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 Post subject: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
Posts: 3958
Location: Maine
The topic of the complete eradication of the most famous US steam locomotive is a touchy subject among fans and preservationists alike. I've just reviewed a Youtube segment on the streamlined "Commodore Vanderbilt", and wanted to know more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tXi5W16nXw

Some say Al Perlman deliberately ordered them all destroyed.
Some say he offered one to the Smithsonian and they turned it down.
Some say his rush to Dieselize meant total removal of any trace of steam.

Does anyone know the facts about the Hudson/Niagara purge? How could an iconic, celebrated, industrial design like this have been completely lost? It seems beyond reason.

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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:48 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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all I know they had economical problems and made the move to dieselize early, then you know later Penn Central happened. Scrapping the steamers got whatever money back out of them. Norfolk & Western was like this, when a new steamer came about, earlier steamers got the torch, some saved to keep working, then a new steamer came and off they went again. Contact the Smithsonian if they have anything on a Hudson Donation. I'll poke around.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:15 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
I can't vouch entirely for this, largely because I can't even remember where I saw it, but I understand an NYC Hudson was offered to St. Louis, and that outfit turned it down.

The reason was the museum at the time was smaller (read more cramped) than it is now, and the administrator then had a goal of getting examples of wheel arrangements. By this time NKP 170 was already there representing 4-6-4s, and thus an NYC engine would have been considered a duplicate for which there was no room. Sounds incredibly shortsighted now, and I would argue it was then, too (outside of a PRR K4s or a UP Big Boy, no other locomotive would be so iconic and thus justifying an exception to policy), but that was supposedly the thinking at the time.

Can anybody confirm this?


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:19 pm 

Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 8:35 pm
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BY THE END OF STEAM THE NYC RR WANTED TO PRESENT ITSELF AS A MODERN RR AND SAVING STEAM LOCOMOTIVES FOR DISPLAY CERTAINLY WOULD NOT HAVE ACHIEVED THAT IMAGE. MANY RR'S ALLOWED COLLECTOR'S TO PURCHASE BUILDER'S PLATES, NUMBER PLATES, AND OTHER ITEMS, BUT NOT THE NYC. WHAT WAS SAVED WAS DONE WITHOUT PROPER PERMISSION.
THE NYC RR WASN'T THE ONLY ROAD WITH THIS ATTITUDE, OFFICIALS OF THE WM RR MADE CERTAIN NONE OF THE 4-8-4'S AND 4-6-6-4'S WERE SAVED. THIS INFORMATION CAME FROM A FORMER WM OFFICIAL, NOW DECEASED.

KEVIN K.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:27 pm 

Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 8:35 pm
Posts: 232
I should have added that certainly a NYC Hudson could have been purchased from one of the many scrap yards that they were sent to. What we fail to realize that even purchased for scrap a locomotive of that size would have brought $10,000 to $12,000 dollars in 1956 era dollars; a HUGE sum ! If anyone wishes to argue that amount with me I have copies of C&O scrap records from the early 1950's and that was the kind of money they brought in scrap. In todays money about $90,000.

Kevin K.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
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Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
New York Central Railroad did sell the headlight and number board from 5344, the prototype of the Lionel Scale Hudson, to someone who was later a member of the Lionel Collectors Club of America. He exhibited it at one of their Conventions, and told the story that when he asked to buy the headlight from 5344, NYC shipped him exactly that, and he had to ask again to have the number boards sent to him. He thought that the whole thing was 1 casting, like on the model.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 135
I heard from somewhere the Milwaukee Road offered 4-4-2 #2 (the streamlined one) to the Museum of Transportation, but it was turned for the same reason the hudson was turned down. The Museum had CNW 1015, their first engine, representing the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement, and did not accept the donation.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:24 pm
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What many people don't realise about early NMOT (The name has recently been returned to National Museum of Transport) is just how crowded it was. Looking at early photos and hearing accounts from older volunteers, it was amazing they had enough room to even move things around. When they did move things, it was quite the trick. Even today, it is a very crowded site.

Being crowded as such, they had the misson of preserving each wheel arangement. That was all they had room to accomplish, plain and simple.

Later, once the museum aquired more land and laid more track, they had the space for more 'extras' but the days of saving 'the greats' such as the Hudson and Hiawatha Atlantic that were supposedly 'almosts' (by varying accounts they came as close as a wire coming too late, or simply being turned down when asking for a donation, it is mostly legend at this point) were long gone.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5360
Steamguy73 wrote:
I heard from somewhere the Milwaukee Road offered 4-4-2 #2 (the streamlined one) to the Museum of Transportation, but it was turned for the same reason the hudson was turned down. The Museum had CNW 1015, their first engine, representing the 4-4-2 wheel arrangement, and did not accept the donation.


