Category Archives: Railroad

The D&H in Oneonta

During the steam days and for some time afterards, Oneonta was a busy yard for trains both out of Binghamton and Wilkes Barre. It was also an engine change point and crew change point and had a huge roundhouse. The roundhouse fell into disuse after the Alco RS-3’s took over. Eventually, traffic patterns changed and the yard at Oneonta was more or less replaced by a rebuilt facility at Binghamton and the crews were run through between Binghamton and Saratoga or maybe Mohawk Yard in Schenectady and Binghamton. The last major activity in Oneonta was probably the car shop which after the CP takeover was shut down and replaced by facilities elsewhere.

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My Stock in the Warwick Valley Railroad

Recently a good friend of mine found a stock certificate for the Warwick Valley Rail Road Company. I knew a little bit about it and decided to investigate even further. The Lehigh & Hudson River began as a small line, the Warwick Valley Railroad that connected the town of Warwick, NY with the Erie Railroad at Greycourt, NY. The line expanded south into New Jersey, and in 1882 the Warwick Valley and its affiliates merged to become the L&HR. The line extended from Belvidere, NJ to Maybrook, NY where the New Haven Railroad provided a gateway to New England. The L&HR built a bridge between Phillipsburg, NJ and Easton, PA and ran via trackage rights on the Pennsylvania RR and the Jersey Central Railroad to Allentown, PA. The L&HR handled zinc traffic from the area around Franklin, NJ but mostly it was a bridge line carrying overhead freight. The mergers and abandonments of the 1960 did the L&HR harm, but the New York Central – PRR merger in 1968 caused much traffic to be diverted. The line went bankrupt in 1972 and inclusion in Conrail spelled the end in 1976. The line north of Sparta Jct. became part of the New York, Susquehanna & Western main line in 1982 and the line south of that point was abandoned by Conrail in 1986.

 

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Cooperstown, New York

 

Cooperstown Train Station……Now a private residence

Cooperstown is noted for baseball, of course. There is a great golf course with a hotel too. Find out more about vacationing in Cooperstown.

Not much railroad activity in Cooperstown, but the New York, Susquehanna & Western has offices and dispatcher there. I believe a visit or tour can be arranged if you call them. Closest railroad activity is Oneonta (D&H).

Cooperstown is no longer really on an active rail line although the Leatherstocking Line runs between Cooperstown and Milford with tourist trains. Their stopping point is south of the village on NY 28 south of the former crossings at Chestnut and Walnut Streets.

The NYS&W headquarters is in the old freight station in Cooperstown which lies between Main Street and Glen Avenue (NY 28) on Railroad Avenue and this structure has been altered a number of times to make it more suitable for the NYS&W offices. At one time, there was also a trolley/interurban line into Cooperstown from Index which is south of Cooperstown on route 28. This line was a branch off the line which ran between Oneonta and Mohawk and the line into Cooperstown lasted until the very early 1940’s as a freight railroad. The Delaware & Hudson used to serve Cooperstown from Oneonta every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They had a water tower with a standpipe, a decent electric turntable and a very nice passenger station which had been converted to a residence. For a long time, the local freight train came in with a combo (coach and baggage car) rather than a caboose. I think this was because they still carried Railway Express shipments to the station at Cooperstown and the job probably had an express messenger on it too. They still did a reasonable amount of freight business in Cooperstown with lumber, coal, grain and feed being the big items but local LCL stuff too. Both Milford and Cooperstown at the time still had full time agents too. This was in the late 1940’s. Shortly after the arrival of the diesels, the turntable and water plug came out but Cooperstown still had three day a week service for a long time after that.

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Grand Central Terminal and the New York City Subway

This page is our gateway to New York City. Find out about the New York Central Railroad‘s Grand Central Terminal. Explore the fabulous New York City Subway System. Learn who Robert Moses. was and his impact on New York City. Understand New York City transit planning, West Side Freight Line (the “High Line”)and St Johns terminal. The New Haven Railroad and the Long Island Railroadreached into New York City. Did you know the Lehigh Valley Railroad even went into New York City (by ferry). Learn about the Jenney Plan to bring commuters into New York City and finally explore mysterious track 61 at Grand Central Terminal with its relationship to Presidents of the United States.

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Leonore F. Loree: Rail Giant

D&H No. 500 was built by Pullman in 1917 for D&H president L.F. Loree.

The interior, of Cuban mahogany and West Indian satinwood, will accomodate 10 in two staterooms, one drawing room, dining room and observation end. During the winter of 1967 it was renovated at the Colonie, N.Y. shops, painted berry red and the interior redecorated in an early 19th Century motif with blue brocade drapes and gold fringe trim. March 1967.

Photo by Jim Shaughnessy
Post card published by Audio-Visual Designs, Earlton, N.Y.

