads the memo to employees . “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Digging deeper into her comments: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Business Insider shed a lot of light on why Marissa Mayer made this move:

  • Yahoo has a huge number of people of who work remotely – people who just never come in.
  • Many of these people “weren’t productive,” says this source.
  • “A lot of people hid. There were all these employees [working remotely] and nobody knew they were still at Yahoo.”
  • These people aren’t just Yahoo customer support reps. They’re in all divisions, from marketing to engineering.
  • Mayer is happy to give Yahoo employees standard Silicon Valley benefits like free food and free smartphones. But our source says the kinds of work-from-home arrangements popular at Yahoo were not common to other Valley companies like Google or Facebook. “This is a collaborative businesses.”
  • Mayer saw another side-benefit to making this move. She knows that some remote workers won’t want to start coming into the office and so they will quit. That helps Yahoo, which needs to cut costs. It’s a layoff that’s not a layoff.
  • Bigger picture: This is about Mayer “carefully getting to problems created by Yahoo’s huge, bloated infrastructure.” The company got fat and lazy over the past 15 years, and this is Mayer getting it into fighting shape.

This source gives Mayer credit for making a very tough decision – one that her predecessors knew they had to make, but never did. She’s turned out to have a lot of courage. She’s dealing with problems no one wanted to deal with before.”

To be remote or not has been an issue recently. Some say it is the wave of the future and others think employees are not as productive offsite. And both sides can back up their statements with statistics.

We have covered this topic before by talking about remote workers do, go for remote, required attire for a remote workforce , and contingent workers (many of whom are remote).

A conclusion that can be drawn, is that there are several dimensions like the type of industry and skill set of the employees that must be considered in any decision to “go remote”. It is not just tech companies that go remote. Insurance companies and banks are utilizing some remote workers too.

Tools are NOT the issue. They exist already. All kinds of vendors are jumping on the band wagon.

The more I read and reflect on the big picture, I am declaring her a VISIONARY. She is correcting some bad decisions by previous management. Marissa wants Yahoo! To be a leader, not just turn a profit and knows she must recharge the company. Her modus operandi is person-to-person contact, so this translates to the “spirit of collaboration”

Jason Fried’s forthcoming book Remote: Office Not Required can be read as many things—a how-to guide, a manifesto, a chronicle of modern work. It is also a refutation of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s assertion that remote work is incompatible with collaboration and productivity. Some of the more salient points he brings out are:

  • According to Fried’s research, US health care company Aetna has half its 35,000 employees working from home. Financial services firm Deloitte has about the same number of employees, 86% of whom work remotely at least 20% of the time. At microchip giant Intel, a company whose entire business depends on coordination, collaboration and innovation, 82% of staffers regularly work remotely.
  • Yahoo!’s leaders are hardly unique in feeling uncomfortable with remote workers. Fried’s apparent aim in Remote is to illustrate that the most common objections to remote work are groundless, and that, when appropriate, remote work can lead to more productive companies staffed by happier employees.
  • In the retail business you have to have people serving customers at a counter, but everything else, from legal and writing to professional services, can basically be accomplished with a telephone, a computer and an internet connection. Almost any service or anything that requires technical or creative work can be done remotely.
  • When people work remotely there is more of a focus on the actual work that’s being produced. It’s the work itself that is evaluated, less so than the personality or the politics or all the things that happen when people are together in person.
  • He thinks that the more people are together, the more opportunity there is to interrupt and distract each other. People working on creative problems need uninterrupted stretches of time to get work done.

IWordPress founder Matt Mullenweg wrote: “For anyone who enjoys working from wherever they like in the world, and is interested in WordPress, Automattic is 100% committed to being distributed. 130 of our 150 people are outside of San Francisco.”

There is a great story about how Toronto-Dominion Bank is renovating their offices to the new part remote / part traditional office culture. A great many of the employees have no assigned desk. They use a computer screen to book available work spaces and conference areas. The bank joins a growing number of employers who are deciding that the traditional office – with a desk for every employee and an expectation that everyone will be in their place throughout the work day – is as outdated as teller’s cages and dusty ledger books. The bank is replacing 20 floors of old offices that stationed employees in identical rows of high-walled cubicles that resembled bank vaults. This trend is called hoteling. By sharing spaces, an office needs fewer desks and this can mean significant savings on the amount of office space required.





New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation


Sunday afternoon and looking for a cool blog topic. All the required stuff was under control and co-worker KC Jones was busy commenting on big changes in the Mid-West; our manager was tied up with FAIRPROMISE. Then I spotted magic: a shortline in New Hampshire that just received a grant. Now, I love shortlines: you can put your hands around them and understand them. I love New England (almost as much as the Adirondacks). Had my usual fit about online map services, including GOOGLE EARTH, being so concentrated on “mobile” users that I cannot find decent maps anymore because I still use a C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R.


The New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation (reporting mark NHN) operates part of the former Boston and Maine Corporation‘s Conway Branch between Rollinsford and Ossipee, New Hampshire. The railroad’s primary traffic is quarried sand. It interchanges cars with Pan Am Railways

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U.S. Steel closing Gary Works coke plant

New comments added March 27, 2015


U.S. Steel plans to close its Gary Works coke plant in May, displacing about 300 workers. It will mark the end of a coke-making era at the steel plant that once operated three coke batteries.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone said Thursday the company notified United Steelworkers of America officials on Wednesday of the permanent shutdown. She said it was a strategic decision based on market conditions and the company’s long-term coke strategy.

