Nov 29, 2016
PRR 9247 with 980895 Cabin Car in yard
Kirk Hise Collection.
I was always interested with Pennsy's inward leaning high-rise cupolas, unlike any others that I can remember. I wonder if it was to raise the viewer above the roof height of most cars in use at the time....?
Rail equipment like that always makes me wonder if it was designed for a specific tunnel.
And as one of two Class Ones in Manhattan, the Pennsy did have tunnels.
To my knowledge, no freight ever ran through Penn Station, having the only rail tunnels into Manhattan. Most freight traffic onto Manhattan was barged across the Hudson from Hoboken and Weehawken. The New York Central had the only direct access to Manhattan, though not through tunnels, but down the West Side Line from Spuyten Duyvil and the Hudson Division.
That's very interesting! I always assumed there was--along with interchange freight to the LIRR and New Haven.
Freight to Connecticut and Massachusetts must have taken an awfully long detour coming up from points south!
Prior to 1974, freight destined for Long Island from the south and west came through Maybrook, NY, across the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, and into southwestern Connecticut on the New Haven. From there it crossed the East River onto Long Island over the Hell Gate bridge.
Freight destined for central and northern New England would either be via the New York Central (CSX) interchange with the Boston & Maine (Pan Am) at Rotterdam Jct., NY, or via the New York Central/Boston & Albany (CSX) Selkirk Yard near Albany, NY. In 1974, the Selkirk-Castleton bridge became the southern most route across the Hudson into Long Island after the Poughkeepsie bridge burned and Conrail, then CSX chose to not rebuild it, creating the 280 mile detour known as the Selkirk Hurdle.
After looking at Google Earth, I see that line crossing the Hudson River from Selkirk to Castleton also branches south and joins the ex-NYC Hudson Division (now AMTRAK) north of Hudson, NY. From there freight goes to a yard in the south Bronx, then across the Hell Gate bridge onto Long Island.
For being one of the largest cities in the US, New York definitely has very poor freight rail service. There has been talk for years about creating a freight rail tunnel under the Hudson from Staten Island to Brooklyn. Current discussions are that the tunnel may be completed some time in the late 2020's, though most transportation planners are not holding the collective breaths.
I apologize to Roger for hi-jacking his original PRR caboose post, but its cupola design led to speculation about freight traffic through tunnels into New York City.
Well, I hope Roger doesn't mind, because I learned a lot!