Leonore F. Loree was best known for a long career with the Delaware & Hudsonas president. But, before that he received a civil engineering degree from Rutgers, and in 1877 joined the Pennsylvania Railroad as a rodman in engineering department. He spent 2 years in the Army Corps of Engineers then went to the Mexican National Railways in 1881. Rejoining the Pennsylvania. he made a critical evaluation of a yard plan which got him recognized. He became assistant engineer in the Chicago division in 1883. In 1886, Loree rebuilt 26 bridges, 3 culverts, 2 trestles and 7 miles of track in 6 days after an Ohio flood. In 1889 after the Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood, he led the task of cleanup and was able to resume traffic in two weeks using 1,500 men. By 1896, he had become the general manager of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He went on to become a vice president in 1901 at the age of 38. He left the Pennsylvania in 1901 to be the president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In 1904, he became president of the Rock Island Railroad.

L.F. Loree came to the Delaware & Hudson in 1907 at the urging of E.H. Harriman ( Union Pacific. He was the president from 1907-1938. One of his most significant contributions was the D&H Building in Albany. This building was designed by architect Marcus T. Reynolds in 1913 and is a 12-story flemish gothic castle-like structure. From that building, the D&H controlled railroads, coal mines, rapid transit systems, hotels and resorts, steamship companies, real estate and so much more. Amazing how things have changed both for the D&H and the world since it was built! In 1923, the D&H had its 100th anniversary and Loree had his 65th birthday.

Loree was very involved in the railroad “merger-mania” of the 1920’s. Four major consolidations had been proposed and, in 1925, Loree proposed a fifth trunk line. As well as the D&H, it included:
Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh
Lehigh Valley
Wheeling and Lake Erie
Wabash
A new line thru Pennsylvania
This route would be 50 miles shorter toChicago and eliminate many “Alphabet Routes”.

Unfortunately, the Interstate Commerce Commission vetoed his proposal. In the process, he had acquired a great deal of stocks which he sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad for $63 million. His profit of $22 million was invested in 595,000 shares of the New York Central Railroad This gave the D&H a 10 percent ownership!

In 1929, Loree proposed the “North Atlantic Terminal System”, but it was killed by the Great Depression. Headed by the D&H, it included 17 railroads which included:
New Haven RR
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western
Western Maryland
Boston & Maine

He expected a lot out of his employees. He is known for his practice of not using mechanical stokers on steam locomotives. Instead, he felt he was giving the firemen the best tool: Red Edge shovels.

By the time Loree took over the D&H in 1907, over 200 2-8-0’s had largely replaced all the Moguls in main-line service. Long an advocate of big power, Loree continued buying even larger 2-8-0’s, which fell into an E-5 classification. The first 18 of the new 1000s were double-cabbed, but, with the arrival of #1025 in 1907, the throttle on the D&H engines returned to the backhead once again. These E-5’s had 222,000 pounds on the drivers, 210-pound boiler pressure, piston valves, Walschaert valve gear for the first time on the D&H, and 57-inch drivers, giving them an impressive 49,650-pound tractive effort. The 48 new E-5’s could easily handle 1230 tons up Belden Hill out of Binghamton, where a hogger on an E-3 had his hands full with only 985 tons. Another technological advancement under Loree that originated on the D&H that gained wide acceptance was the application of roller bearings to locomotive driving wheels and side-rods.

The following is from “DELAWARE & HUDSON“, by Jim Shaughnessy: “……. to assert that the steam locomotives of the D&H were daring in design and austere in appearance is to say they were cast after the character of the man who ruled the line for 31 tumultous years.” Thus does a respected railroad journalist characterize the man and his locomotives. “Like his engines, Loree was a stark model of efficiency-a great and proud figure of a man who believed in flat profiles and super locomotives, a day’s work for a day’s pay, discipline of organazation and freedom of management……….Because of Loree the company achieved a rank out of all proportion of its modest mileage. “The locomotives purchased or rebuilt throughout Loree’s administration mirrored its trials and triumphs. Often experimental in concept, always disciplined in design, they ran the gamut from high-pressure 2-8-0’s to Pacifics with rotary cam poppet valve gear and recessed headlights. They seldom agreed with contemporary U.S. engineering and yet they included the first driving-axle and and side-rod roller bearing assemblies, tender booster and welded boiler. The industry learned to look when the D&H unwrapped a new engine because Leonor Loree was a man well-versed in locomotives.”