I have heard the same thing about NMOT turning down a certain locomotive because the museum already had a representative of that particular wheel arrangement. Thus explaining the supposed refusal of the New York Central 4-6-4 (because of the NKP Hudson) and the streamlined Milwaukee Road 4-4-2 (because of the C&NW Atlantic). What is interesting of course, is New York Central 4-8-2 #2933, accepted even though the museum already had Frisco 4-8-2 #1522 in its collection. What I had heard was that the Central more-or-less begged NMOT to take the 2933 because the railfans at the time, had discovered that it was still on N.Y.C. property and that the recent success of the Reading Iron Horse Rambles led to a clamor to run the Mohawk. The acceptance of the donation of the 4-8-2 solved that "problem" for the Central. Don't know if that story is true or not, but explains why a duplicate wheel arrangement ended up at NMOT after they turned down other steam locomotive offerings.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:58 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
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Location: Thomaston & White Plains
A story circulating among knowledgeable fans in the New York City area in the late 60s (a couple of them NYC employees) was that NYC "mixed up the numbers", between L-2 4-8-2 #2933, and J-3 4-6-4 #5433. 5433 was painted and polished for a 1953 exhibit on NYC power (included was a new E8 diesel), on display in Grand Central Terminal. The shiny Hudson was duly photographed at Harmon NY, by company photographer Ed Nowak before being towed dead (of course) into GCT. The story was that afterwards, 5433 was to be "saved".

Al Perlman became NYC president in 1954, and had a major task to make a turnaround in NYC's precarious finances. He also had no use for "old stuff", especially steam power.

Somehow, 2933 was the engine stashed away in the crumbling Selkirk roundhouse (think PRR E7 5901 and Harrisburg roundhouse), until about 1959, when the roundhouse was torn down and 2933 was sent off to St Louis.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:37 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5360
Howard -

Thanks for the interesting story. However, according to J. David Conrad's STEAM LOCOMOTIVE DIRECTORY, the 2933 wasn't donated to the NMOT until June of 1963. The Frisco 4-8-2 was donated in 1959. The Iron Horse Rambles were begun in the early 1960's as I recall.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3406
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
All of these stories about the 2933 being stored, about how it may have been preserved in error instead of 5433, and about how 2933 was donated to take pressure off the NYC to run excursions at the time when the Reading was demonstrating there was a market for them, all could tie in with how the 2933 wound up at St. Louis.

They also tie in with some things I've heard about the B&O Museum at around the same time. This was when there was a merger or some other sort of alliance between the B&O and the C&O. Part of what resulted was a largely C&O management takeover, and the management decided to do some housecleaning. That included discarding and destroying a lot of old records, including glass plate photo negatives, that were still in the B&O's headquarters building in Baltimore. There are stories of more preservation minded employees in the building placing file cabinets and boxes in doorways or other places, and then moving more file cabinets in front of the ones with the old stuff, hiding them from the new management.

There are even stories that the 4500 (first USRA locomotive, a 2-8-2) and the 5300 (President series 4-6-2), which were promised for the museum but not yet delivered, were hidden in a shop building and "buried" under a pile of box car parts, doors, and other things, and records forged that they had been scrapped, to keep them from the housecleaning bunch.

Tall tales? Maybe, maybe even more likely tall tales than not. But I can imagine a 4-8-2 being forgotten in a roundhouse, totally out of mind by the management, and then remembered as railfans start making noise for excursions on a road famous for passenger service as another road, a relatively minor coal hauler, makes big headlines with what were one of the more obscure locomotive series until then--and wanting to not fool with something that people wanted but was not seen as the business mission.

And to avoid the hullabaloo that came from scrapping their last signature passenger engine, the same management coaxes the Museum of Transportation to "solve" that "problem."

That whole possible scenario is no stranger than some other things we have in our history!


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:05 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1881
Quote:
There are even stories that the 4500 (first USRA locomotive, a 2-8-2) and the 5300 (President series 4-6-2), which were promised for the museum but not yet delivered, were hidden in a shop building and "buried" under a pile of box car parts, doors, and other things, and records forged that they had been scrapped, to keep them from the housecleaning bunch.


Ed Striegel Equipment, a Baltimore scrap dealer, was the person who saved B&O 4500 and/or 5300 from the scrap line for the B&O Museum.

Quote:
In the 1950s, while visiting a storage lot for decommissioned B&O steam engines, Mr. Striegel discovered two historically significant locomotives - the President Washington, No. 5300, the high-wheeling Pacific Class that had pulled such classic trains as the Capitol Limited; and a 2-8-2 Mikado Class locomotive that had been built in 1918.

He salvaged them and donated them to the B&O Railroad Museum. "They are the linchpins of our collection," said Courtney B. Wilson, executive director of the museum.

"Ed saved two significant pieces for the museum and, without his help, they would have been lost forever," he said.

"In my opinion, he was a phenomenal Baltimorean. He was a quiet, unassuming and a very generous guy. The museum was his favorite place to come and he was always looking for ways to improve and enhance its collections," Mr. Wilson said.


Source: Baltimore Sun April 20, 2001
Now back to the discussion of NYC Hudsons.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1107
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Some of this hiding of favorite locomotives by local railroaders did go on. In Akron, Oh, there is a famous story that one of the last Erie painted switchers was assigned to Akron, possibly 518, can't remember for sure, was kept out of sight in the McCoy St. engine house whenever supervision was known to be in the area, so they wouldn't send it out to be repainted in EL colors. I know it made it into the 1970's still in Erie black and yellow.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC Hudson Question. Bear with me, please!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 446
Location: Illinois
When I lived in Michigan, it was rumored the NYC offered a Hudson to the city of Jackson, MI. But it fell through for some reason, and instead Jackson wound up with a GTW steamer on display.

You could fill up a book with these rumors/tales of RR equipment "almost" restored, and they are all very hard to verify today.


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