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 Post subject: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the News
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1790
The Today featured "Track 61" on the May 8 show.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24514783#24514783

Wesley


Last edited by wesp on Thu May 08, 2008 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 9:44 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 746
Location: NJ
Saw it this morning. They even showed the inside of the car. Looks like they are using it for storage. Saw a story on it a while ago and in that one, they speculated on what the car might have been used for. In todays segment they said it was for Roosevelt to come and go in his Auburn without anybody seeing that he couldn't walk any longer. Seems the rail car would pull up to the platform, then the Aubur would be driven out of the railcar and proceed to the freight elevator where the car would be taken to the parking level of the hotel. Which is pretty much what they said in the previous show. In that earlier show, they said that the very rich also used this private entrance. But it makes you ask, who owns the car today and why is it there?

Later!
Mr. Ed


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 11:23 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1790
In an earlier post Howard P. said the mysterious car actually is the tool car for an NYC crane preserved elsewhere.

http://rypn.sunserver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21397&highlight=waldorf

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 3:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:47 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Portland, Or
I have a copy of a 1948 trains magazine which discussed the unveiling of the "new" alco PA type locomotive. Evidently, the design was hidden so as to make the grand unveiling at the Waldorf Astoria a surprise. I take it this must have occured on track 61 as per this news report. This being the case, I should think there are probably a great deal of additional historical details which could be teased out of the documents with enough dilligence.

Best,

Stathi

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Best,

Stathi

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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: Baltimore, MD
You literalists just will never understand that a sexy legend beats the pedestrian truth any time, and it will long outlive you. The history of the B&O, as conjured up by Major Pangborn in 1893 and Edward Hungerford in 1927, is still with us and on display for the masses at the B&O Museum.

It would be fruitless to edit the misstatements and speculations out of that TV "report"; nothing would be left but images of mute moving mouths and dreary end views of an ordinary baggage car. But to add my own useless bit of trivia: Track 61 existed in that location since GCT was opened in 1913. It just happened to be in a convenient spot when the Waldorf was built over it.

Herb Harwood


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 6:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 4981
Herbhar wrote:


end views of an ordinary baggage car.

Herb Harwood


Herb -

Okay, I'm convinced that it's just an "ordinary baggage car", but do you (or anyone else) have any info on the car? Railroad? Road number? Photo of the car (or one from the same series)?

Thanks.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:25 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2158
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
To the illustrious annals of Major Pangborn and Ed Hungerford, one should add Dan Brucker, PR guru extraodinare of Metro-North. On slow news days, out comes the "secret baggage car story" to be recycled yet again. Perhaps it's an inside joke at MNCR, perpetrated upon new reporters on the transit beat....

Once again, it's just a plain old NYCS 60-foot HW bagg, or possibly a 50-foot troop sleeper express car.

Howard P.
Tower C, GCT

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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:54 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 746
Location: NJ
Both shows that I referred to say that this particular car was an automobile carrier. It is a heavyweight but neither show gave a good enough view of any doors lagre enough to load/unload an Auburn or any other car for that matter. I would agree that it looks more like a work car of some sort. Aren't myths wonderful?

Later!
Mr. Ed


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 11:05 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8291
Location: Baltimore, MD
Quote:
You literalists just will never understand that a sexy legend beats the pedestrian truth any time, and it will long outlive you. The history of the B&O, as conjured up by Major Pangborn in 1893 and Edward Hungerford in 1927, is still with us and on display for the masses at the B&O Museum.


Okay, Herb, I'll bite. Exactly how much "revisionism" went on in those "definitive" histories of the railroad? Are you fundamentally implying that the B&O Museum, intentionally or no, engages in telling a falsified history of the B&O and railroading, filled with as much balderdash as spews from the mouth of that semi-hysterical lunatic in Metro-North's employment? Is the whole story of the Tom Thumb, the "Grasshoppers," and the Winans Camel all a bunch of hooey, and the B&O actually ran with horses and Stephenson "Rocket" imports from England until they re-gauged captured Confederate steamers?

Seriously, if there's an article or book off your typewriter or word processor smashing and debunking all these urban legends, I'm waiting in line for it!


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2158
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Well, I did something I shouldn't have-- I took the bait and watched that video clip.

What an unmitigated crock of you-know-what. Almost every utterance was inaccurate. It's the equivalent of someone from, oh, say the Portland Transit District giving an interview about SP&S 700 and saying it was one of the engines at the driving of the Golden Spike.

Once again, it's the GCT #1 wreck crane tool and block car. This is a plain old NYCS 60-foot baggage car, complete with 4x4 shank Sharon couplers, probably built by Pressed Steel Car in Pittsburgh. NYCS had hundreds of these things. In one shot, the jade green late NYC-PC era work train paint can be seen on a door edge. Note the buffers and diaphragms have been removed, typical of these car when converted to work train service.