Not surprisingly, Loree was always an advocate of bigger and better motive power and began to upgrade the D&H’s roster as soon as he arrived in 1907. Larger and heavier engines sparked a long series of alterations and improvements on the D&H. The new locomotives were capable of improving the speed and tonnage of trains and, to operate to their best advantage, required stronger bridges, longer roundhouses, longer turntables, better roadbed, easier grades, larger capacity cars, more water and better service facilities at terminals and shops. Each improvement was followed closely by another, for larger locomotives brought longer trains which demanded longer passing tracks, larger and more efficient yards, and, eventually, the cycle returned to even bigger locomotives again. In 1908, the yard at Binghamton was enlarged, and, in the following year, new yards were buit at Bluff Point, near Plattsburg, and Jermyn, near Carbondale. It’s pretty obvious that Mr. Loree was anything BUT an idle fellow!! The state of the D&H proved that!!

Consolidation # 1111 was the first of the dozen homemade D&H engines, the E-5a class, that were about as powerful and efficient as a 2-8-0 could be made. The last of the series was built in 1932, after which the depression ended the need for new motive power. the #1114 had a different appearance from the others, because of the semi-streamlined enclosure on the top; it also carried more boiler pressure and much more superheating surface. Of course, Mr. Loree was always very proud of his locomotives, and he was more than happy to show of his best for a visit by the presidents of the NYC and LV in 1927.

This article was originally published in 1933 for The NEW YORKER MAGAZINE and again rewritten in 1961.

“Leonore F. Loree is perhaps the one man in Wall Street who would not be eclipsed by the office suite occupied by the president of the Delaware & Hudson railroad. It is a gaudy affair in the florid manner on the ninteenth century. The ceiling is a profusion of nymph’s heads, festoons of fruit, and fat dimpled cherubs. There are sunburst crystal chandeliers, a mantlepiece with carved lions heads, wall niches full of cockle shells, and windows with stained glass borders. There are elegant ormolue radiators, screens, two shiny brass cuspidors and a gas log.

Shaggy and elephantine, with quick, amused eyes and lumbering, soft footed walk of a bear, Loree easily dominates the cherubs and the nymphs. A friend has observed that Loree’s real place is in the museum of Natural History. He is a survivor from Wall Street’s Pleistocene Age, a reminder that there was a time when Jay Gould and Jubilee Jim Fisk ran the Erie from the Manthattan Opera house and John W. Gates drank the Steel Corporation into existence. Loree, too, has a late Victorian flair for the grand gesture. For example, he tried to buy the Diana from the old Madison Square Garden for his favorite institution, the New Jersey College for Women. Unsuccesful, he presented the stone lions from the old Waldorf instead. Visitors to Albany often mistake the D&H building for the state capital. Loree built it in the most elaborate Flemish style. The clasic Loree Gesture came at the outbreak of the war. Like thousands of other Americans, he found himself stranded in France. At once he chartered by cable the steamer Antilles and sailed back, bringing 252 fellow countrymen as paying guests.

On April 23, 1925, Loree celebrated his 67th birthday. Shortly afterwards he announced that he had embarked on a campaign to weld a dozen independent railroads into a system that would extend from New York to Kansas City and from Canada to Mexico. There is some doubt of his motives. His friends see nothing more that straighforward ambition. Observers more realisitcly minded have a subtler theory. They point out that some months before his announcement, the heads of the four Eastern Trunk Lines, the Pennsylvania, New York Central, the B&O, and the Van Swerigen roads-had met, without a word to Loree, and with pencil and paper, had divided among themselves the smaller lines of the East, including the D&H. If not inviting Loree to the conference is to be classed as a social error, it was one whose consequences were appaling. Loree immediately became belligerent.

He moved to counterattack. Once he gave three rules for success. The first two were commonplace. The third was simply “Be Audacious”. So Loree, the head of a railroad capitalized at $118,600,00, went out to do battle with four systems, the smallest of which was eight times as large. It was a campaign of endless marches and countermarches, the rape of the road, the battle for control of that, of appeals to the Interstate Commerce Commision, sitting enthroned above the conflict. For 2 years, Loree fought. In 1927 he admitted he was licked on the broad field of consolidating a new system. He narrowed down the fight to getting control of two roads which were essential to the projects of his opponents. These were the Lehigh Valley and Wabash. Throughout the summer and fall of 1927 he steadily bought into these roads.

When the next series of merger conferences took place, Loree, you may be sure, was invited to attend. The meeting were held in General Atterbury’s offices in Pennsylvania station. The veteran railroader didn’t seem at all interested in selling his Lehigh and Wabash holdings. The meetins dragged on, with everyone except Loree getting more and more worried. Along toward the spring the tension became unbearable, General Atterbury of the Pennsylvania called on Otto Kahn, Loeb & Co., bankers for both the D&H and Pennsylvania , and implored him to persuade Loree to sell out. During the next week the shaggy, ursine head of Loree and the sleek, well barbered head of Kahn bobbed in protracted conference. The upshot was that on April 27, 1928, Loree sold out to the Pennsylvania. The D&H recieved $63,000,000 for stocks which had cost $40,000,000.

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