U.S. Steel applied for a permit last year to construct an electric arc furnace at its Fairfield Works plant in Birmingham, Ala., to replace an existing blast furnace. U.S. Steel officials say the electric arc furnace will improve its operations so it can adapt to global demand, while reducing its capital spending and maintenance costs related to running a blast furnace.

Made from crushed coal cooked at…

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Flak Over Frack

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

There is probably no more contentious issue at the crossroads of politics and technology than hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process, where oil and gas drillers chew up rock deep in the earth, is responsible for the major oil boom that produced so much oil it collapsed into the current bust – with very low oil prices. It also creates a lot of environmental damage and, as a relatively new technology, is remarkably unregulated.

New rules were introduced for fracking on federal land on Friday by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Eagerly awaiting them were the drilling industry and environmentalists, both of which had a big stake in the regulations. If you are a long time follower of these procedures, or simply a cynic, it might come as no surprise that both sides are unhappy.

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What Will the Panama Canal Do For Florida East Coast Railway?



The 48 mile-long international waterway known as the Panama Canal allows ships to pass between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, saving about 8,000 miles from a journey around the southern tip of South America. A project is underway to build new locks as well as wider and deeper channels that is expected to double the canal’s capacity. This will allow megaships to move through the Canal.

Though traffic continues to increase through the canal, many oil supertankers, huge container ships and aircraft carriers can not fit through the canal. There’s even a class of ships known as “Panamax,” those built to the maximum capacity of the Panama canal and its locks. the Panama Canal expansion project will allow ships double the size of current Panamax (“Post-Panamax”) to pass through the canal, dramatically increasing the amount of goods that can pass through the canal.

The expansion project is a little…

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Concert At The Stanley Decades in the Making

It was 34 years ago that three bands gathered at Utica, New York’s Stanley Center For The Arts for a performance that was meant to last one night. But the legacy of that show continued through the years – a reminder of the community that a venue such as the Stanley can create.

Those three groups — the Todd Hobin Band, The Justice McBride Band and The Dust Devil Band — took the stage at the Stanley once again March 21, 2015.

When the three bands originally appeared on the old stage in 1981 they did so to help keep the theater open. So when the theater again found itself in need, Jerry Kraus, executive director of the Stanley, thought it would be cool to round up the original members for another fundraiser.

“We understand that this place (the Stanley) has a cut of history, so it’s a great opportunity to host an event with bands that started out here,” Kraus said.

Todd Hobin Band
Todd Hobin Band

Todd Hobin, singer/songwriter and founder of his band, said he has performed in Utica a great many times, but the opportunity to return to the Stanley is a unique one.

“I’m from Rochester, but I love the city of Utica – it’s like a second home to me,” Hobin said. “This will be a third time for me at The Stanley, and I love playing these old theaters. One of my passions is making sure that all the old theaters in the Northeast are preserved.

“Back in the old days, musicians, comedians and live entertainers used to perform before and after a movie at the theaters,” he continued. “They were called palaces, and they were designed to be grand. the Stanley really is a great place to play music, and it should be a meeting place for all of the community to come to witness great entertainment.”

The performance by the Todd Hobin Band, which is celebrating its 41st anniversary, will feature original members, including Hobin, Doug Moncrief, Shawn Hobin, Brett Hobin and Bruce Fowler. Also set to appear are special guests Greeley Ford and Jim Lucas, who played with the band the last time it was at the Stanley.

“It’s a reunion for us as a band, too,” Hobin said. “We’re so excited about it because we’ve been friends for a lifetime. We stayed in touch, but now we’re going to be playing together on the Stanley stage again.”

In addition to some favorite tunes from the band’s collection, Hobin said they also will play a couple songs from its latest album, including “Brother.”

“I think people will particularly like ‘Brother,’” Hobin said. “It’s important to those of us playing that night because for all of us guys in all of the bands – we are brothers of the road.”

The Justice McBride Band is pictured. Pictured are Mark Sisti, Dan Sisti, Al Sisti, David Smith and Gene Voce.
The Justice McBride Band is pictured. Pictured are Mark Sisti, Dan Sisti, Al Sisti, David Smith and Gene Voce.

Those “brothers of the road” include the original members of The Justice McBride Band: Mark Sisti, Dan Sisti, Al Sisti, David Smith and Gene Voce. The local southern rockers are known for being on the bill with bands such as The Outlaws and The Marshall Tucker Band.

The concert also will feature The Dust Devil Band, including locals Mike Stone, Darryl Mattison, Dan Porter, George Deveny and Ed Rosenburg.

For Rosenburg, getting the chance to play with his former bandmates again will be cathartic, to say the least.

“We haven’t all sat in the same room together for 34 years before we started rehearsing for this – that’s something,” Rosenburg said. “Of the five musicians in the band, I’m the only one who’s been out of the business for all those years, but the others have been playing right along. It’s going to be pretty wild to walk out on the Stanley stage in front of people.”

Not only is the event an opportunity for musicians to give back to the venue that gave them an avenue for their art, but it’s also a chance to start something new, Hobin said.

“I want to see it as the beginning,” he said. “It’s reacquainting ourselves with our music of the past and this beautiful theater, but the concert is really about the future. The concert is about remembering that we’re all part of this community, and it’s a community that we treasure.”