"MNCX" was a reporting mark used by Metro-North when it started in 1983, assigned to dozens of assorted work cars scattered about MNCR (the "other" Metro-North reporting mark) that they inhertited from Conrail, such as a PRR MB-70 mail car at North Croton, a gorgeous Buffalo Creek "Flour Sack" boxcar, etc. Someplace I have a list of most of that stuff, much of it now razorblades or rebar.

And the public eats this stuff up, when the real (and really interesting) stories go untold. Note there were two "legitimate" historians interviewed; but not one railroad historian. Maybe that's the real issue here-- that we're invisible to the mainstream media, and at the same time, not worthy of consultation by the railroad. Or, maybe the truth would just get in the way of a good (but rediculous) story, as usual.

Howard P.
Steam Tunnel "C", GCT

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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:01 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2158
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Oh, one last thing---

Too bad, Mr. Harwood, that you are not still in Westchester (Scarsdale, was it?) and therefore more immediately available to the NY media. As a VERY legitimate, widely-published railroad historian, your credentials are impeccable--- I would have loved to see you go toe to toe with Mr. Brucker.

Myths and fairy tales are nice, but sometimes they need to be debunked.

Howard P.

(now trying to dream up a good "yarn" about one of OUR baggage cars...)

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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1790
Maybe Brother Wrinn can help in this regard?

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 2:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:30 pm
Posts: 142
Location: NH Shoreline
Maybe the one good thing to come from all of this is, when Metro North finally gets tired of the car and decides to put it out to pasture, it stands an excellent chance of getting preserved if for no other reason then all the fairy tales stories surrounding the car!


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 2:35 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:59 am
Posts: 12
Location: Baltimore, MD
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Quote:
Okay, Herb, I'll bite. Exactly how much "revisionism" went on in those "definitive" histories of the railroad? Are you fundamentally implying that the B&O Museum, intentionally or no, engages in telling a falsified history of the B&O and railroading, filled with as much balderdash as spews from the mouth of that semi-hysterical lunatic in Metro-North's employment? Is the whole story of the Tom Thumb, the "Grasshoppers," and the Winans Camel all a bunch of hooey, and the B&O actually ran with horses and Stephenson "Rocket" imports from England until they re-gauged captured Confederate steamers?


Maybe the last act of my life will be to produce annotated versions of Pengborn's and Hungerford's effusions, but my masochism can only go so far. Actually, both of them produced some very worthwhile stuff and, of course, Pangborn is responsible for restoring and preserving the core of the B&O Museum collection , while Hungerford's 1927 fair (as well as his subsequent productions) preserved other historic relics.

But you asked for examples, so let's just look at some of the things on display at the museum:

"Tom Thumb" - a grossly oversized and mostly inaccurate replica. It was never called "Tom Thumb" in its lifetime , and the story of the race with the horse was never documented at the time (it first surfaced something like 40 years after the fact) and, if anything like that did happen, the story was likely embellished.

The "Pioneer" horse car is purely speculative.

"Atlantic" - Not the original engine, which was scrapped in 1835. Pangborn took the Grasshopper "Andrew Jackson" and butchered it up to resemble what he thought the original might have looked like, although the real thing was smaller and lighter.

"Royal Blue Line" coach - This actually is a former DL&W open-end car that came to the B&O via the CI&W. It was altered with narrow vestibule doors for the '27 fair.

I think most of us are familiar with the two yellow "Civil War" coaches, which actually are late 1860s, as I recall.

I think the museum and most historians now accept that the Mt. Clare station was actually built in 1851, not 1830, but you still see the "first American railroad station" in publications.

Pangborn had a thing for displaying the "first" of everything, so several of the antique engines were renumbered to fit. To its credit, the museum is now trying to rectify this as it restores them. And, of course, except for "Memnon" and the Grasshopper "John Hancock", none of the antique locomotives originally carried names. (The "William Mason," for example, was just No. 25.) But all this is down to the nitpicking level.

I'll quit there, since we're way off topic, but get me going some time on Hungerford's version of John W. Garrett vs. the real thing.

Herb


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 Post subject: Re: "Secret" Grand Central Track is Back in the Ne
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 4:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:19 pm
Posts: 1121
Location: Washington, D.C.
Herbhar wrote:
"Royal Blue Line" coach - This actually is a former DL&W open-end car that came to the B&O via the CI&W. It was altered with narrow vestibule doors for the '27 fair.


OUCH.

I knew all the other examples. And I knew this coach came from an Anthracite road. But I really had lived in happy ignorance, beleiving that it WAS an original narrow vestibule.

Oh, well. Wiser, to be sure, but vaguely sad now as well...

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